Usoro I. Usoro

I’m so excited! In fact, giggling like a little girl in love. You know why? I got two wonderful new-year gifts, this week. Wow! Just when I was almost getting despondent. What’s a new year without a new-year gift, anyway? Very annoying! Especially, if you wait endlessly for a Christmas gift, only for Amaechi to show up in a tape announcing that the “rate of poverty is very high”!

Anyway, my first new-year gift came through a call. It was my tailor. You know what? People of God, when all hope is gone, the good news cometh, like the scriptures would say. Please, celebrate with me: My Christmas cloth is finally ready! Well, if the first gift was exciting, the second gift item gave me untold joy. It came in form of pictures. For the first time since the Warsaw “nuisance”, sorry, news in Akwa Ibom, my heart danced “sekem” with gladness. In fact, it even tried a dangerous combination of azonto and shaku-shaku. With my “two naked eyes” I saw pictures of Governor Udom Emmanuel, Senator Godswill Akpabio and Sir Nsima Ekere “shmiling”, hugging and holding hands.

It was at the end of a Catholic Conference in Uyo. Someone had a smart idea and invited the hitherto “media war generals”. Chai! From what we’d been reading in the media, idiots like me expected any room containing Emmanuel, Akpabio and Ekere to explode from chemical overcharge. Akpabio and Ekere, one-time friends and one-time enemies, recently did abracadabra and somehow found themselves in one room called APC. Surprisingly, so far, the space contains them without a “bang”. Well, Emmanuel belongs to another group – PDP. So, we in the idiots group thought the two camps can never meet in a space and go out in one piece…with smiles and “touching body”. But you now what, even if they were acting, it happened! Shame to the devil!

Akwa Ibom’s a land of enlightened political minds. We are not animals. So, when a fellow idiot said the governorship race here is a “two-horse” race, I slapped his mouth. It’s an insult to call my governor an animal. Gov Emmanuel is the PDP governorship candidate and Ekere is challenging him on the platform of APC. Chikena! Well, I’ve not been able to confirm whether their wives were present in that church, but I heard the duo “eyed” one beautiful woman called Peace! I wouldn’t have believed such a rumour, until I watched the governor talking about a certain “peace”. “At the end of the day, it’s about us. It’s about the destiny of Akwa ibom State…as we go into election this year, let the God of peace grant us peace…may we enjoy peaceful , credible and transparent election”, he said. And then, the man had the guts to write about his “love” for “peace” on twitter: “As your governor, I love peace. I preach peace, I preach love, and I preach togetherness. These attributes have been the articles of faith to which I am inexorably committed to pursuing and will continue to uphold no matter the push to act otherwise”!

Well, it’s not for nothing that “oyibo” coined the term “political actors”. Politicians can act. But what they say, we hold them to account. Talking peace is a covenant. Especially, as Udom’s opponent, Nsima, equally subscribed to it. He was quoted thus: “It’s not about APC. It’s not about PDP. It’s about Akwa Ibom state”. The church and the people say: “Amen”!

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The “peace declaration” threw up a few things. While faith says, “Everything is possible”, politics says “anything is possible”! Like two “charged human chemicals” coexisting in the same room called church and not exploding. But was it a combination of faith and politics, or faith influencing politics? Before now, I tried studying Physics and Chemistry inside my toilet. Now, I give up!

You see, I don’t like trouble. And I don’t want any “press release” against me tomorrow, that’s why I tried not to see any handshake o. All I saw were “holding of hands”. I cannot “come and kill myself” talking what I did not see. Like the hearts of the finely dressed figures. Or mouth odour. I leave that worry to their security details, who looked more confused than Buhari singing Christmas carol. Some of them might lose their jobs, later. You see, “oga” might “shmile” in public and query the security guy why he allowed his “opponent” to “claw”, hold his hand or whisper into his nose. What, if the other guy held a pin, or otumokpo? The heart is a terrible secret vault, I swear!

Well, talking peace in a church is all good. But doing peace is more important. Talk-and-do. I’m not good at lip-reading, mbok! Before now, the body language of APC in the state had been less than peaceful. Even its primaries ended in deaths. Fear became rife: if APC kills during primaries, would the main election be Armageddon? The unfortunate “Warsaw declaration” of last year by Senator Akpabio didn’t help matters. In addition, recall of the horrible violence of 2011 elections, which resulted in many deaths; with 800 brand new cars and 500 tricycles burnt.

Yes, it’s ok to promise heaven and earth, too. Like Ekere turning a prosperity preacher – promising an Eldorado! But without peace, how can anyone dream of prosperity? Can you even think of any venture in an atmosphere of chaos, ruin, anarchy, kidnapping, killings, dismay, general fear – where “everyone is crying” (in Amaechi’s voice)? Nothing works where there’s war and insecurity. Peace is an “essential commodity” in our land. Been battered and abused. Check out the North East, for instance. Peace’s been broken in pieces. Now, many are searching for it. In Akwa Ibom, Udom Emmanuel’s been rightly accused of ensuring peace and security since 2015. For that, many say he deserves to be “sentenced” to a second term at the Hilltop Mansion!

Before now, I suspected APC hated the woman called “peace”. So, each time “she” edged closer to its domain, “she” was decreed unwanted. But the masses love and need “peace”. Ask my mother. Most times, her song goes: “Please, I don’t want any trouble. I want peace. No, I don’t want peace, I need it!”. So I don’t only make sure there’s always somebody named Peace by her, I hire a priest who keeps saying, “Peace be unto you”. Twenty-six hours a day! I even employ many Peaces – each to serve her breakfast, lunch and dinner. And since 2015, Udom sends her a bottle of minerals called “peace” five times in one minute. I want her to live longer because there’s no money for funeral. Peace is why she’s alive yet.

Anyway, here’s a new peace lesson from the National Institute for Peace Acquisition (NPIA). Peace can be as “inept” as Buhari, if you flaunt a red flag before a bull. Or release a bull into a china shop. Peace and might hardly go together. Once you exert force – whether of arm, of mouth, of idea, of policy, etc, peace would either flee or be killed.