Sunday, May 2, 2010

Arrested Arrests & the Rest of Un/certainties


Obododimma Oha

Who writes, reads, rewrites arrest?

It seems normal for security agencies in a country like Nigeria to create a mystery in order to be seen to (be busy) solving it.

The ways of the police in Nigeria baffle me sometimes. They want to arrest someone and would not do that quietly, at least to make sure the operation succeeds. No, they must first make it public knowledge. They must first go to the village square, beat their loud gongs, and announce that so-so-and-so is wanted, perhaps in the false pursuit of their own heroism. In spite of the assumption that accused persons who believe that they are innocent do not need to run from the Law, the reality is that, as the Igbo proverb says, “ọ bụ naanị osisi nụrụ na a ga-egbutu ya wee kwụrụ” (Only a tree hears that it would be cut down and stands where it is, instead of escaping). James Ibori is not a tree. He is a human being and knows at least the damage his arrest and trial would bring to him. So, at least, why shouldn’t he think of postponing that embarrassment, since in Nigeria “No condition is permanent”? In Nigeria, one could be a convict today and tomorrow become a chest-beating president or minister. No condition is permanent, except the Nigerian type.

The design to arrest someone like Ibori is already arrested. The noise that one hears is only a performance. The arrest makes sure that there is no arrest.

The arrest in an arrest is much like sending someone to the local market with a basin of salt and then going to the rainmakers to ask that the heaviest of rains be brought down.

And, by the way, who is arresting who? Can the Party be arrested? I gwọrọ ajụ, sị m bo gị ala, a na-ebu ala ebu? (Do you prepare a pad and ask that I lift the earth and put it on your head, does one carry the earth?) The guinea fowl may be very beautiful but no one in their right senses sacrifices it to the gods!

In the name of Sanni the son of Abacha, why are they acting this type of poorly scripted play? The plot is too simple and the surprises predictable!

The arrested nature of a nation’s moral reformation may have an Ibori script as its metaphor. Seriousness is not measured by noise in the tidiest war.

Our narrative has atrophied, with carnivals of things speaking with authority against authority.