Tuesday, 25 June 2019

Burying DOPT with Michael : An Observer's View —Ogar, Emmanuel Oko

25 June 2019 

Fellow countrymen, borrow me your ear for just a moment. I'm not here to resurrect Michael — but to inter him with DOPT. While we commit them to the grave, I desire to speak; though it seems impossible for me now. Words, yes words are deserting my mouth. But I must speak. O Michael! What a loss! Let it be told you that the shocking news of your tragic end ripped the social  sphere into shreds. I learnt you were good and gifted. You were very industrious as your unlimited energy was seen during when you were gasping for air. You weren't lazy as most youths, that was why you didn't join hoodlums and corporate agbero to terrorise poor people at Watt Market. You knew what dignity in labour meant, that was why you were hustling.

Like a good father, you didn't want your children to loiter like vagrants or street urchins ; that was why you were selling articles to fend for them. Michael, death has removed you from the midst of your loved ones at your prime. You were strong. Sickness, disease or poverty couldn't kill you but the actions of government did. Let me pause with these letters: RIP!

Who killed Michael? Department of Public Transpscrapion (DOPT). Should DOPT be killed too? Should we bury her with Michael? Does the public has an axe to grind with DOPT? Should we scrap it as some pro-Michael are agitating for? "Michael is our son— he's a native of Creek Town. Atam man must be relieved of his job". Must we introduce element of tribalism into everything? Again, I've been beaten flat as someone wrote: " The office of the DG of DOPT is supposed to be headed by an Efik man because, the agency is basically having its main duties in their land".

One of my readers commented in one of my posts that the DG of DOPT has brought corporate gangsterism and increasing the energy level of touting into the agency which I totally disagreed. As mixed reactions continued to trail this incident in public domain, not a few including this writer pulled to piece the DG, Comr. Godwin Nyiam and his agency. I differ and pooh-pooh the idea and campaign aimed at sacking the DG by some few belligerent bigots; apologists and acolytes of the elswhile DG. 

Whereas, our beloved Michael died in one of the horrible and abysmal constitutional duties of DOPT. Whereas, there are bad eggs in the agency. Whereas, the mode of operation of DOPT is quite biting on the people. Granted that the aforesaid will still occur even in a near utopia society because history has shown that no system has been perfect. The question is; should we destroy the whole crate of eggs is an attempt to get rid of the rotten ones? Should we banish a man that has rendered selfless and impeccable services to the community simply because of the pugnacity and taste for filthy lucred of one of his wife's children?

Should Godwin Nyiam be sacked because he's an atam man? Would his "sack" bring  about the desired change(s)? The answer is negative.

Of course nobody in his or her right state of mind would gloat over the death or woe of another. Nobody. None would support any action or inaction of individual or corporate body that might lead to the killing of another.  Why? Because human life is more valuable and sacred than anything on this earth. Yes, a life is lost! Should we kill all in the other divide?

In conflict resolution, there are sides of an angle that must be considered. These sides are the hypotenuse; adjacent and the opposite of the conflict — that's, what led to the action (?); the action (s) itself and the resultant effect (s) of the action (s). Was there any resistance (disobedience)? Was the action of the DOPT legally approved/acceptable in civil society? Is the upshoot of her action due to her unprofessionalism or as a result of one trying to take laws into his or her hand? Were men of DOPT doing illegal duty that day at that particular time?

When we carefully consider the parameters of the geometry above, it might help to restrain the ethnical darts we're throwing. We can't hurriedly solve this hydra-headed problem with one hand firmly playing hurdy-gurdy while dancing to ethnic music.  This isn't ekpe or ekpatuma dance o! It'll result to another melee if we keep dancing to this music. You may ask Hercules.

Friends, sincerely, it gives me no joy to write this copious piece; but I'm compelled to do this by the action of those using social media to balkanize our state. 

As I type, they're three DOPT personnel on hospital bed being treated for various degree of injuries. Assuming they died in the kerfuffle? Aren't they humans and having familie as others — ditto Michael? Unconfirmed news has it that the alleged victim of DOPT rascality at Mariam Market has kicked the bucket few days ago in the hospital while being treated of amputation.

It's on the news that vehicles belonging to DOPT were vandalized during the fuss between the agency and some hoodlums. Also, during the reign of Edem Ekong, the former DG, it was said that three lives were lost in similar scenarios.

Thank God, the majority leader of the Cross River State House of Assembly (CRSHA), Rt. Hon. Peter Odey Odinga has used his Facebook handle to call on the populace to send to the House any useful information or complaint about the issue. This will help them act accordingly with DOPT operations and others sundry matters ralating to the agency. Recall that the Act establishing it was promulgated by CRSHA. On that, I push for a review of its duties and possibly reading of riot act to the DG and his men. They should constitute Judicial Panel of Inquiry to inquest into the matter. At the end, let the wrath of the law be merciless with the culprit.

The foregoing are common practices in saner land and climes. 

Since the gruesome murder of Michael, I've seen many hot- blooded folks whipping sentiment without real sympathy to the bereaved. They're raising so much dust on the corpse of brother Michael thereby making it a hot button issue in the metropolis with all the negative hoopla. Should we seek vengeance via vendetta? If DOPT is scrapped as they demanded, the multitude of those gainfully engaged will be disengaged, thereby flooding our towering bank of unemployment. And of course, it'll fertilise Hobbesian anarchy.

With the strongest terms, I condemn the cruel and reprehensible acts of DOPT; and also wish to sound it here that it's the duty of the citizen to obey all the laws of the land. Once again, DOPT must purge itself of anything capable of causing her constipation. This was contained in my congratulatory message to the DG when he was appointed few months ago. 

While her rotten tooth is yet removed, DOPT must chew with caution no matter how some aggrieved members of the public set her teeth on edge.

Adam Smith has this: " Mercy to the guilty is an injustice to the victims". In the eyes of the law all citizens are, broadly speaking, equal. Whatever station in life, whether rich or poor, all of us(including agency) are liable to punishment in the ordinary courts of law for breaches of the law.

Let the law take its cause as DOPT accompany the casket to the grave.

Requiescat in pace, Michael!

Comr. (Hon.) Ogar, Emmanuel Oko
The Scribe;
The Observer.

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