At age 60, Achejuh Abuh, Women Leader of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Wada Aro Campaign Council, Ochadamu Ward in Ofu local government area of Kogi State by suspected thugs is expected to be resting, perhaps after years of service to her state. If she was not a public servant, by all standards, she should be in retirement and expecting her children to take care of her.

Unfortunately, that for her is history, having had her life snuffed out in the most brutal manner by suspected political thugs, who the police say were on a ‘reprisal attack’. She was burnt beyond recognition in her house by the rampaging political thugs.

Currently, there are various versions to the murder of the woman politician, of course depending on the person who is giving his. The spokesman for the Wada Aro Campaign Council, Faruk Adejoh-Audu was emphatic about the role of the police in the unfortunate development saying there is no indication that the Kogi State police “will arrest her killers or even prevent further attacks and killings of our people”.

The police and the ruling party have a version that tells the reader that the death of the woman politician came as a result of an earlier attack on ‘Awolu Zakari, a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and one Gowon Simeon, a member of the PDP, both of Ochadamu ward’, which resulted into youths mobilizing ‘themselves to Simeon’s home for a reprisal attack, where Abuh was killed’.

“Gowon Simeon stabbed Zakari with a knife and he died on his way to hospital. As a result, angry youths in the area mobilized to the house of one Simeon Abuh of same address, who is an uncle to the suspect, set it ablaze, (and) thereby burnt one Achejuh Abuh, aged 60 years”, who the police said was sleeping as at the time of the attack.

Whatever is said, the bottom line is that a human being was killed and not a goat. The involvement of armed thugs is an indication that we have got to the point that something has got to be done. Recall, we had said somewhere that the INEC boss, Prof Mahmood had warned of the impending danger that was ahead of the two states which election was held on November 16, 2019.

It is no longer a secret that major political players had stock piled weapons by reason of the gubernatorial election. It was not a secret as INEC had explicitly told the world what was on ground; all that was needed was to be conscious of the development and save the voter the pains of intimidation by hired thugs. Nigerians are witnesses to what transpired during the election in the two states of Kogi and Bayelsa.

It is noted above that the life of any Nigerian should matter to anyone of us. The attack should however be condemned by all sane Nigerians who desire that we have a political space that is tolerant of all manners of views. Unless we are united on this front, political merchants would always have a field day using us to execute their agenda.

Have we not had enough of the harvest of death during elections in Nigeria? The death of the woman further stoked the concerns of violence that the gubernatorial election from inception was going to be unleashed on the state. The fears were rife in the state that the episode would aggravate widespread violence which could snowball into a catastrophe.

The outcome of the exercise was no doubt controversial as civic groups which monitored the election wanted the outcome rejected. They cited ‘alarming violence and electoral crime rates’ that characterized the exercise. But much more worrisome was the colour the death had taken after users of the social media had recklessly commented. Before long, ‘it had morphed into partisan political bickering’, every side wanted a mileage out of it by accusing the opposite camp of being responsible for the act.

Whether it was Achejuh Abuh or a different person as Awolu Zakari killed in that gruesome manner should concern us. For time immemorial the issue of violence after election has been treated with kid-glove. Check the history of elections and you will be overwhelmed with what we have witnessed over the years. It is not enough to arrest persons involved in the act and not prosecuted.

Action needs to be done. There are sponsors of violence in Nigeria. While there are many who may have changed their ways over time, there are still a number of young persons encouraged through certain provisions to kill. If we frown at it and government wakes up to the reality that the life of any Nigerian matters; we would have arrived at the right point. Whatever allegiance they hold, such persons do not deserve to be let off; such practice has made to indulge in imagining that they are at liberty to commit any crime.

As we know we have harvested scores of violence and intimidation perpetrated by all manners of politicians who want power by all means possible. There are hired political thugs everywhere sponsored to harass, intimidate and to give power to their principal. It is this category of politicians that have let us down in the areas of development. Because certain political office holders came on board by default there are states today suffering to have a head way.

Today, in many Nigerian communities, there are a large number of thugs that cannot listen to anyone. No one can rein them in to stop the brigandage they continue to perpetrate with reckless abandon.

Is it not reason why public officers can face their people and tell them with gumption it is their money that brought them to power? Is it not reason that we can have governors, legislators and others play with the mandate of the constituencies on account of the fact that they ‘bought’ the electorate over?

What impudence on a people who deserve better deal than what they currently are getting? The bottom line is that it is the responsibility electorate to get things done rightly; even though it is hard in some cases to know the outcome given the intricacies involved.

As we ponder on the outcome of the election and the development which followed, perhaps what should interest us is what becomes of the harvest of death during the exercise? We are aware that less than 24 hours after an investigation was ordered by President Muhammadu Buhari into the gruesome murder, a lead on who were involved has been found. Already six suspects have been arrested for killing the women leader of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Investigations into what is termed a reprisal attack during the violence-ridden election are still ongoing.

Details about the suspects are still shrouded in secrecy. Perhaps only when they are charged to court would the public know as ‘the police spokesman did not give details on the arrested suspects and where they were picked up over the incident. He did not also reveal when the arrest was made, and when the suspects would be charged to court. He, however, told the News Agency of Nigeria that the suspects were arrested last Friday’, November 22, 2019.

The statement the Presidency issued by media aide, Femi Adeshina was terse and instructive: President Muhammadu Buhari expects scrupulous investigation into the heinous murder of Madam Achejuh Abuh, Women Leader of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Wada/Aro Campaign Council, in the just concluded gubernatorial election in Kogi State.

“The president decries whatever could spur anyone to take the life of another human being, particularly a woman, who was burnt to death in her home in the most gruesome manner. All security agencies involved in the investigation are expected to do a thorough and expeditious job on the matter, so that justice could be served without fear or favour.

“We must learn to behave decently, whether during elections or at other times. No life should be taken wantonly under any guise, and the fact that this reprehensible act occurred two days after voting shows primitive behaviour, which should not be accepted in a decent society,” the statement read in part.

Any descent to barbarism, as was visited on the PDP Woman Leader, President Buhari says, has gone out of the realm of politics, and is pure criminality and bestiality. Such evildoers must be brought to justice, irrespective of whatever allegiances they hold.”

Now that things are at the stage that requires the law to take its course, the ‘scrupulous investigation into the heinous’ crime should not be lost in the psyche of Nigerians. Indeed, it is the people’s desire that all ‘security agencies involved in the investigation’ are expected ‘to do a thorough and expeditious job on the matter, so that justice could be served without fear or favour’.

All lives must matter to us, man or woman, young or old. ‘No life should be taken wantonly under any guise, primitive behavior, should not be accepted in a decent society’. Any person who descent into the realm of killing another person must account for his act and this is one of such.It is ‘pure criminality and bestiality’, which no one should applaud.

Categories: Column

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