Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Some 'area boys' in Ondo state recently kidnapped a few Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) officials. PDP won the state elections, held in April 2007, by a landslide and also won the Presidential election resulting in Yardy becoming President of the Republic. The elections, in Ondo State and across the country, were marred by serious allegations and evidence of poll tampering. The 'area boys', who claim to be members of MEND, allege that they helped PDP in rigging the April elections in Ondo State and are waiting to receive payment for their 'assistance'. The kidnappers took 11 governing officials hostage over the weekend and they demand that Dr Olusegun Agagu, the Ondo State governor, must pay a ransom of nearly $4 million.

The PDP has of course insisted that the allegations are false and stated that the kidnappers will receive absolutely nothing. On Tuesday, the kidnappers released two hostages and released another on Wednesday. We will all have to wait to see how this scenario ends.

Not good for PDP's image
But, here is the thing. This is not good news for PDP. Allegations of rigging are easy to believe based on the debacle that was local Ondo State elections earlier this year. Additionally, considering the reports released by Transition Monitoring Group, a Nigerian election watchdog organization and of course the recent EU criticism of the elections, these allegations continue to drag Yardy's party in the mud. This story simply reinforces what every ordinary Nigerian knows - politics is big business in Nigeria and in the words of the former PDP head and former Nigerian President, OBJ, elections are a "do or die" affair. Politics is unfortunately about money not the issues and the constituents. And, there is seemingly nothing anyone can do to change that equation.

Is MEND really involved or is this a set up?
Another thing I noticed was that these kidnapping 'area boys' have now associated themselves with MEND. In the past, I noted that we have allowed the militancy in the Delta to get out of control, resulting in armed gangs terrorizing Nigerians and foreigners alike. Here, a couple gangsters who claim to have rigged the election now are using MEND as cover. The fact that MEND has not distanced itself from these allegations is troubling but not shocking. In a country where allegiance shifts based on the number of zeros offered, it is not shocking that a MEND splinter group (or MEND itself), could work with PDP. It is sad to think that ideologies can be so quickly forgotten when money is involved. (Remember, the kidnappers are seeking $4 million - that is a lot of money).

Or, is this all a set up? I noted in another post that I love conspiracies, so let me share a potential one. Is this another attempt to weaken MEND and/or an attempt to weaken Goodluck? I previously discussed that there are possibly those with a keen interest in discrediting MEND. Assuming that my theory is correct, this kidnapping and ransom request would be a good means of achieving said goal. I can also imagine the talking heads discussing that Goodluck, as a Delta man, should be able to keep those militants in check. His inability to do so, thus, creates a situation where he is considered weak and could be attacked (not necessarily physically).

Well, let us all hope that this situation resolves itself peacefully. I cannot imagine what the families of the hostages are going through and hope that they are all released unharmed. Just another chapter in Nigerian politics.

PS: An 'area boy' is simply a term reserved for hoodlums or people who look and act like them.

4 Curiosities. Add Yours.:

Chxta said...

My dear tell us something new. These guys are crooks and it would become more apparent as time goes by.

PS: These guys refers to both parties in the dispute.

hajia said...

Nice coming across your blogs. Its a bit confusing which to comment on. i also marvel at your energy in maintaining all of them. You must be super mom eh.
I browsed down and read a bit of your postings.The one Lagos women arrests caught my attention. I dismissed the story entirely knowing how sensational our journalists are. Apparently fellow bloggers took after them judging by the insinuations etc. Well it turned out the arrests were made not on religious or tribal grounds.
But as usual no one is apologising for the wrongful accusations.
And thats nigerians for you.

Omodudu said...

The truth is that with Nigeria you never really know. Sort of reminds me of when Anini the robber or Shina Rambo seem to rob at two different parts of the country at the same time. Lumping all kidnappers as MEND works for the officials and also works for the kidnappers. Sort of serves MEND right for operating such a lawless entity. Pheeew. Keep up the good work, you are becoming my source of Nigeria militant gist.

Unknown said...

I don’t think we need any convincing that MEND doesn’t exist anymore. That Militants continue to use the name is simply because it has the “publicity pull” they desire.

I feel the issue is beyond MEND. Those familiar with Ondo politics will know that the PDP governor, Agagu, is from the riverine area, the area the kidnappers operate from. So for “his people” to turn against him, kidnap party officials and demand “payment for job done” speaks volumes to the integrity of last elections and truthfulness of the Agagu administration.

Remember, it is in Ondo state that the deputy governor was alleged to have hijacked ballot materials in broad day light during the gubernatorial elections.

It is the same state that the Chief Security Officer was gunned down in Akure just days after Agagu was declared winner. In fact, Agagu’s victory wasn’t even declared in Akure but in Abuja. Isn’t this contrary to electoral process?

Now the state governor, Agagu, has turned to all sorts of tactics in his attempt to present to the world that he won the people mandates. While it’s a known fact that the state PDP has been the sponsors of the media congratulatory messages that still continue to run up to this moment. Why should a winner spend so much energy showing the world he’s a winner?

The ugly development in Ondo shouldn’t be seen as an extension of the militia activities in Port Harcourt and Bayelsa, there is definitely more to the matter: There is no smoke without fire.

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