FEATURE ARTICLE

E O EkeWednesday, August 31, 2013
eoeke@aol.com


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AL-MUSTAPHA, THE VILLAIN, THE VICTIM
AND THE HERO IN A TYPICAL NIGERIAN TRAGEDY

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nashamedly, without any iota of sensitivity to the victims and families of Al Mustapha’s abuse of power, the government appears hell bent on making political profit out of a travesty of justice; seemingly unaware that the worlds in which the likes of Al Mustapha are relevant: exist because of ignorance. No nation whose leaders attempt to profit from evil the way Nigerian leaders do, has any future. Al Mustapha is not a hero. He is the product of a decadent and corrupt political and judicial system which has no place for truth, honesty and fairness. He is what a people get when military coup plotters commission a constitution and approve it, godfathers select candidates for elections and rig them and the people segregate along ethnic and religious fault lines.

Al Mustapha is what you get, when a country has criminal leadership. This is what a people get, when presidents and governors choose their successors instead of allowing the ballot box to decide. Al Mustapha is what happens when greedy, selfish and unscrupulous men gain power and compete on who will steal the most from the country. He is what a country gets, when leaders destroy national institutions because they plan to provide the services at a profit when they leave office. A country creates Al Mustaphas when the president and governors consciously destroy the education system because they plan to build private universities with their stolen money. If there were justice in Nigeria, Al Mustapha would not be a hero today.

He would have served his term in prison with dignity, reflect on the country he helped to destroy and perhaps, gain a sense of remorse and the enormity of his crimes against Nigeria. Now that is not possible. He would be given another chance to be part of the leadership and continue the only thing the likes of him knows best, which is abuse of power. We know that people like him do not change which is why in developed countries they never smell power again. Like Obasanjo when he was released from prom prison, he is going through a phase and riding the wave. He is at the stage where he will say whatever he thinks people will like to hear.

They are manipulative and use their intelligent only to serve their personal interest. We have been here before. Obasanjo lamented about the injustice of his incarnation and declared that he had become a born again Christian. He gain power and did not give some of his opponents the option of prison. His justice minister was killed and he did not react as an honest leader would in such circumstance. He took vindictiveness to a new height and showed the world how audacious one can be when all one has for the rule of law is contempt. This is how the likes of Al Mustapha are. They are soldiers trained to kill their enemies real or imagined and their type never forgets it.

I hope Nigerian would not allow Al Mustapha to dance on the graves of the victims of his abuse of power. That would be a greater tragedy. Al Mustapha is not hero. He was acquitted of killing people whose murderers have not been found. His role in these murders is a fact. That he worked for the worst evil minded and psychopathic dictator Nigeria has ever had is a fact. That he is aware of the existence of a murder squad in Nigeria security outfit is a fact. That he knows how MKO Abiola died is a fact. The tragedy of his arrest, prolonged detention and acquittal, is not in the political and judicial manoeuvring that secured his release, but in the attempt to give him any role in the current or future democratic dispensation he worked so hard to trunket, when he and his master; reigned supreme in Nigeria.

I am pleased that he was acquitted, not because I believe that he is innocent, but because I do not believe in the death penalty and I suppose he has suffered enough for his crime. However, it would be tantamount to dancing on the graves of the innocent victims of the crimes he was accused of, if he is allowed to benefit politically from his incarceration.

The least the government can do is to set up an independent judicial inquiry to get to the bottom of the matter and expose the role of Al Mustapha and many like him who perpetrated this evil in Nigeria. To be acquitted by a court does not necessarily mean that the person did not commit the crime; it may simply mean in some cases that, there was no sufficient evidence to convict. In the case of Al Mustapha, the evidence of his involvement is not sufficient to sustain a death penalty. This is what the Appeal court under intense political pressure has decided. However we cannot forget that a court under a different dispensation found him guilty of murder. The question is, is the law stupid? May be the law cannot help being an ass, but must Lawyers and judges allow the criminals to be the people who ride it most of the time?

The tragedy of Nigeria which is very sad is that time and time again, the political permutation of Nigeria rooted in selfish, ethnic and religious bigotry throws up people like Al Mustapha as local heroes who go on to become national leaders . These are men who have abused their powers in the most despicable manners. Men who when they had power, thought nothing of the law and other peoples’ individual liberties, dignity and lives. Men who thought they were gods and law unto themselves. They imprisoned who they wished or killed whoever they thought was a threat to their selfish ambition.

Everyone was at the risk of their pride and paranoia. Then time changes and they experience the ephemeral nature of power and a taste of what they dished out to many. Then time takes its toil and memories of their atrocities wane but not in the minds of their victims or members of their families. Not the children who have grown up without

fathers because the likes of Al Mustapha ordered their murder or the widows who would never smile because the masters of the Al Mustapha wanted their husbands dead. The old men who buried their sons and daughters remember that because the likes of Al Mustapha once held power in his world, he will spend his old age in sorrow. The list is endless, the pain and suffering the like of Al Mustapha leave in their trail.

Then time changes again, they regain their freedom and begin to act as victims. You hear them say, they have forgiven their oppressors and your stomach wants to churn. It sounds strange, but it is true. They were not subjected to justice. They were only given a taste of their own medicine and they realise that it is bitter, only that they fail to remember that it is exactly how it tasted when they administered the same medicine to many, years before. Life is funny. Time changes, memories fade and perpetrators become victims and the cycle is repeated, but unfortunately, man often never learns.

E O Eke is qualified in medicine. At various times he has been a General medical practitioner, Medical missionary, Medical Director and senior medical officer of health in Nigeria. He specializes in child, Adolescent and adult psychiatry and lives in England with his family. His interest is in health, religion philosophy and politics. He cares for body and mind.

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