The Rep I Want

September 08, 2014.


By: Ayk Fowosire

These days where the mundane is hyped, and mediocre celebrated, it is just so easy to lose focus, to show off stupidity, and to profit from ignorance. Since these days, service has been mutated to counter-servitude, and privilege has jumped borders: it used to be a privilege to serve; now it is a privilege to be served, even by one’s own representative.

Service was a job, contested for, sworn for, and slaved for; now service is tyranny, an avenue to detain and harass familial enemies, a means to circumvolve diffident, subdue dissidents, and propagate familiar, unconstitutional, policies, and a means to an end no less.

These days, every elected human wants re-election, deservedly or not. So when I go to the
market square, it is hard not to notice those two large billboards urging the re-election of a certain Representative and citing soliloquised accomplishments, that, in my entitled opinion, belie a four-year tenure.

As soon as I acknowledge the ventriloquial message, “lafé léèkan si”, meaning, ‘we want one more time’, I smile. And that is all one can do. Àbí? I smile because I’d rather not laugh, mock, or scorn. I smile because I’m privy to let downs at the hand of our man, and at a pivotal time too. I smile so I may not cry.

Since I know that not everything is money, monetary or infrastructure- that is how those of us not savouring the fabulous National Cake, and not even enjoying the crumbs off the fabled table, yet live from day to day in our diabetic land, a land of hunger in the midst of plenty. No bursary, no scholarship; yet we paid extra school fees for which receipts are yet inaccessible after four months, and even the much publicised reduction in school fees will not take effect until another six.

Nay; not everything is in terms of how much funds an elected has in hand to conceive and execute worthwhile projects, lest sycophants say he would have done much more had he had the funds. Not everything is in Naira and kobo; some things are just integrity and being plain. For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh, the head thinketh, and the hand doeth. At least that is the sequence the political species operate: promise first, think later.
So, shall I recount how Mr Representative eventually failed Medical Students during our February to April struggle? How he reportedly kept mum in the Assembly, and (inadvertently) played mum to the opposition? How he betrayed us upon many a promise? How we looked up to him, exalted him,
and awarded him? How we believed him, praised him, and prayed for him?

Shall I ventilate these truths, like my friend Eleweeran did and hope to live beyond tomorrow? Not to be traced, targeted, apprehended, and kidnapped by mask-wearing security operatives who are
quick to oppress harmless citizens such as myself, yet fleeing in the place of duty, fleeing in the face of those armed enough to cow them, fleeing across borders to Yaoundé, and shamelessly too?

Will Barrister initiate proceedings against me then come out to deny it like they have done? Will Honourable set me up and have me detained in the Station? Will Asiwaju disregard my voice as ranting and attribute this clarion call for accountability to a familiar quest for attention, and believe me to work for the opposition as elected officials always do when they are cornered with the truth?

Or will he man up, bell the cat, and tell us what went wrong? Why he lost his voice in the esteemed Assembly? How he could no longer feel his feet once his able Deputy nudged him to table our issue? How his spine wobbled and his sight doubled when we were to be represented by Honourable Mr Chairman of Committee! How he could not bring himself to speak the truth and damn the evil forces that enslave the peoples will?

Or, have we stopped blaming preventable calamities and sheer irresponsibility on devils and demons, cabals and the opposition, the evil forces; stopped clamouring for prayer and fasting in place of common sense and integrity, truth, justice and good governance? Have we stopped
proclaiming centenary celebrations in place of national cleansing, resurrection, and reorientation; and promulgating brazen corruption as mere thievery and politicking and profiteering?
Have we stopped going to church to pray to Jehovah to alleviate suffering that we willingly and willfully endure, perhaps even enjoy? Are we done asking Allah to curb insurgency when billions of naira meant for equipping our military leaves no trails, marks, or effects?

Are we no longer employing Sàngó, the god of thunder to energise our power sector? Is Ógún, god of iron no longer in charge of our railways? Is Yemoja, the coastal goddess no longer entreated to ward off evil from our shores, to prevent the return of clandestine submarine operations in our waters, and debar pirates from our offshore oil rigs, even as we lack the technology to protect ourselves from invasion and hostile takeovers?

Are we done travelling to Germany, India and where-else? While our hospitals rot and corrode? Is the Hypocrite still canvassing support from world powers?

And now Mr Rep has come back to be voted for- again so he may continue to sabotage our struggle? So he knew his constituency all along and chose to ally with Oke-Mosan àbí? So he knew my vote mattered when he was frolicking away from home, àbí? Ok o. If you have access to him, abegi tell him to go and campaign in Oke-Mosan o. Tell him we don’t vote failures, not anymore.

And speaking of vomit, tell him to vomit all the money we heard of but did not see; all the money that did not make it home to us; all the money that must have been swallowed. Tell him this is that period of the tenure when money is coughed up. And if he dares say there was never any money, ask him why he wants to go back-so he may keep coming to our dinner parties and fish? So he may repeat tenure of misrepresentation? Or so he may let us down again, and again?

Do tell him that he is not the Rep I want. I do not know his opponent, but I know he is not the Rep I want, not for the next four years anyway. Mr Rep is the Chairman of that Committee so he can reason with us, not with the government. We voted him in, the people made him Honourable representative, not the government.
My Rep must represent me, my person and my interests. He must speak my mind. He must set aside his personal allegiances to the Governor and do the bidding of his constituency. He must listen, and listen well, and listen to me! That is why I voted him, and not the other guy.

I voted him not to taunt, daunt, haunt, or flaunt; but to be formidable in defending my interests, not for him to oppress me with his new found status and stature.

I do not have a rep so he can romance the lecturer and carry the projector with misplaced pride. I do not have a rep so he can introduce himself to every stranger that comes to class as such. I do
not have a rep so he can hobnob or whatever it is they do who bear the title.

I have a rep so you can represent me in meetings, and report back to me; the first assignment being just as important as the second. I have a rep so you can advise me, not instruct me. I have a
rep so I do not have to be everywhere and do everything. You are my eyes and ears and mouth, not my brain; so don’t tell me you ‘don’t like answering my requests for meeting updates!

And that is the Rep I want, just so we are clear! And peradventure you
are not cut out for such sincere and self-effacing service, I urge you to resign and
not be like Chukwu. Do not do not go down in history as the arrant (guy) who stood, rather than quit, and watched while his colleagues were sacked in their thousands.
Ayk Fowosire