A barracuda, or cuda for short, is a large, predatory, ray-finned fish known for its fearsome appearance and ferocious behaviour. The barracuda is a saltwater fish of the genus Sphyraena, the only genus in the family Sphyraenidae which was named by Constantine Samuel Rafinesque in 1815. It is found in tropical and subtropical oceans worldwide ranging from the eastern border of the Atlantic Ocean to the Red Sea, on its western border the Caribbean Sea, and in tropical areas of the Pacific Ocean. Barracudas reside near the top of the water and near coral reefs and sea grasses. Barracudas are targeted by sport-fishing enthusiasts. One notable characteristic of a Barracuda is that it eats its own in order to survive.
There may be no difference when one juxtaposes the nature of the Barracuda and that of Sen. Hope Uzodinma’s government. The glaring but factual similarity is that they both consume their own. Uzodinma was inexplicably and illogically made governor by the Supreme Court from a distant fourth position, at the last governorship election in Imo state. While Nigerians and the world at large cried fowl, Uzodinma and his supporters claimed that he actually won the election. He insisted that he secured the people’s mandate by winning the highest number of votes cast in that election.
If Uzodinma indeed won that election, one had expected that he would have shown special concern for the plight of the people he claimed had given him the mandate. But the reverse appeared to be the case. Instead of delivering the dividends of democracy, the people saw Uzodinma doing otherwise. Salaries and pensions were incessantly owed. Those who protested were allegedly brutalized by government sponsored thugs and some times security operatives. Others who tried to criticize the government, according to the dictates of democracy were reportedly arrested, detained and tortured by security operatives.
The economy of the state went from bad to worse. Hunger ravaged the land. It is said that a hungry man is always an angry man. Consequently, the people began to vent their frustrations through social vices, insecurity skyrocketted in the state. It was expected that the governor would have approached the matter with caution, bearing in mind the safety of lives and property being his primary obligation as the father of the state. Alas, again, the reverse was the case. The governor wasn’t patient enough to allow the police exhaust their constitutional role of protecting lives and property. He went ahead to invite the military, as if Imo was at war.
Not minding the collateral damages that would entail on the civilian populace, as the military are not trained to police civilians. Expectedly, the consequences is what Imolites are experiencing today. The involvement of the military appeared to escalate instead of abate the state of insecurity. Reports of extrajudicial killings and violation of human rights became the order of the day. The people cried out but the governor refused to blink. It all was a case of the Barracuda. The government apparently eating the people it was meant to protect.
Recently, the governor sacked his Commissioners. It is neither unusual nor appalling for a Chief Executive of a state to change some or even all the members of his cabinet. However the way and manner it was done matters alot. Our people say one doesn’t throw away the baby with the bath water. But that appears to be what the governor did when he sacked his Commissioners in an unprecendented disgraceful manner. No appointee would be happy to be sacked without notice and asked to surrender his official vehicle and go home with a taxi.
That would send a wrong signal to the public that such an appointee may have committed a grievous offence. But insider sources revealed that the Commissioners were all sacked based on the mere suspicion that some of them were sympathizers of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB). It was based on that vague suspicion that Uzodinma disgraced his Commissioners out of office, some of whom were there for him during his trying times. It was just simply another case of the Barracuda eating its own.
Presently, Citizen Ikenna Samuelson Iwuoha, who is a popular socio-political activist has been detained for the past 3 days at the Department of State Services for an undisclosed offence. Grapevine Information has it that his arrest may not be unconnected to his whistleblowing on the alleged case of N13bn graft in the office of the Auditor-General for Local Government. It was a surprise to many political watchers how a crime fighter was arrested and detained, while the suspects are allowed to walk freely on the streets. Thus making it appear like a case of the hunter becoming the hunted. But the big question is, what crime did Samuelson commit to warrant arrest and detention by the DSS?
The public would be waiting with baited breath to know if it was terrorism, kidnapping, treason, or even armed robbery. But whatever the answer maybe, it is public knowledge that Samuelson was an ardent supporter of this administration. But sadly it seems that his attempt to help the government to recover billions of tax payers money didn’t go down well with the system, so like Jonah he ended up inside the belly of the fish. Ultimately, it is another case of the Barracuda eating its own.
And I ask, how many more people would this Barracuda eat in order to be satisfied? This government must understand the law of nature that whatever has a beginning must have an end. Now they are here, tommorow they may be gone. What usually matters in life is not how far but how well. And the million dollar question is how would history and posterity reckon this government when it is gone? Your guess is as good as mine.
Ekene Bob-Ekechukwu Esq
Public Affairs Analyst