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After every Benjamin Ikani Okolo (BIO)’s alleged outrage against the party that ushered him to the House of Representatives Dekina/Bassa Federal Constituency, we go through a similar routine. According to some quarters, BIO does something that most sane people believe to be over the top; he is roundly condemned; members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) that he abandoned to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has been shaking their heads and masses of them ask that something must be done…and then it all fades into the next news cycle.
Yet, in talk show after talk show there is a question that keeps getting asked by the All Progressive Congress: why isn’t something being done about this situation? Why can’t BIO be brought back to the standard of a respectable politician? The answer is not very difficult, but has several parts. Here it goes.
First, he is not now nor has he ever been a “kick ass” politician. Whether as a reality show celebrity or candidate for office or now as member House of Representative going for second term, he has insisted on being himself. He believes in stirring things up with studied silence. It is this modus operandi that inspired his volunteer populist base. They were not looking for what they believed as more of the same. On top of that it remains far from clear that BIO would understand how to be a respectable politician in either case. It seems to run against his nature.
Second, who will do anything about BIO? The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is looking at BIO as a blunt force object that serves the interests of their present day agenda. Many of them may be personally uncomfortable with him, but they know that if they move to take him down, they may provide momentum for the All Progressive Party (APC). They would rather that Dekina/Bassa become and remain a global laughingstock, than lose the political edge.
Third, some of the moderate leaders of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) who are on their side deeply uncomfortable with the ‘,new coming’ of BIO worry that they will be challenged in general election by the extreme All Progressive Party (APC) should they move against BIO. Perhaps they wonder and hope that there will be deeper revelations in the internal crisis of those that lost to him and their ties, but for now they will do nothing.
Thus, holding BIO accountable is a matter of political power. It is not a matter of morality and good will. If those who see the BIO regime as a threat to humanity do not engage in mass political action, including, but not limited to, electoral politics of Dekina/Bassa, the situation will go from bad to worse. By worse, I mean growing authoritarianism. And here we must all be clear that BIO’s infatuation with authoritarianism is not a simple rhetorical device to increase the ratings. It seems to reflect the centerpiece of his worldview: Life is about BIO; BIO is the savior of the Dekina/Bassa Federal Constituency; BIO’s ideas are the greatest that humankind has every experienced. Those who get in the way of BIO’s truth, therefore, are enemies who must be removed.
The challenge is now ours. The All Progressive Party (APC) should stop waiting for the good people of Dekina/Bassa Federal Constituency to dump Benjamin Ikani Okolo, because we will not.
– David Alfred-Dogwo
Communications Expert, Writer and Free Speech Activist.
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