Saturday, April 30, 2011

ABUJA HEARTBEAT: Are you a ‘complete CPC’?

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In a competition, someone has to lose for a winner to emerge. Olusegun Obasanjo’s ‘do or die’ political sentiment is re-echoing where ‘Baba’ does not have a base, and even outside political discourse. Some people will stop at nothing to exploit any and every opportunity to stir up commotion. The spate of violence, particularly in places that can be described as their strongholds, leaves a sour taste in the mouth.
Imagine how I felt at the little scene that played out before my eyes last Thursday at about 6am. I was out on my occasional walking-jogging exercise from Gaduwa Estate to Games Village. On my way back to the estate, two cars in a typical movie chase style were struggling to drive each other off the road. So I quickly raced off the road. One black car and then the other, a red one, obviously a ‘kabu-kabu’, stopped a few yards away from me. We were directly opposite the Oando filling station across the road.
Really, all I wanted to do was to continue jogging – like the guy across the road whom I had been trying hard to keep from overtaking me. But I guess my nose for stories stopped me; or the fact that two men and one lady had stepped out of the black car and pounced on the driver of the red car, which had also vomited two skimpily dressed girls, one of whom was curled on the ground in a fetal position. The other was trying to give some kind of support to the kabu-kabu driver who was being pummelled by the three assailants from the black car.
Hesitantly, I approached the scene. Some young men from the numerous block-moulding sites that lined the road were already gathering, like vultures drawn to a carcass. The kabu-kabu driver initially tried to put up a fight, hoping to get support from the small crowd of about 20 people. He was shouting at the top of his voice. “I no go leave your shirt! No be you first jam my motor? We go die hia today!” The driver of the black car, a very fat middle-aged man, was the one instructing the kabu-kabu driver to release the shirt of his partner, who was locked in a bear-hug with the kabu-kabu driver. Occasionally, the fat man would join his partner, while the lady with them employed hit-and run tactics from a corner. Much later, one of the skinny girls, who had finally gathered herself, took on the lady from the black car and reduced the number of attackers on the kabu-kabu driver from two to one. Her friend, meanwhile, was still on the floor trying to recover.
I tried to hold the girl in the black car but she would have none of it. I moved on to the field commander: the fat man who was threatening thunder and lightning and warning everybody to steer clear because he was, in his words, “calling my boys to come and deal with you”. All the boys in the crowd were saying that it was the black car that was at fault. According to them, they saw everything when it started from down the road before running to the scene.
Suddenly, the kabu-kabu driver became subdued but the fat guy started displaying more braggadocio. He thundered: “If I don’t kill you here today, I am not my father’s son!” The kabu-kabu driver replied him in a harassed voice, “If you kill me, my blood go dey for your head”. He had lost the will to continue with the exchange of insults.
Here’s what I later gathered from all the exchanges: The men in the black car had an argument with the two skinny girls and instructed the kabu-kabu driver not to carry them; that, in fact, one of the two skinny girls was the fat man’s girlfriend. So, because the driver dared to carry the girls, they had pursued the driver and tried to block him from moving on. The driver, in turn, had got angry. Thus the movie-style exchange when they had so dangerously tried to force each other off the road, like in a scene from a James Bond movie.
Now, this would not have passed for a good story if it had ended there. It became necessary for me to document this event because, while sounding off, I heard the fat man say: “Let me tell you, I be complete CPC. If you know say you wan die, enter that your car make I see. Enter ‑if I no kill you for here!” At this point, if it was when I was younger, “I for buy the fight”, as we used to say.
But I believe Muhammadu Buhari would disown and denounce miscreants like these. I believe his Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) was not set up to cause chaos and destruction. Imagine! A quarrel between a boyfriend and a girlfriend and a concerned driver.
General Buhari and the men and women of dignity in CPC should call their followers to order ‑ otherwise people would begin to identify ‘CPC’ with militants, kidnappers, assassins, Boko-Harams and the like.

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