By Rudolf Ogoo Okonkwo
Important Disclaimer: This audio is not meant for public consumption, at least not while I am alive. If you come in contact with it for any reason while I am still on this earth, please call 999.
I am making this my audio diary because I hate reading and writing. Who book ‘elp?
For those who know me, I quit school in class two, but that was when my education started. All my diplomas from the Federal University of Technology, Owerri, were obtained via adult education, which we all know is a scam, especially for those who were already rich when we paid and collected the diplomas. It is the same with my bachelor’s degree in International Studies and Diplomacy from Washington University in St. Louis. Na wuluwulu.
But it works. It worked for me, and it just worked for the dancing Senator Ademola Adeleke, who copied my template by collecting a certificate from America at old age and subsequently won the governorship of Osun State.
Regarding intellectual rigour, I cannot compete with my beautiful wife, who went to school properly. So, when, the other day, she called this audio diary series my scrotum monologue, I only shook my head. Once in the US, she tried to get me to go and see Eve Ensler’s play, The Vagina Monologues, but I refused. I told her, no be me and you.
Anyway, in this episode, I wanted to address the 14 youths of Awo-Omamma and many more before they killed in the volatile Oru axis by over a dozen overzealous state and non-state actors operating in that territory. I called them actors because they were not what they claimed to be. Having been on the streets myself, the youth leader in Imo State of the National Party of Nigeria (NPN) as far back as 1983, I know the streets. I know the killers and the killed. They are often misguided, misunderstood, and mismanaged victims of the aftermath of a failed state. You can quote me on that.
Unfortunately, I won’t be addressing the issue of our boys being killed because of the unnecessary controversy surrounding the so-called expensive wristwatch I wore to join other APC governors to go and greet President Muhammadu Buhari for Salah.
I know it shocked all of you miserable souls that I own such expensive watches. For the record, I was not poor when God, in his ultimate wisdom, made me the governor of Imo State. I had been chopping life for a while before I decided to serve my people. I was a wristwatch jagaban before una useless, thankless, hopeless job, and I will remain a jagaban long after I finish my second term in office and return to the senate. So, you all should get that fact in your big heads. I was living large, riding in Rolls Royce, wearing million-dollar watches even before the Supreme Court judges pronounced what had been written and delivered years before I was born. In 2011, the Supreme Court made me a senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria against all odds. Surprisingly, none of you noticed until my people at the Supreme Court did it again in 2018. That was when e shock you all.
I have said this before in this series and it deserves to be repeated here. I am not the first Supreme Court-stamped governor. Rotimi Amaechi was number one. So, to all of you burning your energy on this, not minding your business, I give you the middle finger. Come and beat me.
Like my media people told you, even though it did not get into your blockheads, I had owned these statement pieces even before I became a senator. Yes. In the lucrative business I was into before I joined politics, we often collect those collectibles as an alternative to cash. If our business partners had no cash on hand, we grab the watches on their wrists as an alternative. That was how I developed the love for statement wristwatches.
It is called a statement piece because I make a statement by wearing it. Those empty hollow men who have nothing in their heads are not just mesmerized by my political acumen, they are also in awe of my watches that proclaim to those who know the worth of things how classy and sophisticated I am.
I am not a fool. I know that when political appointees and office holders visit Buhari, they put on cheap clothes, watches, and shoes. They do it to give the president the impression that they are not corrupt. I am not a hypocrite. I have seen my security report, and the president has also seen it. So, there is no need for me to join the pretension everywhere around Buhari’s Aso Rock.
I don’t know if I should mention this here. But why not? My expensive wristwatches make a statement to the agents of the EFCC, the FBI and the Scotland Yard of this world that the man they are looking at is wearing items that cost more than the money in their retirement account. It invokes undiluted adoration.
It is mere poverty that makes some of you say that only empty shells make statements with the wristwatches, shoes, and clothes they wear. These quality emblems are the things that enhance the personalities of the distinguished. Not that you people will value what is apparently beyond your pay grade. We do not build mansions with two dozen rooms because we will sleep in all the rooms each night. We do so because it announces that we, the Ijeles of our dominion, have arrived.
Out of pity, some people in my media team told you all that it wasn’t possible that I was wearing a wristwatch that cost more than any house in my state. You know it, and I know nothing is fake about me. I do not do fake. My fair complexion is God-given. My enthralling poise that women fall for is from heaven. I am the eagle that landed on a well-trimmed lawn for the world to admire. Unu anugo?
I go this far to explain what is not a matter of importance so that historians among you can have the facts when you write the history of Nigeria’s historical individuals like me. As the Onwa-Netiri Oha 1 of Omuma, I want to make sure that my legacy is unblemished. Nonsense stories like my November 11, 2018, so-called arrest because of my company’s failure to execute a US$12 million contract for the dredging of the Calabar channel must not be allowed to dent my stellar image. After all, ships are ducking and offloading goods at Calabar port as I speak.
Next week, I will address the issue of the 14 Awo-Omamma youths killed by the so-called Ebubeagu Security Network while returning from a marriage ceremony. Like some of you, I saw clips of their corpses on the streets, some inside gutters. I also saw the youths of the area carry the corpses of the dead in wheelbarrows and trucks as they protested. Despite the fact that none of those youths protested when my house in Omuma was set on fire, I will go beyond what Ogwu Mozambique, my beloved commander of Ebubeagu, with whom I am well pleased, told me.
Until then, hasta la vista, baby. Like Arnold Schwarzenegger’s character in The Running Man said, “I’m not into politics, I’m into survival.” It doesn’t matter how many of you call me Hope the Barbarian, I will keep terminating every hothead who sticks around. I am not lying when I say, I, your pain in the neck, will be back.
Udo, to those who want udo. Kata-kata to those who want kata-kata.
His Excellency, Hope Odidika Uzodinma, the great Executive Governor of Imo State.
July 20, 2022.
Rudolf Ogoo Okonkwo teaches Post-Colonial African History at the School of Visual Arts in New York City. He is also the host of Dr. Damages Show. His books include “This American Life Sef”, “Children of a Retired God,” among others.