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Al-Makura, the highway bully

For years he has cultivated the image of a simple, unassuming man who once toiled in village markets to make a living before providence hoisted…

For years he has cultivated the image of a simple, unassuming man who once toiled in village markets to make a living before providence hoisted him up to be the Governor of Nasarawa State. That was the cultivated image, but the real nature of Governor Umaru Tanko Al-Makura as a normal, power-drunk Nigerian Big Man came out into the open last Saturday when he personally supervised the assaulting of a hapless lady motorist on the highway in his own state.
According to the account of Ms Lois Lorvihi, she was driving from Makurdi to Abuja through Lafia with her younger sister Joi and her brother Jerry when they were accosted on the Lafia to Akwanga highway by Governor Al-Makura’s siren-blaring motorcade. Her car was jostled off the road by police men escorting the governor, who then descended on her party, beating her brother to a pulp and smashing her car, phones and ipads with gun butts. She said she then ran up to the governor’s jeep, and he rolled down the glass to listen to her.
The exchange that followed however added to her misery. She pleaded with the governor to stop his aides from beating her brother and smashing her car. Rather than do that, he scolded her for obstructing his convoy and at one point he told her to “Go to Hell!” When Ms Lorvihi’s account went viral on the social media, many people doubted if it was a case of mistaken identity, until Al-Makura’s Special Assistant on Media and Publicity Ahmed Tukur issued a statement the next day “denying” Ms Lorvihi’s account. It was the worst defence I have ever seen mounted by a public officer. For a time I thought someone impersonated the special assistant in order to further smear Al-Makura, but it turned out that the statement was authentic.
Ahmed Tukur accused the woman of obstructing the governor’s convoy at a dangerous corner where former Benue State governor George Akume was once shot at. He said Al-Makura ordered his escorts to stop the driver and that they took several minutes to do so, meaning they struggled to push her off the road. This is something we did not know earlier; we thought it was the action of overzealous security aides, only to hear that it was the governor himself who ordered and supervised the callous operation.
Even though Ahmed Tukur claimed that Al-Makura never rolled down the glass of his car and that no exchange took place between him and the hapless driver, the balance of evidence is that she spoke the truth and the governor’s spokesman was only engaging in a vain and incompetent effort to defend the indefensible. Who told Al-Makura and other Nigerian VIPs that the highways exist for them and they have the right to shove other citizens into ditches because they are in a hurry to go to God knows where? Where was he hurrying to go to, after all, that he must endanger the lives of other citizens? Has he shown similar hurry in solving the myriad of problems in the state, but was in a hurry to get to Abuja in order to further dodge responsibility by claiming to be attending one elitist meeting or another?
Two years ago when Governor Al-Makura planted his picture in the newspapers, showing him selling alabo in a village market, so it was all fake? He claimed that he mounted that stunt in order to remember his humble background when he used to sell alabo in the market. He followed up on that by celebrating his birthday with lepers, blind men and destitute persons, all seeking to push through the same false image of simplicity. Well, we have now seen your real character. You are a power drunk highway bully. If you can’t solve citizens’ problems as a governor, please don’t aggravate them through VIP highway terrorism.

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