The Coffin, The Man And The People

By Iwara U. Iwara
By Iwara U. Iwara
The Ga-Adamgbe people of Accra, Ghana have over time become world famous because of the coffins they make. I read up, not long ago that on the high streets of Telsi, Eastern Accra, expensive and well crafted coffins, symbolically expressing the interests of the deceased or that of the deceased family are made and displayed like ordinary wares on a shelf. If the deceased owned a beer parlour for instance, he got a bottle-styled coffin made for him or her. Let the deceased be a butcher and the Ga coffin makers will craft an animal-of-choice coffin for the occasion. It goes to say explicitly that these hard-working artisans have mastered not only the customised coffin making craft but also the cleaning up of purposeful cash that their craft insulates and throws up…it is indeed the way to go.

Meanwhile, recently, at a Margaret Ekpo International airport reception to welcome the Cross River State governor, Ben Ayade, from Abuja (in NIGERIA), a group of supporters (some say they came on their own) arrived the airport with a coffin, not made in Ghana, probably made in Calabar but with the customised inscription, “RIP JOE”, an apparent referral to the wishes of this band of supporters that Joe Agi, a lawyer, Senior Advocate of Nigeria and a prominent Cross Riverian, will have a rested in peace political career, even in percieved extremes, a death wish, from them to him. As the governor addressed the crowd and left his legal wrestle with Agi in the hands of God, the actions of the coffin carriers, ‘impressing’ it on God that Agi MUST rest in peace will surely have dumbfounded God’s angels.

Those who have laboured explanations for this daylight witchcraft, believe the action of these coffin carriers can best be referred to as an accidental inclusion in the day’s activities, but I resolutely believe it was purposely included by these ‘pall bearers’ without the greatest insights into the goof that was their action. I believe too that their act was dependent on metaphoric outcomes that can only be rationalized in a blind jester’s court. Don’t read this and bother to explain… no rational excuse can be offered to explain the liminal state of their thoughts and unfortunate believe in the stale powers of darkness.

I had a good laugh watching the governor do his trademark ‘shoki’ dance from his car at the airport, while the mobilized (rented) crowd cheered him on. What I took away was simple; a negative ebullient political innovation was the single most important activity manifested at the governor’s airport arrival. I say so because the direction and magnitude of political support was not truthfully credible; the numbers brought there by Oga’s political appointees can indeed not pass for real political support…believe it or not. Again, had the governor been tactically inclined, he would have scored a massive political point with the coffin saga…how?. From the top of his car, as he sighted the coffin, he would have publicly insisted that it be taken away. He then should have gone ahead to condemn the action, directing security agents present to arrest the ‘pall bearers’, even if they will be released when they get to the nearest police station. Those who offer lame excuses that the governor did not see the ‘pall bearers’, will resolutely sell us a packaged trip to hell.

Ayade’s commissioner who addressed the crowd and promised that a protest will be mounted to resist the governor’s legal removal, should it happen, does not understand or even realize the function and limitations of the physical organs of approach in public speaking. What he does understand is that special interests are represented by a given population, and in this instance, those who appear angered by the governor’s consistent inconsistencies, he unfortunately pretends not to know, are many. I am pained that the Ayade administration, several months down the road is yet to develop a technique, that correctly appraises specific people problems and how this technique can be effectively used to give Cross Riverians an economic breather. Inaundating us with countless memoranda of understanding, MOUs, without composite actions on the ground is to say the least, politics not with ethics but with deceit.

I pray that he turns off the sirens, reduces his convoy so he can hear what our concerns as Cross Riverians are. Ayade’s plans for the state may be many but that just very ‘little’ looks set to be accomplished is limpish. You sincerely cannot be a digital governor and government offices cannot boast of internet connections, to aid digital government work. Oh God, gratuities and pensions for our parents who have long laboured for Cross River State, only trickle in, if hope can be banked on.

Joe Agi may not offer the best Cross River needs but Ayade’s percieved inactions are making Agi look like an option to pray for but, we must all be cautious, prayerful and hopeful that instead of coffins, reason will prevail and political energy will be directed at creating important channels of reaching the larger public instead of insulting our sensibilities with painful actions and utterances that can only be regretful. Ideas and situations must be made impressive and not dramatic in order to overcome the inertia of false achievements. We are waiting.

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