Ogacheko Atanu: Our recurring dark spot, by Victor Adoji

It was so easy for a number of people to lampoon, disparage and almost condemn those who decided against an agelong tradition: Celebrating The Season (Christmas and New Year) in Ane’Igala with associates, families and friends. Of course, the reasons that informed the decision were impeccable, tenable, well-reasoned, well-thought-through and rational and do not require elucidation.

The statistics of asssasination-styled killings in Kogi East surges but even more despicably escalating is the calm after-the-storm, acquiescing-silence, selective amnesia and unquestioned ‘acceptance’ of such bestiality and contemptible lack of concern, I-don’t-care disposition and cowardice on our part (potential victims, albeit God forbid).

Kidnapping, armed robbery and a few other vices are now, arguably inadvertently, accepted as norms that seemingly don’t injure our ethics and etiquettes as Igala people (being specific) and human beings; assassination is hastily in-line to be so extolled and unquestionably accepted into this hall-of-shame.

The inhuman and cowardly assassination of Ogacheko Atanu, one of Igala’s finest ambassadors, a drilling engineer with Aramco Oil, Saudi Arabia, is unfortunate, shameful, nauseating, unimaginable, unacceptable and disgraceful: Disgraceful because he was not killed in Saudi Arabia, he was not killed in Lagos (or any other State of the federation for that matter), he was not killed in Lokoja or even in Abuja, but his beloved Ane’Igala, in Idah.

We cannot just keep quiet or express regrets, as usual. We must do anything and everything within legitimate and constitutional means to stop this unabated slide and the imminent annihilation of our civilization as we know it. With every ounce of my being, I condemn this act in the strongest tone possible in the hope that his killers and those (assumptively) with whom they are in cahoots will never know peace all the days of their lives.

For those who will continue to “sit-on-the-fence”, you must reckon with the words of Martin Niemöller (1892–1984), an outspoken public foe of Adolf Hitler who is perhaps most remembered for his postwar admonition: “First they came for the Communists And I did not speak out Because I was not a Communist. Then they came for the socialists and I did not speak out because I was not a Socialist. Then they came for the trade unionists and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak out for me”.

In like manner, recently they came for Adejoh Akowe and we didn’t speak. Then they came for Ogacheko Atanu and we are not speaking.

Who knows who may be next?

Victor Adoji, a senatorial candidate in the 2019 general elections, wrote from Kogi.

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