By Ekanpou Enewaridideke
The Niger Delta is home to different personalities distinguished from one another by character, career, religion and vision but there is one particular man whose story is phenomenally strange and striking because his story is that of a man congenitally obsessed with arrogance. This man has built arrogance into such an imposing personality, a statecraft, a thriving private investment, he no longer goes out without the accompaniment of arrogance. Arrogance has become his trademark, his mouthpiece, his defender, his stool, his religion, his prayer warrior and the corner stone for his philosophy of electoral victory.
Because he has phenomenally built up intimidating reputation from arrogance, he always succeeds where others fail woefully. I am always appalled by arrogance in general but more appalled when arrogance is brought to stare at me disdainfully. And that man whose stinking arrogance is phenomenal is called Hon. Nicholas Mutu representing Bomadi/Patani Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives.
Rather annoyingly, Hon. Mutu characteristically bared his arrogant fangs at my own people living peacefully in their quiet and rugged rural backwater called Akparemogbene. This genius of arrogance came to Akparemogbene with the ‘sermon on the creek’ that he could perform wonders more than the Biblical Moses, even without a rod. Akparemogbene is located in a shallow creek where the tide is the determinant of when canoes/boats can sail. He arrogated to himself the power to make their fordable creek navigable. His developmental self-arrogation was rather abnormal, so many felt, but he persevered with his stand that he had performed similar wonders in other communities. What he needed was co-operation from the people. Reluctantly the Akparemogbene people signalled their co-operation with him by words. Hon. Mutu disappeared as arrogantly as he had appeared before. To many, Hon. Mutu had merely tantalized them with his phenomenally disgusting arrogance. It was a good riddance to an exploitative arrogance when Hon. Mutu faded like vapour, the people reasoned.
It was precisely on February 23, 2019, the people of Akparemogbene woke up to a seismic earthquake that turned their fordable creek into a wide navigable River! The earthquake must have claimed many people, houses and property, so they thought. A bell was rung across the village to ascertain the level of destruction caused by the earthquake. The river had become wider and the tidal flow normal, yet they could not see the magic hand behind the earthquake. Huddled in different groups here and there they discussed and pondered on the mysterious earthquake, the parallel of which had never been heard, even in the Bible!
Because no one knew how the earthquake came about and the result it had produced, people were too scared to use their now wide and navigable creek. Some had already suggested Prophet Fufeyin Jeremiah Omoto Owomowomo of MERCYLAND be brought to divine the mystery before they could use the river. Fear had gripped all in Akparemogbene. Fishing and farming had stopped because nobody could dare the new river. Starvation reared her ugly head in the community. A fast-moving 200-horse-powered engine boat raced to Akparemogbene on the fourth day of the earthquake-induced starvation, carrying only one man dressed in immaculate flowing cape.
Could this be the famous Prophet Omoto Owomowomo mystically detailed to deliver Akparemogbene people from their earthquake-induced starvation? Thousands of people trooped to know the identity of the man attired in immaculate flowing cape.
Much as the people of Akparemogbene craned their necks and looked at the man like David Herbert Lawrence’s snake in his poem, ‘The Snake’, they could not accurately work out the identity of the man on the speedboat. After a gaze at the people, the man exclaimed that he was Hon. Nicholas Mutu, the genius of developmental arrogance! He assured them there was no earthquake; what they wrongly attributed to earthquake was the developmental magic of Niger Delta Development Commission (NNDC) swamps buggies remotely controlled by Hon. Mutu through legislative pressurization. He explained that the canalization of Akparemogbene River by NDDC which they ignorantly termed earthquake would be taken to the end of the creek, merged with Oyangbene. Because the canalization had already progressed past Akparemogbene, they were now at liberty to use the creek while the project continued beyond the village. Into songs of jubilation the Akparemogbene people broke, eulogizing and thanking Hon. Mutu for being developmentally arrogant.
For a man like Hon. Mutu who is arrogant, who deploys arrogance as the compost for developmental fertilization of his own people, his phenomenal brand of arrogance can never be a disgusting one. Arrogance has its own benediction too. Was I wrong then when I impetuously cast Hon. Mutu as a disgusting arrogant man? Have I insulted Hon. Mutu? Could this impetuosity be the David Diop in the Akparemogbene-born storyteller?
The arrogant developmental fire of Hon. Mutu has burnt and razed Akparemogbene forest and alchemically transformed it into a navigable river. What indeed are the components of the symmetry of Mutu’s arrogant architecture? Is he some Roman god?
The arrogance of Mutu’s symmetry is feared like the tiger’s symmetry in William Blake’s poem,’The Tyger.’ For Hon. Mutu to penetrate Akparemogbene forest,to destroy their fordable creek in the forest and to turn it into a navigable path in the twinkle of an eye, he must be that developmental tiger in the Niger Delta about whom William Blake poeticises in the grip of psychic vision.
Mutu’s developmental arrogance initially cast in gaudy colours can now only be compared to that elephant, ‘lord of the forest, respectfully called Oriiribobo,’ the sight of which ‘the hunter’s boast’ at home scampers to safety just like the Akparemogbene creek which fearfully yielded way to Hon. Mutu. Could that village storyteller shut his Akpolokpolo mouth now that Hon. Mutu has been certified as the proprietor of developmental arrogance inimitable in the history of Akparemogbene?
Because Mutu came to restructure the developmental architecture of life in Akparemogbene via the canalization of their fordable creek by NDDC, life will no longer be too much with Akparemogbene people but rather the world will now be too much with Akparemogbene people, because, as a people who are not notorious for inordinate wealth-search and materialism, a people always attuned to nature, their capacity for nature-appreciation enhanced, they being placed where they can admire and enjoy nature in a rebuilt natural environment, the Akparemogbene people have now merged into the speaker in William Wordsworth’s poem, ‘The Word is Too Much With Us,’ and so are strategically placed to catch glimpse of the result of Hon. Mutu’s developmental arrogance in their renewed environment.
Now that arrogance has comfortably become the tool deployed by Hon. Mutu to transform underdevelopment-stricken communities like Akparemogbene, let us meditate for more arrogant Honourables like Hon. Nicholas Mutu to walk on the surface of the earth and arrogantly trigger developmental earthquake in forgotten communities of the world but the so-called arrogance must be more deadly, fashionable and stylish than Hon. Mutu whose phenomenal arrogance has earned him the name ‘arrogant developmental tiger’, ‘the developmental elephant,’ of the Niger Delta for whom the Akparemogbene people in Burutu Local Government Area of Delta State shall be eternally grateful.“
Enewaridideke lives in Akparemogbene.