I am starting this series in honour of citizen Steven Kefason, who has spent a total of 35 day today (22/06/2019) in the gulak of Kaduna state government, with the major beneficiary of his dogged opposition in Kaduna state, the PDP, doing nothing for him.
On the 23rd May, 2019, Gabasawa Police Station, Ibrahim Taiwo Road, where the Nigeria Police have a detention facility was a beehive under the scorching afternoon sun. Folks in plain clothes and policemen in uniform (guns slung over shoulders), walked up and around the tarred road largely taken by shanty eatery stalls and vehicles. There were also people sitting under shades and trading banters as the sweltering sun seemed to have arrested the air into a humid standstill.
But for all we cared, as we sat under some cosy canopy of giant tress away from the Station, the sun was heaven’s ‘Hurray!’ over a decision earlier agreed upon in honour of a detainee clamped in one of the police cells a whispering distance away. At the time, unarguably one of the most celebrated political detainees in Nigeria, we, close friends and comrades-in-arms of Steven Kefason had agreed that his Birthday must be marked and in his presence.
Thus the wait under the trees was to get a nod from the cops to take to the 30 year old Koro native of Kanyi village, Kagarko Local of Government Area (LGA) in Southern Kaduna, cooked food, fried stuff and soft beverages for his birthday. There was enough to surfeit at least a dozen more inmates our specially prepared delicacies as the Mineral Resources Engineer marked his birthday under a curious court ruling which okayed his detention, against an earlier court order that had set him free on bail on the same matter a week earlier.
Of course his inmates, including the police have already known that Kefason was not a criminal, but a daring, solo, opposition figure in a state where the ruler is perniciously retributive to opposition as he is hideously intolerant to criticism, but masquerading under some far-fetched laws.
They say, ‘you don’t go to a police station for a picnic’, but for Kefason, it was special. Even the throng of men and women who daily came to see him with goodwill and prayers, or just out of curiosity, stood him out as a special quest of the police. He was treated with dignity and honour – not the stern, rash, indecorous manner alleged criminals are wont to be treated once in police net. And I will show later.
Kefason, it could be recalled had become a kind of ripe boil on the scrotum of Kaduna state government by his acerbic consistent jabs at what he believed to be anti-people policies, utterances, actions and inactions of Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State – especially as it affected his people of Southern Kaduna, which had come under the jackboot of the governor.
Kefason, who is also a Google Certified Digital Marketer, had not only used his internet skills to become the conscience of the suppressed, the decimated, exploited and brutalised in the past four years in Kaduna state, he seemed to have assumed the major opposition figure in state.
Perhaps, if the major opposition party in the state (PDP) had played its role decently, even by 20% like the APC did – as a brash, hard-nosed, consistent opposition party of ruse and propaganda between 2012 to the general elections of 2015 – citizen Kefason may never have even arisen in the first place; or if he did, hardly noticed. Because, if there was ever any need why opposition parties must exist in a democracy, it is because an absolutist who Kefason was facing came to be power through the ballot, not the bullet. But let’s leave this for another part in this series.
Operating from Port Harcourt, River State, Kefason was restless and endless on twitter and other social media platforms as he took on el-Rufai, head on. At a time, an irascible el-Rufai, despite the demands of his office, spared time to trade words with the bearded young man on his twitter handle to the disappointment of all.
With the rash of arrest, trial and imprisonment of activists, journalists, professionals, Southern Kaduna traditional rulers et al, using tracking technology and blackmail, Kefason, knew that Port Harcourt was just little distance from the long arms of those looking for him. And he even twitted a few times about it. And so did the arrest of Kefason turned out in an operation that was bizarre, cowardly, and smacked of the lawless slyness of a mafia mob. . .
(To be continued . . . in part – Part 2 .