Joe Fortemose Chinakwe

Had Joe Fortemose Chinakwe of No I0, Omikunle Street, Sango-Ota, Ogun State told the world out there he had named his Dog after the president following the debilitating economic crunch that greeted his family, after acquiring Buhari (the dog) from the market, one year ago, people would have seen reasons with Chinakwe and probably pitched tent with him.

Had Chinakwe told the world out there he named his Dog after the president, knowing the dog has zero tolerance for corrupt people (and can devour anybody accused of corrupt practices without thinking twice); the world out there would have rallied round him and stand in solidarity with the trader.

Or Had Chinakwe even said his family barely eats thrice daily since purchasing Buhari (his dog), one year ago, exactly the time president Buhari was elected and installed president and commander in-Chief of Armed Forces, Federal Republic of Nigeria, his country men and women would have probably seen reasons with him too, knowing this is trending.

But he chose to play the ostrich. And instead told us it was his love for the president which dated back to his military days that endeared the presidential name to him. He said it was Buhari’s shrewdness, integrity and leadership ideals that culminated in the dog’s naming ceremony which has today, ended him in different security cells, and now, in prison.

Chinakwe spoke more convincingly about his love for Buhari, the present leader of the country, but his audiences were and are not good listeners. Chinakwe we were told is also an ardent fan of dogs. And he expresses his affection for anything at all, by naming his dogs after things that thrill and tickle him. Listening to one of his relations, Chiedozie, as interviewed by vanguard, he said:

“Chinakwe is a lover of dogs and he names them after things that tickle him. He bought this dog a year ago and named it Buhari. Unfortunately, some Northerners, who dominate the vicinity where he resides misconstrued his intention and connived to take him up. The complainant then claimed it was derogatory because his father answers Buhari”.

The truth: Chinakwe’s traducers knew the end from the beginning. They knew the love for president Muhammadu Buhari Mr. Chinakwe brandished around upon his arrest was a mere charade. They knew he was only looking for escape route, seen his naming adventure has landed him in trouble. They knew his sudden professed affection for Buhari was only an invitation to freedom, which probably will not come easy.

But what is the crime in expression? Lawyers of all ranks have come out to say Chinakwe has not contravened any law of the country by naming his dog after the president or anybody else. In fact, many Nigerians have also come out to describe how former President Goodluck Jonathan was named after a goat. Stories also abound of how many more influential leaders of the world were named after animals by owners of such.

I personally know of Umeibe Family in Nnewi, Anambra state, where the family’s only but cherished dog is named after a major network provider in Africa, MTN. MTN (the dog), was such a humble home Animal to the family; so cherished and cared for that nobody would eat without first, asking if MTN has been well fed. Yet, they never incurred the wrath of the communication giant in Africa.

But the Acting police spokesman in Ogun State, Abimbola Oyeyemi, ASP vehemently disagreed with such positions. Instead, the ASP has described the said offence as heinous and capable of breaching public peace, especially when it has to do with the Northern Part of the country. From his analysis, it is self-evident the matter is accorded all the courtesy for the fear of the North.

“He was arrested last Saturday and we are taking him to court later today (Tuesday) or tomorrow morning (today). You know an average Northerner will feel bad over such a thing. It can cause serious ethnic crisis or religious confrontation because when you are relegating such a name to a certain person, you are indirectly insulting him” Oyeyemi told vanguard.

I am constrained the level of responsiveness and swiftness granted the poor story could have been redirected to the draining economic downturn that has swept off over I.5 million jobs between January and March this year as shown by statistics. I am touched that hounding Chinakwe is an unnecessary dissipation of state power that could have been redirected to taming the Boko Haram scourge and other vices here.

Or better put: the enormity of force and expediency exerted in prosecuting Chinakwe, if directed to creating job opportunities for the teaming jobless Nigerian youths, would go a long way in bundling restiveness in the country. I am much more bothered, while we are busy chasing after shadows, our hospitals, educational infrastructure and states of road decompose and degenerate more.

Our Government must stop playing to the galleries and face its core mission in power. They must not dissipate state energy on irrelevancies as the police have more work to do than arresting, releasing, re-arresting and charging Chinakwe to court. There is a handful of jobs for this present government, as it is yet to justify the votes given to it during last elections.

Meanwhile, a government that wants its president’s name written on the body of an elephant must work its way into the heart of owners of such livestock. A government that wants its leader’s name to be adopted by parents and then, given to their children must justify such, through good governance and enduring legacies, as ‘nothing goes for nothing’ anywhere in the world.

Gwiyi Solomon writes from Abuja.

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