For the records, not all those who have condemned him want the kidnap maestro to go to hell. For the records also, it might be said that some Nigerians envy the monster, Evans, whose real name is too long to swallow in one swig. They have lusted like him and with him, as Jesus said of the adulterer fantasist. They have gone to hell like the rich man rather than to Abraham’s bosom after a lifetime of crumbs.
Yet, Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike brought a movie to Nigerian homes. They imagined the dollars and what and who it could buy. The palace and the shimmering amenities, the luxury cars. They also. He was a sort of Pablo Escobar, who walked out of a gunshot scene in South Africa, his scar not a sign of humiliation but hubris. He murdered by proxy, he manoeuvred, he robbed. He hired Nigerian soldiers and commanded his own. He graduated from drug baron to a baron of robbers, not merely to steal gold or money. He stole the source, the humans. Just like the Trans-Atlantic Trade when the west stole men and women. Humans are the most valuable targets.
Not a few Nigerians became voyeurs of the monster. They dined with him, slept with him, rode with him. It was a sort of public hypocrisy. Many condemned him in public, but wondered why they were so poor. But it is not strange. We have always had Evans with us. We have always had them in our villages when Christmas erupted in the festivities, or during wedding feasts, festivals, funerals, birthdays, house warming, etc.
It was Evans, who splashed that stack of dollars. He stood in the middle of the dance floor, a bag of dollars in one hand. The other hand dipped inside and scooped out cash in rhythm to the music and the flattery of the musicians. He splashed the bride, bridegroom, birthday boy or girl, or the priest, or the … He was the one who organised the customised car to rival the other Evans to show the villagers the kingpin of prosperity. Evans got even with all those who had written him off for ever as nothing when he was a 15-year-old laggard.
He owned that big house, installed the communal electricity, lifted the dirt road into a tarred wonder, he gave a scholarship to the son of your neighbour now flying with first class at Princeton. We all know Evans. He was foolish then. Now he is the mine of wisdom. Like Pierre in Tolstoy’s classic, War and Peace. Everyone derided him as a village bumpkin until they worshipped his every word. His plum of an inheritance had transformed him.
So, Evans was only a criminal because he was caught. He was foolish enough to slide into a trap. If you examine him properly, he could pass for a big politician today. He operated in the tradition of what many know as the political machine. He knew the enemy. He had his own intelligence squad. Just as a politician skulks the opposition, he compiles dossiers of the comings and goings of the foe. He knows when and how to strike. When he is winning, he hits the jugular. To the politician, he has won the election.
He celebrates in grand style, whether he wins in the state house of assembly or senate or governor, or even local government. The party is raunchy with wine and women and salty with triumphal rhetoric. Mouths froth, waists wiggle, the air ripples with lyrics of the damned. They have won. The public dam, that is the treasury, bursts open.
Look at the Evans’ architecture. He has two parallel groups, oblivious of each other. Like a forked road that converge somewhere in the horizon. It is like the grandmaster of the famous comic, who pitted one group against another. He formed them. They answered to him. They fulfilled his goal. One could go east, the other west, but they meet in Evans. He also controls technology. The midgets, another source of mass envy. No one knew his numbers.
The only pain to such people is that they are lonely. Just like some of our politicians, their families stay abroad. The wives and children. As for education, they school only in England, Canada and the United States. Evans knew that. His family first darted to Ghana, and then to Canada. Distance is their sanctuary. Any blood splash will not cross, but dissolve in the Atlantic. If anyone dies, it rather should be them. They are the family hero. After all, the Bible says he who cannot provide for the family is worse than the infidel. Better infidel in public and holy at home.
When he loses, he goes to court. Now Evans’s lawyer has said that most of the story about his client are false. So there. Senatorial or governor candidate goes to the tribunal. Evans feels he has been rigged, so he is headed to the chamber of wigged men.
He got money with his gun. Politicians fritter away theirs through the pen. The politicians deny any bad doing. Evans denies any bank doings. But we must thank providence that Evans got caught. He had all the equipment and amenity of the politician. He probably was in an apprenticeship to run for an office. Probably stalking and skulking. He is an almost governor, senator, member of the house of representatives.
If he became a governor or senator, etc, he might quote Prophet Isaiah: “although you have been forsaken and hated, so that no man went through you, I will make you an eternal excellency, a joy of many generations.” Like Jesus, he would stand on a rostrum and say, today the scriptures have fulfilled before your eyes.
This Evans did not make it that higher. But how many have escaped and now preside over our laws and lives.