Let me start this conversation in this manner, don’t ask me what took me where I am going, or who was responsible for my small research on how to steal meat from the pot.
1. Enter the kitchen, look left and right if somebody is coming. Our leaders make us look like we are all in this together; we are all looking left and right, waiting our turn to steal…
2. Check the position of the spoon on how you found it so you will not make any mistake while leaving. Our leaders look for our vulnerability, they know us, in fact they are aware of where our mumu spoons have been placed.
3. Open the pot gently. Don’t let the cover drop or make any sound oh. This is an act and art, ability to manoeuvre the populace seamlessly.
4. Count the meat inside if it is up to 5 or more. The lesser the meat, the more likely for them to detect a missing piece. Take one if it is more but if it is less than 5, just bite them. As in, use your teeth to slim shape them. Bite small from all the lumps of meat so that if they count it, it will still be the same number then cover the pot slowly. Have you gone to an APC or PDP meeting, you will get this drift, infact, if you look at the Edo drama, you will know how our leaders have stolen our meat and we are there rejoicing when it is the same difference.
5. While eating the stolen piece, let your ears be at alert to hear footsteps oh. Don’t let the soup stain your cloth or touch anything in the kitchen. If it does, quickly rush and wash that shirt to remove any traces to you. Our leaders have become experts, we even praise them with the stains, as long as the stain is against the others, they do not need to wash anything off.
6. After eating it, wash your hand with soap and smell it 5 times to know if it still smells soup, soup. In 60 years the smell of the soup has become the signature of the thieving leader, so they don’t care.
In a few days, Nigerians would be celebrating 60 years of independence or dependent independence. Depending on which side of the horoscope you are looking at. And it’s no surprise that again the forces that be are again interested in influencing the 2023 election. What’s different this time around is the chessboard of perceived citizen participation, and youth involvement: the actors, their preferred outcomes, and their preferred mechanisms of influence may have changed or will change, till then.
So let us look at the presidency, how do you get the meat?
The person must be a citizen of Nigeria by birth; The dude must have attained the age of thirty-five years; a member of a political party and is sponsored by that political party; he must have been educated up to at least School Certificate level or its equivalent. A person who meets the above qualifications is still disqualified from holding the office of the president if: he has voluntarily acquired the citizenship of a country other than Nigeria (except in such cases as may be prescribed by the National Assembly) or made a declaration of allegiance to such other country; have been elected to such office at any two previous elections; under the law in any part of Nigeria.
Adjudged to be a lunatic or otherwise declared to be of unsound mind; is under a sentence of death imposed by any competent court of law or tribunal in Nigeria or a sentence of imprisonment or fine for any offence involving dishonesty or fraud or for any other offence, imposed on the person by any court or tribunal or substituted by a competent authority for any other sentence imposed on him by such a court of tribunal; within a period of less than ten years before the date of the election to the office of President he had been convicted and sentenced for an offence involving dishonesty or they have been found guilty of the contravention of the Code of Conduct; an undischarged bankrupt, having been adjudged or otherwise declared bankrupt under any law in force in Nigeria or any other country; being a person employed in the civil or public service of the Federation or of any State, they have not resigned, withdrawn or retired from the employment at least thirty days before the date of the election; or a member of any secret society;
A person who has been indicted for embezzlement or fraud by a Judicial Commission of Inquiry or an Administrative Panel of Inquiry or a Tribunal set up under the Tribunals of Inquiry Act, a Tribunals of Inquiry law or any other law by the federal or state government which indictment has been accepted by the federal or state government respectively; or has presented a forged certificate to the Independent National Electoral Commission.
When last did we get a leader that did not run foul of these laid down rules, I took the pain to go through the above constitutional requirement, and if it pleases you my dear reader, let us go back to how to steal meat from a pot.
7. Blow hot air from your mouth to perceive if it smells soup. Don’t worry about that, just go to the container of garri, take some garri and chew it or chew garlic to kill the odour.
8. Now leave the kitchen like a saint. I have left out number 7 and it is the number that has left us where we are; underdeveloped 60 years after. Forget all that we have more schools, more these and that, the fact is that our leaders have failed us.
Nigeria has experienced military coups, a civil war and very poor economic development, and its population is more impoverished today than at independence. Behind this lies the “oil curse”. The ruling elite has captured the rents generated from oil for personal enrichment and power purposes. Nigeria’s elite formation has three distinct characteristics. It is based on a fusion of elites, with the military establishment dominating, through power diversification (with the conversion of political power into economic power as the most important), and it is enriched through economic extraction (where the usurpation of the country’s oil wealth is pivotal).
The excessive centralization of power, authoritarianism, and the pervasiveness of patronage and rent-seeking cultures have developed a political or ruling class. Oil resources have given this class the incentive to control the state apparatus (and thus the income), and the means to retain control of the state. The main beneficiaries, and thus the main constituent components of the oil-rich elite, are the “big men” (the inner circle of the ruling elite), the military establishment, and politicians.
Since formal democratization at the turn of the century, various reforms have been half-heartedly attempted. Despite the nomination of economic reformers to prominent positions, the vested interests of the political class have not been challenged. With few reformers, like his predecessor, Mr. Buhari’s use of power politics and patronage (in particular to win the 2015 elections) demonstrates that his government is not a particularly reformist administration.
So to be a leader, in Nigeria, you need to follow the rules on how to steal a piece of meat, and you will come out a saint. Nigeria is partly where she is as a nation because of how her leadership emerges, the value, and systems that dictate who gets what. Our leadership emerges stealthily because almost all the time, the big boss is less educated that the small boss, when one boss is Christian, the other boss must be Muslim.
Our leaders say the people asked for them, but the first meat they steal is ours. Our leaders blame the meat for being in the pot. They do not care about how pieces of meat in the pot, they go about a gluttonous frenzy forgetting that we collectively own the pot.
In leadership it is turn by turn, and not merit by merit, each leader demonizes the one before, never there to partake in preparing the soup pot, but every ready to mess the condiments up, it is 60 years and we are yet to get the right leadership trajectory, when will we all stop stealing from the pot—Only time will tell