Politicians of these days erroneously believe that they have the technicality of deceit and can fool all the people all the time to perpetuate themselves in power. They misuse power to accumulate wealth at the detriment of service delivery. They believe the electorate has a price at the right bargain. In some climes, the people are reduced to beggar status while in others the politicians are the semi-gods that dish out orders for implementation.
The few of us that have resisted the temptations to succumb to the wishes are described as ‘idiots’ and called names because we cannot praise sing, bootlick or go on errands for whatever reason in believe, of our mental capacity, exposure and the zeal to achieve greatness no matter the time involved. It is our believe that occupying political office no matter how high, is a mere opportunity that can be accessed by anyone. It is a rogue politician with low mentality and exposure that brags with a political office.
If there is a cautionary tale in the politics of our Nigeria of today, it is in the tension between the politicians and the voters. Both schemers, their hostility echoes the proverbial race between the fox and, the tortoise. The fox, for all its brawn and tricks, meets his match in the crawling tortoise, whose cunning eventually wins the race. Thus goes the ethically-correct narrative.
The fable, however, dissembles in the Nigerian wild. Ultimately, it manifests in reverse: picture the politician as the fox, the electorate as the tortoise, and the political arena as the wild. The fox beats the tortoise silly thus winning the race time and over again.
At the forthcoming general elections, the foxes will carry the day. It’s a given. The race had always been rigged in the interest of the foxes as the highest bidders. Thus this year as all others, Nigeria reels at the borderline between Republic and Empire.
The voters’ bent, however, will determine if the country would re-emerge as a republic of free people, or slaves of the empire from the 2023 elections. At the moment, the indices are clear, and all the aspects manifest to reinforce the actuality of the country as an oligarchic empire.
The oligarchy that corrupted Nigeria’s politics has been on song and its manipulative best en route to the 2023 elections. The most affluent of the coven assign public offices by whim and lottery thus affirming the grim unreality of the electoral process.
These formidable oligarchs, in a bid to perpetuate themselves in power, assign national tracts and public offices to their children and political godsons, quoting phantom egalitarianism.
To their numerous stooges and praise singers, they assign power, lucrative contracts and public offices with cautious benevolence and a disdainful smile.
They expect their child and protégé to enter the power elite, infinitely beholden to them, often through a rigged process. Of course, the recipients of such tarnished benevolence accept to play ball at any given time.
On assumption of office, they attempt a perfect interpretation of the script handed out to them, in a political high drama, in which they play deity and minion for applause as the circumstances dictate.
They will scorn the poesies of democracy, likewise the humaneness and progress they hitherto promised the electorate en route to the polls.
They will embrace moral nihilism and so doing, perpetuate a radical evil, sustainable by the collaboration of a timid, confused electorate, a system of propaganda and mass media that offers strictly spectacle and amusement in lieu of news, and an educational system incapable of transmitting transcendent values and nurturing the capacity for individual conscience.
Having ignored the societal play of forces operating beneath current political platforms, Nigeria and the people will once again, bear the curse of pitiless forms of governance through all tiers of government.
Dissent would be outlawed and deemed inconsequential; and the shrill, occasional cries of the few who dare to protest, will resonate, like the spatter of spilt milk on sand dunes.
Silence would be appreciated while duplicity gets celebrated across social strata, fragmented families, public and private institutions.
It doesn’t matter who wins the election, the political complex, established and presided over by the oligarchy, will subsist but the electorate would remain compliant and endure the bestial system foisted on them, often turning impatiently, to seek a cosy place within its crannies.
The prospective ruling political class, like its predecessors, will set out to diminish the individual and crush his or her capacity for moral choice thus ushering him into a seemingly harmonious collective.
This warped realism has previously manifested through spells of bad governance and tokenism inflicted on long-suffering communities and states across the country.
Each human fragment of the electorate knows what issues and inadequacies require urgent resolution but most would rather keep mute no matter their afflictions.
The persistent lack of electricity supply, bad roads, substandard health care delivery system, frightening unemployment rate, insecurity, unfavorable business clime, collapsing educational system and an economy rigged in the interest of thievish bank chiefs, giant corporate thieves and heartless, gluttonous political class, remain the bane of Nigeria’s micro and macro development since independence.
Nonetheless, the victors at the 2023 polls will maintain the status quo. Like previous governments, they will muster lifeboat solutions as responses to the country’s towering adversities.
Politicians of these days take but statesmen give. The later relinquishes perks and privileges to earn respect and honor. Politicians, however, fight and grab their ways to identity and power, amassing fortune to bequeath to their heirs, and their repute not minding their credibility and integrity, whatever becomes of both.
The heir inherits by default hence he has no value to transact for worth, except the battered name, exploits and privileges of his father, which are sooner squandered lavishly on ladies of easy virtues and declined.
Reality, however, reveals many an heir of a once famous father as an alcoholic, drug addict, sexuality mutant and dilettante, among others. That’s part of nemesis.
It is not by accident but just desserts that several heirs to Nigeria’s greatest political dynasties incandescence, albeit briefly in their father’s infamy or repute before they burn out.
But Nigeria’s ruling political class with few exceptions forever take care of their own thus the preponderance of political heirs foisted across the country’s civil service and corridors of power.
Of the 36 state governors that would emerge from the forthcoming elections, for instance, barely six would preside fairly and manage the resources of their states judiciously as on play in Bauchi state presently. The state governor, Sen. Bala Muhammed has since introduced transparency and prudence in management of public resources without compromise. At the slightest mistake, he barks and bite the culprit without remorse. The largest chunk of Bauchi state resources are judiciously committed to infrastructural and human development.
The remaining 30 state governors that would loot their state resources to purchase outrageously priced tracts in choice areas and exclusive neighborhoods abroad. They will connive with bank chiefs to pilfer their states’ treasuries and divert public monies meant to build schools, hospitals and rehabilitate crucial infrastructure into their concubines’ and private accounts at home and overseas.
Resistance to such maladies will be impossible because the electorate lack the knowledge and introspection required to articulate and weaponize dissent at ballot time.
Schools and religious houses won’t impart such enlightenment because the pedagogical and ascetic structures that should facilitate such awareness have long collapsed around specializations and prophesies designed to maintain the status quo.
However, frantic idealists and erratic pundits will ornament politics and the media space, as they do en route the elections, with unrealistic fantasies of progress via monetized columns, radio, television and internet soapboxes.
Call those guys as journalists, if you like. In truth, they are only out to further confuse an already confounded electorate, and so doing, persuade all to reason and speak as a harmonious herd.
The actual controllers of the herd, however, are the political, business class in the shades: those who own and control the media/ the media is relegated to the lower rung, where it plays herdsmen, driving their principals’ chosen paths.
Thus Nigeria will emerge from the polls, to trudge and suckle in familiar hardship and chaos, because the media has lost its ethical, rhetorical rhythm. This can be rectified, however.
At the backdrop of these, we face a far more difficult problem: our affliction by youths weaned on savage materialism. The youths, emerging from two societal extremes: the haves and have-nots, coalesce in ghastly pursuits inimical to the Nigeria project.
How do we counsel them to be prudent, honest and just in their dealings? What do you promise the youth that had been told that they can have anything they want without shedding sweat for it? How do you give them a new vision to deal with bitter reality of a near bleak future?
How do we breed youth on the belief that success should never be about accumulating obscene wealth to show off but the right to live life more fully and engage more expansively, the elemental possibilities of human existence?
According to one of our most priced legal luminaries and a political hopeful who labored to stabilize the polity over the years as Director Legal Services of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Ibrahim Kanje Bawa SAN, determination laced with sincerity in leadership anchored of fulfillment of campaign promises and armed with the required education and exposure, can solve all the lingering challenges bedeviling good governance.
Muhammad is a commentator on national issues