The race for the Year 2015 has already commenced. No doubt about that! With merely one year into the life of this administration and, with majority of those at the hallways of power still unable to comprehend the essence of their mission, Nigeria’s political fortune has already gravitated to a narrative that naturally defines her giantness. The puff up in political alignments; the struggle for relevance along socio-political and ethno-religious cleavages; the hurtful intrigues of the ‘Abacha-after-Abacha’ succession theatrics and allied illogicalities characteristic of electioneering in an unpredictable entity like Nigeria; all are threatening revelations into the shape and size of things to expect, come the Year 2015 when, hopefully, the next General Elections will hold.
From the brazen 'shon of the shoil' and ‘I am of Cephas; I am of Christ' mindset of the pharaohs and the commanders of ‘Project Nigeria’; to the 'to-your-tents, O Israel’ and 'it-is-our-turn' dispositions that now confront us like an appealing promise, the battle has become so obviously vicious that, should we fail to stitch in time, what may be rightly termed as the final battle for the soul of the Nigerian state has already begun.
As we speak, rough roads are rife, with the country acutely overawed by infrastructural and energy challenges, in addition to a hostile environment. The leadership is not being futuristic and potentials are not being realized. Priorities are being rashly misplaced and responsibilities are being shifted with no recourse to conscience. The masses weep and wail even as our political Methuselahs continue to sleep and snore over our misfortunes. They wine and dine even as we gnash and pant over our distress and disillusionment. Each passing day now treats us to tales of depletion in our External Reserves with no accompaniment of any concrete socio-economic emancipation on the part of the citizenry. Servile wolves and cake-sharing camp followers are being generously rewarded for wallowing in the shambles of fatal paradoxes while statesmen are being labeled alarmists and secessionists for daring to denounce cluelessness in governance. Terrorism currently defines our nationhood and, with the scourge of corruption and a dysfunctional justice system advancing warningly upon us, it is as if we are on a journey to nowhere.
While the South South is unwilling to let go of the presidency, come 2015, the South East is scheming a curtsy shot at the overseership of the national cake. In the North, guns and more dangerous munitions have become commonplace; and it is as if Nigerians are at war with Nigerians. In the Southwest, the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, is sinisterly scheming Machiavellian plots and conspiracy theories to recapture power and this it has been pursuing with unrivaled orotundity. Olagunsoye Oyinlola and Olusegun Oni, two fallen heroes of that humiliating onslaught on the region, are now principal participants in the recently-inaugurated Bamanga Tukur-led executive which primary assignment is to unleash on the region the odious duty for which the party has won laurels.
PDP’s focus on Osun State is particularly worrisome as it seems as if the party’s survival is tied to its victory in the state. Still unable to come to terms with its deserved loss of Osun State, more than one year after, the party, under the National Leadership of President Goodluck Jonathan, has been empowering its field officers with reckless abandon, all in preparation, essentially, for the next governorship election, slated, ceteris paribus, for 2014. Olusola Obada, Oyinlola’s deputy during his seven years reign as the state governor, has been rewarded with a ‘juicy’ portfolio while Iyiola Omisore, Isiaka ‘Serubawon’ Adeleke and fellow characters in a party notorious for rationalizing otiose reasons to justify latent leadership, are also threatening fire and brimstone as if Osun State is now a theatre of war.
The latest in “this act of desperation by the PDP” was the phony allegation of plotting a secessionist agenda, leveled against Governor Rauf Aregbesola by the State Security Service, SSS, an organ which now operates more like an appendage of PDP. But the this ‘Wilkinson’s innocence and Burr’s guilt’ accusation is just a tip of the iceberg. More may still be on the way and Osun State may be in for another rough road, especially, if bad dreams like this are allowed to die uninterpreted.
Frivolities. Distractions. Deceits. Ineffectiveness. Inverted values. Indeed, only the likes of Mwai Kibaki, William Jefferson, Doug Lynch, Robert Dewey and, of course, the Kabilas have managed to challenge our ‘only-in-Nigeria’ credentials. Unfortunately, the Jonathanians are not helping matters as they have constituted themselves into political vultures whose core charge is devouring what remains of our national pride. And this they have been doing with irrational malady. In their fury, they shamelessly flounder in the solemn meditations of undomesticated dirges and accentual humanistic schemes that conspicuously evidence cadences of incompetence. While Archbishop John Onaiyekan refers to the kind of leadership they offer as one “weak” and “divided” government that is “obviously lacking in political will”, in Femi Falana’s views, they are deliberate promoters of “crisis in a peaceful environment.” Robert Obioha, on his own part, refers to them as mudslingers whose “lives depend on playing politics with everything, even with life and death.”
In his article, titled ‘Before Aregbesola is Crucified’ (Daily Sun, April 27, 2012), Obioha urged PDP to stop “using underhand tactics of impunity to unseat a serving governor based on rumour and unfounded allegations of security breach.” While advising Nigeria’s security agencies to always do their “job very well” before attempting to insult Nigerians’ collective intelligence with “obvious twists and contradictions” that are antithetical to the letter and spirit of “participatory and true democracy”, he also admonished our politicians to guide against “untoward tendencies that border on brazen recklessness and abuse of due process.
Quite frankly, much as one may agree with Obioha that ‘Mormons and Whisky Point’ allegations do more harm to a country than good, he seems to have forgotten that “politicizing everything” is PDP’s exclusive preserve. And it is difficult for a leopard to change its sports. That is why Civil Rule in Nigeria has only succeeded in bequeathing to Nigerians meaningless theorizations of poisonous pugnacity and why, thirteen years into civil rule, Nigeria remains a hallucinatory exposition of perspicuity and a rustic cave of impiety. Indeed, that is why even as the “country is passing through a serious security challenge never before witnessed since its existence”, operators of that “gargantuan apparatus called Federal Government” are only interested in allowing the passion of power to surmount the logic of reason.
The severe truth is that, unlike Greece, Britain, Portugal, France and other sane democracies where leaders pay dearly for their incompetence and lack of focus, Nigeria has been a rustic den of resurgent pedestrianism and a morass of incensed screeches. No thanks to a band of satanically materialistic rulers, merit-devalued interlopers and praetorian contractors in whose eyes doing good is a sin. In other words, while the Gordon Browns, the George Papandreous, the Christian Wulffs, and the Nicolas Sarkozys of this world accept – and, rightly, too - that “the nation is stronger than the destiny of the men who serve it”, the Jonathanians are of a different breed: Pharisees who cry even when they don’t have tears. And, since they are not skilled in the art of taking time to make time, they foot-drag, instead of moving forward. As a matter of fact, they are experts at greening the streets without a corresponding greening of the stomachs when indeed ungreened stomachs may one day de-green the streets.
PDP’s ‘do-or-die’ exceptionality again brings to the fore the vexed issue of a one-party state. On a personal note, I have no problem with a one-party state. As far as I am concerned, we can even have a one-party world, provided participants play by the rules governing the game of politics. After all, Asia and the Arab world have all challenged the universality of Abraham Lincoln’s preferred choice of government. For instance, Suharto spent thirty two years before he was ousted as Indonesia’s president but his era was credited with “stability and significant economic growth and industrialization.” Lin Kuan Yew’s thirty-year rule elevated Singapore to one of Asia’s “most developed nations”, despite “its small population, limited land space and lack of natural resources.” But here in Africa, the story is lethargically different as Paul Biya, Robert Mugabe, Yoweri Museveni and Blaise Compaore have clearly demonstrated.
Obioha and those who mean well for dear country have struck the right chord: the business of secession is not a tea party affair as events in Kurdistan and Azerbaijan have shown. But, this is our country, one desperately in need of leaders with sounder and more wholesome answers to the building of new seeds of peace, prosperity, security, solidarity and the restoration of the glory of this promising nation, not the present crop of fake personalities and unrepentant manipulators who hide on the edge of a paranoiac cliff to create “an atmosphere of fear through unfounded rumours.” Without doubt, Nigeria is in dire need of sincerely unswerving leaders who can help harness her vast landscape and its economic potentials, certainly neither Princes of Sodom nor a galaxy of political lap-poodles who rarely remember that values don’t thrive on an empty stomach.
May God save us from ourselves!