The time of the quasi-men and the hopeless

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Dr. Chris Anyokwu

By Chris Anyokwu

The life of a nation is basically no different from that of plants and trees in the wild. There is sowing time; and there is also the time of harvest. Appropriately, Nigerian reggae crooner, Orits Wiliki, lyric that “everything has its hour and its season…”, a song which is itself informed by verses 1-8 of Chapter 3 of the Book of Ecclesiastes. Accordingly, like most civilized nations, Nigeria usually holds elections, at local, state and national levels, and as such it is during these elections that people are voted or elected to different positions of government. the administration of the country. Thus, in 2023, the life of the current administration will come to an end, necessitating a new electoral cycle. What makes 2023 extremely crucial in the grand scheme of things is the fact that the electorate will be heading to the voting booths to elect their president who will be in the saddle for a four-year term in the first instance and, if fortune allows the candidate, for a new second and final term of four years. President Muhammadu Buhari, God willing, will step down as the nation’s plum on the 29thand May 2023.

President Muhammadu Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari

By a rough estimate, we are just over a year away from that date and, predictably, many politicians have started throwing their hats in the ring indicating their interest in occupying the office of President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The land is so wide and open but, maybe not as level as most people mistakenly think. Initially, this opening of the field to all comers allowed us to see the true colors of our presidential hope. Predictably, so far, by the looks of things, some of the political gladiators indicating their interest in the position have exhibited a frivolity and recklessness of rank, or even a lack of total respect for the electorate. We will come back to serious things later. Anyone who has ever run a house or currently runs one knows that leadership is a very serious matter indeed. This is not a cake-walk; it’s not for the faint-hearted; it’s not for the political gambler looking to play Russian roulette with the collective destiny of a nation. As they say, ambition is made of tougher things. Politics itself is war by other means. For about a year now, Nigerians have been kept on their toes as to who is showing up and who is not showing up. The self-styled lapdogs and terriers on the one hand, and the paid parish priests and attack dogs on the other, fought primarily on social media on behalf of their favorite political paymasters, the president. aspirants themselves. These drunken bipeds of ideological crossbreeding are therefore devoid of emotional intelligence and ethical clarity of vision. They just bawl and bark for a living. In these regions it is called “the infrastructure of the stomach” to the Peter Ayodele Fayose.

fayose

For a waste of porridge, these lackeys and this spitting would reach the jugular of the others who would kneel in front of an opposite totem. Social networking sites such as Whatsapp, Tweeter, Facebook and Instagram are the main battleground on which the wedge disproportionately splashes reputations, thus tainting them irreparably. Why? Thirty pieces of silver! The squeamish among us are told that such senseless slog-fest and bashing is the very stuff of politics. It’s just as well. The late Ibadan maverick and leading supporter of amala politician, Alhaji Lamidi Adedibu once said that if you don’t want to be told who slept with your mother before your father married her, then don’t go into politics. Politics is the coliseum in charge of total revelations! If-you-Tarka-me, I-will-dabo-you, remember? Or is it the other way around? Never mind.

Godwin Daboh

Joseph Tarca

As we noticed above, some cheerleaders sing and dance themselves lame before the grand masquerade even takes the forecourt. Some indulge in this hagiographic excess voluntarily, but for others, it’s the fastest way to the honeypot or the cookie jar! Similarly, all of these pre-election songs and dances are part of an elaborate ritual of making rain during the Harmattan, a time-tested ploy designed to test the waters; Fly a kite; as a barometer of popular sentiment about potential candidates. Talking about that, popular sentiment doesn’t really matter to the Nigerian politician.

The reason is not far-fetched. As for the crunch, it is actually a contest between the so-called “owners of Nigeria” and the electorate. In other words, it is a sly fight between the Selectorate and the Electorate with whom the power resides constitutionally. Accordingly, the political adventurer is not fooled by the bunkum called the sovereignty of the people and therefore spends long periods of time, expends huge amounts of resources, travels long lonely roads, moving from palace to sparkling palaces, doing what exactly? “Consultant”! It consults with critical stakeholders in the Nigerian project – senior retired and serving military officers, traditional leaders, youth leaders, women leaders, etc., etc. In reality, the politician does not “consult” these categories of people; he simply pays them courtesy visits and tells them of his escape plans. Along the same lines, the politician might associate with other politicians, sleazy morons and underworld masterminds disguised as youth leaders and truckers. He reigns supreme who reigns over the street, idiot!

Politics itself is war by other means. For about a year now, Nigerians have been kept on their toes as to who is showing up and who is not showing up. The self-styled lapdogs and terriers on the one hand, and the paid parish priests and attack dogs on the other, fought primarily on social media on behalf of their favorite political paymasters, the president. aspirants themselves.

As a result of the above, the people, the electorate is snubbed, completely left out of the sharing of the spoils (read: elections) is concerned. However, to ease their conscience, these politicians tend to throw Greek gifts in the form of pre-election parcels – sacks of salt, rice, beans, millet, cartons of noodles and sachets of powdered milk – to the unhappy masses. As Scripture tells us, a gift blinds and perverts the course of justice. Thus compromised, these gifts further aggravate the dependency complex of the people; cement the master-slave relationship; sanctify the culture of clientelism; neutralize their sense of wounded pride and quench their righteous rage against institutionalized and state-sanctioned institutions flight called governance; subsidize and militarize poverty. As a famous anarchist noted in the early 20and century: “poverty produces political slavery; political slavery, in turn, reproduces and maintains poverty as a condition of its own existence”. Curiously, a popular meme on social media currently posits, “People who should be on their knees to apologize to Nigerians are stepping onto the catwalks to declare. Yet some Nigerians are busy debating who is the best offender.” Unsurprisingly, thus completely compromised, the entire nation like a parliament of baboons crawls on the soiled heels of political peddlers to solicit the infrastructure of the stomach. After all, hunger is not about class, gender, status or religion. So when it comes to the ever-demanding god, Scepter and Scythe salaam in the dust. This is what the militarization of poverty and deprivation does to a conquered people.

FILE: Voters queuing at a polling station

FILE: Voters queuing at a polling station

At the last count; over twenty politicians have expressed an interest in running… (remember the song “I ran, ran, ran…”). Now everyone is race, the market robber is on the move; treasure looter par excellence runs, the drug lord runs; the short ritual killer; the 419 scammer is running… (I ran, ran, ran…). Running for what? You can ask. Run for the office! What office? The Office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria! The office of the leader of the most populous black nation on the planet! African Giant (?); the country that produced people like Wole Soyinka, Chinua Achebe, Dora Akunyili, Niyi Osundare, Fela! Well, running for office is everyone’s constitutional right. authentic Nigerians, graduates or not, it seems (if recent events are any guide). What is worrying is the cause of the recent plague of presidential electoral vagrancy. Unfortunately, lately, high and lofty ideals and symbolism gravity of the stool have been considerably weakened and reduced. “The ethno-religious bigotry, provincialism, nepotism, incompetence, rigidity, intellectual indolence and narcissism” for which the current dispensation is known have all conspired to cripple the ancient juggernaut. Oh, here comes the infant dinosaur bewitched by an eternal wish from the womb! Given the incendiary cocktail of socio-economic pathologies such as terrorism, banditry, insurgency, kidnapping and armed robbery witnessed daily in Nigeria today, and the government’s historic failure to s tackling these hydra-headed problems, many members of the political class elite, including those who had left office in opprobrium and ignominy, positioned themselves to compete for the highest office in the country, namely President and Vice President. Social media, predictably, is full of laughable memes, comedy skits, and wacky music videos, all aimed at our near-presidential men and non-hopefuls. Nigerians know all too well that some of these characters have criminal records; some still have an appointment with the EFCC/ICPC. While some have sprung up from NASS, our veritable bunker of dodgy characters, including barefaced thieves and drug lords, others have simply risen from the grave – the burgeoning necropolis of ancient mighty men! Certainly, a few of these reincarnated “saints” had been bombarded with rotten tomatoes and rancid fruit in the stadiums during their previous incarnations. For others, the only thing that recommends them is their gift of chatter, that strange talent for verbal diarrhea. In their presence, you remember Mr Slime, that slimy character from George Lamming’s novel titled In The Castle of My Skin. Even so, one or two more prominent suitors who have taken on the stuff of godhood tend to strut around the place with an air of straight. They tout their sponsorship as a badge of honor, having, over the years, “begotten” many sons and daughters who operate, at best, as tributaries of the (un)sacred sea. In the days, weeks and months to come, many more jobbers and fellow politicians will emerge to claim the tiara. It will be a long journey from night to day because the political season Awada Kerikeri (slapstick comedy) is rising in our equatorial corner of the country. So sit back, relax, grab your popcorn and soda and get ready to be entertained. But in the final analysis, the electorate will have only its word to say… or, perhaps, its way too!

Chris Anyokwu writes from the University of Lagos

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