“Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it” – Thomas Paine
To say that the change Nigeria needs must be revolutionary is an understatement. There must be a revolution in every critical sector of her economy, culture, politics, ethics and social ethos! Barriers to productivity must come down if development must be ever attained.
The walnut-like wall of Jericho ethnically erected must be one of the victims of that revolutionary wave. Nigeria’s paradox is that both the rulers and the ruled; the oppressors and the oppressed are mutually united in agreement to destroy the country for personal gains- one has the opportunity, the other is merely hanging for the same opportunity.
The expression in the political behaviour of both is a testimonial. Johann Wolfgang, the German Poet aptly captured this paradoxical state of anguish when he stated that ‘nothing is more disgusting than the majority: because it consists of few powerful predecessors of rogues, who adapt themselves, of weak; who assimilate themselves; and the masses who imitate without knowing at all what they want.
There is hardly any evil that befalls Nigeria that has no imprimatur of the oppressors and the oppressed. In destroying the credibility of elections, both are aligned parties – the oppressors buy votes, the oppressed sell votes.
The oppressors rule for a term of four years while the oppressed are ruined for the same number of years as tenured. At times the temptation to use poverty as justification for the behaviour of the oppressed can be strong, but then, some of us hold on to the philosophy that many are not enslaved because they are poor; rather, they are poor because they are enslaved. The market for vote-selling and vote-buying is demand and supply-driven! Without incorruptible active citizenry, Nigeria can never experience credible elections; and by a stretch of reality, good governance.
Nigerians are ever prepared to vote but never prepare for good governance. Good governance stars with who you elect? How do you elect? Why you elect?. The person, the process and the rationale for elections are critical issues that must be engaged and interrogated at all times if good governance is prioritized.
We focus on how to get our election process right today. That is good, however all efforts will be ruined by the transactional legislators and some members of the executive who have turned participation in government by virtue of their election or appointment to money making venture, lawlessly and recklessly engaging in personal and collective act of graft and fleece! For example, the perennial humongous fiscal sleaze called budget padding is an infernal corruption bomb and terrifying bullets that is spilling out blood out of our economy, crippling ability of the legislators for oversight function and consequently compromising accountability.
The budgeted funds for the so called Constituency Projects end up in the pockets of legislators through under hand dealings with contractors and officials.
This is part of the monies often deployed for vote buying, tokenistic constituency projects that is often criminally converted to dubious personal philanthropic gestures by legislators, deceiving, luring and cajoling their largely unsuspecting ignorant constituents to further vote for them. The impoverished uninformed hapless poor constituents hardly understand this and hence remained in the slave camp of their fake messiahs that illegally acquired and deplored public fund for personal political ends.
While reluctantly signing the 2022 Appropriation Bill into law, President Buhari alluded to this shameful practice that “Provisions made for as many as 10,733 projects were reduced while 6,576 new projects were introduced into the budget by the National Assembly; this means on the average, each of the lawmakers inserted 14 projects into the budget. Sadly, this innocuous absurdity has become the standard practice for budgeting in Nigeria today.
After the grundnorm, the constitution, budget is the second most important law in Nigeria but today, its process is being driven by self-serving transactional rulers who used the proceed from its criminalization to cripple the very constitution and make its provisions, impotent and the people, its subjects mere objects and legatees of bad governance.
The blame for these shenanigans remain with the docile Nigerians. I emphasized this in my response to the reported budget padding in 2016 in my article titled; Dogara, Jubril and the Parliament of Pests, widely published by several newspapers, including Point Blank of October2, 2016.
Therein, I declared that ; ‘there is something fundamentally wrong about a people who always fail probationary test of citizenship, particularly that of holding rulers to account; especially when opportunity presents itself on plater of gold! Conditioned to think like eternally cursed victims, Nigerians over the years always remain frozen on queues formed by their combative and belligerent foes and looters.
Majority are now constrained by their own thought and action to conceive a country in which they are born to suffer. Born to be abused and born to be oppressed. I had expected that the humongous revelation of financial recklessness and fraud in the parliament as alluded to by AbdulThere is something fundamentally wrong about a people who always fail probationary test of citizenship, particularly that of holding rulers to account; especially when opportunity presents itself on plater of gold! Conditioned to think like eternally cursed victims, Nigerians over the years always remain frozen on queues formed by their combative and belligerent foes and looters.
Majority are now constrained by their own thought and action to conceive a country in which they are born to suffer. Born to be abused and born to be oppressed. I had expected that the humongous revelation of financial recklessness and fraud in the parliament as alluded to by Abdulmumuni Jubril will represent a turning point in the history of our docility and indolence.
Behold am aghast at our apathy! Aghast that we think that it’s a mere battle between two thieves- the repentant and the un-repentant! We think it’s a cross we should allow the born-again Jubril to shoulder alone on his morally encumbered shoulder? It is sad that we cannot recognize our collective battle for liberty. So sad in our war, that we become ineffectual, paranoid and continue to be what the Bible called ‘the lawful captives of the mighty’.
The records of conflicts and violence we have today are resultant effect of bad governance we have been tolerating. The state of anomie affirms our fragility and confirms the product of our docility in the face of social, political and economic injustices. This is one of the reasons that democracy is collapsing in Africa today and we lazily blame colonial masters for our foolishness. Anytime there is coup in Africa, we blame Colonial masters.
It is this same spirit of impotence and eternal idiocy that led our forefathers to slave market, the same continual idiocy led to our domestication like the king’s monkeys during colonial era. The demons are all here, tyrannically sucking the blood of their own species and making sumptuous meals of their flesh, even in democracy! The devil is neither Paris nor London made.
From Bamako to Ouagadougou without sparing Conakry, evidence abound that we created the devil in our own image. Now, gross darkness everywhere you turn in the continent of Africa! The truth is that nothing can replace the active agency of people in the race for good governance. There will be no end to violence, killings, kidnap, abduction and governmental carelessness until those that are not affected are as angry as those affected.
Today, in Nigeria, the poor and vulnerable are murdered in droves. Emirs are kidnapped and caged in the North, Obis are abducted and beheaded in the East, Obas are killed and roasted in the West; yet we still think humanity has not spat us out! These are chaos that flow from bad and poor governance.
We must all be concerned with governance in Nigeria. Never again must we support Insensitive, greedy and covetous persons with self-consuming ambition who have directly or remotely taken part in the infernal affliction of the country; who should be at the purgatory atoning for their lifelong lootings but still want to be president. Specifically, let me forewarn that Tinubu, Atiku and their like will be an unwarranted liability if Nigerians allow any of them! At this stage, Nigeria needs a smart savvy goal-getter that is development hungry and corruption angry, not the one whose benchmark for achievement will be eight years of APC or sixteen years of PDP.
Nigeria needs a visionary, who can see the United Arab Emirate (UAE) as a model for driving performance and Belgium as an example of reinvention in diversity management. Nigeria is in a critical state of health where she needs a ‘miracle worker’; who can turn water into wine; not the one that will end up turning the little wine left to water.
We don’t need ‘see finish’ bosses and professional experts in tokenism and prebendalism. Nigeria needs a deliverance leader, who can cast out Legion of Demons!
Gbenro Olajuyigbe is the Executive Director of Emergency & Risk Alert Initiative.