Nigeria is a country where anything is seemingly possible; a land of miraculous signs and wonders – apologies to the prosperity preachers; a modern day Ruritania – apologies to Anthony Hope – with all its intriguing and exhilarating politics; a land of psychics where everybody seems to have solutions to all problems, no matter how formidable; a land of mages and sages – the natural habitat of the Cognoscenti and Illuminati whose unparalleled wisdom, understanding and knowledge of the material and ethereal are well documented.
Most Nigerians believe they have solutions to the country’s several debilitating challenges. The average man on the streets will tell you that if given the opportunity, he can change Nigeria for the better by improving on the achievements of past leaders. “If I become President, I will transform Nigeria within two months”, a man once boasted. But on further prodding, it was discovered that this self-proclaimed patriot had no blueprint whatsoever on how he was going to change Nigeria.
Most aspiring politicians in Nigeria fall into the aforementioned category of know-it-all Nigerians; power seekers who think they have the sole panaceas to the country’s challenges; individuals who have developed the penchant for castigating the actions, or inactions, of those with contrasting political viewpoints. They never see or say anything good about their opponents and go extra lengths in crudely censoring – with intent to demonize – them to promote their personal interests – easing their passage into the mansions of power.
As Nigerians match towards the 2015 General Polls, the traditional smear war has commenced in earnest, as Nigerian political entrepreneurs try to outwit one another – with intent to misdirect the general public – in their desperate attempts to convince Nigerians that they are better qualified than their rivals to man the country’s administrative machineries at the various levels and arms of government; that they are equipped with the will and sagacity to put full, final stops to all the problems currently ravaging the country. The major gladiators in the ongoing fiery duels are the eggheads of the two dominant political parties in the country – apologies to other political parties – the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and its chief opposition, the All Progressive Congress (APC).
The mass media – print and electronic, social and regular – have been awash, since the commencement of the countdown to the forthcoming polls, with bitter exchanges between the standard bearers of the APC and PDP, especially those contesting for the country’s highest position – the Presidency – the incumbent, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, and his nemesis, General Muhamadu Buhari, being the most prominent; a war of well targeted salvos that are meant to do maximum damage; a festival of fireworks in every sense of the word; a battle that is being fought both overtly and covertly – one that promises to disgorge more hemlock as polling day draws nearer.
It is sad to note that apart from passing references to the plethora of asseverating challenges pummeling the Nigerian State from right, left and center – the worsening state of insecurity, economic stagnation, cyclical unemployment, infrastructural decay, to several others too numerous to mention – the chief characters in the unfolding drama have largely engaged one another in a senseless war of rhetoric; a grandstanding, braggadocios and vainglorious competition for cheap attention; an extreme battle of expletives that shows no signs of abating as D-Day draws closer; a popularity contest that is as distractive as it is embarrassing. While critical issues of national significance have been relegated to the backside, trivial, divisive, largely sentimental and extremely delicate issues that poses perhaps the greatest threats to the country’s security at any time since her independence have become the guiding mantras of the political class – a duel of attrition that promises to spew out more opiates in the coming weeks, if care is not taken, considering the very sensitive issues that are being toyed with by those who should know better; a potentially explosive cocktail that might blow everybody and everything into smithereens, if things are allowed to fall apart.
Rather than address the pressing issues at stake, Ethno-religious and other primordial sentiments have formed the fulcrum of the campaign thrusts of the dramatis personae on the political stage; issues that will play decisive roles in determining the outcome of the forthcoming polls, considering the country’s rather decadent political antecedents; a sad development that will definitely not bode well for the future of democracy in Africa’s most populous country. Just when the world was beginning to be gradually convinced that at last Nigeria was gradually getting it right with her politics, the political class have conspired to impetuously and impudently throw us back to the gory age of darkness when fair was foul and foul was fair; an era when might was right and reason was an aberration; a gilded age that had a superficial allure of sanity, but which concealed a rotten core that was as repulsive as it was damning. That is the era the intransigencies of Nigerian politicians have thrown the country’s politics back to.
The most worrisome aspect of the unfolding scenario is the extreme lengths some so-called Nigerian leaders are willing to go in their morbid quests to remain relevant in the country’s politics, despite having outlived their usefulness; status quo maintainers who want to continue manipulating and dominating the political space to ease the projection and sustenance of their debauched and greed-driven ambitions; fundamentalists who are ready to dine with the Devil himself if only it will guarantee them access to power – a development that is as frightening as it constitutes a threat to the general wellbeing of the citizenry. Nigerian politicians’, by their latest indiscretions, have inadvertently exposed themselves before the enlightened section of the watching public for who and what they truly represent – a disunited cum dishonourable colony of unrepentant whores who have sold their souls to Old Nick for ephemeral, pecuniary benefits; gluttonous long throats who are never satisfied; pusillanimous buffoons in freefall; mingy vagabonds with unbridled cravings for power and all its insidious accoutrements; savage, narcissistic anarchists whose aversion for law and order is legendary. That is why they are willing to go to extreme lengths in their desires for power without responsibility. Like Napoleon Bonaparte, the French Dictator, Nigerian politicians see power as their mistress – as a currency they are ready to do anything to obtain and protect: even kill for.
Funny enough, some Nigerians have already taken up sides, even when it is obvious that these characters have nothing new to offer; have joined the bandwagon as usual, refusing to learn from the country’s blotted political past. Like sheep being led to the slaughter house, these blockheads have made themselves available to be sucker punched once again. One wonders why Nigerians can’t learn the lessons of history; why they keep making the same avoidable mistakes over and over again; why they keep opening themselves up to the witcheries and wizardries of the political class; why they keep allowing the country’s political entrepreneurs to ceaselessly manipulate them at will – a fact of the country’s politics that is as disheartening as it is tragic.
It is preposterous to note that most Nigerians believes that bad leadership is the country’s chief Albatross, without considering their own culpability in the deplorable conditions the country currently levitates in, for by allowing the same dark lords they keep complaining about to keep taking cheap shots at them for fun, especially whenever it is time for elections, despite the powers available to them through their right of censorship – through the objective usage of their franchise – they make themselves equally culpable of all the rubbish the system continues to churn out. Before spotting the speck in another’s eyes, we must endeavour to extricate the log in our own eyes. That is the truth of the matter.
I wish to formally admonish the contenders for the various available vacancies in the forthcoming polls to begin to conduct themselves in exemplary ways that are expected of the true patriots they claim to be. The mudslinging, name calling, backbiting, moonlighting and settling of personal vendettas that have so far defined the ongoing campaigns must stop, forthwith. As individuals who claim to have the sole solutions to the country’s myriad of problems, much more decorum is expected from the political class. Our politicians must begin to express and act out those principles they have been postulating since the commencement of the countdown to the polls; must begin to truly practice what they preach in words and deeds and refrain from conducting themselves in a manner that will be inimical to the democratic process and the future unity of Nigeria.
The future of the Nigerian State is in the hands of its citizens – both the rulers and the ruled: all the individuals, groups and interests represented in the current arrangement who have pledged to serve Nigeria with all their might, defend her unity and uphold her honour and glory. Let us not fail ourselves. Shalom! God save Nigeria!