It Is Not Right…But It’s Okay

by Dele A. Sonubi

The spate of political happenings in and around Nigeria will puzzle any ordinary political analyst. But to ardent followers of the Nigerian political experiment, what is going on is nothing but political drama and a not-so- peculiar development, after all, we deserve the credence of our own “home-grown democracy” and the lessons learnt are pivotal to our being stronger- if for nothing else, at least for the rest of Africa who look up to Nigeria for inspiration. A student of political philosophy working on Hegelian Dialectics will be at a complete loss when he wants to apply the theory of established political science to the Nigerian paradigm. In some cases, the visible end could be said to justify the means- or so it might seem. When you consider that even President Olusegun Obasanjo’s 1999 and 2003 elections were not the most credible elections Nigeria has ever conducted and still the president exercises the sole right to sanitize the political arena in a moral upright position, then an observer might want to say that indeed, the Machiavellian “end justifies the means” is applicable. Moreover, how for example, can one understand the issue of Governor Ngige swearing by some religious unforgiving oath before allowing Chris Uba to rig the election for him in Anambra State and in the aftermath of broken political promises, the issues of election rigging, oath-swearing, deceit and illegal conduct of the government were substituted for mere political party suspension while Ngige still carries his long beard around proud of his achievement thus far. It is not right, but it is okay. The police chief who assisted in kidnapping an executive governor was never even considered as an issue in the Anambra saga anymore, he has retired to receiving his monthly pension. However, as fate will have it, somehow the Police Chief, AIG Ralph Ige did not live long enough to eat of the shame of that fiasco. Yet PDP is portrayed as a highly moral party which protects its image by suspending erring public officers from its folds and replacing a vocal party chairman for another known controversial figure from the history of Nigerian’s political impasse. Yet Governor Dariye is to be singled out, slaughtered and maimed for his wrong doings. How can any political theory or comparative analysis sum up the happenings that Governor Tinubu of Lagos State has immunity against police investigation of his questionable educational credentials (or claims) and Governor James Ibori, in spite of a retired Judge testifying that he was once condemned, but still the court pronounced Ibori not guilty for lack of clear evidence. A joke isn’t it? That was why he gave a public holiday to his state civil servants to celebrate a decision he was not expecting.

The president of the country speaks so eloquently about the need for moral uprightness and his resolution to continue the process of cleaning Nigeria of corruption, yet, there are so many unanswered questions regarding many public officials, who in spite of their dark sides, keep smiling and laughing on television as though public morality was never an issue- or was it? For instance how could former Police Inspector General, Tafa Balogun amass so much wealth in a society of sane people and who knows how long has he been collecting this money like a philatelist? Was there no secret service when these monies were going to the wrong purse? I once rebuked a police officer for collecting 20 Naira from a bus driver. He questioned why I was singling him out when it was okay for the police boss to steal billions of Naira in Abuja while they were inside the sunshine all day chasing armed robbers. The police that has the duty of prosecuting criminals are now themselves police house of horror! It is not right but definitely it is okay; who will defend the public defender?

Critically, it is not right for PDP to rig elections to bring OBJ to power (at least the Appeal Court of Nigeria declared that the Presidential Elections in Ogun State-if not in the other states- are questionable) but definitely it is okay for him to exercise legitimacy and sole copyright over erring senators, ministers and public officials who do the same without “obtaining permission” from him. One begins to wonder if actually “Baba Iyabo” would have allowed Professor Fabian Osuji to bribe the senators had he been told of the senators demands after all; Obasanjo himself was alleged to have done the same when faced with similar circumstances at the national assembly. He was accused by members of the house of assembly for offering 400,000 Naira per honorable in a presidential-backed bid to remove Speaker Gali Na’aba from the office. It was not right to do that but obviously it is okay because he quickly dismissed the minister for education for performing similar offence perhaps because the president is the current political alpha and omega within the public moral terrain. It is not right, but it is okay.

When the omniscient Jesus Christ was confronted with the dilemma of having to condemn one of the people for whom he came to save over an adulterous sin, the Savior responded; “let he who has never committed a sin cast the first stone.” The fight for moral probity is a great challenge which is most likely to open the proponents up to character assassination and great criticism. To clean up this house called Nigeria requires prepared revisionists with clear ideologies as to what happens during and afterward. The cleansing must begin with the cleaner, not the cleaned because the cleaner will be humiliated for not being cleaned in the first place. It must not only be alright for us to steal a mandate and conclude that it is okay so long as the thief is performing some moral functions necessary for moving forward as a nation; the Machiavellian philosophy of “end justify the means” cannot be a moral paradigm for today’s world, the end must equally be as important as the means of achieving this end itself.

The Nigerian Fire Service nationwide is weakened by persistent lack of infrastructure and basic tools for fighting fire such as water, chemicals, trucks and so on (this is not to mention modernized equipment). The fire service had received severed criticism, jeer and incriminating insults from the Nigerian public for its ridiculous state. The government had been embarrassed for ignoring the service and not providing it with adequate resources to combat fire. Yet, the Nigerian Road Safety conducts personal checks on individual who are not driving with fire extinguisher. It is not right to incapacitate the nation’s fire service which is mandated to protect lives and property from inferno, but it is okay for the Nigerian Road Safety to arrest drivers for not carrying fire extinguishers inside their cars when even the extinguishers alone cannot combat a major fire outbreak but the fire service should. It is not right, but it is okay.

Again, a curious look at the state of maintenance on most Nigerian roads, the commuters on the roads, the types of vehicles plying the roads and sum up all these with the Nigerian vehicle license law, the road taxes and the now outdated road safety organization will reveal apparent contradictions. How can we have a road safety organization on roads which are not safe to drive on; roads filled with life-taking potholes and dangerous speed breakers? Lagos State cannot claim ignorance of the state of the famous 1414 “Molues”, Danfo” and other commercial vehicles on its road when it was creating LASTMA and the obnoxious MOT Edict. It is not right to target the Edict against private cars alone, but certainly, it is okay because the state government looks good and hardworking. How, in the weirdest imagination, can Lagos, one of the most disorganized cosmopolitan cities in Nigeria calls itself “Center of Excellence” when it is blatantly clear that it is not even close to a center of anything other than chaos. Perhaps what the inventors wanted to quote was Lagos State: the center of excellent chaos. It is not right, but it is okay.

Nigeria professes that she would provide housing for all by the year 2000. In the year 2005, Nigeria goes around demolishing the few houses in Kubwa, FCT which were constructed by private investors to provide housing for some where the government had failed to provide housing for all.

Nigeria is a country of largely deceptive complexes. The logo of Nigerian Airways is a flying elephant when everyone in his or her right senses knows that an elephant, of all animals cannot take off beyond the ground level. No wonder the Nigerian Airways collapsed and Nigeria, as a nation, requires the assistance of a private airline to fly its national carrier.

Nigeria as a nation is often besieged with doing things without considering their possible consequences or take sufficient time to justify the implication of the actions taken. The thinking is, that history will vindicate the doer as meaning right. Well, that history continues from now, our actions will be put in proper perspectives when history is making accounts. It must not only be right to juxtapose a wrong process in a right way, it must similarly NOT be okay, the product of bad process.

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1 comment

Anonymous February 10, 2006 - 9:26 am

Dear Oga Dele,

All the issues that you raised and expressed in this article are very improtant. The spate of Political Violence, Threats and Assassinations between 2001 to date is what baffles me most. I'll send you a copy of my recent research on it very soon.





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