Messy Democracy

The prevailing cliché at the moment is the silly projection that Yar’ Adua will still rule this country for another 5 years. I have been tempted to see that dream as a dreadful, fabulous, sweeping illusion. But with PDP and its formidable chest of money, I am undertaking a rethink. However, before that doomsday scenario, it is essential to undertake an intellectual audit of Yar’ Adua’s reign before we slide into the New Year. This is not a democratic audit of conceit but a robust, rebarbative narrative of our ugly narcissistic amusement of self-celebration of our failure as a nation.

In the magnificence of our democratic deceit, the Ota bogeyman, Olusegun Obasanjo soiled his reputation through the obvious narrowness of his choice of a successor. The moment Yar ‘Adua was imposed on us, Nigeria’s political constellation was brilliantly polluted with one long darkening shadow of feral meanness of mestasised corruption and soulish nightmare. From the inception, there were many leaden doubts about Yar ‘Adua’s ability to tame a lionized nation like Nigeria. Still, in the opiate of our compassion, we allow him a level playing field to prove the cynics wrong. Two and half years later, Yar’ Adua’s political flaccidity and nightmarish leadership has become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Now let us lance the boil a bit.

Obasanjo’s infamy and devious calculation to find a pliable proxy to serve as continuum of his truncated third term delusion had become the gravest political miscalculation of modern Nigeria. By his act, Obasanjo reduced our democracy to the narrowest stricture of imposition, fraud and charade. Unburdened by any restraint of shame, Obasanjo spoke selfish, extravagantly embroidered deceit through his gift of manipulative creativity. Worse, in the pool of Northern fools available to him then, but being blinded by his own opaque vision, he chose a flaccid, senescent, talentless, sickly, biddable and dithery Katsinian who is incapable of simple, sentient articulation of robust and progressive national rebirth. Ah…what messy democracy!

Yar’ Adua who was painted in glowing terms and clothed in deceitful finery achievements as Governor of Katsina State, morphed into the dumbest president Nigeria ever had. He could not remake the much ballyhooed prowess of his old ability. There had been no flash of genius in his selection of Ministers. In terms of mint-fresh ideas, Yar’ Adua is as virgin as the Arctic zone. Rather, he is deepening a graft-driven feral culture that feeds mercilessly on our finite national cake. He faffs around Abuja in a sealed bubble of expensive, bomb proofed and darkened Jeep, seeing nothing, hearing nothing and doing nothing. Ah…what messy democracy!

With his government, the old dignity of governance is set back at every turn by our ghastly aberrations enacted daily through the vulgarized counter cultural behaviour of our graceless, eccentric, flatulent and demented rat pack called politicians. It is frighteningly sad to see a rich nation like Nigeria swim in excrement of shame, inaction, stunted growth, debilitating poverty, arrested destiny and social logorrhea. It is dead easy for the fragile holy man of Abuja and his paid, co-opted acolytes to project a sordid fantasy of Nigeria’s greatness to a disbelieving universe. Such gobbledegook and roundaboutation of reality further insults, diminishes and disables Nigeria.

How can Abuja errand dogs in the enthusiastic mould of Olusegun Adeniyi, Akinyuli, Madueke, et al, defend the scattered remains of our battered dignity? How can anyone heal the tableau of our hurts, our searing shame? And so in the seamless commemoration of our failure as success, we tend to see through the deceitful reflection of our greatness that is anything but great. How can we regain the co-ownership of our democratic renewal hijacked by PDP? Our greatest sorrow is the ongoing isolation of the ruled by the ruler. Again, our greatest sorrow is the inhuman form of sharing of the national cake. While poor Nigerians are in the coin of pain, our apparatchik, kleptocratic rulers pamper themselves in crispy, mint-fresh naira notes. Ah…what messy democracy!

No more homage to truth; no homage to accountability, no respect for integrity and no homage to servanthood. We are all victims of expensive ruse called Nigerian democracy. Nigeria an early bloomer in its manifest destiny is now shovel to the perimeter of irrelevance or worse, oblivion. Nigeria is now on assorted bar charts of any conceivable global misery indices. Nigeria is all with unbroken laggardness in our political, social and economic barometer. Ghana is the new hub. A nation that has se corner, to use a street slang. Ghana is the energized Eldorado littered with avalanche of progressive renewal, peace, stability and happy prospect. Ah…what a messy democracy!

In Nigeria, there are no factory fresh political ideas beyond the symbol of our battlement: high corruption. The prevalence of corruption is the greatest threat to the peace of the realm. And because its effrontery goes unchallenged, unconvicted and unchecked, it has finally become an accepted custom for public officials to feed illegally on the finite national cake.

As we lament our plague of generational poverty, unemployment, crime and the whole host of attendant social pathologies that define the millennium Nigeria, there is yet no breathtaking therapeutic remission from any quarter. Why? The cavernous blind spot of Abuja dotard will not allow him to see the real yawning needs of Nigerians. Yar ‘Adua is the peacock that will not see the imprints of his misrule; his misreading of our national aspiration, his prisoner status in the purgatory of indecision and his inability to break free from the arresting power of his fruitcake acolytes who proceed apace with arro gant blindness. Ah…what messy democracy.

Nigeria is today a land of pernicious social alienation. A land of hybrid police state. The gulf between the rich, affluent Nigerians and the poor, pauperized others is another cavernous blind spot Yar’ Adua is not talented enough to see. We live in a society whose social matrix values material success far above integrity, honesty, contentment and moderation. Kerosene, an extremely commodity for millions of householders is now priced beyond what the poor could afford. As a result, there has been a mass primitive embrace of using dried firewood for cooking without regard for its cumulative effect of blindness.

The poor forgotten Nigerians are the legatees of Nigeria’s monstrous wickedness. Since our independence, there is no liberating insight on how to distribute the good fortune of this country evenly among the poor to encourage happiness, patriotism and inclusion. Daily, the overfed, fortunate elites defraud the labourer of his hire without regard for the notion of natural justice. Poor Nigerians have been deleteriously impacted and burdened by the social legacies of our messy democracy and governance inertia. Consider this canasta: Mr Niyi Owonikoko is a hardworking, honest and diligent Assistant Manager of a hotel in Ibadan. He begins his day at 8.00am checking rooms, distributing the chambermaids, taking handover from the unfortunate wretch on night duty, running errands for guests, ensuring there is enough diesel to power the generators, changing dead bulbs and balancing the book for the Shylock, irresponsible, exploitative scrooge who happened to be the MD.

Mr Owonikoko true to his name had to work for 7 days a week to salvage, defend, protect and feed his family of 5 including the wife. He started with the evil proprietor 4 years ago and till date his salary of N10,000 had remained permanently cast in marble. In our democracy’s comedic charade, he has every right to ask for his own share of dividend of democracy. He has a right to question the money pillars of PDP of how they got their billions. He has a right to p

etition the disciples of privilege, prosperity and compounding abundance for a piece of his own national cake as a citizen of this republic. No, in Nigeria, once you are denied, you denied for generations. This is where the poor man’s fait becomes accompli. Ah…what a messy democracy!

And the lethal social virus of the burdened poor is the brutish meanness of turning against one another from time to time with criminal expression. Owonikoko is dead mired in penury with a salary of N10,000 per month. He exercises self-control through his Christian belief and placates that restless demon that tempts him to try a life of fraud, deceit and criminality. Armed robbers are not so introspective. They are the flesh-and-blood distillation of Nigeria’s social pathologies that would embarrass any number of less shameless nations. Despite Yar’ Adua’s catchy fulmination of combating corruption, it is on record that corrupt politicians have continued to replicate themselves like algae in warm swamp in his cabinet. Over the arc of time and in less than 3 years, Yar’ Adua has shipwrecked on the same forlorn spot. And his 7-point agenda transfigured to benign soundbite of impossibility. Ah…what a messy democracy!

In less than fifty years, this nation that had a promising destiny had been disconfigured so badly; it had been disinterred so morbidly into the pedigreed and the rootless. The pedigreed wrap themselves in their patriotic flag of their undeserving privilege. But the rootless, the class where majority of Nigerians reside, have to wrap themselves in the bloody flag of their underclass, underprivileged heritage. Many brilliant intellectuals, geniuses, inventors, corporate rain makers are trapped in this mean, fatalist class of no hopers. They are trapped and sentenced to work the treadmill as okada riders, prostitutes, bus conductors, agberos, drivers, area boys, artisans, contract killers, phony pastors, seminar organizers, errand boys and garage touts. This is a country that has continued to muzzle every expression of talent of its own kith and kin. Ah…what a messy democracy!

This is the unproud side of our history. As a nation endowed and fitted to compete with the best performing nations of the world, we have lost the priceless fabric of probity, integrity, honesty, respect, accountability, diligence, natural justice, inclusion, patriotism, the care of the poor and universal goodwill. With all intellectual and emotional force, I must say that our democracy is unsound, unfocused and damn expensive. We practiced nominal democracy for the upper class and a brutal police for the poor classes. Praise be to Mammon. Our democracy is sold for money and maintained by money. We still accommomodate the ill-gotten wealth of Nigeria’s criminal gentry. Ah…what a messy democracy!

Written by
Taju Tijani
Join the discussion