It is only a fool that will keep doing the same thing, and expect a different result… so paraphrased goes that wise saying. I cannot but come off with that conclusion on hearing of former EFCC boss Mallam Nuhu Ribadu declared intention to run for the nation’s highest office.
Have Ribadu read history? Did Ribadu forget his most recent Nigeria history? Why is Ribadu willing to join the long list of progressive politicians or politico wannabes that wasted their goodwill and got demystified while seeking the “inglorious” office of being the “leader of the corrupt world”? Has Ribadu lost his political sensibilities, assuming he had any? Does Ribadu understand the psychology of a loss? Does Ribadu recognize the grave injury he is about to commit to the oft damaged Nigerian Progressivism Psyche?
The road to Aso Rock (or the State House for that matter) is filled with carcasses of progressive politicians who in their spirited fervor were destroyed by the veiled forces that have pillaged Nigeria to date. It is not that these carcasses forewarns the progressives of today not to get involved in high level politics, but rather it is the way those carcasses got there that should hold in it tiny bits of puzzles in Nigeria on how progressives should and should not seek involvement in the muddy world of politics.
From Chief Obafemi Awolowo, who put paid to the glorious era of functional government in a third of Nigeria, then Western Region, by his desire to govern at the center to more recently the Pat Utomi, Gani Fawehinmi (SAM), Bola Ige, MKO Abiola, Fela Anikulapo Kuti, Aminu Kano and so on, and so forth; one cannot but smell ominous fate for progressives that fail to do their homework while seeking the presidency.
On the other hand, the success of progressivism on the lower tiers of governance (regional, state or local) reveals the path to actuating the progressive dream for Nigeria; from one of Government of the Contractors to Government of the People; from Government for the Political Jobbers to Government for the people; and from Government by Criminals to Government by the People.
Raji Fashola’s triumph in Lagos is no doubt a pointer to the path that all progressives should take when seeking to impact the lives of ordinary Nigerians; so is the path Adams Oshiomole took. Oshiomole’s path was realistic and pragmatic; as opposed to Pat Utomi’s grandiose path that was doomed for failure from the get go.
No doubt, Gani Fawenhinmi would have been a thorn in the flesh of the thieving Senators of the Federal Republic had he sought that office in 1999 or 2003 (which he very well would have won), rather than the grandiose dream of a progressive presidency. Wouldn’t you pay to watch Professor Utomi on the floor of the Nigerian Senate or House of Representative, or the State House in Asaba? And please don’t remind me that Bola Ige was the best Senator (in the mould of Cicero his alter ego) which Nigeria never had. Imagine what level of intellectual sagacity our own Cicero of Esa Oke must have transported that body circa 1999; instead of the smoldering error of gangstersim that now pervades that august assembly.
Oh what glorious day it shall be when Ribadu will get his common sense back and seek the governorship nay say the local government chairmanship of his origin, and from there showcase the virtues of progressive governance.
Like charity, progressivism must start at home. Progressives in Nigeria stand no chance against the god of money in the midst of poverty and helplessness. Far too many Nigerians are willing to sell their birthright of political freedom for a morsel of meal (given by the enemy himself). Indeed, Nigeria is like the home once gang raped and looted by an armed robber now being offered protection and comfort food by the very same, drawing from the looted wealth. How else can one explain the effrontery of IBB?
It appears that far too many progressives in Nigeria lack both the political insight and steel to offer an alternative out of our four yearly false choices between bands of brigands. I mean is a choice between IBB, Atiku and GEJ one that a nation of 150 million people should be proud of? You cannot be serious! Nigeria can do better, but only if those amongst us that have in them the true genetics of progressive politics are willing to stop being lazy and do the hard work.
First, progressives must learn that politics equals money. Hence, they must not in any manner cede the mantra of capitalism or materialism to the busy bodies and criminals that govern in the government contract space. Progressives must seek to control the true private sector, pouring their intellect and resources to being true businessmen and women that succeed regardless of government contracts. Entrepreneurship and innovation holds the best promise for achieving this.
Secondly, progressives must be willing to put their money where their mouth is; achieving economic comfort then must not be an end to itself but a means to a promising end. This being said, they must deploy their money while outside politics to funding ideas, think tanks and intellectuals that will subvert the criminal state that Nigeria has become. In addition, their resources must be used to fund a parallel government through charity (Hamas Model) that funds mass education, health programs, food and water initiatives as well as community development projects that show the common man an alternative to the do-nothing, inept rulers in Abuja.
In doing the first and second, the economically viable progressive must connect the dots and build true goodwill in the grassroots and seek power at the same level. I foresee a future of such progressives emerging first as local government chairmen, house of assembly members and governors of their respective domains in a wave election that will surprise the conservative powers that be, and eternally impacting the political configuration of Nigeria.
However not until Ribadu and his band of unorganized progressives are willing to do the above, will I stop conceiving that here again, “another one is willing to conscript his intellect, his ambition and his goodwill to the tomb of Nigeria’s progressive ill fortune!” What a pity. For Nigeria, that is.