When I saw the video, I wasn’t at all surprised, considering how up close I’ve seen the typical Nigerian politician in their full panoply of pomposity, power-drunkenness and pinheaded-ness. It’s the skin they wear; they play God and it works.
In the said video, Booda Isiaka Ajimobi, the governor of Oyo state, armed with one or two life-threatening grammar errors, was seen taking umbrage at a group of understandably aggrieved university students, who came to his office to protest an 8-month closure of their school due to many things, prominent of which is the non-payment of staff salaries.
Nigerians on social media are livid with the governor over his utterances and misdemeanour, but shouldn’t we also ask why he had such effrontery to behave that uncouth in public? Haven’t we seen enough of such shows of surreal stupidity from our present agbada armada public officials? Enough to make us curious about why they keep acting this way? Saraki in Kwara; Amosun in Ogun; Mimiko in Ondo; Aregbesola in Osun; Oshiomole in Edo; Rochas in Imo. The list is sadly endless, and these are just the ones we get to know out of the many. At no cost, I can tell you how an ordinary ward chairman does not act ordinary in any of the states I’ve worked.
If you haven’t wondered why this is so, I have; and I think I have an answer. The political setup in Nigeria has conquered the voting population in totality, and that’s my answer. That’s a fatal truth I’ve come to accept.
The political framework in Nigeria achieved this conquest by successfully tuning the reality of the average Nigerian voter to the frequency of subsistence. The average Nigerian voter thinks like a subject, not a citizen, not a stakeholder, not an employer of public officials, but a subject.
The present voting population in Nigeria is sweet-talk-able, can be easily lured with lucre, and therefore fuckwithable. The level of poverty and illiteracy amongst this voting population is high, but so also is the level of illogicality and lack of patriotic creed amongst the supposedly literate percentage of this voting population. All of these achievable because of the fact of subsistence. The voting population has been made to think about the now! So much they can never see a greater good, the larger picture or the true picture when choices are presented to them, they just want to eat and survive in the now.
The Culture of Anyhowness
This is what gives the average politician that effrontery to do anyhow, and get away with it. They have set up a system that suits their inactivity and ineffectiveness; a system whereby staying alive is made hard, where economy is just a word and inflation is real. Where education from primary to doctoral has been made ordinarily paper’s worth, a system that leaves almost no choice to the average voter, literate or illiterate, than to think ONLY subsistence, with the intention to either quench hunger or latent greed, or to mask poverty and appear “arrived“.
This conquest of the voting population by politicians was done gradually and strategically. It began subtly at independence, grew bolder during the oil boom, and has become a mainstay in our nascent democracy that started in 1999 till date. Amongst an enfranchising majority, voting is done along the ethnic, religion line, or party line, and the only one line that fuels all is this hunger line, also called, wait for it, subsistence.
You don’t get it yet? Chill, mek I clear you.
Do you know that right now, there are people online already defending Booda Isiaka by saying the video was an edited version bla bla bla? As though those words were photoshopped into his brain?
Do you know that all Rochas Okorocha needs to do in order to remain popular, appear appeasing and politically viable is to show up with some cash and say “my peepu, my peepu” with his entire 32 beaming?
Did you study the past Ondo gubernatorial election at all? Do you know that Eyitayo Jegede, Mimiko’s anointed, polled over 200,000 votes, just a few thousands shy off the eventual winner, largely because Mimiko promised on Friday, that he would pay on Monday, the 7 months salaries owed the state workers, if they voted in Jegede on Saturday? Such effrontery!
Do you know that the eventual winner in that election, Akeredolu, had to outspend Jegede and Co on the election days to the tune of billions, paying voters 5,000/10,000 naira per vote?
Do you know that the present government’s budget for social media in 2017 is close to a billion if not more than that? That there are people who are qwerty-ready to hashtag away in propagandist support of a flailing government?
Do you know how disgustingly unashamed journalists grovel at politicians for beer money and succour?
Do you know that Ibikunle Amosun is now the “Beg-Me-Before-I-Perform-My-Duty” General of the Nigerian political landscape and that he has loyal troops?
Nigeria does not need a new political party; the country needs sense
I could go on and on, stating how the average Politician in present day Nigerian plays the conquest card veritably well over both suspecting and unsuspecting voter who has been pegged to subsistence, almost genetically.
This leads me to a point. Recently, I opined that Nigeria does not need a new political party, that a new political party is not the solution to our collective woes, and this above is the reason why I opine so.
I salute the passion of the people who have gone ahead to flag off political parties in an attempt to make Nigeria better. I know of ANRP via a dear boss, Tope Fasua and one other Progress Party by Onyeka Nwelue. But the sad truth is that, that is NOT the solution the country needs. This is because these new political parties, up to 40 or so according to INEC, are targeting this same present voting population. A project which, to me, is an already lost pursuit. It’s as bad as stating categorically that, if President Buhari runs again in 2019, he would win. Yeah, that bad.
Yes, there are people who truly want it better, people who see better and are tired of the status quo, people who have the benefit of not being within this voting population I described above either by providence or exposure, and yes, there will be converts who will buy into this new political party thing with honest intent too. The utter truth is just that WE are massively outnumbered by those caught in the web of subsistence either by choice or otherwise, more sadly, they are mostly irredeemable. This isn’t pessimism, trust me. My firsthand experience with this setup makes me know.
Therefore, hoping that a new political party, no matter what it stands for, will wrestle Nigeria out of the spoilers like Booda Isiaka, is like hoping that Vaseline will cure Stage IV Cancer. Ko le werk!
Quo Vadis, Nigeria?
I believe we need a nation first. A true nation, what we have now is a zoological garden filled with weeds at best. To achieve this, I believe we need to firstly accept the diagnosis of a conquered voter population where facts, figures, logic, healthy disagreements, patriotism, civic duty, nationalist ideologies, and altruism doesn’t sell, and then shift focus on aggressively educating and orientating our kids, aged between foetus and 14, the generation behind us, on the deeds and importance of nationhood.
We have to accept the fact that what we need now is something that looks more like a renaissance, not even revolution per se. The rot and capture of our citizenry by pecuniary politicking was achieved gradually, the reverse of it too must be done gradually, hence, the renaissance. It will take time. But, we MUST start as soon as yesterday if we truly mean well. I have started in my own way – acts of random education and re-education of teens and kids anywhere I find myself.
But, we can do it better together. This is what I believe we can channel our energies and passion together to achieve, not hoisting new political parties. We need a serious knowledge-based movement that will capture the hearts of our kids, teaching them for example, that the most important office in a democracy is that of the citizen, the citizenry, where facts and figures, logic and competence matter more than any other thing when APPOINTING governance.
Trust me, the way things are presently, the Ajimobis are here to stay, and until we pick up the right treatment for our damning diagnosis of a conquered voting population, they will keep asking us, “what course are you DOING?”
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