It is always the same thing – the same motivations, the same passions, the same ambitions that drive them.
The way they talk about religion, you would think that spiritual matters and thoughts of the after life would be more important than the search for power. The way they promote their ethnic groups and identity, you would think that they are ready, at any time, to protect their people and region.
What a shock to discover that they are neither interested in the tenets of their faith nor in the protection of their own people.
IT IS THE SEDUCTIVE LURE OF POLITICAL POWER THAT DRIVES THEM
Political power acquisition in Africa and Nigeria is the all in all. It is the gateway to ‘paradise.’ opening the way to untold and unquantifiable riches. The doors of the mighty are opened and their words become law. If you are privileged, through whatever means, to get to power, you can raid the treasury of the state at will, in full view of the people and a table of honour will be prepared for you. You can undermine the institutions of state or transcend them because you can become the state, and the state can become you. In the words of Louis XIV of France (1643-1715:
“L ètat c’est moi”
You do not care for God and His religion, but you will use deceitful religious sentiments to mobilize your people along ethnic and religious lines for the purpose of acquiring political power. You are not interested that the various peoples in your community, state, and region have always lived peacefully with one another for decades. Not you! Their peaceful coexistence is troubling to you since such harmony will not help your cause. You want to be the champion of your people. And the only way you can be their champion is to inflame passions, to tell them that they are different from one another, and to sow discord. And when the evil seeds you have sown germinate, and the inevitable crisis begins, you quickly rise up in defence of your people and become their champion.
Igbo versus Hausa, Yoruba versus Fulani, minority versus majority, Tiv versus Berom. This is your trademark. You are never happy whenever there is peace among them.
You lie and spread falsehoods about other people from other ethnic and religious groups who have done nothing wrong to you. You spread fear and create anxiety among your own people and tell them that the other people should not be trusted. You and your types are masters in the act of segregation and division.
People would think that when you and your co-travelers eventually attain your ill-gotten objectives, you would use part of these benefits to better the lives of your own people – the same people you mobilized for your own purposes.
But no! The truth is that the welfare and Safety of the ordinary citizens do not figure much in your priorities and those of the political elites in our country. The citizens are cannon fodder and very inconsequential when it comes to sharing the benefits of democracy. They are to be used to achieve certain political goals – that’s all.
AND THEY DO ACHIEVE THESE GOALS, AS PRESIDENTS, GOVERNORS, AND ELECTED REPRESENTATIVES
And having satisfied their political goals, you would also think that they would stop. But no! The only way they can continue to retain control and influence over their people is to continue to reinforce the idea of them versus us. The presidents have done this with their dot on the circle statements, and the governors have followed suit with no less obnoxious divisive statements.
But their behaviour is far worse.
Have we not seen what they did with the Covid 19 palliatives all over the country in 2020? For months, while the pandemic ravaged the land, and hunger ruled the country, palliatives meant for the people worth billions of Naira remained locked up in warehouses in Lagos, Abuja, Oyo, Plateau, Enugu, Zamfara, and all over. And because it is a truth that nothing stays hidden forever, soon enough, the people discovered the secret warehouses and rightly decided to help themselves to what was rightfully theirs – but diverted by very venial, unscrupulous, and unconscionable mercenaries masquerading as government functionaries.
But it is not as if they never do anything for the people. They do! They take large chunks of the meat from a fattened cow and throw the bones to us, the people. They run down social infrastructures such as hospitals and schools and leave us to our fate, while they embrace western healthcare infrastructure and schools on behalf of their children with our money.
THIS IS WHAT THEY DO WITH THE POWER THEY OBTAIN BY MANIPULATING US.
They do not seem to realise, following their many acts of malfeasance and those of their predecessors, that the traditional, centralised power structure in the country is broken irredeemably and that power is now diffused. As a result, what we have is a scramble or scavenging for the little power still left in the country.
No wonder they are refusing to allow Nigerians talk about the basis of their present and future.
NOW SOME PEOPLE ARE PROMISING HELL AND BRIMSTONE COME 2023 IF THEY DO NOT RETAIN POLITICAL POWER.
But what have they done with the power they have exercised for decades:?
A country on the brink of disintegration
A comatose economy
A broken and desponded people
Weakened state institutions
Nepotism and parochialism as statecraft
The poverty capital of the world
Cessationist agitators everywhere
Terrorists, bandits, and dangerous herdsmen
Broken down and non-existent social infrastructure
Are these the purposes of political power? Are these the reasons why our discredited political elites will mobilize their people along parochial religious, ethnic, and geo-political lines to fight a battle that they only, benefit from? Is that why they do nothing about education for their people – why they produce the greatest numbers of out of school children in the world? Why insecurity is no longer confined to one geo-political zone, but has now spread to the entire country – killing over half a million Nigerians in ten years?
The ordinary people that are dying, whether in the north or the south are our people – because they are Nigerians. And even if they are not Nigerians, they would still be our people because they are part of our humanity, our universe – creatures and creation of the same God we proudly and sometimes, insincerely proclaim as our God.
The search for, and acquisition of political power is to produce positive outcomes that are beneficial to the people. If the product or output of political power is misery and despair, then the wielders of such powers must be thrown out at the most opportuned time through a process agreed by all.
But what if they refuse to abide by the dictates of that process?
Then the inevitable truism of that statement rings true;
“Those who make peaceful change impossible, will make violent change inevitable.”
How foolish can a people be – to continuously fight other people’s battles without anything to show for it.
Power is truly nothing without control. Indeed, it is dangerous.
As we have seen!