It is crystal clear that acidifying the political, social and security complexity and bewilderment in Nigeria is the excruciating rascality, immaturity, twisted patriotism and ideological dissonance of the Nigerian elite and political class. When the concept of ideology originated in France during the late 18th century from generative thinkers and writers, it was a system of beliefs that aspires to explain and change the world, and was anchored on knowledge gained from human senses. We also understand that the concept of political ideology is concerned with basic philosophical principles and the basis of political power and programme of action.
If this concept has been conscientiously analyzed, internalized and ingrained as driving force in the movement for social change by elite and political actors, we will not be at the mercy of political leaders that are bereft of accountability and illuminating ideologue. It is no gain-say that if Dyestuff de Tracy learns of the present ideological end, he will surely weep profusely.
The irony of politics and democracy in Nigeria, is that actors are fundamentally incongruous democrats, and that we see, whichever way viewed is democratic stratocumulus and immaturity. This has unfortunately shaped our sub-consciousness, perception, insensibility and human capacity and effective national leadership development.
The abhorrent leadership make up, palpable shiftiness, ethnical shortcomings and exasperating menace of so called economic and political analysts, elite and political leaders, not only created but nurtured the perplexing dilemma facing Nigeria today. Their indifference, impotence and blindness in the face of the manifesting radical socio-economic, cultural and moral decadence besieging this era disgust the rest of us.
We are told that knowledge is power, and we can attest to this from what we see to other countries accomplish through it, but in our case our reasoning is programmatic. We have failed to learn from the overwhelming mega trends that require new conceptualization, new perception, insights and consciousness that can practically guide or direct efforts towards dealing with the current challenges as well as the opportunities.
Our challenges stem from self afflicting disunity, egocentrical bias, tribal cleavage, me or no one else syndrome, stealing and corruption, injustice, ingrained suspicion occasioned by fear of socio-economic, ethnic-regional and political domination (and the orientation for it). Undoubtedly, abject erosion of patriotism has disoriented many from taking cognizance of, or partaking and benefitting in the rapidly expanding knowledge of changing world order.
Ineptitude in discovering our internal signals have prevented our ability to drive any meaningful shifts that could predict and accentuate proactive action on the accumulating challenges by leaders who aspire to lead to be able to confront the enormous national challenges in the context of shaping the realities and future in our direction.
Instead of being change agents for real, they are agents of destabilization, national embarrassment and unrepentant conspirators against the Nigerian state given the level of lack of unity of purpose and political grumpiness. We see the menace of political desperados and jobbers as political leaders devoid of principles but imbued with extraordinary self-interest. They are not pro-life, pro-people and pro-Nigeria.
It is most unfortunate that some Nigerians are yet to see the urgent need to understand, nurture and protect their country from the antics of external and internal conspirators. Saying from my area states that if fire enters the house through uno oshai (sacred hut), it is extremely difficult to put off because in that hut okili (the traditional mysterious fire extinguisher) is stored.
Our palpable disunity and pervading conflicting intentions have prevented us from drawing a line as to who actually is waging war or agent of destruction against Nigeria.
Equally pitiable and most disgusting is that the emergence of divergence temperament, values and perception on the part of elite and political actors have flourished as part of our ugly political life far back as first republic and during military interregnum.
It is therefore, ironical that one is constrained to quote the challenging observation of the former Head of State, Yakubu Gowon, October 1, 1974 while marking the 14th independence of Nigeria, declining his administration’s intention of returning the country to civilian rule as earlier promised. He stated in part that “inspite of state of emergency which has been in place since May 1967, there had been such high degree of sectional politicking, in temperate utterances and writings, all designed to whip up ill-feeling within the country to the benefit of a few.
We had thought that genuine demonstrations of moderation and self-control in pursuing sectional ends in the overall interest of the country would have become the second nature of Nigerians, but it is clear that those that aspire to lead the nation on the return to civil rule had not learnt any lessons from past experiences”.
This observation, though candid, was unacceptable, coupled with alarm on corruption, caused his exit from office via military coup. Good. But sincerely juxtaposing the intriguing dimensions of our prevalent political grumpiness, pervading culture of impunity, security complexities, menace of the elite and politicians and the regional – ethnic direct or stealth support for the formation and sustenance of ethnic militia groups with Yakubu Gowon’s observation; the judgement is yours as to whether anybody knows or has learnt anything.
The actions and inactions of elite and political class are the creation of the increasing tension in the polity through their exaggerations, falsehood, unguarded and provocative utterances and calumnious campaigns that engender violence.
We have also seen situation where politicians have colluded with foreigners to continuously denigrate Nigerian presidency and the military for the advancement of their political ambitions due to lack of patriotism. They have extended their excruciating politics to military, and got it polarized, support professional indiscipline and mutiny. They call for review of military laws but cannot even interprete and operate Nigeria’s constitution effectively hence the present democratic, legal and constitutional cul-de-sac because they condemn what they are not conversant with.
The media and judiciary cannot be also absolved of culpability in the present national malaise, as a section of the media has given up on ethics and professionalism. They have abandoned their primary responsibility and role of being the balancing factor and bridge – builder in the propagation of equity, unity, good governance and development through education and accurate information dissemination. Politics, pecuniary interest and inclination to media ownership allegiance, dictate the pace of activity.
Worse still, they rely on, and either relay reports picked from foreign media or give reports quoting their unconfirmed source or sources. No investigative capacity and interest. While we need not advocate restraint in the exercise of media freedom to operate, objectivity and patriotism must be of acute consideration.
The persistent decline in judicial reverence is obvious too, given issues arising from inadequate funding, meddlesomeness of politicians and office holders, poor level of consciousness and insufficient judicial precedence in the dispensation of justice, conflicting judicial pronouncements and claim of inadequate prosecutional processes, to liturgy in prosecution and insufficient evidence occasioning serial adjournments.
A situation where cases (especially stealing and corruption) are put under table for upwards of 10 -15 years undisposed of is most embarrassing, moreso when political cases receive accelerated hearings and judgements. The unprofessional and unethical practices of the Bar have equally caught our attention. Their reactions and criticisms against court rulings via electronic and print media both within and outside court premises, which ordinarily should be through appeal as the best procedure.
To curb the present level of disrepute, judicial reformation is of urgent necessity to reposition it with capacity to address illegalities, constitutional and societal challenges arising from the present conundrum.
The same provision of basic infrastructure – housing, electricity, amenities, employment, equal opputunities and education politicians have be singing for decades is still in vogue in 2015 political campaigns. So, what have the Nigerian politicians accomplished for the people during the past 54 years of self-government? The question remains: where have all the political scientists, political leaders of non-peril, real professionals, clergymen and elder statesmen and women gone? What we, unfortunately see, are prejudiced skeletons and shadows of people expressing jaundiced and distractive views and making comments that militate against peace, national cohesion and development.
Our challenging realities require Nigerians to deliver themselves from the shackles of abject ignorance and follow-follow syndrome. The elite and politicians we have been following, have acquired unprecedented affluence through stealing and corruption and enjoy societal recognition and applause; yet they blindfold and inundate people with monotonous and outdated speeches they call political manifesto.
We believe that our phenomenon calls for ability to capitalize on the emerging trends through new awareness, knowledge, re-awakening and revamping of the eroded spirit of culture and patriotism. Real scholars and professionals must awake and assist by becoming more concerned and raise their voice.
They have a duty to develop a systematic body of knowledge needed not only to explain political life but suggest certain kinds of behavior that will be capable of directing political activism through ideology, knowledge and discipline for understanding and ameliorating societal challenges. Ralph Waldo Emerson, probably foresaw Nigeria’s situation after periscoping societies and stated that “the true test of civilization is, not the consensus, nor the size of the cities, nor the corps, but the kind of man that the country turns out.”
Time to re-create and maintain values with intention of unifying Nigerians with patriotism, national vision and direction, is now. We must have right brain and cool-headed leaders, not left brain and experimentalists that will aggravate the increasing complexity and adverse conditions.
Both leaders and followers must have character, right sense of judgement and must be able to reinvent confidence and credibility in the polity. Consensus in the context of present upheaval and transition, will undoubtedly; help in shifting the governing characteristics of our long-held assumptions and perceptions that everything is essentially stable and unchangeable.
*Pius Oba wrote from Lagos and can be reached on 07060582577