Dear esteemed readers, sorry for my self-imposed literary and social-networking exile. Blame it on writers block (whatever it is) though. I believe am back from my self-induced exile and I would subsequently be dropping some half-serialized op-eds, short-titled ‘To be…’. Today’s piece as has been revealed from the title seeks to espouse on the Nigerian political terrain. Read and drop your comments.
I have not stopped marvelling at the stark illogicality and sharp incongruity of our own political ineptitude and incompetence. Many instances abound of the testimony of failure in leadership and government in this country. The mind-blowing crude oil theft; corruption in public office; crisis-ridden polity; large-scale looting; massive carpet-bagging, to say the least, are just little atoms of the irksome aspect of our government. Nothing explains more the artificial profile of our own politicians here in Nigeria, more than the yawning chasm between a Nigerian ruler and the ordinary Nigerian-ruled. Now, mind you, the Nigerian politician I am, and throughout would be referring to, is the type who is well-heeled and lives within political high towers, from whence he is only seen on tv screens and seen physically when elections are around the corner once more. He is the type whose children hardly find suitable schools here in Nigeria. The only suitable schools in Nigeria which his children might begrudgingly attend cost fortunes per term (the equivalent of 50 level 11 civil servant’s salaries). He is disconnected from the spirit and soul of Nigeria as a geographical entity. He lords it over the ruled, and enjoys the privilege of eating the juiciest fruits gotten from the sweat of the civil servants.
These types of politicians are different. They enjoy the rarified and the most snobbish of friendship circle. Their homes are five star in quality, in the lofty ambience and even in the simple furnishings. The corrupt milestones they have thus far recorded bear eloquent testaments to their ignoble greed for stolen loot. They don’t understand what it means to be without electricity, to fight in a queue while waiting for the next unavailable bus that will convey them to work; they don’t know what it means to hunger, to hope against hope for things to get just slightly better. They don’t understand what it means to live in perpetual fear as being experienced by residents of Northern Nigeria. They certainly don’t engage in begging the saucy and money-drunk landlord at the end of each month for their long overdue house rent. No. Those experiences are left for the exclusive jurisdictional enjoyment of the ruled.
They have no such experiences, no they don’t. Yet and again, the untouchableness (invincibility)of their position has made it possible for them to rule over those who really know and understand society. Those who, for all practical purposes, should be the ones smiling to the banks on month-ends. How on God’s green earth would it be humanely possible for them to decide what best suits the average Nigerian, when best to make this or that unholy policy, which mostly needed infrastructure to provide for the people? Of course, the ones being ruled will bear the cost of such unfortunate misgovernance. What rankles is the barely concealed verdict of guilt that permeates virtually all their actions.
When they organise events, they see of course the only type of world they know: a world of wasteful resources. Their events are normally a competition for who would waste the more resources. The events are well doctored-to-suit and synthetically waxed to pinpoint their artificial lives. Nigeria is a country to tap and enjoy unwholesome wealth. They plunder the home front and take refuge abroad when need be. In the process, planting and watering the suicidal and dire consequence of social unrest that has engulfed the country in recent times. Yes, our incompetence has simply reached a crescendo, a self-destruct level.
A bumbling economy, malleable legal system and a naïve populace all add to the wheels which generate their thirst for more. Yet, they are never satisfied. They seek for more and more. After all, our kind of economy is the kind where fortunes are made or lost purely form how close you are to the seat of power. One can then clearly see and understand why the desperation these politicians grovel for power.
On the strength of the potency of the truism of eminent American historian, Barbara Tuchman’s words, that: “A problem that strikes one in the study of history, regardless of period, is why man makes a poorer performance of government than of almost any other human activity. In this sphere (government), wisdom – meaningful judgement acting on experience, common sense, available knowledge and decent appreciation of probability – is less operative and more frustrated than it should be. Why do men in high office so often act contrary to the way that reason points and enlightened self-interest suggests? Why does intelligent mental process so often seems to be paralyzed?”, I make bold to unapologetically declare that to be a Nigerian politician, you need to live a wholly and thoroughly artificial life.
Arikor Collins Ogonnaya