Politicians – particularly most of the current Nigerian variant(s) – are almost permanently incurably unreasonable by deliberately refusing to learn from history.
Of course, we do not expect them to learn from it since this will be ‘abnormal’ if they do! It is astonishing that this group of people simply referred to, collectively, as political elite (including their fellow shallow-thinking followers) always squeeze out ways by which they return the country’s politics to the ignominious past when/where many of the challenges Nigeria is now battling with got rooted!
That epoch is what clear-headed progressive citizens are working in ways that will make it remain where it ought to be – the past. Unfortunately, it appears that the country is not yet out of the woods concerning the foregoing. In fact, the realities concerning the 2023 elections, in places known to many, appear to be comparable to the build-up of negativities for the political turbulence that occurred shortly before the January, 1966 military intrusion into Nigerian politics.
We will be needlessly opening old wounds if events accompanying this and other such intrusions (that were more like brigandage) are relayed. This is why it is saddening that Nigeria is being prepared for more ugly paths, considering the actions/inactions of today’s similar dramatis personae earlier alluded to.
We are referring to unpatriotic elements that have been exploiting Nigeria’s fault lines for decades and relentlessly guiding the available unashamed gullible citizens to scorn Nigeria’s best for these politicians’ political gains.
The mania for self-centredness by this group (with the wherewithal to ‘take off’ from this country, if there is crisis) is what led Nigeria to, subsequently, get a military head-of-state that was so anti-intellectual that he sadistically opined that university students were, then, always engaging in “Aluta” for rights because they were overfed from subsidised food; thus, his government withdrew subsidy for this purpose.
This is someone who eventually set up a private university and ‘obtained’ a doctorate from a public university! As we were saying, this and more damages were eventually done to these tertiary academic institutions. What was/is expected by these mediocrities? Simply, pauperisation of intellectuals and collapse of intellectualism!
These institutions have not been able to recover from these continuous attacks on intellectualism; or how do we explain the government’s order that all the tertiary academic institutions should be closed down because of 2023 elections? Was Nigeria at war?
To those mediocrities, elections are more important than public education! How do we know a government of anti-intellectuals? We know that there are some internal problems within these institutions but there has never been the magnitude of attacks on them by anti-intellectual-powered forces like the ones from the ‘outgoing’ group of people in the central government! It is like they planned to come into power to crush scholarship in Nigeria!
They have really ‘tried’ in this regard and will be remembered for it! We hope other subsequent governments will not come into power to intensify these attacks and fulfil their purpose(s)! The unfolding reality before our eyes – if nothing positive is done now – is that the future is really bleak for these public higher educational institutions; most especially the universities among them.
It is increasingly clear that Nigerian politicians (either in government or not) place more value on street urchins and political thugs than good education for the populace.
After all, ignorance and poverty resulting from lack of education and skills aid in spawning most of the societal miscreants that are desired by these depraved politicians.
The preceding scenario fit in with others in the narrative of political class’ conspiracy against the masses. The elections of the 25th February and 18th March, 2023 showed that the country still have a long way to go even with the Electoral Act 2022 that earlier gave some of us reason to hope for sanity in Nigeria’s elections.
Unfortunately, the Act was brazenly violated, in broad daylight, by politicians and their cohort. In a grim determination to do or die, they shamelessly engaged in electoral offences with well-stated punishments perhaps in connivance with security personnel!
This is not our opinion; these allegations have been well-reported in many local and foreign news outlets. If truly the Nigerian security personnel got compromised and were involved in those violations, then the mess we are currently in will definitely continue beyond now, for a long time, as there is yet no answer, in Nigeria, to the question “quis custodiet ipsos custodes?”
Some of the politicians may have ‘succeeded’ in their dubious actions, today, but the accompanying stench will remain for a long period. We know that they do not care about this fact.
For instance, after elections, who will take care of the thugs they armed for that purpose? Are they not part of those causing menace in the society? How many of these thugs’ children are being trained by politicians in any educational facility anywhere? Do thugs even bother to ask about where politicians’ children are? Only ‘stupidity’ will make one knowingly make himself/herself available to be part of politicians’ cannon fodder!
The last statement may contain strong words but is it untrue? Note that politicians will never think about the wounded, maimed and dead among these ‘stupid’ thugs.
They (politicians) will simply move on! Politicians will not willingly add value to thugs! The reason is that thugs must remain so to be useful for thuggery during future elections! Although, some thugs are mutating/‘upgrading’ to educated illiterates migrating to traditional/social media platforms and cyberspace to spew filth! It must be said that only covetous and thieving hands will like to reap where they did not sow!
The country cannot continue on this current political path and expect good leaders. Flawed electoral processes are not likely to produce the desired good leaders because something cannot be placed on nothing.
This idea of people committing verifiable electoral offences and getting off scot-free must be curtailed in order to stop impunity in our electoral process.
A consequence of unenforced laws is the emboldening of law-breakers to fearlessly engage in more criminalities to the detriment of law-abiding citizens. It is so pathetic that those being referred to as ‘leaders’ (misleaders) are among these law-breakers!
Democracy should not be equated to lawlessness! Nigeria has good laws that must be obeyed/enforced – collectively; this is a tidier way to go!
*Andrew A. Erakhrumen currently teaches at the Department of Forest Resources and Wildlife Management, University of Benin, Benin City, Nigeria.