Much had been, and is still being, spoken/written about the tragedies that have befallen Nigeria/Nigerians as a result of the kind of leadership the country and its people have been tolerating for years. There may be arguments/counter-arguments concerning these thoughts and ideas but they largely agree that Nigeria’s political leadership cadre is of a very poor quality! There is less controversy about this owing to the fact that Nigeria is currently bogged down by one of the most intellectually-incompetent political cabal ‘leading’ a substantial number of brilliant human beings! So, Nigeria is not supposed to be bedevilled by past/present irresponsive and irresponsible political leaders that were/are not actually leading but ruling forcefully! We need not quote anyone because those politicians, themselves, know this for a fact. Res ipsa loquitur. This is why we find it difficult to figure out the reason(s) behind questions like: why do you refer to most Nigerian politicians as charlatans/con-artists? What is/are your solution(s) to the problem(s) you always hype? We are not claiming to be political scientists; but we live in Nigeria and can, at least, hear, feel, see, smell, and taste! In short, we respond to societal stimuli! Let us borrow from the typical Nigerian by answering questions with questions! We ask: what will you call a federal minister who messed up in a government ministry for almost eight years and still openly claimed that he knew nothing about the government ministry he superintended over for that long since he officially assumed office?
Maybe the minister we alluded to earlier was being candid. However, does that exonerate him from being called a charlatan? Also, what, if not con-artists/scammers, will you call those promising the electorate the moon during political campaigns but reneged after assuming office claiming that campaign promises were/are not truly meant to be kept? They even audaciously assert that some constitutional provisions are not justiciable! Most Nigerian politicians share this anomalous position and want it sustained! We are not being personal here! Are we really saying anything new? Not at all! We will continue to say (until things change for good in Nigeria’s politico-economic terrain) that it is one of the countries stricken by a disastrous political class! Nigeria is where the intellectually ill-equipped are the ones ‘leading’ some of the best! It is an unfortunate entity where politicians scorn the intellectual/intelligentsia community! Where is that ‘developed’ country that does not have a strong link with its higher educational institutions like the universities? Are Nigerians expecting forward movement, in terms of positive development, with mediocrities populating the polity? To those referring to themselves as ‘political elite’, Nigeria is a mere unowned wild – open for destructive exploitation! That same colonialists’ mentality! This is a reason for us to have been encouraging disenfranchised people to retrieve Nigeria! The European colonial masters “officially” left Nigeria more than three scores years ago but we are left with those of African descent!
The political scenario we just painted may be described as a variant of neo-colonialism. The faces of its wicked operators, that we see everyday, are those of Africans! These agents of neo-colonialism are annoyingly increasingly horribly problematic! Collectively, they are a nasty problem requiring (a) radical solution(s)! Once an abnormal problem emanates, the solution is almost always expected to be abnormal! Those thieves are not as entrenched as they want us to believe. They are pretenders the oppressed people have not yet made their mind up to ‘uproot’. We grew up here knowing them! Many of them were well-known ‘nobodies’ in their communities who failed completely in legitimately empowering themselves economically! Of course, the willing or forceful ‘support’ obtained from their communities is something whose roots need to be interrogated. The society must reinvent and cure itself; in doing this, it will need help from all! No one needs a soothsayer to know that politics, for these crooks, is not for service but a money-spinning business; to these scammers, leaving political office means that their means of livelihood will be truncated! It is surprising, to some of us, that there are still Nigerians who seem to be expecting ‘good’ performance and ‘better’ tomorrow from people who do not have, or cannot manage, any thriving private business by, or for, themselves! This group of Nigerians still marvel us! We will not use any derogatory word to describe them, here, but they are very much like our mythical Eskimos that are always ready to be sold ice! In this, primordial factors are good tools for efficiently enslaving a group of people!
While we quite agree that old-age may entrust one with first-hand information and acquired experience; historical records also exist for those (young and old) who truly care to know about vintage Nigeria. The country was not like this; although, the rot did not start today! There should not be deception concerning this! With enabling environment, “the good, the bad, and/or the ugly” – depending on a society’s preference(s) – accumulate and fester over a long period of time. Again, what is astonishingly puzzling to some of us is how Nigerian society allows decay to progress to the prevailing level! Were there incentives for warped value system? Perhaps, there was! Certainly, the older generation owes the younger ones some valid explanations. This opinion may be unpopular in some cultures; nevertheless, the past needs serious interrogation by a people for them to make necessary corrective decisions, today, for onward progressive march towards the future. We said it in the past and will reiterate that, notwithstanding the widespread lunacy ravaging Nigeria’s political terrain, there are men/women with impeccable moral integrity. Yes, these men/women possess the capability needed in reversing this current negative trend. They can pilot Nigeria from the backwardness being experienced towards sane modern development. The challenges to be surmounted are to properly identify, encourage and support them, as soon as earlier than yesterday!
Consequently, we urge people who have their career and businesses to massively join politics for the purpose of flushing political miscreants out! In this regard, we are actually calling on those who are uninterested in joining the rampaging gangs of thieves looting the country dry! These gangs always brandish election war chest illicitly obtained from the public coffers to suppress those they deceivingly call “fellow Nigerians” or “fellow compatriots”. We are convinced that there are good Nigerians; the country needs them! Nigerians, wake up! You cannot move forward with politicians and street urchins whose only business is politics! Unfortunately, these are the people holding sway in the country’s politics, today! They have been successful, this far, in employing strategies to sustain this control because the common people have been made incapable and/or undecided to do the needful by confronting and making these charlatans and con-artists know that they have exhausted their time, long ago! Appealing to those criminals’ conscience, morals and emotion is not the way to go! They do not care! It may have taken time but we are convinced that nothing lasts forever; Nigeria’s murky political waters can be made clean! It is important to note that the expected cleansing will not be done by any group of people other than Nigerians themselves! Therefore, those who love Nigeria needed to be informed/reminded that the country is far behind in modernity. Its contemporaries have long left it far behind. It has to move forward.
Erakhrumen currently teaches at the Department of Forest Resources and Wildlife Management, University of Benin, Benin City, Nigeria.