Not too long ago, governments used to think that the world would end before a particular year. That explains away fabulous postulations such as health for all by the year this; shelter for all by the year that; water for all by the year so-and-so. Of course, this future came and sneaked into history with no success nor apologies. The deception or distraction was recycled, repackaged and redistributed!
When the so-called leaders got caught up by shame or the fear that we had seen them finish (as we say in Nigeria), they redefined their strategy. Rather than those bogus targets, they sweetened things up a little. So, we ended up with MDG’s -an acronym for Millennium Development Goals that never got scored- as well as Peer Review Mechanism which was quite long on technicalities and shorter than short on results. Currently, the ever monstrously creative strategists have served us 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) which should keep us busy until they thought up another spell!
With the world wired to set dates on which hope must manifest, Nigeria has remained on a quadrennial autopilot. That’s why after the puerile general elections by the retreating military in 1999, politicians boasted about the difference they would make during the 2003 edition. Conducting something worse that year did not stop them from swearing and cursing that 2007 shall be different. And, it was -albeit retrogressively.
2007 was so bad the winner of the presidency (may Allah bless his soul) openly confessed. That was a first in Nigeria. Perhaps angered by President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua’s audacious unnigerianness and avowed commitment to fix our electoral system in time for 2011, death invaded Aso Rock and killed him on the fifth day of May in the year or our Lord twenty ten. Fortunately though, since death cannot kill inanimate things, the man did not die with the plan or the plan did not die with the man.
His deputy, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, who took his place after the David Mark-led senate had intervened with the doctrine of necessity, insisted on a better 2011 electorally speaking. Issues remained but that may just be the best presidential ballot hitherto. 2015 was neither here nor there; ditto 2019. Which now turns every attention to 2023.
However, for me, the next ballot is not necessarily about INEC. Neither is it about who’s running and who’s not for the presidency, nor indeed about the quality of the process and of the exercise. No, this writer’s 2023 grouse is about the vehement refusal of executive incumbents and the electorate to learn from the lesson evinced by 2019, 2003, 2007, 2011, 2015 and 2019, collectively or severally. Pray, are we okay?
This is only early November, five small months since this administration set sail. Rather than focus on getting government to ensure Nigeria becomes better, we’re busy dividing and ruling, blackmailing and killing, quarrelling and fighting over who would become what in 2023. Are we sick? Are we cursed?
Have we enjoyed the spoils of our 2019 victory enough? Have those who lost reviewed things enough? Have elections, as expensive as they are in Nigeria, not become too much of a costly vicious circle? Why should our country continue to lose monumental manpower, manhours and sundry economic resources to something that pays no dividend whatsoever?
We finish a round of elections and immediately start preparing for another: I mean, is our head correct? Yet, the tiny minority who have never stopped feeding fat from our foolishness don’t do half the work. They watch and flow with the tide. They don’t care who becomes president, or governor, or chairman.
They tag along with anyone and everyone who succeeds to office. You and I call them names but while we are out in the sun sweating and cursing, they are in air-conditioned corridors, bedrooms and inner sanctuaries of power enjoying, gathering, building, multiplying and expanding. Tomorrow, with that same money they buy us or our votes or both and become rulers to whom we kowtow and cheer because they dispense crumbs to us; the lousy generosity we readily advertise on Facebook. And, someone says Politics Nigeriana is not a bitch?
I believe it is, all-round, plus including for those who ought to know better. Pretenders to the throne declare interest far too early. At the nick of time, they are spent or dead -politically speaking. This allows someone who’s been resting all along to emerge from nowhere, jump in and grab both the ticket and the victory.
Alas, that’s not our most annoying political foolery. Nationwide, executive incumbents fight blindly to install successors but -excuse my pidgin- hu susesor epp in dis kontri? Has hindsight not proved conclusively that producing a successor is but a double-edged scarecrow for political farmlands? Should 2023 not be approached differently?
Yes, we can and should begin now to make elections in Nigeria a virtuous circle. From 2023, politics must work for this country. Enough of plying the same route and being shocked after ending up in the same hole. God bless Nigeria!
2) Fashola: Why always you?
The last two editions of this column was on Works and Housing Minister, Babatunde Fashola, (SAN). Today, another weird reason crawls him back here. The former governor of Lagos says our roads are not as bad.
What I don’t understand is the attendant hullabaloo. When you elect or appoint aliens, this is what you get. Get some sense, Nigerians.
Mr. Fashola has been in power since 1999. He only flies. How then would he know about roads?
But seriously, our best answer to Minister Fashola is to launch a hashtag rebuttal campaign. Let everyone take a photo or video of one federal road or the other and upload online with #Fasholaourroadsarethebest. That one stone will kill two birds!