Like the Israelites, Nigerians, by voting for the APC in 2015 headed straight to the wilderness and are still trapped in the wilderness.
North African country, Egypt, means many things to the world. For some, it represents the cradle of civilization for Africans, the same way Rome or Greece does for Europeans. For many, Egypt brings to mind the royal but despotic appellation of Pharaoh, the country’s revered title of kingship in ancient times. More significantly, Egypt is made popular by the Bible which records how the Israelites sojourned there for many years under hegemonic bondage. During that period, the Israelites were subjected to diverse forms of inhuman treatment, despoiled and gradually bludgeoned to damnation. Such was the experience of the Israelites in Egypt until their exit from captivity.
Given the above scenario, the idea of a return to Egypt is abhorred and vehemently rejected by those who are familiar with the experiences of the Israelites in that country. Beyond the Biblical account, the phrase “return to Egypt” has crept into modern lexicography to mean a return to suffering and anguish. It was to the latter category of meaning that APC chairman, Mr. Adams Oshiomhole referred to recently when he said that voting for the PDP in the next elections will mean returning Nigerians to Egypt. In unambiguous terms, the garrulous party chairman submitted that Nigerians should not return to Egypt. My discerning mind agrees with Mr. Oshiomhole that Nigerians were indeed in proverbial Egypt for sixteen years when the PDP held sway. For Nigerians, it was a period when they were given over to propulsions of indigenous affliction to determined perfidy by economic predators. Those sixteen years of PDP administration recall a period of unrivaled plundering of national vaults which eventually led to a glaring pulverization of the economy, which in turned enunciated absolute despondency among the populace.
Under the PDP years, Nigeria became a rudderless country headed for a catastrophe of purgatory dimensions. The PDP years produced men and women who were above the law, the years produced public officers who transmuted to the billionaire club overnight and lived a life of lavishing waste while their compatriots grappled with various forms of economic mire. It was a period of economic sabotage when Nigerians were confronted with energy crisis and power failure, which forced many companies out of the country after millions of dollars were spent on power generation. Indeed, to say that the Nigerian experience under the PDP years is synonymous with the experience of the Israelites in Egypt is to put it mildly. Therefore Mr. Adams Oshiomhole was right to admonish Nigerians to be wary of returning to Egypt.
Mr. Adams Oshiomhole is an intelligent man however, he failed to point out that many APC stalwarts today were brutal taskmasters under PDP while Nigerians were in Egypt. He failed to point out that many politicians who gave PDP a bad name and participated vigorously in pillaging the economy are now very strong members of the APC. Many APC gladiators today served under the PDP in various capacities but shamelessly crossed over to the APC either to evade corruption probe or to continue to lubricate the malfunctioning contraption of governance in the new dispensation. Mr. Oshiomhole did not complete the narrative either because he was being mischievous or he pretended to be ignorant of the full narrative of the fate of the Israelites after they left Egypt. Nigerians left Egypt by voting out PDP. But also like the Israelites, Nigerians, by voting for the APC in 2015 headed straight to the wilderness and are still trapped in the wilderness. The APC years in Nigeria since 2015 are synonymous to the experiences of the Israelites in the wilderness, the famous Wilderness Experience.
It is practically difficult to find the right words to capture the Nigerian experience under APC. However, disenchantment, nepotism and steady descent of Nigeria’s economic structures have characterized the APC years. In fact, under the APC, Nigeria has acquired the unenviable identity as the most sophisticated poverty metropolis of the world. Unfortunately, the former labour leader, now as APC chairman failed to address these years in plain terms. The wilderness is a place of uncertainties, a jungle that upholds the survival of the fittest maxim, a place where power is exercised by proxy, where sycophants and cabals emerge to mislead the leader and lead the people into apostasy. In the wilderness, there are no active academic activities in the same way all universities in Nigeria are shut down without any hope of reopening. The APC years is a reminder of suffering in the midst of plenty, it rehashes in a new key rhythms of dire insecurity, pretentious fight against corruption, decayed infrastructure and a total collapse of social values.
Nigeria’s wilderness experience under APC is legendary and also renowned across the world. The period has been made very famous for failed promises, blatant falsehood and a continual attempt to deceive Nigerians, to make them believe that the wilderness is indeed the Promised Land. Despite all of these anomalies, APC still remains in vengeful, arrogant power, poised to extend its shackles for another four years. In a way, it appears that the massive monetary outlay running into billions of naira, provided by political investors during the 2015 elections that brought APC to power, seems not to have been recouped. Loyal party associates, friends, and relations must be rewarded irrespective of their mediocrity and incompetent antecedents.
Let us extend the frontiers of this “return to Egypt” discourse although we may not be able to exhaust it. While the Israelites were in the wilderness, they became prey to the ferocious elements which feasted on them with disdain and relish. Therefore, they furiously cried out and expressed their wish to return to Egypt despite its emasculating trappings. Could it be that Mr. Oshiomhole is aware that Nigerians are positioned to return to Egypt and therefore gave a timely warning that they should never return there? Could it be that the wilderness experience has become unbearable and totally tragic which has forced Nigerians to crave for a return to Egypt? Could it be that Nigerians now realize that there is a new Pharaoh in Egypt with a new consciousness and therefore wouldn’t mind returning there? Could it be that Nigerians now realize that those who vanquished them while in Egypt are no longer there but now perpetuating their misery in the current wilderness?
As the elections approach, Nigerians have a choice to make, whether to return to Egypt, remain in the wilderness or embrace a totally new dispensation. Many Nigerians have expressed concerns that if they reject a return to Egypt and also reject a continued stay in the wilderness by voting for a new political party, the party may not have the structure and power base to form a government and therefore will be at the mercy of the discredited Egyptian and wilderness taskmasters. The journey of million miles starts with one step. Nigerians should decide whether to return to Egypt, exit the current wilderness or embark on a steady march to the Promised Land. It is indeed a difficult choice for Nigerians.
‘Buhari’ll take Nigeria to promised land’
Dr Adiele writes from Department of English, University of Lagos via [email protected]