Categories: ColumnsRalph Egbu

Strange developments indeed

Our society has never ceased to be a hostile environment, even before the amalgamation in 1914. Before then most of what is known as component parts of our nation were independent kingdoms and empires and if history is true most of them were constantly at war with each other and even till today the story of that era is still being told with mischief. Recently, for instance, the Oba of Lagos reminded us what the old society was like when he told us that Lagos was not part of the Yoruba territory and that if anything it could be rightly regarded as part of Benin kingdom. Am not interested in that history for now, all I want to do is to show that human elements, particularly poor leadership behavior, have always been at the root of most of the challenges stalling development and progress in our society before and after independence.

In the last decade or little more, negative activities, especially from the leadership class, have become very rampant and very recently it has grown from negative to very strange behaviors and actions. If it were only about negative actions, it would mean that after a time such behaviors can be predictable as well as their possible consequences, and in this way the society through the leadership can put some anticipatory safeguards in place. But when behaviors become strange, society is in trouble because nobody including the leaders would be in a position to adequately envision what is likely to come and what the outcomes could be. This is why every patriotic citizen should be concerned about some behavior of the political leadership especially from the perspective of some strange developments that have the potential to negatively affect the stability of our nation. These developments are happening at a frequency all lovers of our nation should be worried.

At the time of writing this piece two very strange events happened and I intend to use them to explain the case am making. In Owerri, capital of Imo state, pictures of Governor Rochas Okorocha emerged showing him in the chapel in Government House conducting service, anointing and imparting worshippers. In Christian worship it is normal but what makes this one strange is that the governor was operating in a setting far above his level of competence. The level of assignment he gave himself is one reserved for consecrated priests and pastors. I know Okorocha as a politician even though am clear on the fact that politics is not a profession. I have also heard he is a businessman but I don’t know him as an ordained minister of God. So if the governor is conducting service and sending out pictures, I can only situate it within the poor conduct of politicians’ exhibit when their offices come under threats or when elections are near. Okorocha wants the Christian population to see him in this acting show and believe he is indeed one of them. He could be but that is not the issue in contention now. What is, is the undue exhibitionism. With the approach of elections our political leaders have started to act various kinds of drama.

Okorocha is not alone in this act of crude display of what some of them think is commitment but far from it, almost all the political office holders are into it. In almost all the states, political office holders who have been inactive have suddenly woken up and prancing about the whole space as if they are hunted by over work and excellent representation. Many of them who have remained evasive have suddenly found strength and are hosting town hall meetings where they attempt to convince the people that they gave excellent services and have recorded great achievements. Ordinarily, what they are doing should not be unusual, after all without accountability, democracy would lose its flavour, but what is wrong with what they are doing is that they are rather hoodwinking the electorate into believing that those they voted for have performed. This is witchcraft. When you have to manipulate, cajole, plead and give money and food items to be seen as having performed, what it shows is that the public official in question either did nothing or did so little that in the estimation of the voters it was of no significance. It could also be that such a public officer has some achievements to his record but such achievements have little or no relevance to what the people actually want. There is also the comic side: public officers who failed to perform since they were voted into power struggle to do one thing or the other but the trouble remains that some of the issues and projects they take on have no capacity at all to positively transform the society or the individuals. In fact some of what they call projects take us back to the 18th century.

The tango between the Senate President Bukola Saraki and Inspector General of Police is another of such strange acts. It was laughable especially since it was predicted. The executors of the action against the Senate President prove they lack capacity to think. They were simply very uncreative. I don’t condone what they did neither is anybody above the law but in handling critical issues in nation building there are creative ways to it. In some instances some things give in so that the health of the society can be maintained. Everybody knows the relationship between the executive and the legislature has been frosty and the way it is the former would not mind if there are changes in the leadership of the two Houses of the National Assembly. This is normal in a democracy; what would not be would be the approach as in this instance.

From the pattern we have seen only the uncritical would not discern that the National Assembly is under undue attack designed to rubbish it, make it lose respect and render it ineffective. It is not about Saraki, Melaye or Nwaboshi and the many more that would be charged to court at a time like this but what would happen after the whole exercise. By now we ought to know that aberration in political culture of a nation begins with assaults on the people, the political parties including the one in power and finally the National Constitution. Today the people are hungry and vulnerable; the political parties are in quandary. Those in doubt should read how Hitler of Germany came to be. Let me make a strong point and end this discourse, Saraki, Senate President and Dogara, Speaker House of Representatives have been the barricades between national peace and total disorder and anarchy. I pray our nation do not experience the things I foresee.

Rapheal :

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