By Promise Adiele
This is not a treatise on campaign or a call for votes towards 2019. I am sure those who identify me as an unrelenting critic of misrule and socio-economic polarity at any level will immediately think I have inevitably joined the desperate among us who are already clamouring for votes towards 2019. No, I have no such ambition and even if I do, I lack the financial muscle to actively participate in the thorn-strewn landscape of Nigerian politics. I am not schooled in the inordinate ideologue of the current political class whose activities in recent times continue to advertise Nigeria as an exemplar of political mediocrity. For our politicians, 2019 is here upon us, no stone should be left unturned, all hands must be on deck, the electorate must be conquered and the price, the luscious nucleus of the exchequer, must be won.
Vote for me in 2019 has become a subliminal, recurring ingredient in the speech menu of expired and aspiring politicians who have started campaigning towards the 2019 general elections although INEC has not lifted the ban on political activities. The amusement in our political widening gyre has prematurely commenced, the scheming for the bounty from our land is on, the aggregation of interests, subterfuge and manipulation is in full gear. As flies to wanton boys are Nigerians in the hands of politicians who use us for their sport and ride on our serially lacerated backs to the apex of their vain glory. Sadly, some of those who are filing out, asking us to recognize and vote for them in 2019 are opportune bounders whose history sustains the flagrancy of despoliation and atrophy in our land. They have begun to genuflect before Nigerians in spurious humility. In a pretentious show of love, they currently identity with the electorate, promising the lion’s paw and python’s tail, oscillating from one political party to another, reinventing nomadic lifestyle and redefining its implicit undercurrents.
Regrettably, these political parvenus hardly understand the Nigerian situation, the poverty and the harsh economic reality that confronts us. Yet, they want to deliver us from what they do not understand or experience. They are promising to save us from the crucibles of poverty yet, they do not understand the mathematics of economic growth. They promise to deliver us from the claws of corruption yet, their underbelly is a fertile ground where sleaze and venality flourish. While Nigerians are devastated by need, our exotic, self-pleasuring compatriots on the political stage are crippled by surplus. While they luxuriate in their mood, we despair in our mire. As a direct consequence of the untimely appropriation of 2019, governance at all levels is in jeopardy. Every interest, every action is guided by consideration for 2019. Politicians have suddenly become nice to various groups and ethnicities. There is courtship of a different kind in the land; no politician wants to offend any part of the country because their votes will be needed. Sycophants have emerged, those who have mastered the art of eulogy with their eyes set on eventual patronage. Yet, 2019 is still far away.
Among these politicians are elected officers, appointed officers, people who have served this country in one capacity or another, businessmen who consider politics as the surest way to entrench their rancid wealth, and many others who find themselves in one privileged position or another. They are all united in one voice to convince Nigerians why we should all queue up under the inclement weather, in spite of our own woes to vote for them and empower them to bludgeon us to eternal damnation.
Unfortunately for these politicians, Nigerians now know better. We are better informed as survivors of successive tyranny with the geography of victims collapsing the boundaries of ethnicity and religion. We are united in our misery to properly identify and separate the jesters from the serious minded; the genuine from the fake and the clumsy from the adroit. We will not allow politicians through sophism and guile to expropriate our resources in order to nourish their crass gluttony.
There is absolutely nothing wrong for political office holders or aspiring politicians to ask for the mandate of their people especially if the politicians have, during their time in power, positively transformed the lives of their people. However, it borders on insensitivity for politicians who have plunged the economy of their people into the abyss of ruin to stand up and ask them for votes come 2019. One is inclined to ask, what moral or ethical justification do such politicians have to approach Nigerians for their votes? It is sheer insult on our consciousness to be asked to queue up behind people who lack the basic knowledge of global economy, those who do not understand the science of economic development, but are spurred on by avarice and a ravenous craving for materialism.
If we allow these politicians to turn us into a colony of fools, then it means we have not learnt any lessons. It means there must be something in our collective genome which accommodates duplicity and perpetually corrodes our sensibilities, then prevents us from perceiving the signs of impending doom. We must not allow ourselves to be seduced by empty political rhetoric which does not go beyond the lip. “I will create one million jobs in one month, the naira will be at par with the dollar in one week” they bellow.
Many of them with doubtful academic credentials will say it differently, “I will water your homes and fire your streets”, and we nod and cheer in admiration. Instead of addressing the multilayered conundrums confronting us, instead of educating us on how the economy of Nigeria will recover faster than that of Japan after the tragedy of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, instead of outlining how to transform Nigeria into a tourist haven like Dubai and attract investments, instead of presenting an effective prognosis that will revive our ailing educational system, our politicians are busy engaging in acts of demagoguery to achieve their personal ambitions come 2019.
Adiele, Department of English, University of
But we are ready for them, we see through their well orchestrated chicanery. Apologists, paid image makers and political turncoats who assiduously oil the propaganda machinery of their principals are at work but they are up against a people with regenerated consciousness.
Fellow countrymen, it is obvious we have not had a fulfilling political experience but we must not succumb to ennui and languor, leaving our future in the hands of those who are determined to lead us to Golgotha for ultimate crucifixion. Let us resist the proselytizing mendacity of their rehearsed political canard that seeks to disarm and confound our sense of judgment. Let us, as a matter of urgency, self-educate and discard the veil of sentimentality which inheres from ethnicity and religious differences. Let us use every outlet available to us to enthrone virtue and resist all forms of rhetoric anchored on deceit towards 2019. Ethnic jingoists and religious bigots should please stay aloof and look away from here. I am addressing only conscientious Nigerians; those genuinely ready to uphold the tenets of good leadership irrespective of who is involved.
Promise Adiele, Department of English, University of Lagos.