“Because as soon as people realise that it’s impossible for a chicken to produce a duck egg even though they both belong to the same family of fowl—so called fowl. A chicken just doesn’t have within its system to produce a duck egg. It can’t do it. It can only produce according to what that particular system was constructed to produce…it is impossible for this system, this economic system, this political system, this social system, this system, period…and if ever a chicken did produce a duck egg, I’m quite sure you’d say that it was certainly a revolutionary chicken.”—Malcolm X at the Militant Labour Forum.
The shameful outing of members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) across wards and in the governorship primary in Ekiti State which witnessed brazen display of violence portrays the party as an abode of desperate characters whose conception of leadership hovers around a rabid show of swordsmanship. The difference here however is that having benefitted so much from this rigged system, these individuals have mastered the art of proxy wars. Scared of soiling their filthy hands, they sit in the comfort of their mansions, engaging members of the wretched population to do their dirty work.
Political violence is not a new phenomenon in the country. Since 1999 when the nation returned to democratic ways, the political space has been littered with torn torsos and sprained arteries. A sitting minister of justice was clubbed to death while his police orderly went on a jolly recess. In Lagos, a popular governorship aspirant had to be sent on a heavenly errand when opponents saw the inevitability of his ascension to the throne. Rumour has it that his home was reduced to an abattoir, with his body severed like those of domesticated beasts!
The spate of violence that has become commonplace in our political space reveals a major contradiction in the claims by politicians to wanting political power for selfless reasons. Hardly will a politician speak about his/her motivations for venturing into politics without the mention of a willingness to ‘serve my people.’ But with the ferociousness they bring into play, will it not be fitting to query the veracity of such claims? Why should one court violence to engage in an act of selfless service? Why is Nigerian politics rife with assassinations, kidnappings and ballot snatching if the underlying motive for actors’ venture into the political terrain was strictly on the basis of the common good?
The answers to the above posers are obvious. Politicians covet positions of power and influence for reasons that are everything but noble. They hold the people in great contempt but realise the futility of their ruinous ambitions should they reveal the contents within their breasts. This is why they manifest the most brazen acts of desperation when matters concerning leadership recruitment are up for discussion. With the heavy monetization of politics, politicians have become more daring. In Ekiti, a public official was reported to have asked his constituents to shut their mouths, querying their rights to the dividends of democracy having received inducements before voting her into office!
What we saw play out within the APC across states is an indictment on Nigerian democracy. It is enough to pass a vote of no confidence on self-acclaimed democrats and especially, the various organs of government charged with the protection of political culture and advancement of its practice. From the ruling party whom Nigerians saddled the responsibility of providing above-board leadership with to the electoral umpire whose lack of independence had stripped it of its soul, a new wave of scepticism on the success of the 2019 elections blows hot within the minds of Nigerians who see democracy as the most practical means of making lasting change in the governance architecture of their country.
With the desperation of political actors exacerbating rather than receding, one is left to ask how the country hopes to achieve an itch-free election come 2019. The vivid lack of capacity of the Nigeria Police Force to deliver on its mandate has practically led to the military usurping most of its duties. Even with this, the nation still sit beneath the gloomy shadow of despair and death. Will it then be out of place to surmise that with the police seen clearly incapable of guiding the ballot across 36 states involving a few thousand individuals within a single political party, countrymen should face the stark reality that they will be on their own when a similar event is replicated on a national scale?
Already, the nation rues on the mediocrity that has been allowed into post-Jega’s INEC. With the former Bayero academic removing the electoral body from antiquity into the future, one would have thought his successor would step into the great shoes, consolidate the lofty innovations he defied all odds to introduce and at the same time, work hard to correct a number of missteps he might have taken. But as we’ve come to witness, the Yakubu-led INEC has found it difficult staying afloat amidst the murky waters of political desperadoes.
Watching the happenings across states, I wondered how the APC convinces itself of advancing progressive politicking when its members are seen courting violence in a way that mimics the ‘do or die’ conducts of the PDP as exemplified in the actions of the volubly hypocritical ex-president, Olusegun Obasanjo. The import of my message here is that Nigerians should not see this shameful conduct of the APC as a one-time, isolated event. On the contrary, they must realise that with the renewed interests of ordinary Nigerians in the affairs of their country, the big men and thick madams who have made a career of politics would intensify their efforts to scare sane elements away via the use of every instruments of violence at their disposal.
Not a single institution is been spared in this campaign to keep Nigeria in the ditch. The onus rests on nationals to see it as a duty to take charge of the political affairs of their nation. They must come to terms with the stark reality that with the over-centralization of security apparatuses, not to mention the zero independence of law enforcement agents, their once peaceful nation would continue to confront existential challenges bordering on their wellbeing.
The tragedy in all of these lies in the fact that Nigerian politicians continue to covet the devil even as the country keeps tottering on the brink. With many of them raised in humble ways, all they see is the spectre of poverty which has reduced them to local thieves and international fraudsters. The more they pretend to tilt toward the suffering masses, the more they appear in chameleonic garbs. We must resist the temptation to accord them attention.
With the PDP still waxing strong as a party of soulless creatures, what hope does Nigerians have that their voices would translate to genuine change come 2019 having charged a party that has failed miserably to conduct its internal electioneering with a much cumbersome task of guiding 200 million people through a nationwide suffrage? What we’ve witnessed with INEC’s handling of the under-aged voters in Kano, the indiscipline and lack of capacity of the APC to advance democracy beyond prebendalism, and most unfortunately, the continued hostility of our country’s leadership to professionalize and decentralize key institutions are all indicative of a grand design to keep nationals from taking their country back from the hands of the enemies within.
The omen is visible for all to see. It is time for the miracle hawkers to prove their mettle or forever remain silent.
Modiu can be reached on firstname.lastname@example.org