“I believe that there will ultimately be a clash between the oppressed and those that do the oppressing. I believe that there will be a clash between those who want freedom, justice and equality for everyone and those who want to continue the systems of exploitation.”—Malcolm X.
With barely a week to the 2019 general elections, the question of what has changed in Nigeria may appear to be late in coming if the thought that the chunk of voters have in one way or the other made up their minds on whom to vote for. This is more so as nationals are not known, or for a lack of a better expression, have not shown an advancement in the innate capacity to deploy their thought-processes to engage in the scrutiny of persons who wish to hold positions of power across the executive and legislative arms of government.
Going by this allusion, this intervention may appear to many as a fruitless one, a rhetorical question whose answers could pose little or no threat to the purveyors of change whose cry of corruption, insecurity and a weak economy reached the highest of decibels that countrymen had to put them in office lest they lose their eardrums. But whichever way one perceives the question of change since nationals handed power to General Muhammadu Buhari and his fellow pseudo progressives, the sanctity of wilful action (and its attendant consequences), a luxury granted to us by nature poses a huge burden on every individual to tarry awhile and foray into a mood of self-introspection and appraisal of the current situation as it affects him/her as guide to determining whether to return these army of mediocrities to office or not.
This can only be achieved if the ears were shut to the very many malodorous symphonies of lies and half-truths coming from elected officials and their mouthpieces whose job it is to adorn the perfectionist garb to their dealings however miserable they might have fared in office. Their glaring failures have been responsible for the unleashing of their propaganda machinery in full throttle, knowing full well that the continuous repetition of their phantom achievements could blur the minds of nationals, making it arduous to carry out an objective assessment of them.
Right from the very top down to the bottom, it is obvious that Nigerians have had their lives mismanaged in ways that reflect shoddiness on the part of their representatives. Contrary to their claims, the change the APC campaigned on has manifested as continuity to the bitter pill its predecessor served the populace. The president—coming into office in 2015 with a goodwill that perhaps is second in enormity and pervasiveness only to that showered on his immediate predecessor, Goodluck Jonathan—has through his words and actions eroded every bit of it in ways suggesting a lack of appreciation of democracy and the latitude it grants voters to choose as they deem fit when the 97%--5% diatribe against the south-east and south-south is considered. Buhari is not only a man firmly ensconced in the parochial cocoon of ethnicity upon scrutinizing his choice of appointments but a soul beholden to a mafia whom, having realized early enough how intellectually deficient and morally vacuous he was (and still is), decided to run the country on his behalf against the choice of the people who found him most worthy to preside over their affairs.
This miserable presidency of Buhari has forced many to be—in the words of Brother Malcolm X—disillusioned, disenchanted and dissatisfied with the democratic process, a reality they’ve had to deal with having put all they had to send the irredeemably corrupt Jonathan away with the hope that Buhari’s sterling credentials of incorruptibility and independent-mindedness—qualities that have now been known to be mythologies—were what the country needed to clear the Augean stable the ruinous PDP-led administrations had as their defining legacy. Alas, the president had barely been sworn in that he revealed himself as a not-so-different character from those countrymen rallied to chase away.
The Nobel laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka reckoned that the much touted fight against corruption is nothing but a mere trivialization of it. The whole process has been exposed as a farce, for we are witnesses to the swiftness of the anti-graft agencies to addressing petitions against members of the opposition while deodorizing those linked to members of the ruling APC. It is so blatant that individuals who had hitherto committed egregious acts like ex-minister of state for defence, Musiliu Obanikoro (who laundered security funds to rig and gag voters in Ekiti State) and ex-governor of Akwa Ibom and now senator, Godswill Akpabio were left off-the-hook the very minute they joined the ruling party while a few others who left the APC had their files dusted. The economy he promised to inject life into now cringes under the heavy weight of mishandling and racketeering his handpicked handlers subject it to.
The country has never been this insecure and incompetently managed. It was so bad at a time in the life of this administration that the president’s security chiefs fell on one another to take sides with warring factions while their employer bat no eyelid. One of them asked that a legal document restricting open grazing be banned; another called for the head of a sitting governor. The head of the anti-graft agency, a supposedly independent organ of the state was seen on television wearing a lapel that had the insignia of the president campaigning for another term. In defiance to professionalism, his agency rushed to twitter to prophesize the conviction of the corrupt and imbecilic ex-governor of Ekiti when his tenure neared completion!
Sadly but unsurprisingly, the president’s support base appears to be intact, a grim reality of democracy as a system of government which, for all its hubris of being the best amidst counterpart governance systems, not only grants everyone an opportunity to take part in leadership recruitment, but goes further to apportion equal weights to their choices no matter how stupid those choices and their makers are. This makes it possible for the opinion of the insane becoming as relevant as that of the sane, the wise finding it hard to find his voice amidst the din of the foolish, and more blatantly, the incentive it accords fellows whom the Afrobeat maestro, Fela Anikulapo-kuti labelled authority thieves and other vagabonds in power (VIPs) to keep weaponizing misery and ignorance with the sole purpose of keeping the people ensconced in intellectual poverty and a perpetual state of want that surely would guarantee their continuous hold on them.
But if history is anything to go by, it is that we must not to enter into despair in totality, for the little progress we’ve witness Young Turks like Omoyele Sowore of the African Action Congress (AAC) and Tope Fasua of the Abundant Nigeria Renewal Party (ANRP) made so far should rejig our consciousness to once again throw our hats into the ring never to allow these roguish politicians—as exemplified in the characters in the APC and PDP—continue to have a hold on us. The gospel has to be preached to all and sundry. Nigeria belongs to us all and not a few individuals who have dedicated their lives to keep her in detention.
The choice confronting Nigerians in the forthcoming election is an easy one. It is a contest between a new breed of accomplished, nay futuristic guys and old characters whose achievements are darkness in power, death for the people and destruction across the country. The question that should decide our choice of action is how President Buhari and the APC have succeeded in clearing the mess we claimed was our angst against the inept Dr Jonathan. Instead of doing that, the president has further worsened the situation and created new ones for us to grapple with. Neither Boko Haram nor the killer herdsmen have been tamed, with Nigerians still confronted with existential challenges less endowed nations have since taken for granted.
Polio is still here. Tuberculosis is breathing. Infant mortality keeps procreating. Politics remains the most viable business. Hospitals keep producing more bodies than they save. Universities are shut. Open defecation has become our new pride. Kidnapping still thrives. Policemen kill more than they save. The omen is there for all to see. President Buhari has failed. It behoves on Nigerians to send him packing.
I will not only be doing that with my PVC, but be voting for the African Action Congress to lead our country out of the ditch ideologically blank elements in the APC and PDP intentionally put her. Nigerians have a chance to decide on whose side they are on. Their choice will determine whether this system of oppression and exploitation collapses or not.
The very reason why Buhari has to go makes a case for an equal repudiation of Atiku Abubakar and every other person with a hand in the despoliation of our nation. Nothing short of a revolutionary change can advance our position beyond the present. The decision is ours and ours alone.
What has changed? Nothing.
Modiu can be reached on firstname.lastname@example.org