The democracy of anarchists
UNTIL the introduction of foreign religions, Ifa (the God of divination) solely provided spiritual guidance in the Yoruba traditional setting. Whenever the Ifa was consulted and it revealed a potential problem, the priest or priestess would “enquire” if there was a remedy or whatever could be done to mitigate the eventuality of the problem foreseen.
There were always problems and there would always be problems; the most important thing is for us not to be consumed by the problems that come our way. An American Think Tank, as far back as 2005, projected a disturbing scenario for our nation in this very year of 2015. Their report did not state categorically that our nation would disintegrate. However, it highlighted a possible intervention in politics by a junior military officer with all its attendant consequences. Many Nigerians, including this writer, did not reflect at that time that 2015 would be an election year. There were vitriolic attacks on the report and the evil intentions of its authors pontificated on the pages of newspapers.
There were hardly any debates in Nigeria, either by politicians or the intelligentsia, on a report that projects so much danger for our nation. Of course, our nation has potential to be great; the truth of world politics is that the powerful nations of the world do not deliberately welcome new members into their fold! Be that as it may, elections in Nigeria have historically been problematic. The mismanaged federal elections of 1964, as well as those in the Western Region in 1965, resulted in the collapse of the First Republic on January 15, 1966.
The aftermath was a war fought between 1967 and 1970. Similarly, mismanaged elections in 1983 led to the military coup of December that year. Although the politicians of today, for opportunistic reasons, would want to vilify those who staged the coup in their usual rhetoric, the fact remains that we were all on the streets celebrating the overthrow of a most corrupt and insensitive collection of politicians.
The late J.M. Johnson, a most flamboyant politician of the First Republic, prayed never again to witness “democracy” in his lifetime. Chief Arthur Nzeribe, himself a politician of the Second Republic, organised a rally in London in support of the new military messiahs. Post Second Republic elections have hardly revealed any improvements or progress in our democratic journey. The annulled presidential election of June 1993 led to a crisis that threatened the foundations of our society. The military approach to governance, especially during the irrational dictatorship of kleptocratic and profligate Sani Abacha, resulted in the rise of various ethnic militias.
These anarchic militias have yet to disappear and today’s politicians would seem to have resuscitated their venom for opportunistic purposes. A history of ugly elections makes the fear of what we now call “American prediction”, very real. We hardly need the Ifa priest to warn us of where our problem could be coming from – the defining elections of 2015. This writer has said it repeatedly in articles, that there comes a time in the life of a nation when an individual could redirect the course of a dangerous history by sacrificing his or her ambition for the greater good. Given the circumstances of our contemporary history, one had thought we could navigate the terrains of political danger were Goodluck Jonathan to have supervised the 2015 elections, rather than be a participant.
Since he has an “ambition” to protect, the realistic phase of our advice would now be to continue to warn against “desperation”, not only on his part but also on the part of his major rival, General Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC). There have been all sorts of dangerous propaganda and insinuations here and there but the most disturbing chapter of political desperation has revealed itself in the deployment of ethnic militias to argue the case of a particular political party with threats of violence.
There is hardly any doubt that the “Jega must go” protests by the Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) and the Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC), in the South East and South West respectively, were sponsored by vested political interests. These irredentist and somewhat anarchic tendencies would undoubtedly troop into the streets soon after the elections to unleash terror, especially if the outcome did not favour their privileged sponsors.
The history of our nation reveals that the politicians themselves would be the greatest losers were the democratic process to be terminated again. However, our more urgent concern here is with ordinary Nigerians. We are concerned that the desperation of a tiny class of corrupt and undemocratic politicians could be the cause of “mass graves” for innocent citizens; may God forbid!!! • Dr. Akinola, a public affairs analyst, wrote from Oxford, United Kingdom.
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