APC and PDP as metaphoric ‘Egypt’
From North to South, East to West of Nigeria, the socio-economic indices of good things of life for Nigerians point to the negative side. Only the political office holders in the ruling parties see and feel the promised ‘CHANGE’.
The masses only hear of it. Our global rankings in (anti)corruption, insecurity, education, health, infrastructure, poverty, unemployment, peace and conflict continue to be dismal. We lost gallant men in their prime in the war front and many educated and skilled Nigerians are leaving the country in droves in a renewed form of brain drain. But the dispatched speakers of the ruling party want us to believe everything is fine. We are winning the war on terrorism yet our fighter jet crashed with five breadwinners. Locations are being taken in Borno by the Terrorists; the Borno state Governor is crying and pleading with the Prince of Daura to rescue the hapless while that of Zamfara will not mind a declaration of state of emergency in his state to stop the arson and killings. Turn southward; you are treated to unpleasant cases of kidnapping, rape, suicide, abduction, armed robbery, employment fraud, and the latest ‘pantocrazy’ (the act of stealing undies for ritual purposes). Certainly, the lived experiences of the majority do not tally with those in power. I have heard the National leader of the All Progressive Congress, Senator Bola Tinubu and the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo at different times saying that Nigerians (Nigeria) will not go back to ‘Egypt’. I therefore attempt a deconstruction of what ‘Egypt’ indicates with a view to knowing if Nigerians are enjoying in the Promised Land (change), why would they contemplate or prefer Egypt? My analysis will show if we are still in the wilderness as Israelites enroute the Promised Land.
A characteristic of our politicians is their dexterity in deploying religion to divide and rule. Asiwaju deploys ‘Egypt’ as a metaphor for ‘PDP days’ but nothing has characteristically shown a radical departure from the PDP years. The Biblical notion of ‘Egypt’ was a land of enslavement of Israelites whom God delighted in. Moses was saddled with the task of bringing them out of the territory of fascist Pharaoh whose people extorted them for dirty jobs. People would not have yielded to the call but for the Promised Land which was said to be a land that would be flowing with milk and Honey (Exodus 13:5). The road to the Promised Land was not smooth but the driver of the change (Moses and Aaron) did not engage in blame game. Rather, they listened to their people, gave reassurances, provided solutions and absorbed negative comments. For instance, at the Red Sea, Israelites queried Moses for taking them out of Egypt to die in the wilderness. When the red sea parted ways for them to escape being recaptured, they believed in the God that sent Moses. In the wilderness of Shur, they complained ‘what shall we drink’ because the water in Shur was bitter. Moses sought God’s intervention again and made the water sweet. Later in the journey, they complained of hunger. Considering their present situation of ‘lack of food’ they felt they were better in Egypt where they still had something to eat. They felt it was better to be in Egypt than for them to die in the wilderness of hunger. Again, Moses and Aaron, through God, met the food needs through the provision of Manna which they had for forty years.
Unlike what Asiwaju Tinubu and Vice President Yemi Osinbanjo who mostly blame PDP without providing succour to the pains and agony that Nigerians face, Moses and Aaron never blamed anyone for the condemnation they received from Israelites as they journey through the wilderness. As a matter of fact, they turned to the one who gave them the assignment and provided solution. Only after meeting the needs of their people did they reel out rules to follow and not the other way round. It follows therefore that anytime Nigerians reconnects to their pre-2015 era, they are symbolically saying the past Tinubu and Osinbajo condemn was better for them. Unlike Moses and Aaron who had listening ears, provided solutions and reassurances as well as absorbed insults, the duo of Asiwaju and VP Osinbajo would not display such. Even if truly President Muhammadu Buhari represents Moses and VP Osinbajo as contemporary Aaron, their disposition to complaints is sufficient reason to make Israelites (Nigerians) to be sceptical of their status as true CHANGE agents.
Coincidentally, while they paint ‘Egypt’ as undesirable destination to us, Nigerian politicians in practise never foreclose returning to ‘Egypt’ or working with ‘Egyptians’. Those who think they are Israelites, like VP and Asiwaju have embraced ‘Egyptians’ like Minister Rotimi Amaechi, Musiliu Obanikoro, Godswill Akpabio and a host of others. Senate President Bukola Saraki, Speaker House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara and other governors who decamped to PDP will now refer to APC as ‘Egypt’ and PDP as the vehicle to the Promised Land. Let us not forget that the PDP candidate oscillates between ‘Israel’ and ‘Egypt’ since 1999 targeting a Promised Land. We can also see a formerly trashed leader being recycled to lead campaign of NEXT LEVEL. This leader will stand on the same podium with ‘Egyptians’ to preach to people not to return to Egypt. Who is fooling who?
For three and half years, they were distant and disconnected but they now enter huts to snap pictures with poor women in Saki, Iseyin and distribute ‘empowerment’ packages in market places. If they had moved around early enough in the administration, they would know how poverty is experienced by the downtrodden which have now unfortunately multiplied. Our present situation tallies with the experiences of the Israelites. But are we being led by destiny manipulators or ‘Moses’ with a true Promised Land of milk and honey agenda? Can we regard our present higgledy-piggledy state of affairs as our wilderness? If the present drivers see our complaints as a non-issue how are we sure they know the road to the Promised Land where milk and honey would flow? The dilemma before electorates in February General elections is to choose between half of dozen and six. Will Nigerians oscillate between Egypt and the Promised Land? Will eight years of PMB remove us from this wilderness? What I know is that neither PMB nor Atiku is the person to take us to the Promised Land if at all such exists. Do we have any of the contenders to Aso Villa who has a listening ear and capable of providing solutions and reassuring his/her people during trouble? Hmm…scarce…very scarce. The outcome is almost certain. We are likely returning to ‘Egypt’ whether APC or PDP emerges winner. This is the dilemma of the 2019 polls.
Tade, a sociologist wrote from Lagos