The Guardian
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Critical need for re-basing Nigeria

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Map of Nigeria

WHEREAS Nigeria’s 2014 re-based GDP drew cautious optimism from the rest of the world, the very un-African misconduct of the politicians during the recent elections de-based the citizens globally by transrmogrifying them into dreadful shreds socio-politically, economically, morally and spiritually.

Their “win-or-Nigeria-must-be-destroyed”electoral strategy, with a virtually tectonic shock on all spheres of life to shatter the nation’s essence and mystique, was crudely hanibalistic.

Not even during the 12-month-pre-and-the 30-month-civil-war period did political rhetorics assault the national psyche, perforate the society and/or fray nerves at intra-and-inter-ethnic, inter-tribal levels as well as intra-and-inter-denominational and inter-religious depths as in 2015, Nigeria’s worst-ever political annus horribilis.

It showed the frightful impact of “the seven deadly social sins” Mahatma Gandhi identified: “politics without principle, wealth without work, pleasure without conscience, knowledge without character, commerce without morality, science without humanity and religion without sacrifice” that necessitate an urgent de-traumatisation, rehabilitation and effective re-basing of the citizens’ damaged psyche.

Despite the clear electoral law, its intent was recklessly breached by many contestants as INEC strenuously navigated through several ambushes and NBC applied sanctions only after several acts of irredeemable socio-political havoc were committed.

The rancour and bitterness that characterized the elections started from the mafia-like manner in which the primaries were organized to enshrine cronysm: corrupt party officials favoured pre-selected candidates by blocking other candidates from knowing and having communications access to the delegates.

Efforts to pacify the cheated candidates hardly succeeded because of the heavy losses incurred from selling their assets to finance the elections.

With these infractions, “Homo sapiens” (the modern “wise man”), was summarily expelled from Nigeria and substituted with “Homo utilis”, characterized by cold-blooded selfishness and ruthless pressure for power through targeted positions and/or using unethical methods that virtually transformed them into Homo vilis i.e. mean and base people.

This tragic substitution of Homo sapiens with Homo utilis and/or Homo vilis reflected their contempt for the survival of the society’s operating system through their savage premium on use-and-dump utilitarianism and an end-justifies-the-means morality for achieving their objectives.

Accordingly, the deadly social sins Mahatma Gandhi identified were clearly manifested through the mischievous methods used by those who cheated in seeking “wealth without work” and “commerce without morality” in their search for “pleasure without conscience”.

Also, there were politicians who were prominent in some parties in 2011, but migrated to other parties, collected nomination forms from apparently more “promising” parties and when they discovered that the latter parties were too “crowded” for their comfort, re-migrated to their penultimate parties for nomination to senior positions! Such hermaphroditic politicians exposed their “knowledge without character” in playing “politics without principle”.

Moreover, they contaminated the media with their “science without humanity” through “technological” mis-representation of historical facts/events for scandal-raking demagoguery, thus violating the golden rule of maintaining honour even among thieves.

Furthermore, they weakened believers’ faith with their “religion without sacrifice” through their reckless over-exploitation of the religious fault-lines with sinister campaigns and invaded the places of worship to recruit many their-belly-is-their-god men-of-the-cloth for electioneering campaigns and as corrupt spiritual intercessors after ingratiation with tonnes of cash and other humongous benefits-in-kind.

Regretably, these politicians damaged Nigeria’s socio-economic, moral and spiritual landscapes, especially traditional institutions, institutions of learning, media and places of religious worship with inflammatory hubris to fuel an agitated state of socio-political instability that pressurized massive capital flight (“$22.1 billion in five weeks”-Vanguard, 23/02/15), significant reduction in investor’s confidence (S&P’s downgrade from BB- to B+ (with a “clear-and-present-danger” qualification), “partially dollarised” currency (tenterhooked on “circuit-breaker”-modulated devaluation that may escalate if IMF’s latest policy advice is implemented), spiked inflation, business-strangulating lending rates, massive high-yield-bond issuance and reduced liquidity with “increased risk to the capital market that could trigger its ejection from the “JP Morgan emerging market bond index” (while on the “negative watch list”)” which may force more capital outflows, especially with the sharp decline in foreign reserves to extremely low/distress levels (that may urgently compel a new cycle of dependence on IMF/World Bank facilities to prevent total economic collapse).

Thus, the politicians spiral-spinned the financial and capital markets along with other commercial sectors into business doldrums in a nose-diving economy.

Altogether, the politicians’ misconduct revealed the moment-of-truth silhouette of Nigeria’s bohemian/counterfeit democracy in which the electorate accidentally discover the character, pedigrees and world views of the politicians after elections! This is because the politicians mischievously hide their moral, economic and socio-political beliefs/character through their ruthless and opportunistically crass pressure for power, positions and money, using the ignoble arts of deception, treachery, blackmail and subterfuge as one of them boastfully revealed the modus operandi of Nigerian politics: “if you can’t tell lies, you have no business being in politics”, after seven gubernatorial years! Through self-prostitution, they debased themselves and destroyed any pretence to esoteric leadership skills, capacity, competence, social mores of courage to uphold one’s principles in the face of opposition and adversity and assaulted the psyche of the youths with their scandalous medley of toxically vitriolic campaigns and scaremongery to shatter the youths’ dream of succeeding them.

Whereas comparative socio-economic strategies and cost-and-benefit measures for improving the electorate’s quality of life are debated and resolved through elections in other democracies, the sole motive of each of these politicians was: “to realise my political ambition!” This is fundamentally problematic because while the main challenges confronting most citizens are of economic, security as well as resource-and-infrastructure-deficit nature that require a rigorous pan-Nigerian process of institutionalising best practices for good governance, the unprecedented scope and depth of damage to the citizens’ socio-political psyche from the politicians’ misconduct preclude adopting the conventional, unwieldy and perfunctory post-election winner-loser-government-of-national-unity in this case.

This is because there is neither the “lowest common multiple” nor the “highest common factor” between the winner and the losers vis-a-vis the electorate’s needs.

This is worsened by the fact that the winning party comprises many “political trans-genders”, serial decampees and fifth columnists who drifted there shortly before the elections without diagnosis and treatment for their various socio-political ailments in their previous party’s “bus stops”.

But since merely winning elections is substantially distinct from achieving the key electoral mandates, it should separate the wheat from the chaff to appoint, without sentiments, fear or favour, persons without moral-cum-socio-political “baggages” whose skills, pedigrees, capacity and competence are appropriate for effective, efficient and timely achievement of its objectives.

This is because, through integrity, it must “do more with less”, using the embarassingly dwindled resources to achieve the crowded wish-lists of its socio-economically drowning supporters, barely hanging to their last asset of hope, who will easily give up if their expectations are not quickly satisfied and to prevent the typical African-regime’s tragedy of transforming “the people’s choice” into another failure through sycophantic cabalism. •Okunmuyide wrote from Lagos.


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