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Hope on hold

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As expected, governance is descending into the scarcely plausible. While the coal face continues to be perfidious politics, we are entrapped in the consequences of a rudderless ship, at the very least until we dock at Port 2023. Welcome to second term stasis! Laying the ground work for lifting a 100 million out of poverty in a decade? Give me a break! We’ll settle for 5million sustainable jobs per annum created by this federal government for the rest of this administration. Buhari’scritical operatives disablehis rhetoricab initio, by reason of bad faith. The emperor has no clothes and the keys to his wardrobes are in the hands of unelected men of inordinate imaginings. One cannot but remain convinced of this government’s insincerity, as it lurches from pillar to post. And it is not President Major-General’s fault! From before his re-election, it was clear that he would continue in office as little more than a prop, a tool. Those that fashion that tool to their own ends are unelected but ought not to be unaccountable.

As our legislature is determined not to rise to its role of a check and balance on the exercise of executive power, few are as equipped to take up that mantle as the press and good governance advocacy groups. We must pierce the veil of subterfuge that has descended over Aso Rock. If things are half as bad as President Major-General’s First Lady intimated, it would be an act of dereliction not to demand greater transparency. Our rulers must stop thinking of Nigerians as the public who they disregard and dispossess with reckless abandon and instead think of them as citizens to whom they are obligated. If they can grasp that distinction and proceed upon it, we can begin to imagine how to progress beyond a nation-state permanently laid prostrate. A sense of self-worth is nigh impossible to define but easy to recognise, and there is precious little of it among Nigerians. Only by giving its citizens a sense of self-worth and a sense of being invested in a common venture can representative government be a panacea. What we operate now and describe as democracy is a chimera; ours is more akin to the triumph of the kleptocrats!

Our politics has no moral underpinning so no outrage is beyond or beneath us; witness governors stuffing money in their clothing and being re-elected, while former governors make claims so outlandish it is impossible to see the prospect of redemption in these people. Personal and personality disorders are elevated to matters of national discourse as we are repeatedly taken for granted. Our politicians are a cretinous class that plague us with their ethical deformities. The steady stream of gratuitous presumptuousness hurled our way would be easier to bear if those serving it up weren’t pygmies struggling to sit comfortably at the high table of a nation of near on 200 million people. The many men of God that have crowded out our intellectual lebensraum should be retained to enlighten us as to whether our nation is the subject of ancestral curses or not. If we are, how are we to break away? Before they regale us with biblical passages and exhortations, they would do well to recall that the venom is often the best antidote.

As at the top, so beneath. The dearth of worthy leadership is more and more evident as is the disdain the leaders have for thepublic. Our President Major-General is a relic of an era we thought bygone, awarning of what lies in wait if we persist indenial. Sirens not heeded are usually followed by ignominious collisions with immovable objects, beneath the waterline. The DSS’s show of shame in the Sowore debacle evidenced the depth of decline. The whole apparatus of government is dishonest and is being systematically enabled by a presidency that has given court orders short shrift. Who are the enablers of this gross abuse? If I am right and President Major-General is only peripherally engaged, we would do well to shine a torch on the hands rocking the cradle. The arithmetic of our aggregation does not add up. It is impossible for a country of nearly 200million people and over 500 languages to interminably stagger along without direction and expect a happy ending. Our reckoning is always just around the corner as no nation is interminably absolved of the consequences of its historical footprint. The implausibility of our current arrangements strain credulity, and all the time the malevolent in our midst make hay while the sun does not shine. Every time I witness the latest inanity from public persons (mostly of dubious provenance), I wonder how long it can go on for.

It is pure myth to imagine that one can decouple our dreadful leadership from the cesspool from which it repeatedly emerges. This Fourth Republic is on its fourth president and not one of them has shown a jot of vision to galvanise this nation. We can only defy deductive reasoning for so long; Nigeria approaches a rendezvous with its history. At the heart of our misdirection lies the grasping hand of a political class that cannot see beyond the narrow confines of personal acquisitiveness, whether of pecuniary benefit or of power.

We are caught in a pincer movement between a clearly clueless president and a political ecosystem that rewards avaricious adventurism. In what ought to be the season of faith, hope and charity, we are totally bereft of seasonal cheer. There has been a loss of faith in faith; not in the ethereal invisible hand type of faith but of faith in the ability of governments to provide answers. Like power, the hunger for answers abhors a vacuum. Hope is an ever-present accompaniment of the human story, even when reasons for hope are trampled on. After my God and myself, is it my local government, my state government or the federal government in which I am to invest hope? There is no triumph for hope here, at best it must be placed on hold.

As for charity, Oju anuwatifo! We have been so numbed that even as we approach the celebration of the single most influential and transformative life in the history of homo sapiens, we are unable to summon up charity towards our brethren. And this at a time in which destitution is so rampant it is normative. There is reason aplenty for despair. There is also the story of a child born in a manger, hounded into Egypt and eventually triumphant over matter and science. So, while we await, I wish you well!


In this article:
Abiola Phillips
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