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Professors on INEC’s will (1)

By Tony Afejuku
10 March 2023   |   3:19 am
What sort of day do we have in Nigeria today? What sort of day do we have in this country, your country, my country, our country today? And what sort of day will it be tomorrow here where I am and everywhere you are in this country that is ceasing to be a country? But let me attempt to focus on today.

A woman displays a placard as a group of people protest the outcome of the 2023 presidential elections and the emergence of the candidate of All Progressives Congress’ (APC) Bola Tinubu as the president-elect in Abuja, Nigeria on March 1, 2023. (Photo by KOLA SULAIMON / AFP)

What sort of day do we have in Nigeria today? What sort of day do we have in this country, your country, my country, our country today? And what sort of day will it be tomorrow here where I am and everywhere you are in this country that is ceasing to be a country? But let me attempt to focus on today. Let me endeavour to concentrate on today. In my focus and concentration, I will not concoct concoctions or conjure conjurations. What is the mood of the morning that tells me what the day will turn out to be?

What is the mood of the morning that wants to kiss the sky before the tedious rains benumb it or before the frosty sunlight pierces the greyish blue or bluish grey fog of a sunny-less day in a sweet-less day waiting for dusty wind in a despondent season?

My phone rings. And my reverie escapes and vanishes… A professor sends me the following message: “Good afternoon Tony. How una dey? We are preparing for the Gubernatorial and State House of Assembly elections on Saturday, March 11th. I wasn’t keen on voting before, but I have changed my mind and must perform my civic duty in spite of the inconveniences such as delays and threats or intimidation. During the presidential election, for instance, INEC Officials came past 11:00 AM after we had waited for over three hours. I hope and pray they will be better this time.”

I delightfully replied the resilient voter-professor of unblemished pedigree and compatriot as follows: “Good to know you are going to do your duty on Saturday. Go well and help to subvert INEC’s will. Historical History is waiting to write your name and the names of compatriots of your colour in gold and diamond diadem.”

After the exchange, I gave further thought to the subject of our presidential election and did not re-enter, because I could not, the room of my reverie until, I hoped, the puff of sweet wind pipes would blow me back there.

But I busied myself with the thought and idea of knowing the thought processes of our egg-heads, our professors, with respect, particularly to the presidential election and the obligation of each compatriot, of each citizen, to the republic, this republic, to all and how he can rely on himself or herself alone as

Each compatriot, each citizen, in the most absolute abandonment, must find a way to fulfill his or her role in history. Each, “standing against the oppressors,” in the borrowed words of Jean-Paul Sartre, must make the “effort to be him-self [or her-self] irremediably.” On this score, let me bring to my readers, to our readers, some thoughts of our professors who are eminent patriots and literary luminaries.

I begin with Professor Olu Obafemi, a scholar, poet, playwright and dramatist writer par excellence and committed patriot: “We don’t need a prophet to tell us that the unending storm of woes, hardship, uncouth governance and repressive policing that provoked the last EndSARS, which was crudely put down will inevitably rear its ugly head.

Nothing has happened since the previous EndSARS, especially from the governing elite to quench the fire of disquiet that ignited youth restiveness and angry protestation. It is still possible to forestall the new wave and rage of anger that resulted from discontent if government rises to the occasion today.”

What a timely gem from our national Laureate whose will is the will of the people and masses and not INEC’s will!

This introduces us to Professor Ademola Da Sylva’s category of unsentimental criticism or what has been which must not continue to be. Professor Da Sylva is familiar highly to every Friday reader of this column and needs no polish from here, if I may so say. His words: “My choice of preference of candidate in the (presidential election, which INEC’s will tried to subvert), was determined and defined by my quest for genuine development governance. PDP’s 16 years and APC’s eight (8) years were a disaster, put together, and separately. It is indeed a national tragedy, really.

And for the sake of this argument, the argument I am tendering, PDP and APC by their abysmal performance were protagonists separately, in the Nigerian tragic script, the two parties acted out. So they might just be regarded as tragic heroes, respectively, and having undergone a distillation of spirit should simply end the tragic play with PMB’s exit. Perhaps if either party is given another opportunity it probably might not repeat the errors of its previous tragic ill-governance.

Unfortunately, a tragic hero doesn’t have a second chance, hence the conscious rejection of both parties at the polls by people like me, and without regrets, too! Let me conclude, for now, with this: Each time Peter Obi is accused of jumping from Party to Party, I laughed. If he left PDP for LP that to me scores a high note: a Party almost at the very bottom before Obi’s emergence.

That was what I expected the notable Human Rights Activists to do instead of being passive observers! Obi’s bold action there amounts to what Karl Marx would call a class (Party) suicide, for as long as he agrees to live and pursue the values and tenets of his new Party, LP, that’s OK with me.

Christianity also has a similar concept, the “born-again.” When a person realises their ugly and carnally propelled past life, and is now genuinely repentant and has a contrite heart, they could then ask God Almighty to forgive their sins, and further resolve never to return to their vomit, again.

When someone turns a new leaf, and chooses to follow the Saviour as their Lord, their sins are totally forgiven, and they are considered born-again and under divine grace. Such people are no longer judged by their past deeds, now that he is a new being, a new humankind. That much I know. By extension, I believe this is what happened, albeit politically, with Obi’s change of political Party. Had LP not risen to the occasion to be there for the Nigerian youth, the youth would have been left with no option but to embrace their oppressors who ruined their future, today!

A bourgeois could commit a class suicide to identify with the struggling masses. Gani Fawehinmi, Tunji Braithwaite, Dr. Beko Ransome-Kuti and so on, were by, every standard, comfortable and very successful in their chosen careers, yet they identified with the struggling masses of Nigeria. Femi Falana and Femi Aborisade are in that same cast, although we need many more like them. That is the spirit that Obi has cultivated and should not be regarded and viewed with the old lens, anymore!”

For people who have asked for my opinion on last Saturday’s presidential election, let me state that these distinguished professors clearly have stated what you want to hear from the barrel of the head. But until other professors come on board here on the coming days that will kill your melancholy take it from me that nothing that is something has even been partially revealed from the bayonet of the columnist’s tongue. Phew!
To be continued.
Afejuku can be reached via 08055213059.

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