By Femi Akintunde Johnson; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; mobile phone: (08182223348 – SMS Only)
We are in that season, less than four months to the general elections, when politicians conspire to dish out delicious and appetising concoctions, delicacies and aromatic condiments in the guise of promises, projections, manifestoes, catch-phrases, jingles, limericks and all sorts of colourful or morbid devices…to win the hearts of Nigerians. Trust our people, especially the young warriors and cut-throats of the Social Media under-world; they will no sooner tear with equal frenzy into one another, decimating and demonising friends, families, fathers and all whatnots…nothing is sacred…no one is beyond the reaches of their caustic and calloused fingers.
Blessed with immense creative nous, the Lions of Twitter, Denizens of WhatsApp and Pharoahs of Facebook will carry the message and ministry of the calculative politicians with gusto, well beyond the politicians’ expectations. Some may describe it as the incredibly rare and widespread strain of Stockholm Syndrome, inducing agitated paralysis of decency, civility and logic!
So, we rant at government, scratch at the eyes of opposition, seethe at our friends, curse the parents of contending strangers, doubt the sanity of our media, gouge the eyes of religious interlopers, smash the staff of traditional rulers on their ornamented heads and… on and on goes the orgies of internecine back-and-forth.
I suspect, we do all the damage we can to ourselves not merely out of a narcissicistic adoration of disgracing the successful, or repudiating the fortunate amongst us. It is perhaps, for some people, their way of ventilating pent-up frustrations at the stagnate reality of their existence. Perhaps, some have lost genuine hope of witnessing national prosperity and advancement similar to other countries of their affection. Yet, there may be others smarting from being fooled into believing a Change mantra that did not even pretend to change their littlest expectations.
We cannot exhaust the legion of reasons and motives that fire the angst of the moment against (and for) the current political gladiators. What is clear though is that Nigeria is now in super high alert of a rant mode; her children may spend the next four months in bitter, biting and bruising orgy of turbulent words, fuss and fury. May God help us land safely on May 29, 2019 with our tattered wings still intact and functional.
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It appears to me that the clear and present option of either APC candidate, President Muhammadu Buhari or his PDP counterpart, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar for the 2019 presidential election has been giving some Nigerians nightmares similar to the experience of the children of Israel after leaving Egypt. In front of them was the seethingly intimidating and foreboding gloominess of the Red Sea; and behind them was the formidably well-oiled pride of the Egyptian infantry on a ferocious gallop!
Two hard-to-swallow options, and millions of helpless undulating voters!
Perhaps, this is the silent question: Is there a utopian possibility of another Moses?
Fussing Over North & South Arithmetics
It is not immodest to imagine that I may speak for some with this: the challenge and fear inherent in who to vote for between Mr. Muhammadu Buhari and Mr. Atiku Abubakar may be largely fuelled by anxieties over the shape and contours of 2023. Pernicious as it may appear, in Nigeria, we live for elections; we are energised, even overly, every election year (and seemingly go to sleep the following three years)… well, I digress.
I suspect some people are worried about what happens in 2023 – if Buhari wins in 2019, it will be difficult not to return the presidency to Southern Nigeria in 2023. But an Atiku victory puts the entire “arrangement” in reverse gear… throwing into the mix the regional undercurrents about Ndigbos’ claim to the presidency after the expiration of the northern tenure, a legitimate ambition that was given filip by the seemingly astute choice of Mr. Peter Obi as Atuku’s vice (a choice I suspect may not be as strategically sound as its promoters are wont to celebrate). That Ndigbos’ permutation is inelegantly juxtaposed against the Yorubas’ systemic agenda to leverage their advantage in a Buhari government deputised by their son. Though more than four or eight years away, the arbiters of our democratic business have started swabbing sweat off the balance sheets!
On the face of an Atiku success at the polls, it will be difficult, and even unfair, to convince him and his minders not to stretch their luck into eight years! Welcome, 2027!?
Admittedly, it is despicable the level our politics has been dragged to (rotating power willy-nilly, at the expense of competence, vision and vitality); and that should trouble discerning minds. Yet, therein is the reality of our political dynamics – and the headaches of competing supporters.
Can the South ‘stomach’ another four years of Buhari? Or can they indulge the North another eight years? Or will Atiku kowtow and endorse a one-term stint? He recently suggested it was an option he was willing to live with. Or are we merely fussing over nothing?
That Kukah’s Confessional Statement
During the past week, the cerebral Catholic priest, Bishop Matthew Kukah, shared with Nigerians a long explanation on what actually happened behind the scenes leading to the much-publicised Obasanjo/Atiku reconciliation shindig at the former president’s place in Ota.
Did you read from start to end? It was more like a confessional statement declaring his non-involvement in any endorsement charade. His role was merely to reconcile two warring parties, in consonance with his religious creed, especially since one of the combatants is of same faith, if not denomination, with him. That was the kernel of the entire brouhaha, he narrated.
After due reflection, I shared with friends that I had elected to believe the Rev. Father’s version. After all, he was not only an active participant, he is accountable to God. No cross is weighthier. And that is sufficient for me. What about you? Do you believe Kukah?
I expected simple answers, but some tirade came through. I received mixed reactions: many believed the servant of God, while others sniggered. Permit me to quote a particularly cynical extract from a good friend, a senior lawyer, who chose, along with others, to enlist the priest in more ecumenical pursuit: “You can never satisfy everybody. Therefore, you do not need to mind the noise about your good intention at Ota. You were even magnanimous enough to issue clarifications on your visit, because you owe nobody any explanation (or) apology… Since your mission was that of reconciling an enstranged Oga and his Boy, kudos to you once again. Still in the spirit of reconciliation, and with all humility, I have these urgent assignments for the sake of our nation. We need to reconcile many more for peace. Here is the list. God will strengthen you to do this work of God: Buhari vs OBJ, Buhari vs Danjuma, Obiano vs Obi, El Rufai vs Sheu Sanni, Saraki vs PMB, Tinubu vs Ambode, Amaechi vs Wike, etc….”
Instantly, Commander Ebenezer Obey’s classic on the Donkey (Ketekete) and its rider came to mind. Naija!