Wike and the ‘Cunning’ of the Absolute


Is Governor Nyesom Wike an instrument in the hands of the Absolute? Call it the overriding machinations of Providence in our national life, if you like. The German philosopher, Hegel, spoke of The Absolute as the hidden Reason, the Absolute Spirit, the Law, Foundation and Guiding Volition and Will behind the cosmos and all reality. It is said to manifest simultaneously in the affairs of men, in the march of history, in the evolutionary processes of nature and in the politics of every era.

The Absolute, as Providence, could sometimes be mistakenly assumed to be expressing itself in what is called the Zeitgeist, or the Spirit of the Times. Meanwhile, what is being so interpreted is, in fact, the Gedankenwelt, or men’s ‘World of thoughts’,of a particular era or season.  The Absolute is always beyond all that, and gets to have the last laugh. And that is where what Hegel called the Cunning of Reason, or the hidden designs of the Absolute in human affairs comes in.

Humans may sometimes design elaborate schemes of their own, with clear goals in view. But they may not know that their overall trajectory, and that of their beautiful schemes, has created a situation wherein the final outcome of their efforts will only serve the hidden designs of the Absolute. Yes, humans sometimes get “conned” by a higher design and will; even as they are convinced that they are working and walking towards accomplishing the favourite designs of their hearts.

Take for instance the case of a dreaded and dreadful tyrant cited by Hegel, to illustrate the Cunning of the Absolute. The man was as much feared in the realm as he was passionately hated. Everyone wanted him dead, but everyone acted as if they wanted him to live and rule forever. No one was eager to assist in any of his schemes for self-perpetuation and expansion, but no one stepped back whenever he called for hands to drive his nefarious activities. They were stuck with him, because any desire to overthrow him will have to contend with the fact that only the tyrant can call people to a meeting.

Since there can be no meetings in the realm, except those called by the tyrant, the prospect of consultation for leadership replacement was out of the question. Then the terrible fellow came to their aid, by dreaming up the idea of expanding his territories and taking over other surrounding realms. He planned for war and headed out with a mighty army, convinced that he would return soon enough to even greater glory and unchecked power and reign.

But as his absence relaxed the strictures on the people, they began to express personal views. In the end, their discussions and semi-meetings turned into full-blown meetings. Then the full-blown meetings begat loud grumblings, until there came the idea of how to ensure that the dreaded and dreadful tyrant did not return to further tyrannize over the people. He, was overthrown.

And therein lies the Cunning of the Absolute; namely, the use of a man’s blind and unwieldy aspirations to pave way for his removal, diminution, or demystification, so that the people may prosper.

In sum, Hegel’s notion of the hidden Providential volition in the affairs of men, which he christened the Cunning of the Absolute, is nothing more than the fact of how human beings would design brilliant ideas of their own, without knowing that they have become Agents of the Absolute in a far grander design. Come, let us look at Wike in this regard.

Ten months ago, Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State directed all 23 Local Government Chairmen in his state to hire bulldozers and destroy the illegal refineries in their respective local government areas. Four days before the directive, he said to the LG bosses: “Now, every council Chairman must go and identify illegal refineries … and you’re given 48 hours to go and identify all illegal refineries sites, and those who are in charge of them. … Our people are dying and we owe our people the responsibility to protect them, to save them from death”. Even with the foregoing, he was not yet done; but more of that later.

A few weeks ago, the same Wike inflicted began the commissioning of completed, high-Naira-volume, projects on his state. He just went about commissioning roads, fly rovers and sundry structures in Rivers State. He said the money came from massive tranches of cash he received in arrears from the Federal Government. He went on to announce that his state was not the only beneficiaries of this largesse; and that all other oil-producing states received their fair shares of the same arrears. Forthwith, he called out the respective state governors to tell the people what they used the monies so received for. Then, And his colleague oil-producing governors started speaking in tongues.

It was the same Wike who, after losing a delegate’s election and becoming implacable thereafter, went ahead to rack up massive amounts of dust that has now made it impossible for anyone to see clearly around the political firmament of the peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Wike’s reaction to the the PDP primaries has raised questions But for Wike’s Alhaji Atiku Abubakar’s ability to resolve intra-organizational disputes. It is thanks to Wike, and the PDP’s handling of rhe post-primaries palava, that many are now seeing a party that will most likely stick to the letter of the constitution on such issues as restructuring and state creation.

That is why Atiku’s amusing insistence on the provisions of the party constitution is a subtle form of self-demarketing that no one is paying attention to. What is Ayu’s magnificent electoral value, that all must rise or fall with him.

The PDP’s diligent media presentations on why Ayu should not resign, months after the emergence of a presidential candidate from the North, and also given Ayu’s pre-primaries pledge, suggests to many that the PDP candidate may turn out to be more rigid than many could have imagined – even as he is being touted as a conciliator and bridge builder. Is Wike now the hand of Providence that is helping many Nigerians to seen so clearly how an aspiring president could be so roundly bereft of good counsel, or how a political party could give incredible proof that it has no real Council of Elders.

Nor would many people have easily discovered how much cash was allegedly given to which party official by which presidential aspirant. Yes, none would have returned any money, or “housing allowance”, no! And no one would have gotten any hints about many other malodorous endeavours that birthed the Atiku 2023 candidacy. But before you prance off to say that the PDP stinks, just note that it smells better than the APC, pathetic as it is.

The problem in the case of the PDP is that the party is cheerfully investing all its energies in self-diminution. The party, the party campaign machinery, Atiku’s friends and position seekers actually believe they are walking and working towards a serious showing next year. Maybe they are.

But, going back to Wike’s handling of local government officials which we mentioned earlier, it was observed on this page on 22nd January, under the caption “Governors, Just Look at Wike” that “Wike did something that every state governor should endeavour to emulate. That is if such governors are serious about genuine representation of the people by their elected leaders, as well as socially accountable leadership, effective service delivery and sustainable security. His directive to the 23 Local Government Chairmen in Rivers State puts responsibility for some aspects of environmental awareness and security squarely at the door step of those who are supposed to be closest to the people: and who should therefore know what is going on at any point in time.

The LG bosses will now be forced to wake up their largely idle Ward and Council Chairmen. We cannot continue to pretend that it is the business of the Federal Government in Abuja to address all local issues that a passing knowledge of one’s living environment should be able to deal with. The security situation in the North would since have changed dramatically if the governors had stopped their repeated lamentational media engagements to adopt a conscious effort at actually earning the title “Mr. Governor”? For now, they blame everything on Buhari and the military, even as they parade the expended monthly budgets of many local government areas that have been without any form of government presence for years”.

As said regarding the Riot Act, “The beauty of Wike’s intervention … lies in the fact that he is calling out politicians who are in office as servants of the people to do their work. He is also, metaphorically speaking, asking his fellow governors and their LG Chairmen to do their jobs. They are being told that they have a duty to identify criminality and propose ways of dealing with same, in their largely closely-knit communities where everyone knows what everyone else is doing. He is saying that it is not right that people should carry official titles/cars and have their names on the government payroll, without actually being on the job.

That is one major takeaway from Wike’s ultimatum to the LG Chairmen in his state. Another major takeaway is that he is doing what his fellow governors should do with their LG Chairmen. He is telling everyone that being a governor, or a local Government Chairmen is a job. There are role expectations in every job. LG Chairmen should know their people and their environment. They should remember that they are an indispensable chain in the machinery of public administration, national security and good governance”.

The. Article continues: “But that is not all. Wike is also saying that his colleague governors and LG Chairmen should feel ashamed and embarrassed if the territory under their watch acquires a reputation for malfeasance. It does not mean he denies the challenges facing them and their various peoples. It is simply his way of saying: “Hey, enough of everyone pretending that we don’t know what’s going on here; and who is doing what. Either you become part of the solution, or I get you fired.

It is back to the backbone of effective service delivery for LG Chairmen all over the country, most of whom have been coasting for the last 20 years of democracy. By taking the Local Government Chairmen to task, he is forcing them to prove that they are not complicit in the revenue-draining and health-endangering activities that are worsening the environmental challenges facing Rivers State and the entire Niger Delta Region”.

And, coming round to the present (actually, present continuous(ly) tense), thanks to Wike, the Cunning of the Absolute seems to be at work around here.  Just look around you. Everyone seems to be in the line of fire – perhaps including Wike himself.

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