WEDNESDAY COLUMN BY USSIJU MEDANER
The Court of Appeal sitting in Lagos last week overturned the unanimous decision of the tribunal and affirmed Augustine Akobundu as duly elected Senator representing Abia Central Senatorial District. In another case, the Appeal Court upheld the decision of the tribunal affirming Hon. Ginger Obinna Onwusibe of the Labour Party as the member Representing Isiala Ngwa North and South Federal Constituency at the House of Representatives. The Appeal Court also upheld the Tribunal decision affirming Jarigbe Agom Jarigbe as Senator representing Cross River North Senatorial District. These are few among reversed results that go either the way of PDP or the Labour Party. I was on social media to gauge reactions and it was not too surprising but it stinks of the usual destructive fixation of a people living in darkness of ignorance of truth and realities. Imagine some saying this is wrong. ‘APC is hell-bent on turning this nation into an occult system.’ ‘The legacy of APC is hellish and they won’t end well.’ ‘Nigeria is in shackles.’ ‘Tinubu’s APCriminals are determined to remove all LP members from both chambers of the legislature.’ Where does APC come in the permutations or removing and replacing Labour Party with PDP and vice versa? These are people living in delusion of fake reality and darkness of the cave. And this is the reality of the Nigeria nation right now; a people living in darkness of illusory denial.
So delusional and living in darkness and presuming every Nigerian is in darkness, they went to court and refused to show any proof of rigging and yet expected the court to believe social media conjure stories of election results manipulations that do not happen. They claimed the Supreme Court ignored identity theft, forgery and perjury and the judgment does not represent the wishes of Nigerians. The same justices elaborately expanded at the deliverance of the judgment, that even a moron cannot argue against. You went to the law, not that the law came to you; and it is your duty to present facts and not emotional push.
Plato in his search for truth and what knowledge is, propounded the myth of the cave. The allegory shows the innate tendency of man to think, speak and act without true awareness of reality. Like prisoners, they assume what they are shown is reality, that what they read is the truth, and would not care to know the real source and cause of the shadows they are presented with as realities. They are told lies, and they accept it as truth, they propagate it as truth, and they fight for it as truth. Nigerians today, thanks to the political elite, have been fed with distorted appearances and have been treated to believe in false rhetoric and unreal objects. They are blind not knowing they are not seeing. They are imprisoned thinking they are roaming freely.
We have created all for ourselves an unjust society over the decades. Not only with blind, unjust citizens but unwise and unjust leaderships. A healthy Nigeria would need leaders who are oriented towards the truth or we will continue to travel the path of self-destruct. The only path to salvage Nigeria is to build leaders and followers who are altogether oriented toward the realities of the country and are prepared to figure out genuinely what justice toward the nation is and are prepared to dispense it.
This country is being treated so unfairly by its people and those who altogether hold the responsibility to defend the integrity of the country and act individually and collectively to protect the country and salvage its falling glory. It is a statement of fact as in today’s Nigeria, that almost every individual is more interested in taking advantage of every chance to pilfer the country for personal gains. Most especially, political position holders and politicians generally would act only in whatever official capacity to get what the position can fetch but hardly want can do for the office and through the office for Nigeria and Nigerians. The common man on the street, in prison of reality, sees what he chooses to see and is set to turn the country upside down in defense of his chosen reality. The politician sitting on the exalted seat sees the ignorance of the man on the street and rejoices in his ignorance, taking advantage of it more as they all together drive the country into despair as much as we witness today and would most likely continue to see except something, some real awakening from the darkness is done.
It is for this anomalous representation that politicians and political office holders have become the arch enemies of the nation Nigeria and the nemesis of the country’s development capability. They have become everything that is wrong with the country, and the reason why we may not be getting out of the mud any time soon. The reason why Nigeria and Nigerians appear to be so fractionalised and broken along religious, ethnic and regional affiliations is not because Nigerians are against each other, no Nigerians have no problem interacting among themselves, but politicians have weaponised religion, ethnicity and regional affiliations into election winning tools. I will continue to wonder how someone will imagine separating the Igbo nation from Nigeria; did the Igbo man in the hinterlands of the West and North make that decision, no. The politicians do. Does the Hausa man on the street of Kano or elsewhere make the decision that Yoruba or Igbo would be sent parking from the North, no. The politicians do. To what ends?
Today, despite the reality of our commonwealth, a Nigeria with citizens sharing the same market platforms, business places, schools, communities peacefully and yet have resources to the existence of innate hatred along religious and other sensitive lines that are artificially created and introduced into our system to create divisions that enable the perpetrators to be exerting undue influences on fractions of the unsuspecting population. Or, how do we explain off acts and statements credited to some contestants in the last general elections, who threw caution to the wind to openly demand a certain religious wake up to take back their country, or how do we explain the regional and ethnic colouration that critically dominated responses of some aspirants across the country. We will only end the artificially created divisions only when aspiring leaders begin to aspire to lead to benefit the country and not themselves and their immediate families and allies.
The President’s retreat with his appointees and the bond of performance made with them appears to be a move in the right direction. Appointed public office holders can no longer be allowed the luxury of free reign. The people appointed are servants to all of us. This is our country, they are paid and serviced by taxpayers money and are literally responsible to us. It is about time, we, the citizens, created the platform for tracking government appointees inclusive of elected office holders, performance in office. For as long as they hold the positions by pledging to serve Nigerians, they must be accountable to Nigeria and to Nigerians. The monitoring and evaluation that would deliver the innate objective, would not and should not be shouldered by a single interest but multi layered. We should be looking at monitoring, beginning with community layered monitoring of performance level and quality of delivery; where number of executed projects, status of projects, quality of projects and need for projects are tabulated against resources and against the implementing ministry, agency and persons. Where summaries of political office holders performance are regularly released to the public domain and cumulatively upgraded every quarter or thereabout.
Perhaps, if leaders know they are subject to scrutiny, self-serving tendencies would reduce in the country. Maybe, we would have fewer persons in leadership positions who do not care about the people but their pockets and bellies? Maybe, we will begin to see an increasing number of patriotic elements in leadership positions, organising the wealth of Nigeria for Nigerians and the future of Nigeria.
Sycophantic elements across and around the presidency and the negative narrative it bears on realisation of national policies and development agenda is a serious challenge we continue to grasp with as a nation. We now parade all over the corridors of power political contractors, alias any government in power(AGIP); praise singers for the sake of their bellies. Unfortunately, they have become the best friend of the power and the ear and nose of the government; they are the de facto advisers.
The patriotic citizens and members who worked tirelessly to enthrone the party are left out of the project. Those who would serve Nigeria patriotically have been shoved aside. Another rather strange consideration is the idea of rewarding some contestants by the emerged winners. For instance, in the presidential or governorship elections. It may seem to be a compassionate gesture, but I think it is not wise. Though I stand to be corrected. Someone who contested against you does not really believe in your vision to begin with. Rewarding them with a political appointment that is less than what they actually wanted, which is the top position, often makes them not to take the position seriously. And then, there is the possibility of soft or hard sabotage. Who suffers the consequences of these sort of not-too-sound decisions? Nigeria and Nigerians. The ruling party as well. Whereas, if dutifully loyal party members who labour for the party to succeed are rewarded justly with, say political appointments, they are most likely to perform well for the interest of the party they laboured for to continue in power.
This nation needs patriotic citizens and leaders. We need men and women who would for once jettison personal benefits, both financially and materially for the cause of a peaceful and prosperous Nigeria. Until then, we are altogether, a joke of a nation and a subject of laughter in the committee of nations. Perhaps, it may be said from some quarters and popular ones for that matter that it is too early to criticise the new appointments. Democracy allows and even encourages it. Perhaps, we are not doing enough to lend our voices. It is these voices that will make the new appointees work hard to prove the critics wrong and in the case where they fail or before they become total failures, then hopefully some changes can be considered before the next election cycle.
GOD BLESS THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA!