In the pit that is politics in Nigeria, miseries are pearls.
They are a clear mark of inflexible, inflexible poverty, the kind of poverty that pulverizes the mind, laying waste to what is there and sowing a disease that is invisible but invincible.
Nigeria is a barren land. From the beginning, it was trampled under the boots of callous colonialists. Independence came in 1960 and as a newly independent country struggled to find its footing, its oppressors arrived in khaki uniforms, promising death and issuing decrees.
Then came the weasels of war, which were just a harbinger of the wolves unleashed on the Southeast between 1967 and 1970 when a country collapsed under the weight of its aspirants.
Between 1970, when the war supposedly ended, and 1999, when the delights of democracy once again danced on Nigeria’s hungry tables, Nigeria’s khaki-clad torturers allowed the country only brief moments of respite.
Their shadows seem large even to this day, as Abacha’s infamous booty continues to arrive home and with it a litany for the leeches who continue to leer at Nigeria’s nakedness.
Yet since 1999, Nigeria’s low-key and treacherous detractors have been mostly reputed civilians and politicians. With the return of democracy came all the dreams that had been cruelly aborted under different military regimes: dreams of free speech, of elections, of an independent media, but most importantly, of a free and prosperous people.
With the clear possibility of elections came the formation of political parties which are the associations that necessarily support the mechanics of democratic elections in Nigeria.
Into these different parties decorated with different names and symbols, but remarkably similar in their scandalous lack of ideology, have dispersed many of the fools responsible for the depredations currently besetting Nigerians.
All kinds of people are politicians these days. People convicted of drug trafficking and fraud in foreign countries where the law takes no prisoners have returned to Nigeria and become political heroes. People wanted for crimes in other countries occupy Nigeria’s political space with magisterial authority.
The results are tremendously clear for all to see. Leadership in Nigeria has been plagued by a poverty of ideas and implementation. This has given birth to a country crippled by incompetence, inertia and corruption.
Especially in the last eight years, Nigerians have lived through a leadership nightmare. As poverty and insecurity have gripped Nigeria with terrifying consequences, Nigerians have been forced to look at themselves again and again.
It is said that people always get the leaders they deserve. Nigerians have never had good leaders in the country. If this argument is true, Nigerians have never deserved good leaders.
The 2023 general election is fast approaching. It’s already thrown all sorts of permutations. Since then, the main and secondary political parties have presented their candidates. Campaigns have been running for a long time. The usual suspects are on the run along with a couple of newcomers who threaten to tear up the tape on their first try.
For the Labor Party and Peter Obi, its candidate, an earthquake rumbles in the depths of Nigerian politics.
The weight of his words on the campaign trail smacks of someone who knows exactly what Nigeria’s problems are and what must be done to solve them. If he wins the race, he may still be overwhelmed with problems. But that he seems to have control over the challenges has made many Nigerians take notice.
But more than the wisdom he exudes when speaking of Nigeria’s seemingly intractable challenges is the gigantic danger his personal and political philosophy poses to a disease that is at the heart of Nigeria’s leadership failures.
It is the politics of crumbs, crap, crabs and crafts in which each feeds and sustains the other. With bad leadership hastening the institutionalization of poverty across the country, Nigerian politicians, master opportunists that they are, have deified money while refining the role it plays during elections.
The strategy is simply to hand out chicken feed to gullible Nigerians in exchange for their votes. Items generally range from clothing to seasonings, a bit of rice, and some money here and there.
Recently the articles have been updated to include some beans with the stipend jumping from two thousand naira to five thousand naira and even ten thousand naira in some cases. The result is that many Nigerians are hooked.
Where are they sharing the money, many people ask during elections? They should come and share money, let’s say. While some Nigerians have kept their senses despite the allure of dirty money, out of the maddening mob mentality for whom elections are all about money has emerged the stereotype that the politician who doesn’t share the money cannot be trusted. .
This stereotype has become a stick to Peter Obi’s back. The savvy businessman who, as Governor of Anambra State, brought an unprecedented level of cunning and prudence to public spending has maintained throughout his bid to become President of Nigeria that he abhors this nauseating policy of shit and crumbs.
He has strongly maintained that he is a firm believer in the fact that money must be spent properly. Many of Nigeria’s political buyers and sellers have resented him and covered their ears with his words.
It was Peter Obi’s conviction that he could not engage in breadcrumb politics that saw him leave the Peoples’ Democratic Party shortly before its primaries turned into a greedy buy-and-sell unregulated party.
Peter Obi’s courageous stand in a country where many values have been lost in the vicious cycle of vice created by vultures has ironically attracted many Nigerians who want a sanitized country aboard his charabanc of change.
However, for political merchants like Reno Omokri, whose frivolous frivolity knows no bounds, Peter Obi’s stinginess will not suit Nigeria if he becomes president. Omokri recently warned that if Peter Obi becomes president, ASUU will embark on a never-ending strike as it would not be willing to meet the demands of union members.
Reno Omokri, who was an assistant to Goodluck Ebele Jonathan when the latter was president, definitely belongs to the league of leeches who, having clung to Nigeria in the past with great benefit, want to go back in time.
Despite his many shortcomings, President Muhammadu Buhari has tried to plug up the numerous leaks of public funds deliberately engineered by the Komodo dragons that feast on the country. For them, a president who shares the money is not just a president but a prophet and even a doctor who will cure Nigeria of its diseases.
But that’s not the kind of president Nigeria needs right now. Nigeria needs a president who has a record of accountability and transparency with public funds.
Unless Nigeria has a president who is willing to lead the way to the presidency by force of personal example, a desperate country will be doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past.
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