Which Way Nigeria?

I ordinarily will not write about or comment on politics, at least not Nigerian politics. I hate politics and I detest politicians.
Especially Nigerian politicians. But one thing is clear: I realize that politics is everywhere and is in everything, so one can’t get out of it or away from it.

There is politics all around:
at home, in the family, in church, at the workplace, in school, on the road, in the streets, in international affairs, in the military, in sports, in religion. As a matter of fact, everywhere and place. But there is high politics and there is low politics and maybe even medium politics. However, my focus here is on Nigerian politics and politicians and recent events in the country and my state, Lagos, as the general elections draw ever nearer. I not only sympathize with the Nigerian masses—I have reservations calling them “electorate”—and, indeed, pity them. In every case and at every turn they are faced with “Hobson’s choice.” That is, no choice at all. Or how do you make a choice between a rock and a hard place? Between the devil and the deep blue sea? Ha! There is no choice at all. Or, is there?
At the parties’ level, for example, it’s either the PDP or the APC. Hmmm! Do you notice that each of the parties has names that sound empty, vague and to all intents and purposes slippery? For instance, you must have heard the saying that everybody’s business is nobody’s business.
And because both parties are an “all-comers affair,” you have a nest of strange bedfellows. Or what do you make of an alliance between Maj.-Gen Buhari (a once-upon-a-time military despot) and Sen. Bola Tinubu (a self-acclaimed democrat and Awoist). Some alliance, isn’t it? I’d hate to do a pathological analysis of the partnership for obvious reasons; a historical one may suffice.
As it that is not amazing enough, what does one make of the Buhari/ Osinbajo ticket? Buhari, a thoroughbred military man (with all the negative connotations that it carries or implies in the Nigerian context) and Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, an erudite scholar and by implication an intellectual. That is yoking together a bull and a horse, isn’t it? Yet Christian scriptures admonish us not to be unequally yoked (and it is not necessarily in a religious way).
As for the PDP ticket, the Jonathan/Sambo combination is not any more appealing because they appear two of a kind to me. You know, the thoughts that cross one’s mind when one sees a dog or a pig or any four-legged animal walking on two feet in the manner of man! Even when it is doing it well, it still looks strange all the same. That’s how the pair appear to me whenever I see them. One has very dull, uninspiring look and the other has a rather sheepish (some would say docile is a more charitable word) mien. Together, they cut the picture of a duo of lackadaisical unintelligent misfits.

So how do we vote?
And that brings me to Lagos, the state in which I reside. The gubernatorial contest here is between Jimi Agbaje of the PDP and Akin Ambode of the APC. I have a preference for Agbaje. He not only looks intelligent, but also articulate.
He has a clear idea of what he wants to do and whenever he gets an opportunity he never fails to convince. Here is an ideas man. The problem is he, and by implication his party, do not seem to be doing enough. They are inadvertently exhibiting a defeatist mentality.
Agbaje’s campaign is simply nonexistent. He seems to be concentrating on the youth, and especially the media technology savvy ones who are almost always on the social media.

The question is: How many of the youths have such access in terms of time, patience and resources?
As for Mr. Ambode, he and his party have swamped us with their posters. Posters in which he poses and postures, at various times, like a musician, a standup comedian, a magician, a master of ceremonies, generally as an entertainer. In short, he cuts or gives the impression of an unserious person, at least in the context of the office to which he is aspiring. He strikes me, from his posters, as a party freak, a fun-lover, an incurable “socialite” who may have no time for the high demands of the office of the governor of a state (like Lagos). His very emergence as his party’s governorship candidate is, em— shall we say er,—appears to be a conjurer’s trick, but then that is Nigerian politics and politicians for you.
One sees posters all over the place of jokers fatcats, loafers, misfits, exploiters of situations and of the masses, stooges and “conduit pipes” all over the place, requesting, pleading, begging, cajoling (and generally sweet-talking), at times even demanding (one can’t help feeling) that the people, like the poor masses, the choiceless electorate vote them into power to better (pun intended) their lot.
Some of these “aspirers” to the State House of Assembly, the Federal House of Representatives and the Senate have been there for more than a term or two, have done nothing for the people and achieved nothing for themselves, beyond stolen funds, yet they plead to be re-elected (and hopefully, god forbid) in order to better the lot of their longsuffering but undiscerning and docile electorate.
It would have been so funny only if it were not so tragic. Tragic for the citizens, for society and for this country called Nigeria which is undoubtedly justifying the epithet “a mere geographical expression.”
Nigeria, where everything and anything goes and where the more crooked you are (civilian) or the more stupidly ambitious (brazen, that is) you are (military), you are more than likely to get to the top. The mistakes of 1914, 1960, 1966, 1967–70, 1983, and June 12, 1993 continue to haunt our “Big Blind Country.”

About the author

Ihesiulo Grace

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