Patriotism, Intrigues and Illusion of Change
By Samuel Akpobome Orovwuje
LAGOS OCTOBER 11TH (URHOBOTODAY)-Nigeria’s political system is an interesting subject for exploring the impact of change, not only because it is emerging from over 56 years of deceitfulness between its leaders and the people but also because the system reflects the wider divisions in the society. If there is one persistent, issue that threatens the smooth working of any government is living in self-denial. The perversity and unfaithfulness of the elite and the ruling class will continue destroy loyalty and love for Nigeria.
Indeed, the new campaign, Change begins with me, is full of lies and it comes to me as a spectacle of ridicule and an abominable muck upon the nation. It is a tool to excite the masses and idolatry of some sort for populist politics to steer, a new national discourse, or at best a political comic to hoodwink the nation into a sense of hope in the midst of gloom and recession. They should stop playing political games with our lives!
It is no longer news that Nigeria’s moral and social values are dying. And why? Because their practitioners and tutors have detoured from realistically studying them, and are instead precipitously drawn in empty campaigns promises with no starting point. They feed Nigerians with hateful need to blame and it is senseless. Are people so emotional with the present not seeing? Alternatively, they do not just care.
Undeniably, History will remain history, whether or not you spray it with marketing communication jargons. It is the story of our nationalities, and how they have changed and evolved to this day. Like bonded slaves, our political elites are copying what their former masters have tried and failed.
For the avoidance of doubt, the historiography of behaviour change and social change dynamics, beginning from General Yakubu Gowon administration, the post – Nigeria civil war slogan of No victor No vanquished and its twin pillars of reconstruction, rehabilitation and resettlement could not address and assuage the fears of the Igbo’s within the nation. By the same token, the Buhari repressive regime of 1984/85 and it is campaign slogan of Andrew no check out , Nigeria go better, glamourised by the Nigeria Television Authority(NTA), could not stop the mass tide of brain drain ever witnessed in Nigeria.
Also the Obasanjo Heart of Africa project and the Good People, Great Nation of Yardua /Jonathan administration failed on arrival because the fundamental pathways to nation – building were not attend to and they were narrow vision sacrificed at the altar of political convenience and urgency of now to position government in the eyes of the people.
The more the government worries about their future in evolving half truths and a political dispensation driven by existential marketing, the more they are likely to become captive to the exhortations of those who project themselves as the strongest defenders of democracy. The executive and the legislative hardliners continue to go far for each other with the twin issues of budget padding and the political appropriateness as the battlegrounds.
The tragedy is that the victims are the hapless Nigerians, which they have defrauded repeatedly, but who cannot go back on their mandates at least for now, as well as the youth, who waged the wars as touts, and, are still being, used as political weapons to promote fraud in the traditional and social media.
We really do have a challenge with our leaders (past and present), and particularly with this new slogan, Lai Mohammed who is the new Nigeria’s full- blooded astrologist, should order a small commission to find out what is happening to Nigerians and they way various institutions work. To what extent have politicians corrupted them? Why are Nigerians, so glued to trashy ethnic sentiments and mediocrity? What happened to truth and justice? They should take note that it is only when nations have lived through precept of truth and justice, then they can launch such self-important appeal, but have we in Nigeria? When will our leaders study and rewrite a national rebirth document that address the fundamental issues of nation – building, truth, reconciliation and the politics of covetousness that dot the landscape. When will they?
Change begins with me is meaningless urging that would not stand close examination. Common citizens toil endlessly in order to afford a single meal in a day, and for the cost of fuel and travel, most Nigerians have been hard hit. It is unreasonable in the extreme that change will begin with me, when some cabinet ministers who have rigged elections in the past are still in government. Why should change begin with me when we practice a unitary government in democracy? Why should change begin with me where those who appropriate the nation blind in the last 56 years are preaching divisiveness? Again, why should change begin with me where government officials who hold town halls meeting cannot engage with the people and please, why should change begin with me, when the national assembly cannot pass the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) for years. This list is endless!
Going forward, the leadership must be sober- minded and show sound governance doctrine with an uncommon integrity and incorruptibility. We must also act as people with courage and determination. It is time to commit to a process of reconciliation. It is about coming to terms with events of the past in a manner that overcomes difference of opinion. In order for true spirit of nation- building to happen, there has to be awareness of the past, acknowledgement of the harm that has been mete out, atonement for the causes, and action to change behaviour. This should begin with a national process of reconciliation that would set the country on a bold new path, fundamentally changing the very foundations of Nigeria’s relationship with the common people.
Frankly, we do not need a back door – way to gain respect, a good reputation and even more importantly, popularity, in this brave age of technology and social media. Nevertheless, this whole cycle of ignorance seems to obscure the truth of what is important. We have completely lost perspective of everything that is true, real and meaningful in the name of politics. In this regard, we have become more disconnected from each other than ever before. Instead of national new beginning, politician sends a message of ill-treatment.
The heart of blame in our national consciousness is the real issue. Leadership that cast culpability on anyone else is bound to fail. That is why they end up blaming and trying to construct reality with the people. To blame the past questions nothing, for which most of them, had served in various strategic capacities. However, when it becomes part of a change dynamics, you are longer asking anything. Tell let the truth.
Finally, politics and patriotism is being, used to disguise truth, it has turned into a spectator sport based on vague change ideology completely detached from national value, and virtue.Tomorow will be as today, and the day after tomorrow will be like yesterday. The remaining days are tedious collection of hours of useless political arrogance. These are trying moment, but let take responsibility for our actions and inaction and reflect on the collective heroism that inspire truth and reconciliation. Change does not begin with me!
Orovwuje is Founder, Humanitarian Care for Displaced Persons, Lagos. Orovwuje@yahoo.com, 08034745325.