By Chris Odinaka Nwedo
The socio-political and economic atmospheres in Nigeria are unpromisingly bad. Today the Nigerian state is acutely in misery of self-imposed malady. Nigeria is immersed in a mess of profligacies of her assorted clubs of cruel and impervious elites. Nigeria’s elite clubs are politicians and the godfathers, billionaire ‘merchants’ and proprietors of religious ‘business’ centres. The elites are distinctive, disruptive, powerful and ruthless. Many of Nigeria’s religious elites have been scandalously unsupportive and insensitive as vast majority of the citizens helplessly battle on all fronts for toxic survival wars against policies and programmes of political elites. However, it will be unnatural for them to be on the side of the people because they cannot be on both sides.
It is more simplistic to state that most of nation’s religious elites perceive these wrong politicians as collaborators or teammates on the other side of the aisle. They are collaborators in terms of mutual disposition against ‘common’ Nigerians. They share information and encourage one another to expend and purchase choice properties both at home and abroad. The wrong politicians and the proprietors work harder to actively protect the other interest. It is important to note, however, that it is the iniquitous politicians that made the entrepreneurs in religion as vainly potent and uncontrollable as they are today. The more things are hard and stifling the more desperate folks troop to the religious business centres in search of Divine interventions erroneously. As they troop in, they are fed with empty spoons and conned of their remaining value by the spiritualists and their cohorts.
This is the nexus, as the politicians impoverish the people by means corruption, expropriation of resources, mismanagement and bad policies, many gullible folks troop into the religious ‘business centres’ believing they are genuine places of succour. It is those who ran to the religious centres that get defoliated. The bombastic grammars, the trans-mundane theological expressions of these religious charlatans have ways of deluding the victims and dispossessing them of their values. The highfaluting expressions by the impostors rise and fall on ‘giving’, ‘give’ and receive automatic God’s favour. They have copious citations from the scriptures to back up their ungodly manipulation. In the end, the giver is dried-up and impoverished as against the impostor man of God who becomes stupendously rich, stupid and bullish. Encounter with these religious fraudsters is indeed magical because no one remains the same after. It is the excruciating hardship and dismal poverty in the land that are making investment in religion profitable. It may be unarguable that investments in religion have produced more unflappable millionaires and billionaires in the midst hardship and demonstrable economic decline than any other venture in Nigeria.
For the sake of avoiding confusion and unjust generalisation, I have a duty and it is imperative to recognise and give active encouragement to few conscientious politicians whose rebuttals of absurdities in governance give hope that Nigeria is not beyond redemption. The patriotism of the few provides courage and platforms for agitations in favour of changes. The loyalties of the few voices remain inspirational. It is compelling to commend also a few Nigerian millionaires and billionaires who are perfect examples of instant material benefits of honesty, hard work and dedication to making positive impacts. We have a lot of credible men and women of God who have been particularly inspirational. The revered people of God remain the moral compass as against the relativity and materialism of the rest. No doubt, the damages of the bad religious are unquantifiable.
It is undeniable that Nigeria’s elites have two principal and irreversible objectives that included exploitation, oppression of the masses and defoliation of the national patrimony. These people have messed-up Nigeria in a way so scandalous. The mess is profound and intractable, as the effects on the polity are deep and injurious. Among the obvious effects of the mess are the facts that Nigeria is effectively capsizing like a giant ship with drunken pilots. Nigeria is capsizing under enormous weights of pervasive insecurity, political tyranny, corruption, economic misconducts, religious deceits and social upheavals. The instinctive social upheavals have become common ways of expressing wide spread discontentment as Nigerians react to the strangulation. A strident call for an immediate change of the state of order is one of the many demonstrable expressions of the infusing dissatisfaction. It is palpable that the endurances of Nigerians have been long-drawn-out beyond the elasticity point. The deep disenchantments over the wantonness of the nation’s classes of elites have been major national discuss for decades. Situations are now more complicated with the powerlessness of the politicians to govern. The nation is in shock by the dissatisfying attitudes of the elites in the face of worsening Nigeria and the inability of Buhari-led administration to think appropriately. In illustration of the development, Ariyo-Dare Atoye noted that “civic space is fast shrinking, … Fundamental human rights in Nigeria are under attack in various ways”.
Today, vast majorities of Nigerians supported and are assertively calling on one another for a forceful and total change of the irritating irrational order. Many Nigerians are yelling for revolution citing instances and claiming inspirations from the successes of the so-called Arab Spring and more recently, a revolutionary style rallies in Sudan that deflected and sacked President Omar Al-Bashir. Recall that Sudanese mobilised efficaciously against their own despot Al-Bashir who ruled and mismanaged the country for 30 years. The protest that deposed Omar was prompted by the exact situations in Nigeria, bad governance and the impoverishment of the majority by minority. It was the collective realisation that the revolution was the only feasible and instantaneous way to do away with decades of repressive regime and intolerable mismanagement of wealth and opportunities for the development of Sudan that emboldened and radicalised the common folks. In fact, there was a united vision and a united movement to end the suffering and a regime associated with it.
In Nigeria, the exponents of the decisive and immediate actions for changes of the oppressive order, have mobilised protesters with the following major demands: an end to anti-people economic policies, an end to special privileges for the ruling class and return of political power and national wealth to the working people. The calls for change are both crucial and enforceable considering the current levels of degradations in the state of affairs. The pains of the worsening situations were the reasons why Sudan’s models of actions against their tyrants were inspirational to Nigerians enthusiastic for instant transformations. Nigerians have emblematically woken up to discover themselves in deep tribulations.
As Nigerians we harmed ourselves by allowing the national situations to deteriorate beyond the points of stress-free solutions. As disillusioned victims of elite delusion, we have seen the severe errors of imprudence in believing that it is well when indeed it is not. Have we not followed politicians and pharisaic daddies and mummies to ruin? Calls for changes are ominous expressions that we are being robustly challenged by the mistakes of voluntary submission to be misled and disorientated by the nation’s cruel elites. Unwise submission, ignorance and poverty have combined to give all classes of Nigerian elites overwhelming power of life and death as they insensitively conspire and take advantages of fellow folks in the pursuit of personal gains.
The denigrating social and economic circumstances of ordinary Nigerians today, the politico-power structures and configurations of the states provided the current assemblage of national potentates the platforms on which to unpretentiously assume that they are predestined to hold power interminably as an inalienable right. For the elites, absolute controls of both political and economic powers are the obvious compensations for phantom indispensable messianic roles they see themselves playing. Fortunately for the elites the economic and politico-power structures are patterned to permit the ‘messiahs’ to impose themselves and\or preferred candidates on the people as leaders who rule imprudently and despotically. A proprietor of a religious congregation retires and hands over to wife, son or daughter while politicians construct political dynasties for self-perpetuation. The situation reminds me of an assertion by Howard Zinn, an American social critic that “civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience. Our problem is that people all over the world have obeyed the dictates of leaders…and millions have been killed because of this obedience…Our problem is that people are obedient all over the world in the face of poverty and starvation and stupidity, and war, and cruelty. Our problem is that people are obedient while the jails are full of petty thieves… (and) the grand thieves are running the country. That’s our problem.”
Objectively speaking, the Nigeria’s predicaments come with despicable curses. Today Nigerian society is implacably divided against itself. The folks are filled with suspicion and anger against one another on grounds of religion or ethnicity. Insecurity, social instability and political upheavals forced many Nigerians to loose confidence in the competence of the elite classes to turn the situation round for better. Nigerians are increasingly turning to supernatural forces expecting interventions. These expectations are distinctly expressed by proliferations of exploitative spiritual solution centres with concomitant increase in the numbers of charlatans debasing and dispossessing their vulnerable victims. Some sections of public opinion claim that proliferation of ethnic irredentists groups, radical Islamists and Boko Haram terrorists evolved out of socio-political and economic disillusionment. Today, ravages of the Islamic fundamentalists against the so called infidels have indelibly injured the spirit of cooperate partnership in the project, Nigeria.
It is not surprising that patriotic responses to very national questions have become almost collapsed among most Nigerians especially those outside the immediate elite circles, giving vent to strong balkanisation sentiments. Many are disappointed and tired that the fruits of the project, Nigeria are insipid and sickening. Agitations for sovereign national conferences by a few seemed a remote panacea to the growing national quandary. The lack of security and necessary government’s intervention in the progressively more hardening means of daily survival, the decades of infrastructure decay and abandonment of responsible roles by the governance provided life-lines for crops of domineering and paternalistic demi-gods, the national elite classes. Contemporary Nigerians live lives of involuntary submission to enduring personal ambitions of the wrong and strong.
It cannot be mistaken that some imprudent god-father paternalists, pushy governors give the impressions of their states as personal empires and superintend them in such a manner that their comforts are not only constitutionalised but prioritised, and scapegoats are made of anyone challenging the establishment. These evidently do not pretend the perception that the states are the products of their prowess and, therefore, personal. Consequently, the instruments of the states are used pejoratively in systematic disenfranchisement of opposition party groups through intimidation, deregistration, criminalisation or economic sterilisation. They tend to tighten the hold on power by using legislature to endorse laws prejudicial to democracy and orchestrate illegitimate impeachment processes targeted at anyone bold enough to challenge their excesses. It is the spirit of desperation for political survival that we see parties split irreparably with factions pitilessly hostile to the other, as chronicles of the impeached are interminable.
It is lamentable that the idea of do or die political calculations in which Nigerian politicians brazenly insist on imposition of private will in professedly democratic arrangement and entrenching personal political models have continued to wreck the system. This is indeed a grotesque exhibition of political immaturity and moral repulsion. It is self evident that political characters of many of the politicians are hardly good examples of democracy or its institutionalisation in the country. Our present crops of politicians, with active cooperation of all classes of the Nigeria’s depraved elite groups, have imprudently continued with anti democratic and exploitive politics in which everything is weaponised for the sake of power.