Thursday, 5 March 2015

That we may move forward

That we may move forward
The times are delicate and perplexing. The topsy-turvy nature of politics has continued to rear its ugly head all over the place. Political gladiators are very busy. They are seen everywhere these days. In the markets, street corners and even the remotest part of the city, they are not missing in action. 

The campaigns have moved closer to the electorate more than they expected. Today, you don’t need to have a TV set before catching a glimpse of these ‘big men.’ They are everywhere. Just remain where you are and they will come bearing gifts and cash. They want your votes. So, they will always be there even at your behest. At this point, we call the shots. We are in charge. Dare us and lose our votes. Power is sweet. Very, very sweet indeed! The artisans, cobblers, panel beaters, farmers, truck pushers, block moulders, Keke riders and wait for it——even commercial sex workers et al are daily receiving politicians to their domain. That’s how serious things have got. Are you a learner?

They are not alone here. Their supporters are not losing sleep either. They are doing their bit to ensure their candidate makes inroads into the minds of the voting public. They do so with enthusiasm and verve. If you dare challenge nor argue that their candidate is not good enough, you are only exposing yourself to uncouth bouts of verbal fisticuffs. Woe betides you if you boldly tell them that their candidate is not popular hence will be defeated at the polls. They will feast on you with riotous rage as if your comments, bravado and postulation will have any meaningful effect on the direction the pendulum will swing come March 28 and April 11.

But that’s the sad reality of what this time has brought. Some persons even go berserk all in a bid to show to whoever cares to notice that they are unequivocally in support of a particular candidate. Pity! What is worrisome is that we never learn from history. Little wonder many are quick to deride us as poor students of history. At the end of the day, the politicians, whether they lose or not, will still have a way of meeting themselves. At such meetings, they thrash out some thorny issues all round before clinking some beautifully crafted glasses of tasteful wines from the best connoisseurs with gay abandon. They settle their political scores, some currencies surely changes hands before calling it a day with some cheeky smiles.

As the tension-soaked polls gather heat, it will be wiser for these folks who are mere outsiders in this game to comport themselves with tact and finesse. You just have to stop fooling around all over the place. Refuse to be a pawn in the chessboard of politicians who will always become beautiful brides at this material time. Let no one lure you with ephemeral crispy notes to part with your conscience. Most times, you get your feathers bruised while at other times; you lose your life outright while trying to fight the battles. Politics continues and grows with the same speed and tempo. But you are gone; Gone for nothing. Just like that. Poor you! Let’s grow up and know that we came to see this game called politics. It has always been and will so remain till the resurrection morning. So, why must you rule today, why do you think that if you don’t have your way, the world will come crashing. No way. You can’t possibly decide the fate and destiny of a multitude. You are not God who made the Heavens and the earth. You are merely a creature who will one day depart this turbulence world to give account of you stewardship and get your reward too.

So, don’t carry on as if you are a super human or an invisible being. Hold it right there just before it’s too late in the day. Know that life has got no duplicate as they say. So, guard it jealously while using your head before you are used for some political gains that you may not even be there to tap from. Even when you are lucky to be there, how sure are you that you will be given a look in? It’s not something new so, just maybe, you should have a thick skin so that you can easily take things in your strides. While yours truly hopes our recalcitrant young folks turn the corner and embrace peace, harmony and concord, pronto, I am moved to lend a voice to the raging and burning issue of whether Jega should be sacked, sorry, go on terminal leave or allowed to conduct the elections.

Wherever you turn, it’s either it’s the issue of Jega, fuel scarcity, elections’ shift (again) and all of that. So, daily one thing must hold us captive. The long queues in filling stations have returned even as we have abandoned governmental duties in wild embrace of the murky waters of politics. Personalities are being attacked here and there. We don’t discuss the issues that have crippled us over the years. No. what we concern ourselves with is whom to slaughter, take behind bars or paint black. Aren’t we all blacks in one way or the other? Ok, let him with no sin cast the first stone. That we are blessed with oil yet can’t refine same does not worry us. All what the citizenry have gained from their leaders is to be deceived and pushed around over the years that access roads will be created everywhere. In fact, soon, we may be told that a road will be created to link Heaven direct. What will they not tell us? Do we blame them? The ears have no covers. They are wide open and easily take in anything it is told with remarkable glee. Sometimes, one wonders if it’s only road that is the share of hunger-stricken citizens from their collective patrimony. It beat me hollow when you are confronted daily by elementary shortcomings that the government should ordinarily provide for the common man in the Street (that’s what they call us). More so, one often watches with utter amazement when some basic amenities are put in place by those whose responsibility it is to do so but make a meal out of it. 

They pierce our eardrums with loud music, television ads, radio vibes and what have you with the ‘wonders’ they have done. The less informed folks are often recruited with the speed of light to shout, dance, display acrobatics and perform all forms benumbing callisthenics with permanent smiles etched on their faces as if all is well. These ones will be shock-stricken if they get to know how much is involved in their state. They will go nuts. But who will tell them the truth? No one. Everybody feeds them with utopian tales. They are hoodwinked into accepting peanuts. They do so with elevated excitement. They dance and role with astounding fidelity. The women are good here. Especially the widows!

What if we begin to tell truth to power and do the needful as and when due? Will the Heavens fall? The system is sick and putrid. Falsehood, deceit and subversion of the people’s wishes have become the standard practice. Everybody is saying the same thing. Singing the same song and dancing to the same beats. Everybody is learning from the great teacher. He is the all knowing rabbi who should be followed every inch of the way. Whatever he says and does are worth imitating. When he sekems to the left or right; we fall in line like flies over nectar. Great teacher indeed! 

Back to Jega and the battle of surviving the gathering storm. Who is afraid of this man? Why do they want him out? Who are those involved in this wicked plot? Must we always create fuss? What is wrong with this contraption of ours? The fact is that we are always the architect of our own woes. What wisdom is there in bringing up a very sensitive issue at a time we should channel our efforts into fighting the insurgents that have held us by the throat? The six-week window created by the postponement of the elections was to help troops rein in these terrorist. We give them (military) kudos for their spirited efforts and the patriotic fervour they have applied in their quest to save the nation from the stranglehold of these blood-thirsty hooligans. That is what we should focus on and other pressing issues of governance. 

Sadly, this is not the case for the elites. Their headache is Attahiru Jega, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), chairman. They say he is colluding with some persons to rig the polls. Hence, all manner of sentiments have been whipped up. He is to go on leave by April 30, reports say but some people are looking to backdate it and have him quit the stage before the first leg of the polls. But this is the same man that was hailed in many quarters as a man of integrity and piety in 2011 for conducting elections that had minimal flaws. When he oversaw the Osun and Ekiti states governorship elections, Jega was patted on the back. He was easily a hero—a great stalwart and a patriot.  Many superlatives were employed to eulogise him. Today, the beat has changed. Jega is being accused left, right and centre. The federal government has refused to come clean on the issue. Speaking the other day in his presidential media chat, Jonathan told Nigerians that there are no plans to sack Jega. While he has come to be known as a man that speaks from both sides of the mouth, the former shoeless school ‘boy’ in the small sleepy village of Otuoke spoke this time with firmness. We were led to believe the tale little did we know that the tale was veiled. Today, the plot to remove Jega has thickened. PDP’s foot soldiers have taken to the turf with the swiftness of a mad dog. They want to remove Jega by all means. They have not hidden their distaste for him. Chief Edwin Clark, the problematic South-South and Ijaw imperial leader has been threatening fire and brimstone. He says Jega must go, yes, he said so without blinking an eyelid. Others have chorused the same rhyme. 

As if that is not enough, the PVC and the card readers have become big issues. Some persons are against the use of the card readers. They say it is against the constitution. While one may be quick to wave those advovcating agaists the use of card readers as austere folks, it is a sad reality that they are learned men and women who understand the workability of the device and why our country needs it at this crucial time. Sadly, they have closed their eyes and brains to reason. They want the status quo to be maintained. To them, the old order must be upheld to the letter.  We are always enmeshed, most times, in problems that we should ordinarily avoid. Why force a man that has painstakingly prepared for these polls to embark on a leave. Is it compulsory that he must do it before the polls? Can’t we evaluate the delicate nature of the time and avoid the disaster that what we are dabbling into may bring? 

Even though it was time for him to embark on this leave before an election that is just a couple of weeks away, can’t we apply the same doctrine of necessity we employed to have Jonathan take over from the late Yar’dua when the nation was locked in turmoil? No, we are not doing that. Rather, to compound issues, some persons are also mooting the idea of further shifting of the elections! Are these persons Nigerians? Please, let’s join hands and safe this ship from hitting the rocks. This ship must not sink in our time. Posterity will spit on our graves if we lay these treacherous eggs that will foul the air of futuristic forays. Let the election hold as rescheduled if we must preserve whatever is left of our dignity as a nation. How about the card readers and PVC? We need them. It has worked for others. It can work here too. Let’s not place this enclave on reverse gear.

Nigeria belongs to us all. Let’s build it on the foundations of love, unity, selflessness and patriotism. Are the elites listening at all?

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