Politicians versus the people

February 28, 2021
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Whenever the history of the eventual collapse of this country is written Nigeria’s commercial/mercenary politicians will surely take the lion’s share of the blame. It is just unimaginable that any crop of human beings anywhere on earth could be as insensitive, as unfeeling, as wrongheaded, as selfish and self centred as the politicians who the ordinary people of Nigeria had/have been unlucky to share space with.

As we speak, hundreds of thousands of innocent men, women and children have been brutally displaced, houses burnt, means of livelihood destroyed, life and living virtually paralysed, and yet the Nigerian politicians are carrying on as if nothing is amiss. They are behaving as if they are in a movie theatre savouring the humour-soaked antics of actor/producer Mr Latin.

If not because our politicians are wicked and selfish how can anybody in his or her right senses be talking of elections or preparing for elections or piling up palliatives meant for the poor in this time and clime when people are in unprecedented pain and state of haplessness and helplessness? How can any rational person be talking of Nigeria’s endless Identification programme, a notorious cash-cow, in this period of insecurity and Covid-19 pandemic? How can any sensible person be considering re-introduction of toll gates when our slaughter-highways are awash with sundry kidnappers and herdsmen murderers? Didn’t it ever occur to whoever woke up from the wrong side of the bed to suggest toll gates that vehicles that would be in queue will be sure soft target for marauding killers and abductors…whether in day time or at night?

Rather than compel those in position to come together and find solution to the nagging issue of the National Question, politicians are more concerned about going for second term, third term, securing a seat in the Senate-.now a Retirement Home of failed governors, or running for governorship in a country where over 99 per cent of states cannot pay workers’ salaries and unemployment is over 60 per cent? All that the politicians are interested in is the avenue for stealing and plundering of the commonwealth. No more, no less!

This writer would like to go on record as putting all the causes and the pathway leading to Nigeria being a notoriously failed state on the greedy shoulders of the politicians. Even the so-called banditry, the terrorist herdsmen, kidnapping, mindless murders, serial looting of the national and state treasuries and mind boggling nepotism and crass impunity are all due to the actions or inaction of the politicians. A simple example is the most dreaded Boko Haram which was created by politicians in Borno and whose activities have drenched Nigerians in blood and humongous agony. Another politician claimed that his political party brought in militia men from Chad, Niger, Mali for the presidential election in 2015. And those recently theatrically kidnapped in Niger State said their heavily armed abductors claimed their sect was created by politicians.

We have  politicians who are on record as saying that the Nigerian state should not fight Boko Haram insurgents and that any attack on Boko Haram was ‘an attack on the North’ and same politicians are those in control of our treasury and who decide on what to do with the terrorists.

Nigeria did not create Islam or Christianity, so it is balderdash to blame any bogus cultural or traditional aberration of any community in Nigeria on religion. The Almajiri, a system that cruelly and deliberately deprives and impoverishes innocent children cannot be blamed on any religion. The reckless act of breeding children like pigs and throwing such unkempt children out into inclement elements cannot be blamed on any religion. Only those who believe they can benefit politically and sociologically by making majority poor and malleable will encourage such inhuman system.

Nigerian politicians keep criminally mute when all sorts of inanities are being heaped on the citizens they are meant to serve and whose collective interests they were elected to protect. And this is the root cause of all our tragedies as a people and as a country. Nigerian politicians are collaborators in crime, in perfidy, in inefficiency, in incompetence, in glamorisation of intolerable impunity and irritating nepotism. Whether you are a president, a governor, a senator, a member of the House of Representatives/Assembly, or chairman of local government or even a councilor, a politician is a politician! And whether you are in uniform as a member of the armed and security forces, for as long as you are discharging a political function/role, you are a politician!

By way of digression, let me quickly admit that at least 4 politicians who currently serve as Ministers are my close Aburos, in fact one is a distant blood relation. And by the nature of my calling a good number of politicians are well known to me and some in the Houses can rightly be regarded as my children.

We have blamed the 1999 ‘Constitution’ enough. It is dubbed Military constitution whereas when it was crafted, it was crafted by politicians in military uniform! Be that as it may, no amount of tinkering and tampering with that document can serve the purpose of a People’s Constitution. Politicians are a creation of a constitution. It should not and cannot be the other way round. A knife does not carve its own handle. A child cannot birth his own father! It is the constitution that dictates how society and its constituents should behave. Politicians and political office holders who are direct beneficiaries of a constitution cannot be the framers and writers of the constitution. Parliamentarians make laws in accordance with the dictates of an existing constitution handed down by the unambiguous collective Will of the People.

The greatest disservice politicians have done and continue to harm Nigerians with is their unequalled timidity and connivance with evil; and  for as long as they can keep their transient, but very lucrative position and post; the entire country can go hungry and burn. Everybody in the country, including virtually all the politicians up to the level of the Vice President, is crying for solution to choking insecurity, everybody says state and local police will solve at least 60 per cent of the security challenges, and yet the same politicians cannot compel the politician-in-chief to use his executive order to make it happen. It is bizarre! The same politicians kept mute when the president opened the Nigerian borders to Fulani from all over Africa to pour into the country…sans Visas, sans passports!

Politicians have succeeded in creating an assemblage of politicians, a political arena without government. Imagine the recklessness of a Senate president blaming governors for insecurity knowing full well that the governors are mere decoration posters as far as security architecture of the country is concerned. Or a Minister, of Defence for that matter, inciting the unarmed civilians to defend themselves against the ferocious monstrosity of AK-47 wielding marauders. Can politicians be more anti-people and anti-commonsense?

The current Senate is by far the worst, the most self-serving, the most partisan, and the most docile in all of the history of Nigeria. They have been cowed down by the equally incompetent and nepotistic Presidency which in itself has been cowed down by the Cow Constituency.

At close to 80 and in the same age bracket with our dear President Muhammadu Aleko Buhari, I cannot afford to be seen as provoking the populace as the Senate President and the Minister of Defence and other ‘open-mouth-and-spew-garbage threats dishers have been doing. All we can do is to beg the people not to resort to stoning their career politicians. They have been burning down properties whenever they are pushed to the wall, they should never resort to burning the politicians perceived as oppressors.

  • Chief Adeniyi, former chairman/Managing Director of Daily Times conglomerate, is the chairman of The Knowledge Plaza, a firm of Ghost Writers, biographers and Speech Writers.

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