Mr. Macaroni And Cultural Politics
By Toyin Falola
Human evolution is a scientific reality that reveals the nature of becoming human. By evolving to the full realisation of humans, nature teaches us that the construction and calibration of ideas in every human society and civilisation involve a critical process of superordinate experiences where unwanted particles of ideas are repealed and important ones are incorporated from time to time. The moment humans understand they have a similar physical identity and a common goal to survive in the jungle we call life, their awareness compels a corresponding social behaviour, unanimously accepted because of the drive to outsmart other creatures sharing the environment with them. Here comes the ground reason for the development and evolution of culture. The culture of a society comprises the foundational resources from which every other ideological or ideational construct is drawn. In essence, a people’s culture would ultimately reflect in all aspects of their lives, no matter how insignificant this reflection may be. In other words, a people’s culture may influence their socialisation process and system, political ideas, religious identity, and even general human philosophy. These are the core tenets of human identity everywhere in the world.
If political ideas, like other markers of human identity, are exclusively determined by the arbitrary assimilation of in-group values, the logical question would be how is it possible for the same people to teach ideas of otherwise different humans and, by implication, cultures, as it is generally believed that these ideas will most predictably disrupt or sometimes tamper with their identity? The readily available response to such an imaginary question is that as long as humans interact with other groups of people, they have the possibility of embracing much of their in-group ideas, even when they sometimes run at variance with the individual’s primary identity. In essence, an English person can adopt the political culture of Greek democracy through cross-border movements and transnational economic exchanges, and an Indian can decide to be a Confucianist through similar processes. However, what is predominantly undebatable is that ideas not produced from one’s native identities are always laced with characteristics that would show their obvious departure from the source when adopted. Therefore, we can talk about American democracy not as we would talk about the Indian democracy because these civilisations have injected attitudes and attributes of their indigenous identity into their political ideologies.
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Consequently, if we talk about politics among African people, especially from the postcolonial lens, we will be doing many disservices to the system if we disengage the African cultural dynamics from its making. While politics gives a comprehensive dissection of human and administrative affairs management, their cultural traditions reveal how these systems will be operated. Thus, the place of culture in these political architectures is respected poignantly, and the moment there is a flagrant repudiation of this unwritten code, there will be eruptions in the system, capable of leading to its colossal disaster. This leads us to the concept of cultural politics and the various dynamics in the African political landscape.
Every human civilisation has a political system with ideas and values; however, it can succumb to cultural traditions’ superordinate or superimposing hands. Debo Adedayo, aka Mr Macaroni, is a well-grounded Nigerian in cultural politics who understands that while activism is a vital instrument of political negotiation and an effective means of demanding leadership accountability, the place of culture in the actualisation of all these remains strategically emphatic. Given this understanding, he makes himself available to the dictates of culture even in his artistic activism against unbridled leadership that has long permeated the political fabrics of the country.
The marks of a great individual are visible to see. These signs may not be easily obvious for people to make meaning of, but they are always there because the signs are the accumulating forces that propel the individual to attain greater heights in their subsequent years. Although not everyone experiences challenges and issues that draw out these marks of greatness at difficult times, that become great in life, there has never been a great person who did not experience a body of challenges in their course of growth and the process of becoming. Among other eventful experiences that Mr. Macaroni has had as an evolving young man, a defining one tried his resolve as a student leader representative in the Redeemer’s University, a faith-based institution that produces quality people.
READ ALSO: Court Orders Release Of Mr Macaroni, Other Arrested #OccupyLekki Protesters
Due to the nature of his representative position, he was supposed to deal with different quarters of the school’s administrative organogram where negotiation, concession, and collaboration are necessarily required so that the positions of the people he represented would not be jeopardised or threatened. He was stuck at a particular time because of the difficulty between him and the management body, but because he made himself available to assimilate more cultural ideas, he was baptised into the crucible of cultural politics through his engagement and conversation with Professor Wande Abimbola.
And this is where modernity, human evolution, and cultural traditions meet. As humans uncover a new form of technological invention or innovations powered by the continuous use of intellectual power, they are always compelled by the situation to reconsider their culture, politics, and economy, too, because all these are always coming with their corresponding impact on all available structures. For example, consider that the emergence of the internet has completely redefined human communication and its distribution. With the internet, there is a continuous probing of cultural ideas, forcing cultural ideas that cannot withstand the pressure of scrutiny to fall off the surface. Mr. Macaroni was trained to be a thespian in the university, but his leadership involvement entrusted him with speaking for the people’s rights. Whereas that order is meant to be challenged by the force of society where he will begin to navigate his world after graduation, accepting leadership responsibility is possible if he would integrate the emerging realities into his dreams and ambition. It is possible to actualise one’s ambition in an era where the internet has created a parallel space occupied by humans with the power to conduct their normal day-to-day activities without human contact. Mr Macaroni took the stage to another level when he understood that possibility.
Debo Adedayo chose the internet and the social media platforms as his stage, where he delivers the truckload of ideas that his professors, especially Professor Ahmed Yerima, a seasoned playwright in Africa, imparted to him while at the university. Though it took him long to understand that the stage does not have a specific physical reference, the moment he updated his understanding of a stage as a space where others can access one’s fictional performances, he immediately began to explore ideas and the orientation accumulated as a student learning under the four walls of the school and also as the leader of a body of students from whom the responsibility of protection, quality representation, or positive relationships are expected as a basic contribution.
By exploring the internet as his environment of action, Mr. Macaroni has made substantial progress, speaking with a loud decibel throughout his works. He has produced works that crudely satirise the totalitarian posture of various government dispensations and, in addition to this, added a bit of physically demonstrated action to support the course of the common people as against pitching his tent with known oppressors. Whether he is deliberately choosing all these by himself (from being at variance with his university management to being the target of law enforcement agencies for the roles he played in the popular #EndSARS movement) is immaterial; what remains constant is that he has been in the limelight for leadership-induced responsibilities.
At some point, the Lagos State government invited Mr. Macaroni for a conversation on peace, which was believed to be necessary for the post-EndSARS period so that the vibrant generation of youth involved in the movement would not keep assuming that the government was flagrantly against their safety, ambition, and access to a decent lifestyle. This invitation, which he honourably declined, attests to the importance of the internet in formulating policies in contemporary times. It shows that the cultural traditions of every society with internet access are bound to be affected because communication, information dissemination, and consumption have changed for good. Cultural politics comes into play in this beautiful dimension.
READ ALSO: Police Arrest Mr Macaroni, Other #OccupyLekki Protesters
It should be emphasised that Mr. Macaroni’s rejection of the State’s invitation was inspired by his awareness that the internet community from where he won his recognition as an important representative is actively alive and would not tolerate the acceptance of class suicide. The punishment for this would have been the loss of his identity, economic sources, future ambitions, and his psychological or mental wellness. Considering all these, refusing the invitation would be a preferable sacrifice, which he did, not by dishonouring the governor’s seat but by highlighting why honouring the invitation would be a betrayal of conscience. Here is cultural politics outpacing every other thing.
With this feat, one would almost believe that Mr. Macaroni, who engages the government through his online media platforms, is a firebrand activist, especially if one is unfamiliar with his thespian background. However, listening to him for some minutes would immediately make one understand that he represents his childhood career choice of drama in his engagement. For one, he has truly been positively transformed to the point that he is not considered less than a cultural and theatre icon whose knowledge of how things work in the social media age cannot but be tapped into. He demonstrates his grasp of events by educating anyone who cares to listen that social media platforms are in their emerging stage and come with intimidating economic benefits that will immediately sweep people off their feet.
In essence, because change has inevitably happened, professors must accommodate these changes and incorporate them into what they teach to the students. Individuals in the school should not be denied embracing the internet and social media platforms as a place where they can put their talent to the test. The flexibility of the current time shows that one’s audiences are already available and scattered everywhere in the world. They will embrace what creative people produce when they find their content suitable. Therefore, it would not matter if the audience is in Russia; they will immediately have direct access to what you produce in Nigeria through social media.
This conversation brings us to the concept of satire in literature, which M. H. Abrams describes in A Glossary of Literary Terms as “the literary art of diminishing or derogating a subject by making it ridiculous and evoking toward it attitudes of amusement, contempt, scorn, or indignation” (2009: 320). Writers, dramatists, and other performers have substantially adopted satire from time immemorial because it provides them with soft-landing to express their inner feelings and desires, which can erupt into social reactions if not handled cleverly and satirically. The place of human culture is also important in the manoeuvring of satire, for without such observation, the message would be eclipsed in the process. Mr. Macaroni has been involved in several activism-oriented engagements to challenge the establishment of their outrageous political behaviour, unbridled and inordinate ambitions, and many other devastating problems that their engagements propel. However, activism at his stage and level cannot be organised as it was when he was a student. It would either be the product of reverberating annoyance, such as the one you find in the #EndSARS protest, or it will be masterminded by fully determined individuals who do not bother about the consequences of their actions.
But now, Mr. Macaroni has social media platforms, which he effectively uses to further his ideological convictions about representation. He uses satire, most of which reveals the biting decadence that has enveloped the country and how the intricacies of power have resulted in a socio-political compromise that triggers social and economic disparity, unrest, and even the overarching influence of law enforcement agencies in the country. Mr. Macaroni has produced numerous satirical acts that reveal how compromised the country’s political system is by introducing cultural politics to his engagements. By putting actions into comic plays, Mr. Macaroni has continued to engage the political class to educate them about their gross misconduct in the political domain.
Due to the commercialisation of Nigerian politics, followers sometimes make wrong choices that they know would have minimal impact. Because the system already is bastardised, injecting sanity into it has been impossible as the helpless youths who are denied generational access to financial power have been carefully cut out from the system. Since they are not actively involved, most of what happens to them are determined by those who do not share their feelings. In his little way, Debo Adedayo has always engaged the world’s denizens about what obtains on the political front in Nigeria. Amid all these, there is a place for every individual to make their marks as living organisms roaming the earth’s surface for a particular time. Much as the generality of humans is critically involved in the construction of human ideas and values, the combination of which gives or produces cultural traditions and identity, the fact that everyone would be remembered for their contributions cannot be undermined.
More so, the social media age helps to amplify the contributions that individuals make in their course of existence. Whether good or bad, they will be remembered for their activities when the lasting memory will be created from all these. So, when Professor Yerima asked Adedayo how much, or if at all, he wanted his artistic productions in the social media to influence the coming generation and how they would continue to be relevant even after he retires from these engagements, the young man’s response was everything anyone needs to understand about his ideological identity. He believes that assigning values to humans should be informed by the understanding that such an individual has something they represent and stand for in the general scheme of things. Inevitably, people will have experiences that will stretch their resolve but what will make them stand out is their determination not to compromise.
When individuals have made considerable progress in piloting the affairs of their lives, it is a moral responsibility that they touch on substantial aspects of human experience so that they can influence areas and issues positively before the termination of their relevance. The social recognition associated with Adedayo comes with expectations of responsibilities that people want him to fulfil as a social being. During the conversations, it became obvious that his role in redefining the feminine image by portraying every form of their social experience should be known. This is necessary because it is a conventional reality that silence on salient issues may be construed as conspiracy, which would have outrageous consequences on the individual. For many community members, remaining silent without any socioeconomic and sociopolitical power would mean nothing. However, to have substantial economic, social, and political power and remain silent when salient issues, especially those affecting women’s freedom of women, are mentioned is considered unforgivable.
Society expects that the magnitude of an individual’s popularity imposes corresponding social behaviour and contributions on them. For anyone in Mr. Macaroni’s position, it is not out of line to expect that they use their voices to project society’s anomalies so that it will receive ultimate redefinition. Of course, Mr. Macaroni has done this substantially in his depictions of political predicaments caused by the irresponsible leadership that Nigeria has encountered from time immemorial. He does not factor in sociocultural issues like the underage marriage popular in the country, improper political relations between men and women, cringing domestic violence that is ubiquitous in the country, and several other areas where women have been unfairly treated, and this has necessitated the question about his position in all of these. In response, he claimed that in his skits, he has addressed the issue of domestic violence faced by Nigerian women and how they can overcome it, with the promise to explore all other areas.
By and large, all these issues are closely related to political participation in the human world. It is important to say that the construction of an identity does not evade the contributions of many people because they all would partake in shaping a collective image for themselves through their actions and inactions. Humans are naturally complex, so they have continued to undertake various activities to ensure they remain proportionally relevant in all their engagements. Politics comes from their cultural understanding because it is the basis of their sociological and socialisation methods. Once an individual is baptised in the ideas and philosophies of their indigenous identity, they remain strong in representing the values when they come of age.
Debo Adedayo, aka Mr. Macaroni, has demonstrated his zeal for speaking out for the oppressed since his undergraduate days, and society has continued to mould him so that he will understand the dynamics of cultural politics and how he can effectively feature and make generational contributions.
Falola is a Nigerian historian and professor of African Studies. He is currently the Jacob and Frances Sanger Mossiker Chair in the Humanities at the University of Texas at Austin.
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Overcoming Policy Execution Trap As Nigeria’s Development Challenge
By Tunji Olaopa
If I am asked to give a succinct and apt summary of the entire challenge faced by the Nigerian state in terms of her policy architecture and development management, in spite of contestation in the development literature, I will not hesitate in stating clearly and unambiguously that it is the challenge of policy implementation; the whole dynamics of getting things done. By elimination, the implication is that the challenge cannot be located as that of the dearth of development ideas, insights, models and paradigms. Right from her independence, Nigeria has been inundated with several ideas, both local and global, about development policy and frameworks. And yet, policy outcomes keep getting bogged down in the murky waters of political shenanigans. This means that the new administration of Bola Ahmed Tinubu has its challenge mapped out, in red, for it.
There is no shying away from this postcolonial predicament that has limited and kept limiting Nigeria’s capacity to honour the terms of her social contract with Nigerians. Hence, the Tinubu government will soon be inundated with the impatient agitations of Nigerians for a quick and tangible fix that will address their sufferings. And they are justified since they have not been given any real deal for the past sixty-three years of sovereign independence. And the new administration is obligated because that is the reason for seeking office in the first place.
Prof. Olaopa’s new book on public policy and development challenges
How then can we begin to understand this policy execution challenge? It is simple: how can an administration in Nigeria transition from governance vision and policy intention to policy outcomes that elevate and transform the quality of life of its citizens? Failure to understand and give critical and political attention to this question lies at the heart of the governance failures of successive Nigerian administrations. The new Tinubu administration cannot afford such a glaring mistake. And so, a fundamental case must be made out of the question of how policy intentions get circumscribed in the dynamics of policy execution that occasions policy failures in past administrations.
Modern states all across the world are distinguished by the traditional four functions they discharge as part of their administrative responsibilities—security i.e. securing the sovereign territory against lawlessness, policy formulation and implementation, governance regulation and service delivery.The capacity to perform each and all of these functions very well within an integrated framework in the governance context is what delivers the dividends of democratic governance to the citizens, and it enhances the state’s competitive and human development rating in global reckoning. With these functions, we have the metrics to differentiate between high-performing states like China, India, the United States,Botswana, the United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirate, Germany, Rwanda and the Asian Tigers (Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan and South Korea), and low- or even under-performing countries like Nigeria that is still cluelessly stuck within a dysfunctional vicious cycle within her arrested development.
From the perspective of governance, there must be something these states are getting right in the connection between leadership, politics, and policy articulation. For instance, there is a trajectory of relationship that links elite bargains to development bargains. In other words, development is a
function of elite nationalism and the extent to which the political class of a state can commit elite suicide and gamble on development on behalf of the people they are leading. In Nigeria, low
manifestation of elite nationalism has made it really difficult for the political class to set aside their personal and egoistic class interests in ways that enable them to clearly and ideologically discern and navigate the deadly developmental landmines strewn all over our governance landscape by the
neoliberal implication of ideological apparatuses and frameworks to which Nigeria is beholden. And here, the factor of development gamble of the Asian Tigers’ elites comes into bold relief. From within the ideological ambit of the developmental state, the leadership of the Asian Tigers were able to define a policy space that consciously and critically weighed the benefits and shortfalls of external influences, especially the type that came from the World Bank, IMF and the other cohorts of the neoliberal policy dynamics. Their developmental circumspection paid off!
Since we cannot argue that Nigeria has been stumped by the lack of vision documents, development plans and blueprints, or even policy expertise, the locus of the new administration’s focus must be directed at the possibility of mustering the political will to undermine the mystified Nigerian Factor, and face the global neoliberal consensus in order to begin the crafting of an enabling policy architecture to drive development. And to achieve this translates to creating the delicate balance between ‘doing the right things’ (a function of decision making quotient) and ‘doing it right’(project and change management effectiveness), and overcoming the various political, cultural, structural and systemic constraints that trapped past well-meaning policies and intentions of Nigerian leaders in the dynamics of implementation.
There is first the conspiracy of elitist interest that ensures there is a poor resource allocation that focuses on elite bargain than development calculations and taking care of the national interest. Other constraints follow: (a) the disconnect between policy design and implementation due to weak implementation planning, risk assessment and incompetent change management strategies; (b) unstable and poorly managed macroeconomic policies; (c) policy and project discontinuity; (d) public service low capability readiness; (e) political interference; and finally (f) deep-seated political and bureaucratic corruption. In essence, development has failed not because Nigeria lacks the blueprint or paradigms to make it happen, but due to the dynamics of the politics that the political elite plays with Nigeria’s development potential.
Let me outline what we can regard as the “politics of policy implementation” that Nigeria has played for many years, a politics the new administration must take into serious consideration if it
does not want to fall into the category of failed administration right before it commences. This politics throws Nigeria’s development and policy non-performance right into the frame of the 2005 World Bank review findings about policy and development projects in Africa. According to the finding, 29% of development projects ever get completed, 45% of on-going projects are rated as satisfactory, while 26% of such projects invariably get cancelled. Such a review can never backstop a solid development project of a developmental state.
The politics of policy implementation in
Nigeria is founded on the following assumptions and practices. One: there is that dangerous presumption, that the new administration must resist, that once policies and development plan are designed, they are automatically implemented by the public service. And such a presumption is against the background of a scant investment in implementation analysis and planning, as well as the failure to facilitate the capability review, determine public
administration system’s capability readiness, and strengthening of the MDAs as the powerhouse of government administrative functionality. The MDAs, that is, are not working according to any
specific theories or praxis of change that can guide the functional integration of blueprints or paradigms. This kind of policy inattention draws attention to the policy contradiction: launching a
national development plan and strategy that are not implementation- ready in terms of adequate capability review of the MDAs integral to ensuring implementation success. Two: this
presumption is compounded by the uncritical reliance of past governments on policy experts and consulting firms who are tasked with designing high-end policies that are then dumped on MDAs whose capability reviews and implementation readiness have been neglected in the first place. The
extroversion of the policy design is then compromised by poor functional integration. The truth is that most of these consulting firms lack the appropriate deep content and solution frameworks that are in tandem with the context of policy dysfunction they are supposed to work with. Three: governance policy or project are hardly subjected to feasibility test determined in terms of scope and expectation that are captured by their framework of time, cost and risk assessments before
they are pushed into implementation. This makes it very difficult to benchmark funding projections for these policies and projects against revenue estimations, as well as facilitating in-built flexibilities that enable the policies and projects to adjust to volatilities and contingencies.
All the issues raised above constitute binding constraint that will undermine any governance possibilities the new administration requires to make a success of democratic governance. Undermining the binding constraints demands returning to the fundamentals. The first and most significant is that the new administration needs to interrogate the framework of how government business is currently being conducted. Governance successes are necessarily a function of how government business engages the complexities of the policy design and execution processes within a results-oriented frame. And that entails undermining the structural gaps between policy objectives, development strategies and policy outcomes. This demands second, setting the public service on a performance curve with the institution of a performance management system. This means that the public service must, for example, unfailingly now deploy KPI-based metrics to replace the cumbersome annual performance evaluation report (APER). And at the backend, it becomes imperative to have a monitoring and evaluation system supported by databases that enable staff and program continuous assessment, human resource development rooted in iterativep performance gap identification, supervisors-staff dialogue and multisource feedback mechanismsf for overall national development policy tracking and reporting.
The governance mantra must be on getting the balance between doing the right things and doing it right. And this cannot be achieved through the wanton multiplication or even duplication of
governance plans, programs and blueprints. What is needed is sequencing the blueprints into a coherent and feasible implementation programme, with the right amount of political will behind it. This gives the success of democratic governance a 95% chance of succeeding. The new administration needs that fighting chance!
. Olaopa, a retired Federal Permanent Secretary, and Professor of Public Administration .
Rigged Elections And The Moral Burden Of Illegitimacy
By Hope O’Rukevbe Eghagha
Adamu: A man who rigs his way to power carries a moral burden!
Orezime: A moral what?
Adamu: You heard me, didn’t you?
Orezime: I’m not sure I heard you right. Moral what you said?
Adamu: A moral burden, I said!
Orezime: Hahahahahahaha! You make me laugh! Are you from the moon?
Gani: Or Mars?
Emeka: In which country? In Nigeria? That principle does not apply in Nigeria! There is no moral burden on anybody in this country! The election which produced Bubu in 2015 was rigged. Where are the two million voters from Kano State who voted in 2015? Was an INEC official not burnt alive after that election? The one which brought Obj to power was also rigged by the forces which wanted him to ease the tension of the Abiola tragedy on the Yoruba people. Yet those men had the temerity to preach against corruption!
Orezime: The international community winked at the whole exercise.
Gani: Yes! That’s why those two could only preach; they couldn’t really act decisively. A moral burden? They spoke from both sides of their mouths on the issue of corruption. The late President Yar Adua confessed that the election which produced him was compromised. An honest man, he didn’t live long enough to right the wrong of the period!
Orezime: That’s why I laughed when Adamu talked about a moral burden arising from rigged elections.
Bankole: In the ideal world, any power that is stolen and acquired through a dubious means imposes a moral burden on the power holder. No matter what the person does, that power remains stained.
Orezime: What does that amount to in our country? Even the brigands who shot their way to power in the notorious days of military misadventure in Nigeria soon became legitimate.
Emeka: You are going too far in our history. See what happened in Lagos State in the governorship elections of March 18. Ethnic jingoists went about preaching hatred against Igbo people and warned them against coming out to exercise their constitutional rights. Security officials looked the other way when ballot boxes were snatched in broad daylight in places where the opposition was leading.
Gani: A serving state governor personally went about snatching ballot boxes and threatened to shoot whoever got in his way. The same governor declared somebody wanted without recourse to the Inspector General of Police! He worked against the party on which platform he won the seat to spite the party hierarchy!
Adamu: And to think that this is the President-elect’s state. He kept mute through the horrendous attacks on Igbo people in Lagos State just the way the incumbent president has looked the other way when herdsmen went on the loose!
Bankole: Rigged elections are so familiar yet notorious in our land. It was the main trigger to the crisis in the Western Region in the First Republic because the people reacted when they saw a rape of their rights and wishes! It soon snowballed into a conflagration that consumed the nation in the late 1960s. Already, the youths are talking about a protest in the ENDSARSNOW# manner. I hope it doesn’t result in disaster. We have lost too many lives already!
Orezime: What I fear is the rise of ethnic profiling in a supposedly democratic society. To be sure, Governor Sanwo-Olu and the party hierarchy did not single out any ethnic group for verbal attacks. They even courted them. Yet they didn’t caution their followers to stop the degeneration into ethnic hatred. It is a dangerous curve what is happening in Lagos. I don’t subscribe to the Lagos is no man’s land nonsense which some misguided fellows are spewing, but threatening anybody not to vote their candidate is a new low! Can a Sanwo-Olu victory be said to be legitimate if a significant percentage of the electorate is disenfranchised?
Emeka: Good question. They did not stop there. They rolled out the culturally dreaded Oro rituals on election night. Come on! Who is fooling who? The Oro festival was designed to drive fear into non-Yoruba in Lagos. In the 21st Century?
Gani: I am sure the reports from election observers will be damning.
Bankole: I don’t care about those biased observers.
Adamu: Where are we headed in this country?
Orezime: We are on the road to Kigali!
Bankole: May we not travel that route!
Orezime: It’s a good prayer. But what are we doing to avoid the descent into anarchy? Nothing. Those monkeys are simply interested in acquiring power.
Gani: The Obedient Movement seems to have lost steam once it was misbranded as an ethnic agenda to grab power at the national level. Peter Obi needs to tread carefully so he doesn’t become another June 12! Some people are egging him on to challenge INEC through protests.
Orezime: If he decides to lead a protest, it would be within his constitutional right to do so, especially as INEC is stalling on the issue of inspecting elections materials despite an order from the courts. Peaceful protests are guaranteed by the Constitution.
Adamu: No one can be sure whether a peaceful protest will remain peaceful after it starts. That’s the experience the ENDSARS people had.
Gani: It’s not enough to stop people from taking to the streets. Protests are fundamental to democracy.
Adamu: We do not want dead heroes! Mark my words.
Bankole: That’s ominous!
Emeka: It means nothing. Nigeria must change. We cannot go on like this forever! Things are just going down. No cash. No fuel. No power supply. No security. No nothing. Peter Obi gave a glimmer of hope. Now that has been dashed to the ground.
Adamu: Rigging will remain a moral burden each time our President-elect travels outside the country, each time he meets foreign observers, especially those ones who have a dossier on him. History will also judge him and assess how he came to power. This applies to all the states as well where some politicians have turned themselves into demigods and have compromised poor INEC officials with mouthwatering sums. This is not how to build a democracy. The votes must be counted and must count. Seventeen people have their lives during the governorship and House of Assembly elections. We are supposed to count ballot papers, not bodies. Sad!
Bankole: The moral burden of rigged elections is on all of us. Without our connivance there would be no rigging. We can only hope that this will end some day!
Emeka: Tough luck!
Professors On INEC’s Will (2)
By Tony Afejuku
On Thursday, 2 March, 2023, the Financial Times based in London, England published a blistering editorial on the February 25, 2023 Presidential election which up to now is the talk of everywhere beyond our shores. The said Financial Times editorial was entitled “Nigerians badly flawed election fails to set an example.” Indeed, it was a positively blistering presentation as any positively blistering presentation can be. Professor Olu Obafemi FNAL; NNOM drew the attention of the literati to the editorial that argued succinctly that “If Tinubu’s victory is challenged the courts should take a hard` look.” In his summation of the editorial Professor Olu Obafemi, who headed the debating literati, said he had nothing to add to the efficacious editorial but he would be happy – by my inference – to have the viewpoints of others. Thereafter the debate began. The arguments and counter-arguments began. Whose will was INEC propagating: Was it its will or the will of the cabal in the presidency or the will of the Nigerian people?
By the way, be it noted here and now that the Financial Times, though headquartered in London as already indicated, is owned by Japanese, by Nikkei, a Japanese holding company with “core editorial offices across Britain, the United States and continental Europe.” Why this point is necessary here will reveal itself in the debate I hereby tender to fit my creative and journalistic purpose. But you will notice that there is a shift in focus from the substance of the editorial to the question of anti-black or anti-African Western propaganda.
This is how Professor Ademola Da Sylva, FNAL puts it:
“The Western media are so powerful that they have their ways of turning non-Western genuine patriots and revolutionaries to look like some nameless demons all because they failed to toe servile line as underdogs! Idi Amin, for example, might not get it right in his choice of modus operandi, but he knew what he wanted for his Uganda people. His successful ejection of the British Asians was one of his policies that did not go down well with the hegemons because it devastated the British economy. So the Western media descended on him and painted him as a blood-sucking Dracula! Of course, there were Uganda compradors and cronies of multinationals from within who tried to undermine Amin’s revolution, too. Dedan Kimathi was also considered a “terrorist and a bandit” by the British imperialists; they got him arrested and hanged him, but we know he wasn’t a demon they tried to make us believe he was! Furthermore, no matter what we may think of Mugabe, the immediate past Zimbabwe President, he meant well for his country, he revoked the licences of large parcels of fertile lands, and also a large chunk of the lands from the White occupants and re-distributed the lands among the black peasants. That was ordinarily unthinkable in Africa by an African leader who wanted justice and equity for his people, but he did it and called the bluff of the West. Again, the Western media took over from there, painted a devil of him, and many Africans uncritically swallowed the gambit, too! The first accusation of the West against these patriotic leaders has always been that they were antidemocrats! Democracy is anti-African governance principles. It is the primary reasons why we never get it right, but it has always paid the West because it keeps Africa underdeveloped to the advantage of the West. The truth is: Why would you want to change a leadership that is up and doing, responsible and responsive, and doing very well, why? That principle foregrounds our sense of monarchy. A king remains on the throne for as long as his reign brings progress and security. Where a king fails, as in the cases of the indigenous Yoruba Obas, he is made to commit a voluntary suicide, and another Oba replaces him. Anyway, let me pause here.”
Professor Ibrahim Bello-Kano’s stroke goes thus: “My view is that if humans have (or bear) an original sin, according to Christian eschatology, and if humans need to pray and carry out religious duties to be worthy of divine grace, and if secular education requires progressive edification of humans, and if humans are brutes unless they are inserted into a humane culture complete in all its sides (as Matthew Arnold has argued), and if the classical calculators looked forward not to human nature, with its brutal immersion in self-interest and wars and strife, and if humans have repeatedly to struggle to rise above their petty narrowness, then how can their voting behaviour or action be perfect, pristine or excellent? Those who expect a perfect electoral behaviour or outcome in a country brutalized by a savage economic policy and an insensitive and thieving cast of state officials, and the electors riven by religious and ethnic divisions are expecting a miracle. Yet at the local level, the electors did succeed in electing a new set of people to represent them. The problem with macro analysis is that it is positivism at its worst. At the micro level, the elections were expressive of the will of the people. In Kano State, for example, the newly formed NNPP swept the board with more than 18 out of the available 22 seats for the House of Reps and 2 out of the 3 Senate seats. Thousands turned out to vote. Finally, why should we believe anything the Western press says about us? Look at their reporting of the war in Ukraine. They keep saying, against the evidence and the facts, that Ukraine is winning the war with Russia, despite the former being slaughtered on the battlefield and having lost a staggering number of soldiers.
“Humour comes from the ridiculous and the ridiculous from the comical. Here is an example of a statement that is hilarious because it is ridiculous and ridiculous because it is comical: “Ladies and gentlemen, meet the newly elected President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Reverend Mullah Professor Mr. Mallam IBK of Madagascar!”
Do I have any doubt that our readers will find it hard and uneasy to follow the mind patterns and strokes of the debaters who are trying in their peculiar ways to say something tangibly tangible about our will as voters and INEC’s will as electoral umpire? Not at all!
To be continued.
Afejuku can be reached via 08055213059.
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