Monday, May 29

Buhari: Two Years After

Recent events in the life of the Buhari regime seemed to have brought us back to the familiar road of hope born and hope betrayed. And the anti-buhari camp has brought out the drums and is drumming furiously in celebration of a failure foretold. And as it is typical of us in a nation easily bamboozled by the antics of consent manufacturers, nobody is patient to ask the question; how did this failure come upon us again? This is important as otherwise the same failure that is upon us now will in no distant time be upon us again. The correct interpretation of history is to acknowledge the fact that things do not happen by way of happenstance, but happen because of causative variables. In the case of the current presidency, we can put our fingers to three key factors if we must understand the Buhari failure, not for the sake of the regime, but for the sake of our country, Nigeria. No matter how much we try to argue otherwise, the truth is that if the Buhari regime was a failure foretold, that failure foretold holds its origin in the regimes of Olusegun Obasanjo, Umaru Yar’Adua and Goodluck Jonathan. Secondly, is the external variable of imperialism, and by extension what the great pan-Africanist Frantz Fanon called the “Good Man Theory”. And the third in our view is the dearth of alternative progressive politics. We can take a look at each of these factors one after the other. It is not in dispute that despite the claims to the contrary and bordering on mischief, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) which assumed power in May 1999 as the ruling party, had damaged Nigeria further from the earlier damages of various military regimes and post-colonial civilian rules. Even a kindergarten does not need to search for the meaning of the word pillage. This is because from what was available in the media about the billions of dollars spent on the 3 refineries at Warri, Port-Harcourt and Kaduna without any of them refining a barrel of crude oil, he/she knows the meaning of the word pillage. Flowing from this unaccounted money for turn-around-maintenance (TAM) of the refineries, Nigeria journeyed into one of the greatest scams in human history where she lost more than a trillion dollars in the name of importation of fuel, which ended up enriching a new set of economic wharf- rats. Then in the power sector, the Ndudi Elumelu panel of the House of Representatives showed that the economic rats again had a field day vandalizing all sources of power in the electricity sector and grew richer and richer as the people descended into darkness. Or do we discountenance the fact that the fight against Boko Haram became a huge enterprise at profiting from human misery by the profiteers of war? Or discountenance the fecal evidence before our very eyes of what our own queen of the coast Deziani Alison-Madueke did at the Ministry of Petroleum where even the vultures became scared to perceive the odour?  This brings us to the second point of what salvation was then available to the people. There were grave signs that the Goodluck Jonathan’s regime had overdrawn the credit card that will sustain the democratic sail without the ship capsizing. We have seen the consequences of capsized ships in the littered tales of the migrants across the Mediterranean, to appreciate the need for imperial intervention for onward journey on the road of economic exploitation of Nigeria. So that all those peace accords signed and resigned prior to the 2015 presidential election were essentially to be sure that no ‘animal’ would behave badly after the election. Imperial power knows that a stable vassal state ensures greater economic exploitation at a cheaper rate than an unstable one. We have seen what have become of Libya based on imperial misadventure. And part of the contingency plan of imperialism in Nigeria was to put its local foot soldiers like Olusegun Obasanjo at work to find a man with credibility, even if deficient in other things to keep the sail going without sinking it as Goodluck Jonathan was tending to do by his profligate tendencies, with his women in the forefront.  It is this type of search for a national leader in a time of such turbulence that Fanon calls the production of the good man. And as he argued, the essence of finding the good man and making him the national leader is not necessary that imperialism or the national bourgeoisie wants him to succeed, but fundamentally is to use him to buy time to stabilize in order to go back to their old ways. This is not to absolve the good man of any blame because you cannot dine with the devil and say you are different from the devil. The good man will continue his descent to the extent that if he is lucky, he will escape with his tarnished image of allowing the cretins around him to defecate at the altar of the state without him being caught with the drippings of the cookie jar in his hands. But as we noted, the historical essence of the good man is initially to elevate the culture of the state, but the ultimate essence is to ensure the historical duty of returning the state to where it belongs – the wielding tool for oppression and brigandage by the ruling class.  History is not accident, and even if it is, it does shed such accidental garb as a matter of fact. So it is important to keep looking at the causatives of such historical occurrences. For instance, having seen what trajectory Olusegun Obasanjo, Umaru Yar’Adua and Goodluck Jonathan led Nigeria to and Nigeria hanging on the cliff, what choice was available to Nigerians as at 2015? In simple term, was it to return to Egypt to borrow from the Christians or hang on to faith that there is a road to salvation? At every time, the human person is confronted by the need to make a choice, he is either handicapped by the fact of having a quantitative or a qualitative choice to choose from. If he is lucky, the choice would be quantitative and qualitative. The fact of 2015 was that it was historically incorrect to say that the people must go back to Egypt. If they have then leaped into what in popular parlance we call one chance in Nigeria, it does not vitiate the fact that they had a right to make that choice as they didn’t have another choice to make.  That will lead us to ask the question, how come in the buoyancy of the countries of the South, particularly the battles of the opposites in Latin America; the people of Nigeria are stranded in the politics of no choice? The answer is not farfetched. There has been withering of politics of alternative viewpoints in Nigeria from the 90s, whether in terms of theory or practice. The politics that preponderates today as alternative politics is the politics of social criticism, which in actual fact is not politics. This is because, politics clearly defined; is the struggle for power. When groups then set up shops to engage in cynical intellectual masturbation in the name of criticism, it will lead to what we have seen with the Nigerian human rights movement – an overproduction of civil society organizations in absolute abuse of the Gramscian model of the meaning of civil society. This debased model only achieves what it is meant to achieve, bloated models of the peoples’ Salvation Army generals without a single root in the people who they claim to represent. For instance, Malcolm X struggled and died in Harlem. He did not negotiate for the people without the people being part of the negotiation, and every day he returned to them. That is how alternative progressive groups are built.  It is important to make this point because the failures of the present may not necessarily cure the failures of the future. If basic issues are mistreated and consent manufacturers are giving room to have a field day propagating idiocies, we do not need to go far to see where the potential failures are coming from. For instance, in an environment where people play politics without attaching any modicum of propriety to ethical values, it beggars question to see how we will not fall into the current state of anomy. Late Thomas Sankara warned long ago that a political leader without political education is a potential criminal. Even if you are a leader without the progressive political education of a Sankara, it does not belittle to have the conservative political education in its broader sense. This we must concede Buhari lacks, because if he does not lack it, he does not even need the promptings of the man in the street or the political vultures hovering around to deal with some of the members of the so called cabals in his cabinet. After all, as narrated by Niccolo Machiavelli; Cesare Borgia in order to appease the people of Rome against the brutality of his government beheaded his favourite general and put his head on a pike in the street of Rome for the people to see that he had no hand in what his general had done even if he was the orchestrating architect. Or he could wake up Nelson Mandela and asked him what happened to Winnie Mandela who on the ground of adulterous conduct became the sacrificial lamb in the part of the processes of the rise to power of Nelson Mandela. We can go on and on citing other examples. But the truth is that it is not only Buhari among the Nigerian political elites that lacks political education, but the Nigerian political elites to borrow from Fanon since independence have been bereft of ideas on how to manage political power.  We must be bold to locate the problem. For instance, of the two dominant political parties in Nigeria, which of them has a political education department or an institute to train its members? In the United States, the Democratic Party has the National Democratic Institute, same with the Republican Party that has the International Republican Institute. The idea of both institutes is to produce members who believe in the values of their parties, that is how leaders are produced. A further example, the CIA has an innocuous organization called the Rand Corporation. All this organizations are dedicated towards the imperial ideology, but here we are burdened by leadership that emerges from beer parlours, Churches, Mosques and secret cults. What do they discuss in these places, if not the mundane?  The strategy of the emerging opposition seems to be to take the pre-2015 script of the All Progressive Congress (APC) at demonization, believing that the people will find sympathy for them and by the process of one contraption or the other return them to power. This is cheap politics; all it does is to take us back to the abiku road. People should look deeper at the problems, and that is to ask and answer the question, how we have become so blest to the extent that our politics have become a theatre for the gathering of the buffoons? The present failure should not mislead us not to bear in mind the fearful thought of the vulture that he is much more troubled by the rain yet to come.

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