Monday, May 29

Nigeria: Tailing the Opposition of the Generals

When Fanon developed his theory of the politics of spontaneity, it does appear that he had Nigeria in mind. This is because constantly all politics in Nigeria seems to be built on possibility of fatalistic resolution of its political cum economic difficulties. Nothing follows an articulated process of methodical thinking. Such that if Lucifer is to offer himself as the chief opposition, many Nigerians are not going to shy away to journey with him in the new world, acting as choristers in such enterprise. What is at the root cause of such desperate opposition? We will come back to look at it but let us look at the events of recent times in order to validate the point we are making. Four examples will suffice here. 

First, was the Olusegun Obasanjo’s letter to President Muhammadu Buhari, then followed by that of Ibrahim Babangida. Both letters hinged on one thing – the tale of a drifting nation which, needs to be saved from the said drift of sail. One fundamental impact of these letters was that they fitted into the Fanonist narrative of spontaneity as the disparate oppositions found their voices behind the two generals. On the heels of the two generals’ letters, General TY Danjuma called for arms from the citizenry to defend themselves against what he regarded as the conspiracy and lethargy of the Buhari’s government to offer a coherent defence to the marauding activities of the murderous Fulani herdsmen. Of course the generals are lucky to have a Nigerian media dominated by Southern ownership to cue into their apparent bilious disenchantments. Luckily for them too, the international ‘philanthropist’ Bill Gates also came to town and to the face of the president delivered his own sucker punch against the government. According to Bill Gates, the government’s Economic Recovery Growth Plan (ERGP) is deficit on human capital development.

Every phenomenon of human development does constantly present the aggregates of its oppositional existence. But the greatness of its progression and resolution is determined by the quality of the opposition trying to propel the conflicts. Where the opposition is terribly unintelligent or muddied by different variables that hinder human development the output of such struggle as we noted is bound to be miserable. That is the challenge that ought to guide any meaningful discourse about the future of Nigerian political evolution. But to abandon this fundamental logic of contestation for human existence and run along with the crowd of men driven by motiveless malignity is problematic. We can cite a few examples here. Between 1984 to 1998 particularly the 90s there was a bitter battle to dislodge the military in power in Nigeria which was heavily influenced and effectuated by the Nigerian left, but for the reasons of the fact that in their fight they did not fight like a fighting organization out for power, they invited the pro-democracy crowd and the project of power became a journey of merry-go-round that turned into a carnival. And as with all carnivals while the revelers where in the street dancing, the thieves of power crept in and carried the profit of the said carnival to their homes popping champagne while the revelers continued to revel outside drunk in their own folly of not comprehending history. And as was atypical of us, the thieves of power started reconstructing history. For instance how many of those superintending our democracy today fought for the restoration of the current democratic dispensation? Is it Obasanjo who was wheeling and dealing by name-dropping at international circles until Abacha like a crocodile at the river bank snapped him up like a quarry? Or is it Babangida the chief architect of the current disorder?

Interestingly the cheap song is that; take the message not the messenger. This is the height of opportunistic mendacity. For opposition to be successful, it is important it must have a patriotic worthy antecedents. This is important as it is those antecedents that will constantly define its existence. It is not correct to say that the generals are opposed to Buhari because of patriotic duties but appropriate to develop two reasonable reasons that drive them in this new role of opposition. The first reason is offered by Buhari supporters; that it is the loss of business opportunities as a result of the Buhari’s regime fight against corruption that is propelling the generals into maddening frenzy. How factual this position is has no real scientific validity. Except TY Danjuma whose NAL-COMET Shipping Company since the early 80s has been acting as revenue collector for the Federal Government of Nigeria at the ports in Nigeria, others have not come under any direct threat. Where we think the problem may be hidden is in the fact that their international handlers may not be happy about the increasing tensions in Nigeria and wish their vassals may provide them alternative that may help to steady the ship of the state. This does not obviate the fact that depending on the hand international capital wants to play stability or instability may be profitable to it. We have seen how the events, in the Middle East have profited the West and Israel. Who then knows the design they have for Nigeria? And Obasanjo in particular relishes nothing better than being robed as the good boy of imperialism.

There is no moral or ethical reason why an opposition should not be interrogated about its conducts and projections. And how do we do that without beckoning on history to strip them naked to see what they are hiding in their rumps. Those who say that we should not look at their past, have no reason to query the insane decision by Obasanjo during his presidency to abolish history from secondary schools curriculum in Nigeria. Politics is like a play and it does not make meaning to say that a script should not be interpreted. Every action is driven by a motive and to argue that such motives need not be examined is unscientific. All political actions are driven by human agents with vested interest at the core of their actions. It therefore becomes important to find out the interest that propels such men. To neglect this key question is to either be proceeding from the point of ignorance or sheer mischief. Neither is pardonable, as it is inappropriate to leave politics in the hands of the ignorant or the mischievous as each leads to disaster as they are both short-termists. And Obasanjo is the most duplicitous off all and that was why in 1966 his friend who has the best understanding of who he is/was could plan a coup under his nose without breathing a word of it to him. So what has changed about him? Nothing! Wake up MKO Abiola today he would tell you Obasanjo was part of the reasons he lost his mandate. If you are in doubt ask those who were attending the post-June 12 election; Good Governance Group meeting in his Ota farm. 

What gives the Obasanjos relevance is the emergent social media opposition group. Who at best can be described as those who have perfected the act of using their tongues to cut down Iroko trees? Tragically, every day you passed the Iroko trees are still standing. Fanon also used to call them those violent in words but pacifist in action. And the motives they are queuing behind the generals are transparently manifest. Since they are predominantly in the media, many of them have already dusted their CVs in readiness of becoming media consultants. The way they have been carrying out their opposition it would not be surprising that if they are in a place like Syria, they would have sold the narrative that it was Bashir Assad that invented the Syrian war. Ninety nine percent of them have never fought anywhere in their lives, so what antecedent is guiding them if nothing more than opportunism. For God sake Saul did not just suddenly become blind on his way to Damascus. Tragically they are the ones sowing the bitter and apocalyptic doom day that lies in wait for Nigeria very soon and the further tragedy is that many of them do not have the proper compos mentis to appreciate the root causes of the tragedy we are mired in. 

We seem to be happy to run our lives in one circle of doom after the other. It is undemocratic to argue against the right of people to oppose whatever is against their interest so that we are not misunderstood. Anybody has a right to oppose a government. Even Neo-Nazis are opposing mainstream European parties’ policies on immigration but people have a right to also oppose them as the policies they enunciate are injurious to humanity. This is necessary as even the government in power is an opposition as it is also struggling to suppress an opposing interest. The key departing point for any opposition group is the question of; on whose behalf, does an opposition exist? This question may not be successfully answered not because of its difficulty but for reasons of ideological liberalism that has engulfed the world. For instance if you are to wake up a Fidel Castro or Nkrumah, the way he will approach the problem of Nigeria will be radically different from the proposal by an Obasanjo and we cannot wish away the fundamental reason for such divergence in decision making process which should also determine the choice we make in rejecting or supporting an opposition movement.          

An opposition movement is not a Jesuit movement of people driven by the noblest of intentions. Even Christianity in his journey to Africa we have seen had the most of debased intentions. This is because the righteousness of Christ was not the same for the merchants that brought him to us. As we slightly pointed out earlier every phenomenon is a scientific process and as such each should be subjected to scientific inquest. The reason for the death of opposition in Nigeria is not farfetched. They do have a saying from where I come from that if the dog cannot run it should give way to the tortoise. Is it not amazing that the new face of opposition in Nigeria are people like Obasanjo and forces that he represents, when for the past forty years people had lost their lives in opposition to whatever Obasanjo represents? How did the circle come to this absurdity? The answer is not far. It was the day the Nigerian Left, stopped fighting for those values that made them a left group or left groups but got yoked with unbelievers and began to mouth the inanities of the men of the world that opposition of quality died. The current opposition of the generals of which people are tailing, is nothing short of the despicable because the people leading it are for short of words despicable.

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