THIS would be about Ibrahim Magu, embattled boss of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), had I a sore need to be trendy or lust for the applause of dedicated pundit circuits. It isn’t.
It would be about the plots and counter-plots within the ruling party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), had I the knack for “informed political analysis” if such a thing ever truly exists, especially in modern Nigeria, where politicians set the agenda for the media and not the other way round.
Yet the debate intensifies in real-time about the predicament of the EFCC boss and APC drama. Is Magu a random casualty of the frantic plots and ambition of governors and presidential aides en route the 2023 general elections? Is he guilty of the charges against him? To what quest would the EFCC be deployed en-route 2023, without Magu?
Whatever the tenor of your preferred narrative, is it repugnant of truth and the cardinal principles of citizenship and political discourse, or otherwise? Is your narrative objective or purely sentimental?
Nigeria’s revulsion from the political class is always an emotional swerve. A selfish, juvenile pirouette, where participants trade places to suit their random lusts. For instance, pro-Buhari camp considers him infallible and a victim of the plotting of covetous governors and a shady cabal.
But his virulent critics think otherwise; for all his touted honesty, Buhari’s ascetically transparent flesh appears coarsely shady and dormant to them.
In Buhari and Magu’s travails, we see the humiliating changes that life and power exert on persons of authority and high glamour. The lambent complexion turns muddy; the aura vanishes. Integrity is innately borne and espoused as a kernel of character but respect is a gift under no one’s control. It peaks and ebbs as spectator mood at a crunch soccer tie.
A familiar decline from admiration to disillusion occurs in the politics of nepotism, in Buhari’s lethargic response to intra-party bickering and the herdsmen’s bloodlust; but his greatest undoing would be his inability to douse the flames of bigotries and hatred incited by his actions and inactions.
Everybody gets burnt; ruling class, opposition parties, the entitled elite, and rich upper class. At the bottom of the cauldron, however, roasts the incorrigible hordes of the boondocks, or the electorate if you like.
Through the inferno and chaos, we seek a redefinition of the Nigerian patriot. Strikeout patriot; it’s about time we redefined the Nigerian. Nigerian – a clownish, simple creature, at times even enchanting within its limitations but ultimately foredoomed to fulfill a prophecy of blind pride, insatiable lust, and suicide.
It is never my wish to subject our kind to seemingly reckless deprecation but even as you read, the average Nigerian perfects innumerable plots to self-destruct. Behind those suicidal plots lurks a postscript, and predictably, regret – that emotive shingle that often succeeds disreputable nature.
Yet we stand ignorant and proud, like a half-conscious mutter of men, craving the essence of humanity and freedom, only to forsake it for a token or fleeting sentiment at election time. Just like we did last March.
This is the tangle of witlessness and resignation that requires us all to become better patriots and rejuvenators of the Nigerian dream. If we look carefully inwards, we will find that beneath our passiveness and utter cowardice stirs a quest for self-preservation and gruesome airs.
Time and over again, a few critics and self-appointed leaders of thought have decried our ethical fraudulence and lack of guts; such curious kinks of the Nigerian mind, unfortunately, do exist at a grievous price and must be reckoned with. Yet these shameful twists to our psyches make us even more vulnerable as fair game to gangs of the predatory ruling class.
The latter cannot be wished away or successfully weeded out by violence or bloodshed even if we tried. They must not be allowed continual access to leadership and power even as we accept them as grotesque manifestations of the Nigerian factor; monstrosities standing in the way of civilization, progress, and common decency.
They can only be confronted by methodical savagery, and eliminated by an expansion in breadth of human reason, catholicity of will and culture. The native aspiration of such men to loot our coffers and feed their greed must not be encouraged any further nor should we persist in pitiful complacency and eagerness to acquiesce to their boorish enterprises, for the love of a token.
To stimulate our wildly weak and untamed minds is to ignite a ravenous and uncontrollable fire; and to impede our often rudderless enterprise is to incite our volatile minds to a harvest of violence and blood-letting. Apology to Dubois.
Does power truly repose in the electorate? How can we stage a peaceful but decisive revolt without blood-letting? Is the current electorate capable of such challenging and fundamentally noble exploit?
To these bothersome questions and contradictory tributaries of thought, the potent and yet inadequately explored panacea of education towers above all others. We live in dire need of human training that will awaken our minds to the timeless knowledge inherent in ideals and the practical, the realistic and the fantastic, the permanent and the contingent, in a workable equilibrium.
The incumbent electorate comprises of two fractions of inconsequential beings: the cantankerous, irrational illiterate and semi-literate constituted by street urchins, park thugs, petty traders, and criminals.
The other fraction consists of the methodically savage kind including the so-called articulate, cultured, progressive breed comprising young, upwardly mobile professionals: doctors, engineers, journalists, lawyers, teachers, the armed forces, civil servants, unemployed graduates.
Both divides are afflicted by bitter cynicism and despondency. They betray as much bestiality as the political class particularly in instances demanding inviolable tact, sensitivity, and maturity.
Their reactions to arrest and subsequent trial of corrupt public officers, for instance, provide a worthy yardstick by which they may be judged. Many would adduce reasons bordering on ethnic and religious bigotries in decrying the “persecution” of alleged looters of public office even where the latter have issued confessions substantiating the charges against them.
Such characters are incapable of rational, cognitive, and affective sensitivities pivotal to nation-building. Everyday encounters with gluttonous gangs of “struggling youth” reveal, among other things, that, many are the same social products as their peers among the political class.
A visit to any night club, party congress, or religious office attests to this fact. There, several youths engage in excesses to the applause of mates yearning to be in their shoes; be they advance fee fraudsters, bankers, journalists, ‘prophets,’ accountants, secretaries, factory hands or ordinary clerks, youths, they engage in a bitter, desperate struggle to chance on sudden and stupendous wealth.
How could such vitally impaired characters be trusted to conduct their affairs appropriately and judiciously? Thus the imperative of a practical, ingenious process of human training in the struggle to build a truly progressive and formidable movement of the people, for the people, and by the people.
Yet democracy is simply never enough. Nigeria will never become that model nation of our dreams until we learn to evolve a social process that enables sufficient nurturing, the guidance of thought, and adroit coordination of deeds – sureties to freedom, peace, equality, justice, and national rebirth.
This brings us back again to the issue of quality education.