The recent trends in the polity are once again assuming alarming and potentially catastrophic proportions as it is usual with Nigeria’s congenitally inept ruling class, across all its fractions and factions, once a general election is approaching and on the horizon.
If it is true that the ruling class is inherently irresponsible, gluttonously greedy, and exceptionally light fingered during normal times, the approach of general elections always tends to amplify these defining characteristics of our rulers as they throw even the meagre caution in their possession into the winds.
Their greed and selfishness rises magisterially to the fore as they jostle for power without the slightest consideration on their part of the impact of these ‘free for all’ fight to the death, zero sum battles they are engaged in on the rest of us.
It is as if at the approach of every general election, the ruling political elites collectively become submerged in a frenzy defined by a principle which to paraphrase the legendary words of the immortal Fela Kuti in his evergreen song Beast Of No Nation [BONN], maybe stated as ‘This general election will bring out the beast in us’.
In BONN Fela was making allusion to the anti-apartheid struggle of the 1980s, and to the determination of the apartheid ruling class to crush the uprising of the masses, hence the statement attributed to Botha by Fela, ‘This uprising will bring out the beast in us’.
How ironic that this statement true with respect to one ruling class in faraway South Africa decades ago, is also true in an adapted form with respect to our own ruling class several decades later, and has come to characterise electoral contestations in Nigeria’s 4th Republic.
The Convener and Godfather of the Third Force movements and the Coalition [of the panic stricken self-serving discredited ruling elites] For Nigeria, and the man variously referred to by elements of this same ruling class as the ‘Father’ of their Nation, Former President Obasanjo once put this succinctly when he said the general election is a ‘Do or Die affair’, period.
So, in recent times the very irresponsible ruling class have begun to orchestrate steps and actions, and make reckless statements that are all combining to endanger our societal cohesion, national stability and security, and our collective wellbeing.
As they stoke up the flames of disunity and fan the embers of chaos, they continue to perpetrate and perpetuate a maddening race one of whose potential outcome is a ‘Mutually Assured Destruction’.
So instead of defending their miserable records in office they chase shadows and see enemies lurking in every corner. Rather than propose alternative programs that can take us out of the deepening quicksand of stagnation and retrogression, they have become adept at raising false alarms and crying wolf.
Neither the incumbents, nor the opposition and there would be opponents and successors are talking about our wellbeing, our collective security; about the development strategies and the economic programs that are either being undertaken, or that will be undertaken to address our national challenges.
Nevertheless, one thing is certain, they are desperate, and they are in a panic. These desperation and panic is reflected in the frenzied nature and insanity of their actions and utterances.
During this period, the closer we get to the 2019 general elections and beginning with Ekiti and Osun later this year, the more they will seek to heat up the polity so that we can be distracted from scrutinising the failure of what can pass for their governance agenda; or alternatively so we can be distracted from scrutinising the emptiness of the electoral promises that they are making as they seek to challenge and unseat incumbents.
And in all of these, they exploit our fascination with sensationalism, our impatience with deep reflection, the hustling induced hastiness that does not encourage us to ask questions.
So they regale us with tales of how their lives are being threatened; they present to us on national live television a self-orchestrated descent into chaos at the National Assembly; and they throw about accusations and counter accusations about responsibility for insecurity and armed criminal activities across the country among others.
As for real content, they claim to have invested N1.5tn in social investments, when in total not up to N500bn has actually been released, and no one has given an audited, including social audit report of these flagship programs.
And although they continue to insist even though there is contradictory evidence that Boko Haram has been degraded and technically defeated, nevertheless, in its place has emerged a more robust, more mobile, and more extensive clear and present danger in the armed and marauding herdsmen.
As for the mainstream opposition and the Third Forcers, those who seek to replace them, other than condemnations, lamentations, and alarmist accusations, we are yet to see any definitive programs of action.
Among these lot, as well as among those that can be described as ‘’óutsiders’’ the majority of what is coming out have been promises that seem to be made up along the way depending on the audience and the questions asked.
Very few strategic programs of action, that show that these have been preceded by rigorous reflection thinking have been unveiled. Many are going around promising heaven on earth; purporting that will create tens of millions of jobs; pay a pre-determined amount without consultation, without any indication of the understanding of the dimensions, as minimum wage; complete 250km multilane expressways in one month; etc.
On the contrary we have developed and released for public consumption and engagement a comprehensive Program and election manifesto, along with a subsequent document on our proposed Governance Agenda.
It is important that we note and understand that our despair is reflected and amplified in their desperation; our Pain in their panic; and that it is our incumbent duty to shorn sensationalism, to suppress our impatience and hastiness, and to be determined to engage in a deeply reflective manner with all the choices that will be on offer towards 2019, while also ensuring that we develop the ability and capacity to patiently scrutinise the programs and promises being made by candidates and parties/political formations, along with a scrutiny of the capacity of the candidates to understand our challenges, understand the solutions, and implement their proposed programs.
My name is Jaye Gaskia; a social activist; a revolutionary; a development strategist; a governance, peace and security expert; the Convener of Take Back Nigeria Movement [TBN]; and I am running for office as President of the Federal Republic Of Nigeria in 2019.