Nigeria's Complex Political Intrigues & Maneuvering


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Nigeria's Complex Political Intrigues And Maneuvering




Jide Ayobolu





November 17, 2006


It is a well known fact that all is not well in Nigeriaís political firmament, this has to do with the inordinate ambition of some political gladiators to hold on to power indefinitely, not minding what the constitution says and what the feelings of Nigerians are on the subject-matter.


First, it started with what was popularly called the third term agenda, which sought to illegally elongate the tenure of office of the president without following the due process. Although the naughty issue was roundly defeated at the National Assembly, the brains behind it are not done yet, they are planning on some other devious methods they can use to extend their stay in office without recourse to the mandate of the people, and the constitution which is the supreme law of the land. In a bid to foist this strange political agenda on the people, Nigerian politics have been turned into roforofo fight. The political personalities are fighting it dirty, no weapon in their arsenal is spared, and they go for the jugular when it is even wrong to do so.


 It would be recalled that after the wicked annulment of June 12 presidential election by the IBB, then military president, he boxed himself into a cul-de-sac in a desperate bid to hold on to power. However, events did not turned out the way he envisaged, to manovure himself out the tight-corner, General Obasanjo, now the president provided him with a leeway, by selling the idea of Interim National Government (ING) to him and nominating who eventually headed it.


 Then there was a collective conspiracy by the military and their civilian collaborators to scuttle the wish of the people, which was expressed through the electoral voting behaviour. Now, this kind of retrogressive politicks is in the offing. So, that invariably the reason for that kind of reasoning is not because they have good intentions towards Nigeria, but because they want to help themselves to what belongs to all of us. So, that Nigeria will become their personal estate. All the hoopla about paradigm shift is just to create an avenue to have unfettered access to our collective patrimony.


Now, it is important to note here that not many people know this fact, and what the anti-democratic and retrogressive forces are planning concerning next year election. It was never expected that the selfish clamour for third would end abruptly the way it did, the masterminds were jolted like bolts from the blues, now the game plan is to make next year election inconclusive, cause some upheavals, so that, they can have the opportunity to bring in an Interim National Government  (ING) that is unknown to the constitution to govern the country and organize elections.


 It is very difficult to fathom why the president who ought to be the father of the nation would be orchestrating volatile political schisms and over heating the polity. The president is the unseen hand encouraging the south-south politicians to come out and contest for the presidential elections since nobody from the geo-political zone has ever govern the country before. It is for this reason that when the presidentsí third term agenda was on the front burner nobody from the zone talked about, a south-south president, instead they provided money for the infamous scheme, but itís quite easy to see the linkage.


 In order to pitch politicians against themselves and cause confusion in the country, the president is also simultaneously propping some politicians of northern extraction to declare their interest in the presidency of the country, and even financed some of them so far. The point is that, why will someone rule for eight for years and still want to hang on to power desperately? So, what does he want to achieve by so doing? Here was a man who was sentenced to death, but by sheer stroke of luck, it was commuted to a jail term, where he spent three years, three months and three days and later by the grace of God became president, canít he show some appreciations to God for what he has done for him?


 Canít he quit the scene without allowing the polity to boil over? What will he benefit if he makes the country burn? Why must Nigeria be sacrificed on the alter of selfish political ambition of one person? Is Nigeria not greater than any individual or group of individuals? By year 2007 Obasanjo would have spent about 11 year as the leader of Nigeria, why canít he retire peacefully? If Nelson Mandela had been a selfish person he would still have been in power up till today in South Africa, but he voluntarily relinquished power for a younger person, his deputy to move the country forward. So, canít we learn from this laudable example? Even neighbouring Ghana transited without qualms, so why not Nigeria?


If we look at the enormity of the problems that confront Nigeria today and the magnitude of work it requires to fix the manifold problems, one wonders how the president and his co-travelers have the luxury of time to chase shadows. In seven years over $1billion has been spent on electricity, yet power supply is epileptic and very erratic. Similarly, in spite of the billion of naira spent on the maintenance and construction of roads, roads throughout the country are in a deplorable state of disrepair, they are death traps that have sent many innocent and innocuous lives to their early graves, the healthcare centers are worst than mere consulting clinics that it used to be, today in Kenya tourism remains the highest revenue earner, but in Nigeria it is still taking a back sit in the scheme of things, also Ethiopia Airlines remains the number one money spinner, in Nigeria we are not near it yet, the development of solid minerals and agriculture have been thoroughly neglected that is why Nigeria imports most of what she consumes, and has remained a mono-culture dependent economy in permanent crisis, the education sector is in a shambles, while the housing policy is just for the rich, and the stories of woes about the management of the economy are endless.


 To complicate the already situation, poverty and unemployment are very pervasive, with over 70 per cent of the entire population living on less than $1 per day, with less than 39 per cent having access to portable water supply, and almost all the entire population not having access to uninterrupted power supply, as well as good food, medical services, education, shelter and social security.

Yet, our so-called leaders are not bothered about the plights of the country and her people, for the past seven years; there has been the trivialization of the very essence of governance, misplacement of priorities, self-righteousness and un-necessary excessive grandstanding as well as tall on policy enunciations and short on the delivery of the dividends of democracy to the people.


 Even, the so-called reform programmes of the government do not have any positive impact on the socio-economic conditions of the people, it has engendered massive sacks without preparing the victims for the after effects of such brazen misanthropic policy and it has helped those in government to sell public assets to themselves, for example, NITEL.


The are so many problems facing the country that the government should concern itself with rather than putting clogs in the wheel of political progress of the country. Perhaps, the reason why politics has been reduced to roforofo fight is because, most of the present occupiers of office did not contribute anything to the emergence of democracy in the first place, in fact, some of them were military apologists, if they had participated in the struggle to chase out the military out of power, they would have taken governance more seriously, it really a pity that all Obasanjo accused IBB of doing while in office, is the same thing heís doing with greater venom.


The fact of the matter is that Nigerians have not really benefited from this government in real terms, more so,  that it has made a lot of money from the upsurge in the price of oil in the international market, yet nothing  good is happening on the economic front. The impact of their so-called reforms which is out of sync with the wishes and aspirations of the people, on Nigeriaís political economy is that they have made the Nigerian economy more subservient to the international finance capital, the economic relationship created with the West is that of unequal exchange and imperialism of trade.


The reforms are about pandering to the interests of the Brettonwood institutions or Washington consensus, and not the collective interest of the Nigerian people. It is instructive to observe that, development cannot be achieved by proxy. A people develops itself or not at all. All it can develop itself through a strategy of self-reliance that is through the commitment and the energy of the people. That is where democracy comes in. Self-reliance is not possible unless the society is thoroughly democratic, unless the people are the end and not just the means of development. Development occurs in so far as it amounts to the pursuit of objectives set by the people themselves in their own interest and by the means of their own resources.


 It is for this reason that, it has been argued that, the circumstances of our history have conspired to produce an elite which cannot function because it has no sense of identity or integrity and no confidence, does not know where it is coming from or where it is going. It is clear even from the bahaviour of our leaders that most of them have no respect for themselves and do not take themselves seriously. That is why they have converted us into the mimic people. Lacking confidence and self-respect, they cannot develop any sense of efficiency. So, even with the best of intentions they are forever confused and perfunctory.


More worrying still, our leaders suffer from self-contempt. This underlies their alienation from themselves and from us and it is manifested in their frisky impatience with their environment, their fondness for foreign things and disdain for the local, typical of the Obasanjoís government. Operating in a vacuum they proclaim their incarnation of the popular will, hear echoes of their own voice, and reassured, pursue with policies that have nothing to do with the aspirations of the people and which cannot mobilize them. As their alienation from the people increase, they rely more and more on coercion, and become even more alienated.


  There are two issues that must be clearly sorted out, those that have been in the drivers seat for the past seven years and have not been able to radically change the manifold conditions of the people for the better have no business staying on in power, or try to dictate how the future of the country should be managed. Two, those in power now should voluntarily relinquish power, conduct free and fair elections, allow the will of the people to prevail and not mercilessly torpedo the hard earned on-going, nascent democratic experiment.


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