Sunday 23rd July, 2017
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Of politicide and the drought of leaders in the North (1)

Of politicide and the drought of leaders in the North (1)

These are not exactly innocent times in/for Nigeria. No they are not. And it is not too difficult to ration­alize this brutal fact. Nigeri­ans clamoured for change. They got change. But it does not seem that it is the complexion of change they bargained for. However, the supreme truth is that change has come. And change can be for better or for worse. It can be the change that enhances the sum-total of our lives or reduces it to a zero sum. The worsening, oppressive social and eco­nomic tide and the political contradictions which assault our emotions bear eloquent testimony to the aridity of life in the nation.
Tragically, this numbing reality vacantly stares at our nation eyeball to eyeball. With the relentless spate of murderousness by so-called Fulani herdsmen, intriguing political chicanery, uneb­bing tide of violence, mind­less destruction of lives and property, growing security uncertainties and the gross dearth of patriots to rise to the challenge, Nigeria ca­reers rather dangerously on the precincts of a depth­less precipice. The situation may not be as grim as de­lineated, some may reason. Maybe not. But there is no controversy that these are blood-stained, guilt-laden and angst-ridden days in our nation.
It is not as if, strictly speaking, there have been moments of innocence and sanity in Nigeria’s warped national history. There have not been, at least not in re­cent memory. Indeed, Ni­geria’s history appears to be one long, unrelieved nar­rative of national haemor­rhage. Its plot has been me­diated by political intrigues, subterfuge, ethnic bigotry, sectarian discontent, and the absence of a national ethos. Or perhaps the pres­ence of a distorted ethos.
This in itself has not been helped by our diversity which defines our hetero­geneous and fractious ex­istence. Such diversity has been an invaluable asset to some societies. Diversity, whether democratic or de­mographic, religious or re­gional, has been the leaven which rises the dough of de­velopment. Not to Nigeria. To Nigeria, it has proved to be a supreme liability as we have stubbornly refused to harness it for positive na­tional needs.
Nigeria’s narrative trajec­tory fails to cohere at signifi­cant moments and this ren­ders notoriously difficult the task of building a cohesive nation of our aspirations. Our nation is an impressive study in paradoxes. It in­spires hope at one moment and in the next triggers great despondency. Nigeria appears to tread the path of progress but curiously si­multaneously regresses back in the eaves of prehistory.
A step taken forward ends up resulting in sev­eral others in reversal. The outcome has been a rather circuitous, tortuous and torturous march in disarray to beleaguered nationhood. And we wait, almost eter­nally, for that moment of arrival which never dawns. But still we wait. Perhaps another Beckettian wait for Godot!
At the hub of all this is an entrenched culture of in­tolerance, moral corrup­tion, ethnocentricism and rehearsed politicide. The last is perhaps the guiltiest of all the culprits that have conspired to bring Nigeria down on all fours, down on its knees. Politicide is my candid attempt at formulat­ing a theoretical paradigm which explains the death of politics, progressive, posi­tive, and developmental politics. In characterizing the phenomenon, I perceive it as the willful sentencing to death of people-oriented, mass-centred and humane politics in Nigeria.
Politicide is appropriately the absence of decent and result-oriented politics. It stands in radical opposition to, and defiance of, known and celebrated norms of democratic behaviour which enthrone the dictatorship of the electorate, the prioritiza­tion of the common good over egocentric tendencies, equity and justice and the empowerment of the mass of ordinary people. Socie­ties that have conscience take pride in protecting the rights and freedoms of the weak and minorities before pandering to the interests of the powerful which, in most cases, are antithetical to a just society.
Indeed, politicide is the deliberate decapitation of democratic institutions, principles and tenets and the eclipsing of the rights and freedoms of the people to a civilized and enlightened ethos. It militates against the idea of the commonwealth being controlled by the peo­ple and rather concentrates it in a few sticky, thieving hands. It breeds an army of parasites: ticks, lice, worms which feed ravenously where they never labored. Politicide creates conditions fertile for the efflorescence of vile vultures and hysteri­cal hyenas whose predatory instincts limit our corporate will and ambitions as a peo­ple.
Politicide is retrogressive in all its assumptions and procedures. It scorches na­tional dreams and aspira­tions and squelches the hopes dutifully nursed by the marginalized majority. It comprehensively impover­ishes the poor and the weak and asphyxiates the power of vision for the imperative of national rebirth and re­naissance.
Politicide is an enemy na­tion. As an enemy nation, it is hostile to any nation, to any people desirous of a meaningful and strategic place in local and global politics. This is the reason why a nation like Nigeria must vigorously abhor and strenuously avoid politicide like a plague. Pitifully in Nigeria, politicide has been warmly embraced and our arrested development bears telling testimony to this willful tragedy.
Politicide is clearly part of the problem but not part of the solution. It has consoli­dated the hegemony of mass poverty, hunger, disease, po­litical brigandage, economic decay, electoral fraud, social morass and cultural ennui. It is at the root of the radical Islamism we are experienc­ing today in Nigeria. Boko Haram issues from, and goes into, politicide. Boko Haram represents the steep national descent to a Hobbe­sian national reality because of the gross poverty of our politics. This has caused us unrelieved opprobrium be­fore the rest of humankind. Nigeria is fast becoming another Afghanistan, Paki­stan, Iraq, Syria, Somalia, and the like where talented bombs planted by islamists have sprouted into a heaving harvest of death and deluge of cascading tears. So is the mindless violence and car­nage perpetrated by Fulani jihadists in the guise of cattle rearers.
In the present circum­stances, religion has ceased to be the rational solution to Nigeria’s postcolonial pre­dicament. It has not been the solution in the course of our national history, anyway. Rather, it is the very cockpit where the adversarial skir­mishes are enacted. And the result has been a cistern of flowing blood, a delta of tears, distributaries of de­spair and a stagnant pool of dreams whose putrefaction has become definitive of the Nigerian pathology. And we are still chewing the galled nuts of religion. The persis­tent paradox is that the more religious we become, the more vicious our inhuman­ity manifests and the more parlous Nigeria’s condition unfolds.
Professor Tsaaior is of the School of Media and Com­munication, Pan-Atlantic University, Lagos, Nigeria.

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