Activists as woeful political actors (I)

July 30th, 2018


Those of us that spend most of our time studying and watching politics and those that prac­tice it are becoming anony­mous in our discovery that those who want to be known as activists by waving their clinched fists in the air and vociferously railing against every conceivable action of any government or consti­tuted authority, turn out to be woeful failures when they are saddled with the responsibili­ty of playing realpolitik and of finding practical solutions to practical political challenges. What becomes obvious from practical observations is that those who are copious in crit­icizing political actors often fall flat on their faces when given the opportunity to put in practice, those ideas they had so often and so flippantly theorized.
I do not wish to go far back into history to substantiate the claim that noisy activ­ists are political paper-tigers. I would have volunteered many instances, especially during the military regimes in Nigeria to show how du­bious many of the political activists turn out to be when they are called upon to be counted. The present and on­going dispensation provides ample opportunity to assess some of those, who having gained their relevance and ascendancy through activ­ism, are showing how hollow they are in reality.
The immediate past gover­nor of Edo State, Comrade Adams Aliyu Oshiomhole climbed to the apogee of so­cial and political recognition through activism in labour matters, at a time, through demagoguery, he exploited opportunities provided by serial government failures in their labour relations. Ex­perienced people have since become aware how malleable labour people and workers can be when the quest for their interests and welfare is at play. Those were the sen­timents which Adams Os­hiomhole exploited, even without much intellectual imput, to manipulate both governments and the workers who he claimed to be speak­ing and acting for, but from which engagement he be­came extremely rich, popular, and even powerful.
People in their gullibility mistook Oshiomhole’s dema­goguery for political wisdom, and when he ventured into the political arena, they often trusted him, ipso facto, with positions of responsibility, culminating in the fact that he was elected as a governor. It was also not very hard for Oshiomhole to rise to the top of reckoning in the APC gov­ernment of Muhammadu Bu­hari that is very weak in in­tellectual content, and where, therefore, great talkers and liars gain prompt ascendancy over clear thinking and deep people.
It was, therefore, not hard to see how Oshiomhole sud­denly became the ‘Squealer’ of the Buhari administration, who thrived in vile propa­ganda against opponents, in the manner of George Or­well’s Animal Farm. The rul­ing All Progressive Congress (APC), smarting from inter­nal contradictions, suddenly became embroiled in massive crises of confidence and be­lieved it needed a man with great leadership capabilities that would steer its ship away from the rock to which it was disastrously headed.
The APC leaders, in their wisdom, picked Comrade Adams Oshiomhole as the Daniel that would come to judgment and save the party from its many and oft-self-imposed woes. But because hollowness, certified through demagoguery, often has a quick expiry moment and gets easily punctured when confronted with a challenge that requires deft intelligence and solid character, dema­gogues falter and collapse, APC is becoming the worse for the coming of their new chairman to the fore.
At a time when APC should require for its cure, people of deep humility and team workers to wield its splinting pieces together, Comrade Oshiomhole, ob­viously mistaking political challenges as riotous labour issues where riotous activities always come to the rescue, has, instead of working with the different elements in the party, has rather opted to en­gage in Quixotic battles with elements with greater intelli­gence and better pedigree.
Picking on such individu­als as Dr Chris Nwabueze Ngige and Rotimi Amaechi, who are among those that have been the life-wire of the party, will inevitably quicken the unravelling of the party. When the current confron­tational antics of Adams Os­hiomhole that smack mostly of inferiority complex and poor upbringing, finally be­come the undertaker of the APC that is in the throes of expiration, it will become an object lesson that activism is far from capacity to tackle and resolve real challenges of political platforms.

To be continued

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