ONNIE Honig, political theorist and author of 'Emergency Politics: Paradox, Law, Democracy' wrote: "Democracies must resist emergency's pull to focus on life's necessities (food, security, and bare essentials)" as they "tend to privatize and isolate citizens rather than bring us together on behalf of hopeful futures." Emphasizing the connections between contemporary food politics and the infrastructure of consumption, among others, Honig argued that though "good citizens with aspirational ideals" are needed to make good politics, infusion of citizens with idealism is also a product of good politics.
Nigeria's 2016 budget impasse, which has not only left the political actors in mirthful mistrust of one another but has also reduced the electorate to mere spectators, watching in utter bewilderment, refers!
All things considered, our major priority beyond the billions of naira approved for various portions of the budget is how the contents of this working document will in the end be utilized in a way as to mitigate the sufferings of a vast majority of Nigerians who had, with the commencement of this administration, expected programme redirection and policy implementation that would vigorously improve their standard of living. As things stand, Nigerians are no longer interested in moonlight tales on the impunity that took the better part of our immediate past or the flourish of trumpets that heralded Muhammadu Buhari into office as president. After all, Nigerians were not unconscious of what the future under the now-expired Goodluck Jonathan administration possibly portended before they decided to speak with their thumbs a year ago.
Archbishop Adewale Martins beautifully summed up the mood of the moment when he noted: "There is too much despondency, poverty and suffering in the land, and if care is not taken to remedy the situation, the people will one day stand up and revolt because their expectations from the government have not been met." Needless to repeat that Nigeria currently suffers from dwindling resources in the face of unshrinking responsibilities, a huge corruption scandal and an opportunistically overstretched texture of Nigeria's politics. Gold diggers and fortune seekers are at work and a resource-rich nation like Nigeria is now an island of violence in a sea of poverty and squalor. Civil servants are frustratingly panting under the pangs of unpaid salaries and power has become so epileptic that, at a point in our recent history, generation reportedly accessed Ground Zero. No thanks to a national crisis orchestrated by Jonathan's inability to picture into the future!
In a country that has become gradually concerned with power to the exclusion of human welfare, long queues at petrol stations are unwilling to abate even as Nigeria has fallen to 67th position in FIFA's ranking in football, a game in which she used to dominate the space and dictate the tune. In the midst of these, some witches, wizards and professional worriers whose surprising view of history is wrapped in a dubious fig leaf of reality have been waxing so lyrically in their call for naira devaluation without rethinking more forcefully that ours is a consumer economy. That's how bad the situation has become and only God can save us!
So, call it 'Quick fix democracy' and you may not be far from it! From the look of things, Nigerians want Buhari to act Moses on the rock at Horeb, not minding what became the fate of the creature for taking the credit, instead of ascribing glory to the Creator. Even without understanding the circumstances that have dragged us to this pass, it is their belief that former President Jonathan has been shown the way out and all his imperfections are long gone with him. 'It could have been worse'! Yes! But, in their festive estimation, a victorious All Progressives Congress (APC) ought to have known that it was not beyond the capacity of a defeated People's Democratic Party (PDP) government to emplace thorns and thistles on the path of the incoming administration and that a government worth its mission would have taken preemptive measures to nullify the counsels of the wicked.
Anyway, Buhari's globally acknowledged resolve to achieve a moral and an ideological victory over the debris of the dreams of the now-imploded PDP remains unshaken. For a fact, this straightforwardly great and startlingly special sheriff has started well and it is only a matter of time before his combination of confidence, political savvy and strategic analytic reasoning starts yielding fruits. But, despite the president's efforts at putting Nigeria back on the world map, there are still some nagging questions that have refused to go away and it is quite interesting that efforts to search for suitable answers have ended up in more questions. For instance, who is sabotaging the president in his efforts to unleash his rod of change on Nigeria's socio-economic sentiments with a view to bringing forth their increase and who will stop powers that stopped Jonathan from stopping Buhari in his quest to actualize a Greater Nigeria dream? Who's the Haman hindering Nigeria's Mordecai from accessing his King Ahasuerus and who is acting Balak in Buhari's desire to serve as balms for woes to the hungry and the depressed? If the most crucial and the most important time for a leader to show his true worth is in the face of adversity, who's the Judas on Buhari's path to redirecting the country along the line of equality, liberty and solidarity?
Expanding the argument, why has the town refused to compensate its dwellers and why are those who wear the gown messing up their present even as they make no preparation for the future? Why has our democracy been grumbling in conflictual cleavages of dishonesty, incompetence and contrived promises and why has Nigeria become a stratified capitalist society comprising the "small flies" whose "socio-economic conditions reveal little or no inter-generational mobility relative to their parents" and the "great flies" who "abuse their positions for private gains"?
Wait a minute, have we ever attempted to interrogate the circumstances that threw up Ayo Fayose and Nyesom Wike as candidates of their party and how they eventually 'won the race' as governors in their respective states? What of the duo's vexatious roles in Alli Modu Sheriff's emergence as the substantive chairman of Nigeria's major opposition party and the trio's common denominator as political heavyweights? As a matter of fact, where lie the place, space and roles of a violent extremist Public Liability Company erroneously referred to as Boko Haram in all of this?
On the whole, Nigeria remains a worthy light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel project, in spite of the crisis of value, compounded by crisis of structures, that currently threatens her existence. All the same, as Nigerians are expecting the president to experiment the miracle of the Marriage at Cana, another critical area that has of late become Nigeria's defining identity is the activity of Fulani herdsmen. And, while it may be convenient for us to problematize our assumptions, I doubt if there is any significant difference between Boko Haram terrorists who waste precious lives in Damboa and Fulani herdsmen who kill poor farmers in Akure. It is therefore my sincere wish that the president would without further delay rise to the strategic imperative of unimpeachably confronting this affront on our collective humanity before it gravitates into a dangerous platform for hypocritical application of ethnic idioms as a means of extending political mileage and re-strategizing access to power.
In the final analysis, it's time Nigerians came to terms with the fact that terrorism is in and of itself a victim of more than one script!
May the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, grant us peace in Nigeria!