Olanrewaju AjiboyeSunday, November 30, 2008



erman born American Theoretical physicist, Albert Einstein said it long time ago and I am so fond of the quote of “…doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results” as manifestation of insanity.

A man walks through burnt cars in Jos, November 30, 2008.
(Akintunde Akinleye/Reuters)


Because of our elite’s great propensity for stealing and capitalizing on peoples vulnerability occasioned by chronic poverty and ignorance, peoples wishes are taken for granted any time they go to the polls.

The riot in Jos was said to have started with suspicions on elections results manipulations and metamorphosed to trigger unbalance in the delicate religious tolerance that had caused unprecedented deaths and wanton destruction of properties in the past.

While the candidates that had filed for elections are not known to this writer, the dissonance of the situation lies in the fact that the very people that are suspecting they are likely to be short-changed in the election results outcome are not very much concerned about good governance that is desirable for all religious faiths but on the faith of their favoured candidate who may likely be riding to positions of authority on the religious sentiments of voters in his or her locality.

The present administration will not be solving any elections problem through the electoral reform body that is presently looking for solutions to elections problems unless a bold attempt is put on course to educate people that though faith and ethnicity permeates peoples sentiment, it should not be the yardstick for choosing political leaders; rather sound programs, articulate arguments, past track records should be the basis for winning elections.

We can go back memory lane and examine how faith of political office holders had impacted on our national growth and development. Babangida and Abdul Salami are Muslims and late Abacha was a Muslim. They worshipped in the Mosque at the seat of power but do we have good memory of these individuals today? Were they faithful to the dictates of Islam in their dealings with the people Allah gave them the privilege to lead? Obasanjo went as far as erecting a Christian Chapel in Aso Rock, one would have expected a leader like that to sleep and wake with the fear of God going by his life lessons but unfortunately he assumed the status of a demonic god himself.

For whatever reasons the fresh riot in Jos was predicated upon, it is a strong indictment on the elite in power and a sad reminder that much had not changed ever since the change of individuals at the seats of power in May 2007. We should strive to put things in proper perspective to avoid a situation where people who have provisionally surrendered their sovereignty by way of voting and who are expecting in return safety of their being, property and environment; freedom from individual and State oppression are not forced to have a rethink that democracy is indeed a civilised method of governance.

The casualties at the end of it all are the ordinary people among whom precious lives have been lost and their properties destroyed. All the other vehicular properties especially those owned by the government will have to be replaced through federal allocations and taxes paid by the same ordinary people meant for development of the areas concerned. It will be business as usual for the political leaders who will most probably inflate the cost of damage and make more money in new contract that will be awarded to repair, reconstruct and replenish items destroyed.

It is high time people embrace the culture of having tenacity of purpose and strong will to pursue a matter to a logical conclusion in a more civilized way. For example, if the electoral body had announced a doctored results as they are fond of doing all over the country, the aggrieved parties should go to court and if the court gives a judgement that falls short of their expectations, they should then embark on endless peaceful protest and civil disobedience that will force such an imposed government to capitulate. For all these, they need true leaders who are selfless and fearless and uncompromisingly committed to truth and integrity. One thing the oppressors lack is courage when they face real challenges, but one thing they bank on is that the oppressed lack a strong will and that their ranks can be easily broken.

Olanrewaju Ajiboye is a member, Board of Nigeria Foundation www.nigeriafoundation.org