By Babatunde Jose
Days to the much awaited Presidential election in Nigeria, the political and social atmosphere is tainted and turbocharged. The two major challengers have been ‘Tarkaring’ and Daboing’ each other with relentless ferocity. The last leg of this political jostling has become a ‘do or die’ affair with a lot of bloodletting verging on possible assassination and resort to voodoo; the marabouts and the shamans are having a field day. For the legal practitioners, it’s a festival of the absurd; like ‘praying mantis’ they wait to devour their pray. We have never seen this type of political heat wave before, not even during the eve of decolonization. Leaders have thrown caution to the wind and are dancing naked gleefully in the market place. There is an orgy of bad behavior and the populace are being treated to free live shows. Yet, for the believers the result has already been written by Allah the Decider; He knows the outcome before the first ballot is cast.
Today, there are clear and present danger of the possibilities of the election being scuttled; moves reminiscent of the runoff to June 12, 1993. The country has never been as polarized as we are witnessing this time. There are signs that if we do not get it right, we might not witness democracy in this clime for a very long time. The Lord has said, “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand” (Matthew 12:25). And if that happens, our Swan song might be ‘To thy tents O’Israel’. 1 Kings 12:16 ‘What portion have we in David? Neither have we inheritance in the son of Jesse: to your tents, O Israel. …. We all know what this means with reference to our country Nigeria. There are very dark clouds on the horizon. All hopes are lost and our youths, who constitute 60% of our population, are getting restless. Doom will set in and the keg of gunpowder will be ignited. We will all fall down, not from Boko Haram, but from the inordinate greed and avarice of our leaders.
There are many things we need to do which we have left undone and a good deal we ought not to have done that we are doing: We have not had the capability of generating sound economic policies; we need to enhance productivity, build a national system of innovation and unleash a mass industrial revolution. We need science and technology for national transformation. We need to transform the agrarian sector, plan our cities, design fast trains, revamp our infrastructures and build a world class economy that unleashes jobs and massive business opportunities for our teeming youths. But our leaders have failed to do all these. “There is no more dangerous menace to civilization than a Government of incompetent, corrupt, or vile men”, said, Ludwig Von Mises.
Abu Huraira reported: The Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him, said, “Woe to the rulers! And woe to the chiefs! And woe to the trustees! Some people will wish on the Day of Resurrection that their hair was hanging from the sky and swinging between heaven and earth rather than to have done what they did.”
We are today drifting in an uncharted and uncertain sea. What hope do we have of reaching the Promised Land? Today, our revolution of rising expectations has turned into a revolution of rising frustration, bordering on despondency. Under this atmosphere, violence is not far around the corner. Our commonwealth has been squandered and embezzled: Our national coffers broken into and brazenly robbed. The proceeds from these serial robberies are today sitting comfortably in the banks and mostly unoccupied real estates, to be enjoyed by their children and children’s children and those yet unborn.
They do not even bother to keep the money in foreign banks anymore. Like ‘you know who’, the man of the moment, they even forget how much they have in their bank accounts. Thanks to BVN, we are getting glimpses of their loot.
Allah in the Quran, Surat Az-Zukhruf, and Ayat 32 said:
Is it they who would portion out the Mercy of thy Lord? It is We Who portion out between them their livelihood in the life of this world: And We raise some of them above others in ranks, so that some may command work from others. But the Mercy of thy Lord is better than the (wealth) which they amass. (Quran 43:32)
They are here again: Asking us to collect our voter’s cards, which we have collected. But, what happened to the votes we cast four years ago, eight years ago and in times past? What dividend accrued to us? Where are the jobs? Our electricity is still epileptic. Our fathers are today jobless, while our mothers have no goods in their stores. The children are out of school and those that pass out have joined the swelling army of the unemployed. Universities are on strike and on lock-down. Like dispossessed children we walk naked in the streets eking for food from the dustbins. Today there is much poverty in the land; Poverty in the midst of plenty. Poverty now parades our streets in nakedness. Where are we going? We need change and we need it now!
John F. Kennedy, it was who said, in his Address on the first Anniversary of the Alliance for Progress, March 13, 1962: “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.” Today, we stand on the threshold of history. Our nation is on the precipice.
Everywhere you go you hear the very loud sound and fury of the ‘Bata-drum’ of ethnic jingoism and religious irredentism, some are even contemplating ‘araba’. Unfortunately, our problem is not religion but, naked poverty in the land, children out of school, selling pure water on the roadside and the sick without medical care resorting to quacks and ’Ajase Poki-Poki’. These are the real issues not ethnic or religious; for war and hunger and ignorance and despair know no religious barriers. J.F Kennedy again.
Our fate and destiny is now in our hands. It’s our ‘free will that brought us to this point and it is our resolve that will bring us out of it; or we perish and be damned! However, let it be known to our leaders that they cannot escape the judgement of God: “The drama of this life is not complete; There must be a second scene to it . . . Therefore, there must be another world, where justice will be carried out”- Immanuel Kant. Unfortunately, that second scene will take place right here.
Barka Jumuah and a happy weekend
Last line: The tragedy is not the Brutality of the Evil but the Silence of the Good, which allows the Evil to flourish.