Assuming that Governor Nyesom Wike did not rush to rescue Barrister Joy Nunieh, would anyone know where she might be right now? Perhaps, receiving her own variant of Magu treatment somewhere in Abuja or even worse. It would certainly have required no more than 30 minutes for a determined security team to burst her doors and go away with her.
The other side is if there was a fracas and the governor was, (God forbids it) injured. What would the world have been hearing and making of Nigeria by now? What better confirmation of Nigeria as gangster world would be needed? Who could have sent policemen to arrest a lawyer without an arrest warrant? But it is serious enough because anything could have happened between the team and the governor’s team, all armed.
These are the two main sides to what happened in Portharcourt earlier today, none of which is heartwarming. Interestingly, nobody has yet been sanctioned. Well, that is probably not surprising. The National Assembly which make laws for the good governance of the country was itself invaded two years ago next month. The Head of the DSS was removed for that but the story is that the action did not go down well with all the stakeholders.
But, what script is being acted out in all these? Whatever script is being acted out, it would be difficult to discuss the virtual anarchy without asking what the president is doing and then the ruling party. Are they still there? Or have we come to the failure of politics?
Failure of politics brings back Prof Claude Ake and his argument about “How politics underdevelops Africa”. Perhaps, just a paragraph or two from him might be in order:
“We are never going to understand the current crisis in Africa much less contain it as long as we continue to think of it as an economic crisis. What is before us now is primarily a political crisis; its economic consequences are serious as we know only too well but they are nonetheless incidental. Not only is the crisis essentially political in character, it is also political in origin. It has arisen largely from a political disposition , namely a tendency to depoliticize economic interactions and processes. The attempt to depoliticize economic matters has unleashed powerful social forces including a form of political competition which has rendered the task of overcoming underdevelopment virtually impossible”.
First delivered in 1987, it reads like a stuff written only a few days ago. It is not only such a bold statement, the clarity is a deal. And to think that every other line in the essay adds value to the contention is to imagine where Ake might be by now if he were still here. Perhaps, one more quotation from the same text:
“The second problem is this/ because the political struggle is so intense and so absorbing, politics becomes, for the entire political leadership and the entire political class, the means of livelihood. The livelihood is provided by the use of state power for appropriation and accumulation. As accumulation with state power has come to be the norm for the political class, the premium on political power has become higher still. It is no longer just power that is at stake but also wealth. This development is one of the major causes of economic stagnation in Africa. The use of state power for accumulation means, of course, the abuse of state power; above all, it means corrupt practices – the award of contracts to those who will pay the highest kickbacks, the inevitable non-performance in the execution of the contract; the sale of jobs to people who are too incompetent to carry them out successfully…”
Though taken from distant parts of the same text, the two quotations speaks to the same topic of ‘how politics under develops Africa’. Replacing Africa with Nigeria reduces nothing from the thesis. And there is no better proof than the Niger Delta Development Commission, (NDDC) set up with a very clear challenge now turned into a battle ground of negative accumulation. Is it possible that the casts enacting drama over the life of 200 million Nigerians learn any lessons early enough before things go out of hands?