By Aminu Ali
A section of Nigeria’s political elite, under the leadership of the “indefatigable” Baba Ota, are set to swindle us again. In 2015, they packaged and presented Baba “Integrity” with his change mantra as a credible alternative to the underperforming Baba Shoeless. Nigerians saw the messiah in Baba “Integrity” and, consequently, embraced him uncritically. Not long after he assumed power, some discerning Nigerians realized that they were scammed! But still many others maintained confidence in the messiah either out of naïveté or the predilection of shifting blame for his inadequacies to his predecessors or saboteurs within his government. Now that Baba “Integrity” has deepened the rot he promised to fix and, apparently, it would take him forever to make Nigeria great, not many Nigerians look up to him to save the country from drifting into deeper crisis.
With growing spate of insecurity, high cost of living, flagrant violations of democratic and human rights, rising poverty and unemployment rates, widening wealth inequality, wanton corruption and worsening living conditions occasioned by IMF/World Bank-inspired neoliberal policies under Baba “Integrity’s” watch, the door is open for political opportunists to swindle Nigerians again.
A ground is already being set for political realignment and reconfiguration ahead of the 2023 general elections. Eventually, a political force will emerge that will present another “messiah” that’s not in any way different from those before him. And Nigerians – out of discontent with state of affairs, absence of credible alternative and gullibility – will embrace the new messiah with his empty promises. This is the shenanigan our political elite always deploy to avert genuine change from below. They keep raising and dashing the hope of Nigerians.
Attendees at political meetings have begun scripting the future of Nigeria. Last two weeks, some groups met to deliberate on the country’s unending crises and fashion out strategies to “save” it from imminent collapse. These meeting thumbed up the nose at Baba “Integrity’s” sheer incompetence in handling the country’s affairs. Baba Ota, who is clearly the arrowhead of this move, catalogued quite a number of problems wrecking Nigeria and demonstrated Baba “Integrity’s” apparent failure to squarely address them. His analysis was quite compelling and cannot be dismissed.
However, if these opportunists’ diagnosis of Nigeria’s socio-economic and political malaise sounds appealing to you, never believe that they relate with, or are perturbed by, your everyday anguish. Above all, their motive isn’t to save the country but to save their plutodemocracy against which they can sense a storm is brewing. Put differently, the emerging movement spearheaded by Baba Ota is yet another deceit to forestall the growing disenchantments among the toiling Nigerians from coalescing into popular resistance.
Let’s not buy in or fall prey to this deceit. In my opinion, the present crop of political elite we have in Nigeria lack enlightened self-interest and, therefore, should not be trusted to produce leaders capable of addressing our socio-economic and political crises and making life better for everyday Nigerians. Neither Baba “Integrity’s” nor Baba Ota’s faction or any other section of political elites is morally fit to decide our future leaders. Let the buyer be aware!
As I argued elsewhere, “our decades of search for good leaders have not yielded positive results. Worse still, we are enmeshed in nostalgia: we feel that each leader is worse than his predecessor. Put in another way, each “bad leader” is better than his successor.” This predicament stems from the widely held assumption that we would get over our enormous socio-economic and political crises by alternating between the two bourgeois parties (APC and PDP). It is obvious from our two decades experiences that the two major parties are Siamese twins, to use Soetan’s neologism.
Our democracy subsists in its current form not because we are content with its character, but due to the weakness or failure of progressive forces to mobilize and conscientize Nigerian people for a struggle that could usher in a truly popular democracy. As our ruling elites are getting prepared to reconstitute their political representation, progressive elements must intensify campaigns for popular democracy.
Aminu Ali wrote from the Department of Sociology, Bayero University, Kano.