Of MMM’s Help And The Government’s Helplessness, By Matthew Ige
The Social Contract theory in political philosophy that originated in the Age of Enlightenment talks about the voluntary wish and will of man in generic form to form a modern society apart from natural state and give up their natural freedom in order to obtain the political order, thereby allowing the government to preside over their primitiveness and barbarism, and even their bestiality. And since it (Social Contract), is an aftermath of Thomas Hobbes’ State of Nature (where man was brutish, primitive and naturally barbaric), the government to which or whom people lay down their barbarism and natural freedom in order to embrace humanity in its fullgrandeur must live up to people’s expectations and never let them down. The pressing question then is: has the government (all over the world) been living up to the temperament, disposition, ethos and essence of this theory?
Sadly enough, trying to fool ourselves that we are not back in the back State of Nature where man was rudely animalistic or at best trying to say we are not in neo-State of Nature, then
means we are robbers of truth. And like the Holy Book puts it; “There is no truth in us.” For the
rather recent senseless killing of a boy who allegedly stole a cup of Garri (mind you, not a billions of naira or dollars) further foregrounds the animalistic nature of man. Forgive my digression, please.
Looking at the Social Contract theory, the people voluntarily or tacitly do the trade by barter of their natural freedom and even their resources in form of tax to government, hopefully expecting a proportional gesture from the government to better their lots. The government is expected, in return, to provide comprehensive security of lives and property to its subjects and this is not negotiable. In addition, the tax payers’ money must be used to build infrastructures, create jobs and engage invarious kinds of developmental projects that will make life worth living for the people. And these, needless to say, will in return build formidable patriotism in the citizens. Anything short of these is a down-the-line failure on the part of the government. For before the 35th President of the United States of America, John F. Kennedy to have said in his inaugural speech in 1961 that “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country”, his country, America, must necessarily and in fact phenomenally have done a lot for him. So, no irresponsible government should quote Kennedy out of context. Loyalty must be mutual. With rude shock and perplexity I read the report of the order given by the Nigerian House of Representatives, directing the Economic and Financial Crime Commission, EFCC and the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN to swiftly go after the promoters of the famous “wonder-working bank” that has monopolised the economic space of the ‘common’ and ‘non-common’ Nigerians, known as Mavrodi Mondial Moneybox a.k.a MMM.
The Reps overtly assumed, in the temperament of the said order, the role of a passionate father and a good ‘shepherd’, whose primary concern is to watch over the flocks, one who would not allow any stint of untoward thing to befall the sheep. There may not be any crime in that, and
in fact one must not but applaud such a caring attitude, but only when the illocution and genuineness of such generosity is not self-styled, questionable. It must not be said of them or suspected that such a protectionism idiosyncrasy is in any way a malicious order apparently borne out of frustration of government’s helplessness and itsfailure to rise to its responsibilities and obligations, thereby competing or (bluntly put) resulting to affront innuendo of imported economic therapy, with intent to save-face its shameful face, especially during this national economic trying time when the scheme is providing succour to millions of Nigerians that are wallowing and swimming in abject poverty as result of the government’s incompetence and
The argument of the lawmakers was that the scheme, MMM, “not regulated by law or approved by CBN as a secure business venture, made Nigerians more vulnerable”; describing the whole exercise as a “trick” and “scam” by the operators. One cannot but wonder at the very implicating though interesting lexicons used to describe the scheme as being a “scam and a “trick”. And interestingly enough, the sole evangelist of this anti-MMM campaign is an All Progressive Congress member, Mr. Saheed Fijabi, representing Ibadan South/West Federal
Constituency. In his ignorance, he never thought of it that his choice of words used to describe the MMM are the most befitting nomenclature to also describe the All Progressive Congress party he is representing which is a ‘trick’ that metamorphosed to ‘scam’. We must not forget the ruling APC-led Federal Government’s bogus messianic rhetoric and with propaganda packaging presented themselves in the eyes of gobbling and gullible Nigerians as a fictional Olivia Pope in ‘Scandal’, an American political thriller. But alas, everything later turns out to be a scam; and it dawns on us, though already late, that we have boarded a one-chance vehicle.
With their masterly political rhetoric and propaganda, the hope of many was blown out of incendiary proportion prior to 2015 general election, with all forms of fictional and pie-in-the- sky promises, chorusing ‘change’ kerfuffle across the length and breadth of the country; but without shame turning to the poor citizens and forcing them to accept that “Change Begins with
me.” Lord, have mercy! All what the sincere victims of this “Change” spell are feeling today against the President Buhari and APC is nothing short of whatShakespearean’s Julius Caesar felt against Brutus in his dying moment–betrayal. Notably, my ‘help provider’ does not come from Mavrodi’s ‘wonder bank’, but the main crux of my lamentation is that the government or any of its organs or agencies has no moral impetus to choose for Nigerians what to do and what not to; especially in such a pitiable situation where the nation’s economy is radically deteriorating every day while the government is utterly confused and seems not to have a way out.
Furthermore, whether MMM is a legal or illegal business is an ethical question that will lead to
an open-ended debate. It is an incontrovertible fact that Nigeria runs one of the most expensive legislatures in the world. The incentives attached to the running of our legislature are nothing compared to the output we are getting from our hallowed and hollowed chambers; our legislature, frankly, is a white elephant project. My anger against the government is that we have many people seated in ‘high places’ with totally dead or moribund conscience. For how can a government ask one, being a poor man, to make a sacrifice with, say his meagre earnings, while they are living an overt opulence and affluence life? Does it not amount to a saying that one is pouring a cup of water in an ocean? How would one reconcile a situation where the clueless, those that are bereft of ideas, who know nothing about the real business of legislature nor governance, those with very slim intellectual measurement, are the ones ruling and lording over the intelligentsia. Imagine a situation where the lawmakers have turned the sanctuary and process of lawmaking to fashion exhibition, with majority of them flaunting and wielding their ‘Babariga’ and ‘Agbada’ with heavy jewelries.
The most painful and alarming thing, a situation William Shakespeare would describe as the ‘most unkindest cut of all,’ is where the National Assembly is filled with people with simplicity of thought; all what some are known for is ”I support.” A German philosopher, Yogen Hevamas, once said that “Modernity is about public sphereand the quality of conversations that go on.”No
wonder the country is where it is today. I will like to end this piece by intimating us on the main crux of ‘Substance of Politics’ by A. Appadorai, which asserts that “states are created for the people, and not the other way round.” God bless Nigeria!
Matthew Ige, a writer, public affairs analyst, social and political commentator and Associate Member, Nigerian Institute of Public Relations, Bauchi State Branch wrote from Bauchi State, Nigeria.