Nigeria And The Politics Of Poverty, By Matthew Ige
I have been an adult citizen for a while now, and one thing I have closely observed, and which always makes me to tremble in shame; is that most Nigerian politicians, though majority of them are intellectually feeble, light ‘upstairs’ and simple in thought, they are maestro in the manipulation of the poor electorates. They perhaps perfectly understand the psychology of poverty of the susceptible electorates, hence the smooth victory they always wield.
Chinweizu Ibekwe in his Anatomy of Female Power asserts that a way to ‘’a way to a man’s heart is through his belly.’’ This assertion best describes the hapless state of the uninformed–both mentally and academically poor electorates. These are the victims of the flawed established Nigeria institution; perpetually manipulated bedfellows—even down to their children. The reason is simple: lest they are educated, and they are wise.
It is not the case that education in itself provides the basis to affect one’s reasoning measurement; for there are ‘literate illiterates’. There are professors and academic doctors with intimidating and highfalutin academic credentials, whose thoughts and reasoning are very poor. There are academic champions who are still being plagued, not thoroughly washed from the stings of religious, ethnic and tribal sentiments. Yes, this set of people also have their own version of poverty—reasoning.
The bourgeoisies, having studied the psychology of ‘needs’ of these poor people, that all they are after in life is the Biblical necessity of life expressed in petition in prayer: ‘’Give us this day our daily bread.’’ They would not think of building house, buying a single car; they see themselves as millionaire once they can afford to buy one ‘Okada’, always extort them through this weakness.
It is on this psychological pedestal of the poor that the villain politicians would continue to unduly, though without any physical duress, dominate the miserable poor electorates. It will then come to pass the saying that the poor will remain poorer while the rich will remain richer. There will be, as long as this status quo remains, the poor dynasty and the rich dynasty.
The most prevalent poverty version that is obtainable in Nigeria is poverty of the mind; a type of poverty established as a result of our own aboriginal institutional inexactitude.
It is not that most of the developed nations today, say USA, has never had or does not have people that are financially poor, at least relatively; but her people, as it were, to a large extent are exempted from the poverty of the mind. How did they come about it? Their institution!
Former president Barrack Obama is famously known for saying ‘Africa doesn’t need strong men, it needs strong institution’. But to fault Obama’s perception of perhaps Africa’s nucleus needs, there is indeed strong institution in Africa, of which Nigeria is among.
The problem is not that there is non-existence of institution in Africa—-Nigeria specifically. Rather, the enduring issue is that we have institution, but this institution, on the contrary, or rather for it be an enviable one; it is one that is built on mediocrity, primitiveness, incivility, uncriticalness, rationed ingeniousness, barbarism, glorified backward, satisfaction of average life and lame mental and intellectual exhibition. It is an institution that gives wanton leverage to the minority ruling class and bourgeoisies—-symbolic vultures—-preying on the carcass of the teeming majority, who are plagued with abject poverty.
Yes, that is our enduring, doubly powerful institution.
The poverty of the mind, what it does to our collective national consciousness is innumerable, and the chief among them is forgetfulness. With little, though false and cosmetic generosity from the villain politician, especially when the elections are fast approaching, the victims of this poverty swiftly forget or forgo the avalanche of misfortunes inflicted on them by these political dramatist personas.
Neither to forget nor to forgo, I must add, is a a
crime; but the forgetfulness of the faux pas of these politicians is not an innocent one. The people, through the preconditioned and configuration of their poor mindset, and having being reduced to beings whose aspirations and expectations are fixed on the scummy basic necessity of life, they swiftly forget the day their supposed leader aforethought withheld their salaries; wantonly violated their rights; and deliberately dehumanized them.
The all-encompassing effect of poverty of the mind is that it will make the nation to ever remain underdeveloped and underdog. Since the mindset of the average citizens have been programmed by default to food alone, the disposition to be critical of things will be radically rationed, if not totally disappeared. In the long run, the government will never be responsible nor accountable to the electorates who voted them into power; there will inevitably be regurgitation of cluelessness, mediocrity, material and mental poverty; and most unfortunate of all, humanity will be dethroned while the government official will assume the status of triumphalism.