Re: An Ounce Of Precision When Politics And Politicians All Goes Pear Shaped, By Jimi Bickersteth
Posted On Nov 14, 2017
As one looks from the outskirt of Abuja,curiosity aroused,under the motionless sun, it stood away as an ordinary marquee,a deformed foetus, which this morning lay under a blanket of rain clouds; inside, one is greeted by a colourful sparkling world, a world with changing column and contrasting Azures.
It is axiomatic ( to say) that a whole is greater than any of its parts,but I’m not sure if that is true of Abuja,fierce and commanding on the outside, noble and discernible on the inside; and Nigeria empty and forlorn. The fascinating sight of the splendour of the FCT, its scenic beauty,attractive skyline
and attraction more than
made up for the discomfort of making this trip from Aba by road.
In the light of the Abuja scenario and the petronaira abuse it advertises, one considers the nation’s past years; fifty seven of it as quaint – puzzling, even atrociously appealing, with millions of its healthy young people at the crisis stage at the most productive time of life,due to no war. I am talking about the state of the nation, its economy,unemployment and politics, and a nation that could no longer cope with the demand for health care services,adequate housing et al.
The Abuja that has left
society,which on its own
has revised,resisted, and rejected absolutes,while embracing relativism,with little or no morals or spiritual compass;and which has citizens filled with blood with stress hormones-cortisol and adrenaline among others. Hormones that often bombard and damage the brains, that for the rest of their lives they will not think and feel what its government does,a government that has lost the capacity to empathize with those who suffer, society will pay a terrible price for it in years to come.
Meanwhile, the elders in government,who might as well be dead for aught,have set up a business under the auspices ‘of a government aid scheme’,and are holding on to the reins of power refusing to relinquish it,yet they are au fait with the system.A terrorist with a nuclear weapon is every national politician’s nightmare. A greater population, many of which have decaying infrastructure, unemployment, poverty and lack, horrific food shortages, increasing lawlessness and a remarkable deterioration of human values should be.
In spite of everything, too few,if any at all,amongst our politicians and so-called leaders are awake to the imminent danger facing the nation and its future hope(the young generation)-and an awakening realization that, all is not well in a country where getting a job is difficult, and finding a place to live even more so; as the people are daily awakened to the fact that,the diagnoses of the nature of the nation’s problems and the long-term prognosis for the future is not too encouraging and not good;because the symptoms were of little diagnostic value.
All must take a dim view of
why things are not working in spite of government’s therapeutic prescriptions that has turned all to dreary people leading dreary lives,what with the threat of schism within the government, if you are current, but, if you are not, permit my indulgence.
Up until this morning and with eighteen years of unending transition under its belt,its been really difficult to pinpoint what went wrong with the Nigerian nation whose politicians and public servants earn at least #1.126trillion yearly, but one thing is certain, the general state of pervasive poverty, hunger and lack all around.
An IGP whose strongest drive is sex. Sex,that
sweet-nothing that can propel you into making decisions that mess up your life, society and destroy relationship and camaraderie.
Puzzling indeed! Yet, it has a deep impact on the nation’s life,on a people used to “come and chop”,Amala, Bread and butter politics-a case of a people deserving the leaders/government they get. Leaders who got the nation’s resources, from energy sources to fresh water and clean air,(appropriated amidst their cronies and coterie of advisers under questionable circumstances), in some cases, heavily depleted and or polluted.
The present is putting such strain on the natural formation of our land, that the ability of the ecosystem to sustain future generation is being called to question and can no longer be taken for granted. What are our politics!
Tragically, we don’t see much joy and happiness nowadays. It’s certainly not in newspapers or the nightly news, not from political parties and elected representatives from whom we expect succour, palliative, and an enabling environment that would usher in and guarantee peace,progress,unity and prosperity,they are in turmoil themselves. Look at the average crowd walking down the streets and or at bus stops, one word come to mind-grim. Overcast faces forecast dreary, so mildly depressing days with little or no chance of any laughter.
It becomes clear as the day, that the simple resultant domino effect of “Change”
is itself having some ripple effects, as can be seen in this my way or the highway character and attitudes enveloping the people in power, while the ordinary people in our nation live in fear, because of the level and sophistication of crime and other civil security challenges.They put bars on their windows and double locks on their steel doors, which does not make them a safe haven,anyway.
They don’t go out late at night.The streets are tough, innocent people are being mauled and victimised every day, serial kidnapping, daring daylight robberies of banks premises, indiscriminate bombing attacks, intimidation by suicide bombers,bombing of oil pipelines, and the streets generally unsafe;something had to be wrong, if men had to make prisoners of themselves in order to feel safe and secure.
Yet, as a society we have come to tolerate this;and instead of getting to the bottom of the
problems,we come up with all sorts of gimmicky solutions that are supposed to help combat and prevent crime. If we would just equip and improve and let the police system do their job, and let the criminal justice do its job properly, in a nation that has rigid laws- laws which the police, with a couldn’t-care-less-attitude found difficult to operate. We seem to be saying crime pays.
It is society’s concern when we saddle police officers with defensive mentality and shackle them with unnecessary restraints designed to protect the rights of the criminals. These are people whom we ask to go out and deal with some of the most hardened thugs in the inner cities,in neighbourhoods where drugs are bought and sold on every corner.
We ask them to put their lives in jeopardy, and often, they lose their cool and overreact, sometimes costing needless killings.The inefficiency of the court system compounds the danger to which they are exposed . They’ll go and make an arrest, and hours later the perpetrator.
In a nation whose constitution creates so many lacunae, some of which make it easy for politicians to feed sumptuously on the commonwealth, and become a bad influence on the society, because of the bad precedent they are setting, and couldn’t care less about the name they are leaving behind or the legacy they are bequeathing to the nation where there’s the likelihood of the economy shrinking further. Shouldn’t the lawmakers sacrifice a little,by the way.
The lawmakers must note
that every person has a right to their own opinion but no one has a right to be wrong on their facts. One must state that one of the great needs required today, is to be forthright, honest and positive in speech,language and judgement, even while the crisis of leadership, and war against corruption lasted. The times are showing that it is better to be patient than be powerful. There’s the need therefore, to use the power of the legislature to aid development and provide enabling environment.
Even as the nation has learnt from PMB’s calmness,(who is laughing here),that we must strive to evolve for all human conflicts a method which rejects aggression, reprisals and retaliation. That Conflicts if properly resolved in a peaceful atmosphere and setting, and with nobility of spirit will deepen the democratic institutions and indeed our democracy,but will all this
really put food on our tables.
One should just go on to add that the nation can strive for success and greatness, but if our political leaders fail to have integrity and to have principles, then the whole of the nation is shallow and their so-called services hollow. You see,in time like this, when the nation is confronted with battles left, right and center, politically, economically, and socially, our politicians must come to terms with the fact that crisis doesn’t develop character, crisis reveals character;and that everything can be taken from a man but one thing, the lost of the human freedoms to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.
The time such as we are,
does demand from our politicians to place the nation’s interest above all personal and or group interest.The nation has reached a plateau with a ceiling on its progress if the national Assembly,for instance, continue to look through the binoculars the wrong way. All they’ll be able to see is tiny little images instead of the big picture;and they’ll only be agonising, overreacting and will not be responding to the situation.
To be a leader, you have to make people want to follow you and nobody wants to follow someone wandering, who don’t know where they are going. The nation is battling hard against corruption, heist, perjury, budget padding and its frater cousin, forgery-all of which injure our psyche and sense of humour.
The truth be told, the ailing pressy, the vibes emanating from the Red chamber,and
in spite of the façade of the nation’s unity and oneness is quite unsalutary, and
unsavoury.The political class therefore has to tread and hasten slowly, but be circumspect, and note that it may be difficult a task for it to break the peoples resolve for fairness, equity and justice in the long run.
A people that are in any case, angry at the notion that the poor have no choice but to engage in criminal behaviour to compensate for society’s mistreatment of them; and the rich, powerful,public servants have no choice but loot and forge because of their closeness to our Treasury. The People are saying that they want government to protect their rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and progress. And this requires peace,justice and order.
The answers to the troubling questions and solutions thereof is for the nation to depart from the norm of business-as-usual to progress and prosper;not this going about cavalier-like,as if the nation’s economy is a zero-sum-game. If I have more, that means someone else will have less;it must be a growing pie. This is where the national Assembly, (albeit, the politicians) are
getting it wrong. It is too quiet in its intercessory roles in matters of national importance, the grand inequality all around,the pervasive hunger and lack, the IPOB restlessness being some of them.
Just because I have a certain slice of the pie or
you have a certain slice of the pie does not exclude anybody else from it by design. Focus on this and all the wars of attrition and all the war for restructuring of the polity would have been over. But the Nigerian politicians have continued to think, believed,behaved and reacted as if (1) the economy is a zero-game,that there’s only so much to go round and that it has to be shared. (11)They do not comprehend expanding wealth or creating wealth,(111)they viewed wealth as limited and finite and want to redistribute it.
It’s painful that the APC that showed like a bright light in a dark cave,trying to expose the leakages and weaknesses in the system after eighteen years of uninterrupted party politics, spanning four régimes and three executive presidents, has,take it or leave it, began to falter and crumble with the glum and poverty all around the nation, revealing why the APC’s “Change” received the nation’s tepid support- passivity at its best. Nigerians,seised,used to know where they stood, but don’t know any more about anything, and the nation keep schlepping these boxes of tragic circumstances year in year out.
I’m I beginning to get my stomach in to that mode that stomachs get when some thing is wrong with them. One thing is clear, Nigerians are not getting their bowels in an uproar over what is, save the likes of IPOB etc,because the majority seems to be aware that you can change some things, some things you can’t and some things can change you, but you got to accept the fact of whatever is,so you don’t isolate reality and truth, however bitter. Maybe I should add that those who suffered through the civil war will have no difficulty comprehending the word ‘war’. But their children and grandchildren have a more limited concept of what war meant. So their parents must speak up,we can get there without the chants of war,warmongering or do the real battle.
PMB have a job until 2019,I don’t think he should have time to sit around and think about how good he is at it;
but give the nation Realpolitik, he must, based on the actual curcumstances and needs of the people, not on morals or ideals, even now that he’s grown recluse,virtual recluse, due to the frail state of his health. If this do not happen, I know Nigerians do know enough to be able to begin to ask some common sense questions in the coming days.
For the present moment, one thing is lacking, and this PMB must know. PMB needs to know how to be alone and not be defined by any person, body or group. He should strive to be in charge, and through the legislature, spelled the ground rules of doing things and in clear terms, let the nation know that the law is not about preventing people from enjoying life or oppressing them, but the establishment of limits on behaviour.
After all, laws are the tools to build an orderly society.
An orderly society cannot be achieved or maintained if we allow people to do whatever they wish or and wont to in an attempt to find their feet in the nation’s stormy waters at this trying times,with no regard for anything but their pleasure, personal and sectional interests.The nation can no longer excuse people from all personal responsibilities for their actions.
PMB must fillip efforts aimed at salvaging whatever remained of the Nigerian dream.Nigerians deserved no less. He is to inject the institutions of state with new ideas because without new ideas,institutions tend to petrified. New ideas on distribution of wealth and resources, social security, safety net etc.
There is another thing that is manifestly wrong with the PMB’s administration, it is the inability to understand and gauge the people’s mood. I venture to say that the clamour all over the land today is that, the reform, read my lips, the reforms of the nation’s economic and political system is nigh. It’s going to be a journey, especially-a long,slow one!
On this, it’s important for PMB and his administration to focus on understanding the people, even as it is open, and authentic, so that the people can understand them. Unwilling to be transparent can only make a leader vulnerable. Secrecy spawns isolation, not success. Knowledge is power, yes! But what leaders need is collective power, and that requires collective knowledge.
Any time people sense information is being withheld from them,it creates disservice. They feel like outsiders and insecurity reigns.( here,I have MASSOB, NDA,MEND etc in mind),So open up! Whatever the conditions, open up. Everyone has a problem. The only people who don’t-are in cemeteries. The real problem is- how we handle our problems.
PMB must note that
creativity can solve almost any problem. For creativity to be released, the nation must i)be goaded on the right path,ii)identify the barriers and start taking them down by rational, pragmatic and humane operations.Here’s a common one: ‘We have always done it this way’. People who say that have stopped thinking for themselves. They’re just putting in their time,waiting for open packet and going home at the end of the day without thinking; reflecting or even considering the
possibilities of change. Mind-deadening routine is the cancer of creativity. Start questioning policies, techniques, rules, paperwork-anything that’s become routine, ask, why do we do that? is it necessary? can we do it better? On the farm of success there should be no sacred cows.
On corruption and abuse of office, the government should declare war, real war, yes, it’s that cruel last option in human relations, if need be put those unrepentant criminals in body bags.
PMB’s success will always be measured by his ability and where he stands on the issue of justice, peace, happiness and good governance. Of course, there appears to be a disconnect between the people and PMB, due largely to the enormity of rut and rot in the system, both inherited and acquired and the politicians are not helping matters. But the burden may be lightened by PMB showing up and finding means of putting food on our tables and jump start the economy and bring the guilty to justice in earnest.None the less, PMB should begin,get on with it. Well begun is half done. Concentrate!While they turn the hallowed Chamber to a soap box, thundering as roaring lions, and throwing brickbats at their perceived antagonists and conqueror, although unproductive and unnecessary. Concentration is the secret of strength in politics, in war, in short, in management of all human affairs. A Nobel Prize winner and 26th president of the USA Theodore Roosevelt, offered a challenge,”For better it is to dare…than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much,they live in the great twilight that knows neither victory or defeat.” It is never too late for the nation to be what it might have become.
Last line:some animals come together and agreed that the bat is a mad animal, confronted the insane animal in their midst, and put him through a sanity test. Describe what a tree look like. Well, said the bat, a tree has a long brown trunk at the top and green leaves at the bottom. Crazy!is it?everything is a matter of perspective.#Jimi Bickersteth.
Jimi Bickersteth is a blogger and a writer.He can be reached on twitter
@bickerstethjimi @akannibickersteth email@example.com