You saw the poster of a man in an Agbada which barely hid his pot belly, his large fleshy arms extended with naira notes held out to you, with a sick but knowing smile plastered on his face, and you, all grovelling and on your knees, cap in hand, sold your mandate to him on a meagre platter and sang his praise.
He emerged. Pulled a wool over your eyes, dangled carrots, embarked on white elephant projects, diverted blames for failures, and put public funds to private expenses and cache for the next elections. That election will come and you will do as usual. You could have checked his excesses, made a statement, reclaimed your mandate. But again you couldn’t see past the lies, the sham, the pretense, the righteous make-over, the glam of resplendent brocades that hid a character of vaingloriousness, autocratism, disdain for service and accountability.
So yet again, you let him take your mandate and he rode roughshod going forward. He spends his time within and outside the country attending to his lascivious urges for drinks, food and women. His attention is turned to the pursuit of his private business while the task of statesmanship and governance become secondary and a nuisance.
Your fate as a people and a state are in the hands of a coterie of commissioners and aids who scamper aboard a rudderless ship, rocking you on the tides of poverty and neglect. Your concerns are like warts of disturbances, your protest an intrusion of his peace.
So recently he blew his cool covers? Came out of the facade of his ‘eye service’ habit and called your bluff? He spat words of spite and contempt at you and the future you represent and pursue, saying to you, ” do your worse! “. He asked you to beg him to serve you? Asked that you be respectful of the authority he represents even if that authority fails you over and over again? He could not take one second of the high-hand he dishes out to you and yours on a daily, and even made to intimidate and cower your voices of opposition to his cocky self?
All because of what? You demanded what is yours by right. You protested the irresponsibility of your University’s Governing board and the eight (8) months strike suffered so far? And in his words, “so? What is eight months? Is it the first time a school is going on strike? ” “Oya, go and do your worst, I’m ready for you! ” His words, not mine, not yours. His words, his Excellency’s words ! To you!
Governor Ajimobi is simply a reference point of the pervasive political rascality prevalent amongst political leaders in Nigeria. His rant reveals the mindset of the average Nigerian politician and their perception of themselves. He is a product of our political system, isn’t he? The same political system we are all a part of whether actively or not.
His reaction to the protesting students, whose destiny have been possibly put on a pause mode, is symbolic in that it is a representation of the pervading reasoning of the Nigerian political class, in whatever position of authority. It shows how allergic to constructive criticism they are, their disbelief in service and people-oriented governance. Their spite and disregard of the plight of the common man, and their sense of entitlement to accolades that are not commensurate to their performance in office. This is about the same situation you find everywhere.
And whether people are dying in Kaduna, Borno, Adamawa, Yobe or Gombe, or infrastructal installations are getting blown to bits, environments degraded, schools shut down and families unable to feed; whether a dollar to a naira approaches four figures, or their right-handmen or women are indicted by offences of financial or social corruption; whether any of this or more are common place and prevalent, they couldn’t be bothered or guilt-tripped, the blames aren’t theirs, no, no, not theirs. And so we must keep quiet or better yet lapse into rounds of praise-singing for them. Regardless.
How much more before you have had enough? How much more before we are so lost we forget our strengths and purpose completely? There is a rising consensus amongst passionate youths and the young-at-hearts that enough is enough. The choice is entirely yours to remain actionless, jobless, deceived, and hapless as the country plunges into an abyss of regression or you could join ship and re-sculpt your dreams and those of our nationalist heroes past.
To the indefatigable youths of LAUTECH who stood their grounds, called the governor’s bluff and defended their own even with the marauding men armed to the teeth with guns, canisters and batons: I salute you. You have exemplified the spirit of unity of purpose and strength that the task ahead will demand of us all. We will rally around ourselves in the coming years, as dependency on others have failed us. We will make a statement together in the coming years, as those we’ve allowed to be our mouth-piece only edify themselves and damn us all.
Solidarity for ever.
Pelumi Olajengbesi Esq. is a civil rights activists and legal practitioner with Kayode Ajulo & Co. Castle of Law, Nigeria.