*Aregbesola arriving for the Iwo campaign
By Bobson Gbinije
Politicians are like the bones of a horses fore shoulder not a straight one in it.
-Wendell Phillips speech, 1864
THE power of the spoken and or written word has its etymological and syntactical connotation. Hence, the sage and Chinese philosopher Confucius said in his book Analects that for one word a man is often deemed to be wise, and for one word he is often deemed to be foolish. We should be careful what we say. But are our politicians and leaders careful in their use and choice of word Change?
The word CHANGE has become a platitudinous mantra on which politicians matrix and fulcrum their political sloganisation, sloganeering and campaigneering. It is so much of a talismanic and alluring word that propels a magnetic response from the electorate. In heathendom, it is used as a battle cry to set the captives free and political demagogues use it to bamboozle and hoodwink the electorate. Is Buhari and APCs use of the word Change for the common good or a mere political brummagem?
The unanimous declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776 by Thirteen States of America was anchored and hinged on the Mantra of Freedom, Rights and Change. Hence, the Declaration of America’s Independence stated that wherever any form of Government becomes destructive of the inalienable Rights to Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness of the people, it is the Right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute a new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organising its power in such form, as to them shall most likely to affect their Safety and Happiness. This was sequel to the absolute despotism and tyrannosaurus oppression of the American people by the King of Great Britain (Monarchical Absolutism).
After Independence, American Nationalists, Presidents, Political Parties and politicians talked of ‘Worthy Change’. George Washington (1789-1797), John Adams (1779-1801), Thomas Jefferson (1801-1809), James Madison (1809-1817) down through Abraham Lincoln (1861-1861), Ulyeses Grant (1869-1877) to President Barack Obama, the CHANGE Mantra has always been the magic word of victory, especially for the opposition. It was the same story in the political history of Great Britain, Denmark, Netherlands, Canada and Honduras, etc.
In the struggle to break the manacles of colonialism from Nigeria and the subsequent struggles for Nigeria’s political independence our nationalists, political parties, idealists and Freedom fighters used the Change Mantra as their watch word and lodestone of the struggle. (NCNC, NPC, UMBC, AG, etc). In all African countries, Change was the catchpenny phrase and verbal pyrotechnics which the nationalists used and are still using till date. It depends on whether you are in power or struggling for power.
Change is multi-dimensional innovation and transformation. It is socio-economic, political, ideological and religious transmutation, metamorphosis and permutation. It is cultural, traditional, educational, collective and individual mutation, modification and transition, etc. In so many cases especially in a military setting, change is revolutionary and schismatic. But in a democratic ambience, it takes cognizance of the rule of law, freedom, rights and constitutionality. Under a democratic template change is based on the principles of gradualism. It is not an event, but a constructive, calculative and gradual process. It is like the windmill of the gods, that grinds exceedingly sure.
Buhari’s (second coming) onboard after over 54years of Nigeria’s political independence and his consuming desire and overwhelming ambition to eviscerate the bowels of a nation that has been banished and sunken in the throes and thralldom of quintessential malfeasance, psychotically corrupt leadership (politicians and the military), tribal perfidy, religious violence (Boko Haram, EL Zak Zaki, Maitasine, ISIS), civil war, cultural imbroglio and 16 years of wantonly horrendous thievery and profligacy by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
A nation where extra-judicial killings, police brutality, kidnappings, oil bunkering, pipeline vandalisation, military and politicians’ impunity, viciously corrupt Judiciary, Press, Unionists, Traders, Bankers, Public Service, the Church and its Clerical hierarchy that has institutionalised, apotheosised, deified and mummified corruption cannot be changed overnight.
The Ulyssian courage and Hanibalistic determination of President Buhari must be applauded. It is clear in the words of John Webster in his Book The White Devil that A politician imitates the Devil, as the Devil imitates a cannon: wheresoever he comes to do mischief, he comes with his backside towards you. It is therefore clear that it is not an easy road to tread in the light of the fundamental truism that corruption and its quintessential sponsors will and must eldritchly fight back.
When he was being awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1986, Elie Weisel, a Jewish holocaust survivor of Hungarian descent, drew from the store of historic wisdom to pass a vary salient message to humankind. He said: The opposite of Love is not hate, its indifference, the opposite of art is not ugliness, its indifference, the opposite of faith, is not heresy, its indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, its indifference. There are times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim, silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. Nigerians must join Buhari in this fight to ensure meaningful and all embracing success of this fight against corruption and to bring about meaningful change.
The political icon Chief Obafemi Awolowo said: ” I define Tenacity of office as a Political Monstrosity whose characteristics are an inordinate and shameless love of power for its own sake, and a morbid tenacity for public office even when all the legitimacy for continuing in such public office has completely disappeared”. We admonish President Buhari and his APC to voluntarily vacate office if after 2018 there are no palpable and pragmatic answers to Nigeria’s problems, fulfillment of their campaign promises and actualisation of the APC’s manifesto.
Buhari must succeed in this fight to bring about authentic Change in Nigeria. Change is not an event, but a process. In all, political deceit from Buhari and his APC must be avoided.