By Sunny Ikhioya

WE never seem to learn. We keep on doing the same things and expecting different results. Why this is so is difficult to fathom. With the prominence given to the “Black Lives Matter” struggle, the debate has even extended to our curse as a Black nation. Is it really true that the Black man is the cause of his own problem?

If we have not opted to sell ourselves as slaves to the White nations, would the story have been different? This penchant to sell ourselves to outside interests for pecuniary benefits is still ingrained in us. When will this veil of ignorance be lifted from our faces. It is said that people suffer because of their ignorance; but is it that we do not know that doing the right thing will benefit us better than this zero sum game that we are playing, especially in our politics?

How do we make our politics to work to the advantage of the collective as against the situation where very few powerful individuals dictate the ebb and tide of our politics according to their own whims? These are the issues bogging the mind as the scenario in the ruling All Progressive Congress, APC, party unfolds. The late Uthman Dan Fodio, a man much revered, especially by Moslems in the West African region, once told his followers that “conscience is an open wound and only the truth can heal it”.

The question now is: whether his followers, till date, have heeded him, especially as it concerns the word “conscience”. That is: “a person’s moral sense of right and wrong, viewed as acting as a guide to one’s behaviour.” If we agree that our conscience is weighed on the moral sense of right and wrong, then it is assumed that we should be tilting always towards what is right, which is the truth.

According to Dan Fodio, if we are not working in line with the right conscience, which is the truth, we will continue to operate with an open wound, like a sore that defies healing.

That is the situation in our country today. And until we heal this sore, by upholding the truth always, the system will continue to remain dysfunctional. That is why, for critical analysts, the situation in the APC today did not come as a surprise. We have seen it in the past, right from the First Republic.

We saw it in the politics that led to the “Wild, Wild West” revolt, arising from the political faceoff between  Ladoke Akintola and Obafemi Awolowo which led to the intervention of our military in governance. We witnessed same thing in Second Republic political parties such as NPN, UPN and NPP. And not too long ago, we witnessed same in the politics of the PDP.

That of the PDP almost extinguished the party from the Nigerian political landscape as one of its bigwigs, Ali Modu Sheriff and his group took over the machinery of the party, rendering it useless for over two years; reducing the effectiveness of the opposition party in order to checkmate the government in power. Luckily, the party survived to contest the 2019 elections.

You will think that our politicians have learnt lessons from this. But no, as the APC today seems bent on toeing this destructive path.  Impunity, disregard for rule of law, imposition, disregard for party constitution, rule of godfathers, disregard for the people and so on have become the entrenched culture of the ruling party. As with the PDP, so is APC.

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You will think that the APC must have learnt from happenings in Rivers, Zamfara, Bauchi and other states that they lost during the last general elections. But true to type, the politicians believe they can always have their way, no matter the obstacles on the way. The dog that wants to get lost will never hear the whistle of its master.

Deeply entrenched interests will not allow for fairness and level playing ground, hence the unfortunate situation we are faced with today. APC has decided to shelve good conscience; in other words: the truth, and in its place, embraced evil which has left a gaping wound and crying for treatment.

When you disregard the truth, rule of law, fairness, equity, party constitution and manifestoes, you are tilting from the truth; from good to evil; and under such circumstances, there cannot be peace. The consequence of all of these happenings is what the APC is facing today, not only in Edo State but throughout the nation. If it is not properly contained, it will tear the party apart in the 2023 elections.

The historical antecedents of selling ourselves as slaves for personal profiting, enthronement of personal ambitions and naked greed, over collective interests, is already entrenched; so evil has come to haunt us and is still haunting us because of the group that has chosen to perpetuate it.

We have leaders, men of timber, past and present presidents, governors, assembly men and legislators of all kinds and more; yet, there does not seem to be any deliberate and purposeful move by these groups to see how we can put these evil deeds in check. If those who are supposed to solve these problems are the ones perpetrating evil, how do we move forward?

I belong to a group where some insist that we proffer solutions, rather than pointing at faults. That in itself, is okay. But, how do you address a leadership that does not care a hoot about how the people feel?

You can only proffer solutions and advise when the leadership in focus is ready to listen. When the leadership is already entrenched in the evil culture, it is very difficult to make them see the light until it is rather late. Look at the story of Gani Fawehinmi, Beko Kuti and the rest who fought for the democracy that we all are enjoying today.

We just celebrated democracy day and these ones were barely mentioned in the programmes; even the civil society groups could not celebrate their own. Tell me, how will a genuine freedom fighter, in contemporary Nigeria, be ready to put his life on the line for our collective freedom?

There is a seed of discontent in the background waiting to manifest. It is the peace of the graveyard and can be very dangerous. When you have an arrogant group as leaders, such tendencies creep in and have led to downfall of nations. We are beginning to see protests from unexpected quarters, the President’s own people – Katsina youths – taking to the streets to demonstrate their dissatisfaction. The only solution is to face the truth with an open conscience; nothing else will do.

We must be careful with the way we handle the masses; the day the people lose confidence in their leaders, that day they will take their destinies in their own hands. No matter the strength of your military, when the time is ripe, no force can stop the people’s movement. No matter the intention of man, when the times call for change, it will happen.

It is also important to note that time liberates the downtrodden, and serfdom will not last forever. Check out the history of Europe and America. Who would have imagined that, at some point in time in the history of the United States of America, the whole country will be brought to standstill over the death of one Black man – George Floyd; that is what time does to a people. People in position of leadership today must reflect on this.

The solution to the problems in the country today is for us to examine our consciences: as leaders of the nation, as leaders of political parties and as leaders at our respective levels.

Ikhioya wrote via www.southsouthecho.com

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