Elections 2015: Between apocalypse and rebirth
In the name of the Almighty, the Beneficent, the Merciful
“… the Almighty will not change the condition of a people until they change it by themselves…”(Q13: 11)
BRETHREN, it is the hubris of each generation to think that its time is special; that all things would come to an end with them. In fact, the expectation of the apocalypse is ingrained in all civilizations. It feels as if our consciousness that the end time is imminent is the force that feeds our sense of rebirth. When reference is made to apocalypse particularly at a time like this when the horizon is saturated with politics and politicking, it is to call attention to the anxiety and trepidations that always accompany electoral processes in this country. Brother, remember the apocalypse of 1966, 1979 and 1993. The world actually came to an end for some during those years.
But reference to political apocalypse in human history could be more engaging. In other words, each time history is trumped by forces of darkness, each time wisdom becomes folly, each time the underlings become authorities on earth, humanity goes through and experiences apocalypse. But why should there be apocalypse before rebirth? Why should there be death before resurrection? Why should falsehood be precedent to truthfulness? Why must nations go through destruction before reconstruction? The Jews had to go through it before the redemptive incursion of Prophet Musa (a.s) took them through the sea. The oppressed men and women in Makkah experienced apocalypse preparatory to the birth of Prophet Muhammad (s.a.s). Britain was in its apocalyptic era before Winston Churchill took over the reign of leadership. And there is what is known in history as the American apocalypse. Thus every nation had to go through it – suffering is a precondition for success; trial is precedent to triumph. The womb that would bear the world must first experience pain and agony.
Brethren, today, our country stands at a fork. Nigeria stands face to face with a new destiny. It must take a decision. It must look back or look towards the future; a new future. Today, our country is figured in an uncanny ritual – that of a funeral or that of rebirth. That which is uncanny is not the event itself. That which is uncanny is that our nation is presiding over its own funeral; that our nation is the pastor or Imam at a ritual which is designed to mark its own rebirth. This year’s election presents Nigerians with the opportunity to partake in a process that would make heroes out of them or villains.
But just before we explore the issue more carefully, it bears recollection that this year’s election will be contested around four main axes. One, this election shall be concerned with what political scientists often refer to as the sovereignty of the electorate; their inalienable right to choose how to goof and how to be governed. Two, it shall be fought on the heavy and equally slippery landscape where the electorates’ perception of that which is good in relation to that which is bad is akin to the perception of the proverbial elephant by the five blind men. Three, this years’ election shall be tempered by the necessity or otherwise for this nation to be free from the shackles of the orgish marauders and the apocalyptic agents -the unIslamic terrorists – who have turned the north east to, in line with Fanon, a hungry and desolate land. Feelings of insecurity are the original miasma of apocalypse. Four, as Nigerians prepare for the election day, they shall have to decide whether this country should continue to wallow in the stranglehold of corruption or pull the brakes by turning a new direction. Sister, your ballot shall be fashioned against one principality – the preservation of impunity and corruption or the enthronement of a new order which is by itself a coterie of personages that represent the good, the bad and the ugly that this nation has produced.
Thus our cities and villages are already inundated with this event. Turn on the television and you would see them in a frenetic campaign for our votes. The undertakers are all over the town. The midwives are on our streets. It feels as if we are in the cathedral of the faithful and the faithless. The article of faith here is unmistakable. It has since been, my ‘learned’ colleagues would put it, frontloaded by their coterie of choreographers and praise-singers.
In other words, the song in town today is either about ‘change’ or ‘transformation’; the dance is about fair or foul. The electorate is decidedly torn between ‘right’ or ‘left’; it is either the masses change this ‘door’, this ‘house’ and its occupiers or seek, while succumbing to the farcical promises of the politicians, an Eldorado the appurtenances and gravitas of which is vapid and dreary. In other words, the electorates are being told to seek to ‘transform’ the lamb to a lion or change the lion to a lamb. Thus, the options available to the hapless, the pauperized masses are agonizingly minimal- either they sustain the insuperabilities of this corruptible era or supplant it with an order the elements of which is unknown to all but its proselytizers and marketers. Pray why is the current discourse held in the jugular by the philosophies of change and transformation? Why is it not about transforming change and changing transformation?
Thus, as we count day to February, we shall begin our march to our destiny.
The apocalypse would surely take place – when those in power lose their exalted positions so that those out of power now take their place. The rebirth shall take place when truthfulness trump falsehood and when light torpedo darkness. Let us all therefore march to the city centre and cast our vote. Let us cast our vote for those individuals whose pedigree is laden with integrity, honesty and transparency. Let us cast our vote in the full knowledge that there is no Islamic hunger or Christian insecurity. Let us cast our vote in the full consciousness that there is no Islamic unemployment or Christian poverty. When the sick is brought into our hospital the question the medic would ask is not whether he or she is a Muslim or Christian. The question that would arise is whether there is drug in the pharmacy. Every nation makes its own history; every culture is vested with the opportunity to make or mar its destiny.
I close as follows. A group of precocious but highly imperious kids accosted an elderly man in the mosque. The man is revered for his wisdom and learning. They stood in front of the man with their arms firmly held behind their backs. They then told the old man that one of them is having a bird in his hand, and that they wanted the old man to tell them whether the bird in their mate’s hand is dead or alive. The old man looked the kids in their faces and said: whether the bird is dead or alive, it is in your hands. Brethren, whether this election is going to be an apocalypse or about rebirth, it is firmly within our hands. (08122465111 for texts only)