Nigeria Decides: While men slept…

Photo by CRISTINA ALDEHUELA / AFP

The ethnic war which is perennial and smouldering especially ravaging the middle Eastern and Central Asia regions of this world; my curiosity to know the cause was responsible for picking the book titled “Taliban: Militant Islam, Oil and Fundamentalism in Central Asia” from the bookshop shelve, on the day. I will not digress, but it is this book, which is making waves particularly among international affairs and political science students, that I was reading when breaking news notifications on my smart phone came in. I quickly responded and the following heading boldly covered my set screen, “Breaking; Kano On Fire, Gov. Ganduje On The Run, As Police Arrest Deputy Gov. Others, Block Heavy Rigging. It was fascinating enough that I couldn’t stop reading the details until the last word. What a heck! I am a self made talib (Islamic student) presently. However, I am not aware if the following biblical quote has a similar passage in Quran. The title of this piece is partly drawn from a New Testament passage – the very words of Jesus Christ. “But While Men Slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way.”

Word for word, and not in distant past in Nigeria, the modern political landscape with particular reference to the electoral malpractices and maneuvers, the foregoing scriptural assertion typically captures Nigeria prevailing situation. The concentration of vote buying, over voting, ballot snatching but particularly under-age voting and other electoral misconducts became glaring and appalling under the watch of the ruling party the All Progressive Congress Party, without controversy. Osun State and Ekiti State gubernatorial election that took place on July 14, 2018 and September 22, 2018 respectively and apparently the just concluded 2019 general elections, is a case study. This is buttressed by the fact that in some states of the federation, the election is reckoned “deadlocked” or “inconclusive”. It is almost a custom, quite discouraging though, that Nigerians are so notorious at subverting any promising borrowed system or indigenous workable idea until it is rendered inefficient only within the confines of the country. But try to export the same system to other climes, you will be shocked at the high rate of proficiency, efficiency and utility.

In virtually all my writings, I have made it constant the clarion call for what Adam Smith in his epoch-making book, The Wealth of Nation – (which was published in March 9 1776) called “Creative Destruction”. It is gladdening to admit that there are other terms in nowadays simple language that carries the same basic features, components and ideas as that proposed by Adams Smith centuries ago. Talk about restructuring; of course that connote restrategising, revaluating, revolution renewal, etc of the present existence of Nigeria and the existing installed system thereof.

Our nation Nigeria is in dire need of this singular idea – restructuring which is only expressed one terminology in different ways.

To avoid losing equilibrium of the theme of this write up, there is need to expatiate the cited biblical quote and thereafter correspondingly relate it to the matter at hand.

“But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way.” Mattew 13:25. The entire chapter thirteen of the Gospel according to Saint Matthew is devoted to Jesus teachings’ using parables to bring the lessons home to his hearers.

The background of this present parable is that of a farm setting and the farmer himself. In the preceding verse 24, Rabbai Jesus is trying to illustrate what the life in the kingdom of heaven depicts.

“…The kingdom of heaven is like a man which sowed GOOD SEED in his field…” (emphasis mine). Very quickly, bringing this in the light of the present topic under discussion, let’s match the characters with their metaphors as used in the parable. The “good seed” represent the authentic votes cast by the entire electorates that are devoid of under-age voting and other electoral malpractices voting or simply
undoctored collated results. The “farmer” in the parable is the supporters and majority followers of the bandwagon candidates.

The “enemy” is invariably the country’s incipient democratic experiment detractors – whoever that may be. The schemers and sponsors of ballot box snatchers, under-age voters parents and guardians, the manipulators and maneuvers of the collated election results figures usually perpetrated nocturnally between the godless hours of 10:01am-00:04am – all consists the partners-in-crime and conspirator elements – ENEMIES OF DEMOCRACY, and by implication, enemies of Nigeria.

“While Men slept” by a wider narrative cannot only be literally comprehended to mean resting which is a healthy exercise traditionally done at night. When you let the atrocities committed by our bunch of irresponsible erring politicians in broad daylight yet walk away scotfree under the watchful eyes of the relevant authorities, pronto, voters apathy seed is sown, germinated and the fruits are what our enemies of democracy will match gallantly to pluck prematurely at night, unchallenged. The beating to pulp of an INEC ad-hoc staff presiding officer (P.O) in Kano State disgracefully spearheaded by the state Deputy Governor Nasiru Yusuf Gawuna cannot suffice to browbeat us to cower before them. The incident which took place at about 2am on Monday 11th March and was said to be the excuse for the delay in releasing the Kano State Gubernatorial election final results.

Interestingly, this incident, despite how reprehensible and outrageous it apparently is, it’s a reflection of what transpires at whatever state or constituency which is marked out for a (permit me please) “democratic blitzkrieg” by the powers that be. An interesting social media cartoon I came across really captures it well. A set of electorate converged at a collation center following the conveyance of the result to ensure that their votes counts.

While things were ongoing at the collation center, their necks outstretched, and their eye balls bulged….then the cartoon wordings” How (certain flashpoints states mentioned) voters kept their eyes on INEC throughout the night at collation centers to ensure (the culprit party’s name mentioned) votes doesn’t rise like Ijebu Garri again like it did fortnight ago” I hope the salient lesson dropped and assimilation achieved.

In conclusion, for the sake of decency and sustanance of our hard earned democracy, I beseech those errand runners sent to go and prevail on the disgruntled peoples democratic Party Presidential candidates Turaki Adamawa Atiku Abubakar to forfeit going to the election tribunal with petition to challenge the pyrrhic victory as acclaimed by his major opponent- The All progressive Congress Party’s Candidates and the incumbent Nigeria President Mohammad Buhari to reconsider their impossible mission. If the initial favorite consideration of the plaintiff at ongoing election tribunal is anything to go by, then, the future is bright and fortuitous. The hackneyed – “the judiciary is the bastion of hope for the downtrodden” may still hold true.

But I can predict the likely outcome at the end of this election race enroute judiciary table. Again should Nigerians decide to wink at the hasty and hysterical suspension cum removal of Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) Mr. Onnoghen couple of weeks prior the just concluded general elections in the country and in addition to the seemingly unprejudiced body language of the tribunal judge, then hope is rekindled.

But when shall we really get it right from the scratch in Nigeria – certainly when we institutionalize CREATIVE DESTRUCTION into our national consciousness and be reborn anew.

Steve Obum Orajiaku (Freelance Journalist/Social Activist)

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