• Friday, May 24, 2024
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BusinessDay

‘I’ll give you this. I’ll give you that.’ They’ve come again o!

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Once we got Independence Day out of the way on Wednesday, and as soon as we get the Muslim holidays out of the way this week, you should all be prepared for what’s coming next! All of hell will be let loose soon! Take that as a figurative expression. It is in no way close to what is going on in the northeast of our country, nor anywhere near what you have in Syria and Iraq, where the group ISIS wants to re-enact a Barbarian world.

But the hell that will be let loose is the hell that is Nigerian politics. The party primaries for various offices are here, not around the corner. But party dictatorship is also alive and well and democracy will be what is spoken, not practised. Indulgees, as usual, will have loads of things to laugh about, including the particular fact that those who once cried against dictatorship will be caught practising dictatorship, albeit without the full compliments of guns and jackboots, but all the same squeezing the life out of differing views within the conclave! Stop laughing; it’s our way of doing things, indeed, our way of life.

Now, when all these begin to happen, just know that the real elections are here. It’s not just Osun, nor is it just Ekiti. It’s a general election, brothers and sisters. And the stakes are high. In true, genuine democracies, President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, if he were to stand for re-election, will not be as lucky as his name suggests. And it will not just be because he has done a lot of things badly, but because the electorate would have become weary of a political party that has ruled for sixteen years and has served cold turkey to an electorate that prefers its food warm and hot! So, all hell will be let loose beginning with the party primaries, where you will find professional politicians who amount to no good for both themselves and society using the power of influence they have to equally no good!

Following from the above, what needs to ring out loud and clear (excuse the cliché), even at the risk of deafening someone, is that at times like this there is need to be vigilant. We all need to be watchful so that we can remember all the things they told us that they would do in 2011 which they didn’t do, and are now likely to repeat, thinking that we are always going to stay foolish! We know their games, and we actually have known this game for far too long to allow anybody, who is likely to be dumber than you or me, to deceive us again. Just remember that once upon a time, somebody spoke about a 7-Point Agenda. But the only one, RULE-of-LAW, that should have easily been achieved ended up being muddled, forming a pain in different places, and it turned out to be the biggest go-slow that ever sat on the seat of power in this country!

If you know all that, then you had better beware! As security is now one big question that has exposed the inabilities in people, we need to be personally vigilant so that they do not tell us what they cannot do in that area. Remember the casual way they said these ISIS brothers, Boko Haram, will be history by June 2013 (or was it 2012?). In an election year in a genuine democracy, where electorates have been empowered to reason rationally, many questions would be asked around such promises, especially where they have seen their Commander-in-Chief in combat gear! Are you laughing right now? You are on your own!

As with most things, you need to be discerning of the people that will jump at this election thing for themselves and their families; and those who rally behind them for the sake of promoting a “memo market”. If you don’t know yet, the “memo market” is the one that always creates an opportunity for the raising of a memo that can lead to the generation of cash; or better put, for the award of contracts. Contract is the reason why government exists in this country, I tell you. If you doubt this, then it means you are not ‘shining your eyes’ enough in this country. So, as Mama G (Patience Ozokwor) would say, “Shine your eyes o. Shine your eyes!” In our country if nothing happens (especially something negative), then you will hear those in government mimic the American musician, R. Kelly, “Yo Nigerians! Nothing do you!”

And you can bet you will find that between now and next February when elections will hold, there will be many politicians going all over the place shouting, “Yo! Nigerians. Nothing do you!” Watch out for the signs of the evil ones amongst them. The louder they shout “Yo! Nigerians”, the more you should take with a pinch of alligator pepper whatever else they tell you. Nigerian politicians know how to lie a lot. They know how to promise what, rationally, they cannot deliver. Or what, if they can deliver, they do for political correctness and expediency. I shall now explain, for the benefit of indulgees who are gathered at this our unshakable square table today.

GJ, the man who still wants to be king for another four years, told people in south-eastern Nigeria in 2011 that he would build them a coal-fired power-generating plant and a land port. You will hear him repeat that this time around; and that’s because the man did not build any jack called coal-fired power-generating plant. Many will make such promises in one form or the other. Some will promise big, like GJ and those who want his job; some will promise moderate achievements, like those who want to become governors, even if their states can’t generate revenues and the money they get from the federation account can barely pay salaries and run a government; others will promise small, even though what they actually have in mind is how they will gather at local government headquarters, or those midnight meeting spots that they frequently go to, to share the balance from local government allocations after making agreed remittances to their godfathers. Odi egwu, to borrow an expression from the South-East where GJ, remember, promised to build a coal-fired power plant and a land port in 2011. Ndi Igbo, did he build one or the two? I dey laugh!

This is the time when everybody wants to give you something, I tell you. The only snag is that the real things you want from them come as promises. But some you are likely to see immediately, especially if you are very observant and monitor the particular strange man who carries an equally strange bag. Some others you are very likely to see as apparition, more like the kind of vision they talk about when you attend a white garment church! It might be good for you to try going over to a white garment church to find out if this is all real! Make sure nobody deceives you; so try to find out if that particular church hasn’t been bought over by any or all of the politicians. That’s because if they do, the apparition you are likely to see there will be seriously focused. You will hear and see only what the person who has seriously leveraged the church has paid them to say or show.

So my advice really is: Don’t bother. Be vigilant! Whatever they say they will give, if they are already in office and haven’t given you, chances are that they will not now give you. If they are not in office and are making promises, try testing these against reality – can they really deliver on what they say they would? Ultimately, don’t believe any politician who is promising to build this, build that, give you this, give you that and is not speaking to how he intends to solve the general problem confronting society. For the truth is that they think that telling you they will build classrooms is the same thing as solving the problems confronting our education. Bottom line? They know nothing! 

PHILLIP ISAKPA