New Telegraph

The followership has failed us again, how sad!

Some praise at morning what they blame at night. But always think the last opinion right –- Alexander Pope

They make the fantastic promises of the weaver bird, exude the sinister smile of the hyena, with the embrace of the gorilla, while executing the dizzying dance steps of the monkey, at the sight of bananas. As far as their own erroneously perceived Nigeria is concerned, the end justifies the means. Call it the Machiavellian doctrine; it does not matter to them. Truth be told, what engages their mind most is the lure of the lucre-filthy or not. So, they kowtow to it, raining insults and innuendoes on anyone who has a different opinion to that of their paymasters. And that includes their townsmen, brothers, sisters, friends or associates. What a crying shame! They are always waiting in the wings, to quickly respond to criticisms from any member of the public, who has contrary view to that of their sponsors.

That jolts us into asking the needed questions. If we cannot criticize our so called elected leaders, what manner of democracy are we practising here in Nigeria? If our political leaders and policy makers take obscene pleasure in breaking the laws with impunity, and we cannot tell them to make redress, is that not dictatorship in its full swing? In all honesty, some of us are concerned, not only because of the dire consequences of the praise-singers’ vile vituperations, mud-slinging, betrayals and unpatriotic behaviour but because morality has gone to the dogs.

We cannot but ask ourselves what moral lessons such mesmerized minds are teaching our youths-including their children and ours. Sadly, at the end of it all most of us fall victims to their masters’ gross failure in government. How much better would Nigeria have fared, over the past eight years, if for instance, those who raised their voices a thousand decibels louder screaming “Sai Baba,” “Mister Saint” and “Change” had mustered the moral courage to tell Mister President the home truth? After all, the wise ones insist that: “Your true friend is that man who would tell you the truth at the risk of losing your friendship”. Indeed, we would have done much better-socially and economically- if President Muhammadu Buhari had adhered strictly to the constitutional provisions of federal character representations, in terms of political appointments.

That was instead of favoring some ethnic groups against others and yet insisting that they were the best he could identify. It was as if other geo-political zones had no credible people of professional merit. The so called ‘hailers’ would have done us a world of good, if for instance, they had insisted that political restructuring, which the ruling party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) had promised Nigerians during the 2014/2015 campaign season was fulfilled. Perhaps, the undue attention fixated on the bloated centre, on who becomes the next president, to control the enormous powers at the levers of federal office would have been long diffused. Perhaps, the issues of state police, and who controls the resources at the state/geo-political axis would have been resolved.

Similarly, most Nigerians, who are genuinely concerned about the killing spree by armed herdsmen across many states, including Ondo, Oyo, Edo, Enugu, Imo, Anambra, Sokoto, Adamawa would have heaved a sigh of relief. That is, if Mister President had proscribed the rampaging armed herdsmen with the speed and alacrity he did for the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB). And also, if his government had dealt decisively with the armed bandits running roughshod over Zamfara and Niger states, instead of providing them the outrageous amnesty, as if the lives of the killers was more precious than that of their armless victims.

But now, with the general elections over, what we have is their full resurgence; wasting more precious lives in Benue state, which unfortunately, has been turned into the killing field of our dear country, Nigeria! Methinks that some soldiers should have long been sent to the embattled state. And with regards to the economic situation in the country, all one has to do is to ask ourselves the home truth. How much was the cost of a bag of rice, beans, garri, vegetable oil and pure water under former President Goodluck Jonathan-led administration, who they gleefully vilified as being ‘clueless’, and how much are the cost implications currently?

What about the cost of fuel per litre and what was the exchange rate of the Naira to the Dollar in 2014/15 compared to the implications in 2023? The answers are as clear as the sunrise. Who knows, if those ‘hailers’ go to markets different from ours? The pertinent issue at stake here and now is the imperative of the power of followership under a democratic dispensation. Ordinarily, it should be a strong, determining factor on where the political pendulum should swing to, before, during and after the general elections.

So compelling is the issue of followership that what has transpired so far, with specific regards to the conduct of the 2023 general elections sparks off some significant questions. For instance, is it in the best interest of our collective good that the Prof. Mahmoud Yakubu-led Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) that promised Nigerians electronic transmission of the results, from each polling unit real time to the IReV portal is now singing a different song? But that is just one of the electoral anomalies bedeviling the political landscape as at this day. The other volatile issue is the wave of tribal sentiments the controversial presidential elections has left on the once peacefully co-existing people.

The truth however, is that it was cleverly orchestrated, all for self-serving ambitions. Lest we forget, it has happened before here in Nigeria and beyond. As part of the clandestine conspiracy of the colonialists, a similar scenario evolved soon after the Zikist Movement started to give bite to its media advocacy against the colonialists in the ‘late 40s and ‘early ‘50s. According to Mokwugo Okoye, in his historical book titled:‘Storms on the Niger’ “the immediate objective of the staving off an inter-tribal war was achieved.

Tribalism continued of course, to obtrude its ugly snout in Nigerian politics but in more subdued forms-mulattos versus blacks at Warri, Efiks versus Ibos in Calabar, Yorubas versus Hausas in Kaduna and shortly radical South versus conservative North in Sudan and China”. That brings to mind Okoye’s description of the praise-singers as: “Cowards who always prefer security to martyrdom and braggarts who hate others stealing their thunder.” He however, adds that: “But the brave dare the monsters of social life, unmindful of the consequences to themselves”.

Enlightened Nigerians should therefore, be careful not to fall into the wellwoven trap of our current political oppressors what our forebears went through some 300 years ago. They will only live to regret their actions as Heine did. Said he: “I sowed dragons and reaped a harvest of fleas”! But we should be much wiser in the 21st Century Nigeria. Let us remember the wise counsel from Theodore Roosevelt that: “When bad men conspire, let good men combine”.

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