As the raging class struggle between actors in the political space reaches unprecedented levels with the coming of the Buhari presidency, the hoi polloi looks in puzzling dreariness and ecstatic bewilderment as the nation is bustled into a cinema, with every member of the cast doing very well to supplant any other in the horror movie Nigeria has become.
On the political turf, the misuse of politics has undoubtedly reduced democracy to a joke, making it no less a bane than other forms of government it pompously scorns at; on the economic angle, one cannot but succumb to the view of Thomas Carlyle. The Ecclefechan-born scion of divinity probably had our economists in mind when he scorned at economics, rubbishing it as a “dismal science.”
Dismal it is, for no discipline deserving of that esteemed name rooted in methodicalness and astuteness affixes a theory of the largest economy in a country with neither a toothpick nor crayon to her name.
State after state, faith after faith, figure after figure, the Nigerian millennial continues her search to understanding the underpinnings of pan-Africanism in the face of cultural ostracism, the motivations for leadership amongst the people in line with their strive to enter modernity, and the justification for the embrace of a brand of governance structure in post-colonial Nigeria bereft of morality, nay ideology, not to mention the lack of a clear-cut, distinctive ethos among contending groups for empire domination.
Having attained consciousness with the “I have no shoe” campaign of Goodluck Jonathan (PhD), the millennial embraced the shoeless man from the creeks of Otuoke as a model of modernity. He views his humble beginnings as a testament to the power of newness and humbleness.
In no time, he realises he had been sold a dummy. The president was nothing of sort. He got to know of his ordinariness as a leader and his penchant for taking what does not belong to him.
This was what prompted his support for the lanky general from the desert of Daura. But with the gross impunity exemplified by the shady recruitment of at least three national institutions, not to mention his tilting of the justice balance in favour of his cronies, the millennia’s faith in the democratic process is cut by half.
This is why the millennial struggles to maintain her sanity in this space of dignified insanity. Or what else could be going on inside the head of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa when he dipped his hands inside the states’ exchequer to extol the virtues of the virtueless gladiator? It was a full page advert of an ideological blank man whose grand larceny made him a candidate of reformation in a white cell.
“Your charisma,” wrote Okowa, a parent. “Broad-based approach to governance and strong leadership credentials are enduring legacies that have continued to inspire other political leaders.”
Unfortunately, the reality of Nigerian democracy mirrors the abominable legacies of the likes of the Odidigborigbo (whatever that means). Seeing the contradictions in celebrating a criminal from the collective purse of his victims, “politics,” says millennial “is not worth my last name.”
Millennial switches to dictatorship.
Having been born during the era of the barrel, Millennial sees the military in their well starched, nicely pressed uniform matching on the streets on a quiet Saturday and immediately fell in love with them. What enticed him the most was the coordination, orderliness, resilience and discipline as they replaced one leg with the other in splendid precision.
Lo, he says, these are the kinds we need to remove my nation from indiscipline and disorder.
Then he asks his parent: Dad, why is Nigeria practising democracy instead of a dictatorship?
Dad: so you wear Moshood without asking how we came about the name?
Son: I never thought of it.
Dad: we gave you that name to remind the world never to allow your admirers lord over men again.
Son: really? How?
Dad: you were born on 12 June 1993, the day the military-led federal government annulled an election Moshood Abiola won. So each time we call you, it reminds us of our vow to preserve and protect democracy, however, low its adherents sink it—and sink in it.
Via personal studies, he came across names like Ibrahim Babangida, Abdussalam Abubakar, David Mark, and T. Y. Danjuma, stupendously rich sons of nobodies whose rise to fame and fortune rest on the castration of their people and killing of their potentials.
Military he says does not deserve my last name.
The millennial turns to religion.
At least a dozen churches and almost an equal number of mosques surround his home. He sees Enoch Adeboye; a mathematician turned overseer; David Oyedepo, the bishop with a jet shop; TB Joshua, the miracle man; and Chukwuemeka Ezeugo, a “white” reverend who competes with Dictator Jammeh in the Olympics of HIV exorcism. Millennial tells himself religion was the answer.
But soon he realises that between the first three was at least seven private jets; and between the last two lay a litany of adherents whose transits to the great beyond was fueled by their recklessness and criminality. The millennial learns that at least $3m goes to maintaining the least of these instruments of flamboyance and found it unacceptable in the face of chronic poverty amongst their adherents—and people.
He learns about Pastor Fatoyinbo of COZA and his penchant for putting Holy Spirit inspired seed into the body of the Marys over the pulpit.
Religion he says, cannot take my last name.
Then he turns to activism.
They are noble men and selfless women who volunteer to make life worth living by struggling to fight on behalf of others, he tells himself. He sees Dino Melaye during the administration of Goodluck Jonathan; Adams Oshiomole during his days as a labour leader; and lately, Femi Fani-Kayode.
On the click of a mouse, he saw the Kogi senator at Bourdillon on a damning expedition of misplaced boldness. Millennial further learnt about his talents of serial battering and closet misogyny. He turns to the short man from Edo only to see him on a mission to truncating democracy via a virtual attempt to plant his shadow in office. Fani must be the tunnel light, he says. But he was to discover the scion of the old Fani-power dynasty was an embodiment of doublespeak and astounding divisiveness, wearing activism each time the feeding bottle was withdrawn. Ayo Fayose was a no go area, his reputation as a libel on the human race was well known.
Disappointed, millennial turns to the stool.
They are the custodians of the African tradition, he cheers. But in no time, he was confronted with a telling tale of collective sellout and subjugation of traditional principles to suffrage spoilers who had subscribed to political banditry. He sees posh cars replace rusted irons and cows used in place of dogs in the appease of Ogun, the Yoruba god of Iron. Millennial notices the traditional staff of office and sees party emblems written all over it in sordid confirmation of the custodian of tradition’s porting to take custody of militants and snatched ballot boxes.
The stool, sneered millennial, is not worthy of my last name.
Having exhausting all options, with politics gone to the dogs, the military advancing decisively on the bar of roguish indiscipline, religion throwing up substandard characters, and the traditional institution falling in the hands of covert sacrilegists, with neither a leader nor elder in sight to look up to for selfless leadership or moral guidance, the Nigerian millennial accepts his fate as an orphan.
The reality has dawned, Nigeria has transmogrified into the millennials’ orphanage.
For bequeathing a society as desecrated as this to us, the older generation has indeed done well—very well.
Modiu Olaguro writes from Badagry.