Buhari’s anti-docility angst

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Last Sunday, General Buhari attended the public lecture organized by the Movement for Better Future at the Arewa House in Kaduna. At the occasion, he lamented that free and fair election has not been possible in Nigeria because of the docility of the electorate, in the face of what he described as official impunity. This docility he termed “Mutuwar Zuciya” in Hausa, a phenomenon which he said was particularly pronounced in Northern Nigeria. “People have given up, some of them are just even waiting title’: he added. Buhari said that the reason could not be poverty, because many parts of rural India were poorer than Nigeria, yet they “conduct free and fair elections’:


It.isclear that Buhari is worried at the fatalistic resignation of the Nigerian people in the face of a regime of serial rape of the electoral rights of the same people- a trend which has been the hallmark of politics in Nigeria in the past ten years particularly. What is the source of the problem? Why do we have “Mutuwar Zuciya”? Why is it particularly strong in Northern Nigeria? Unfortunately, the media reports of the Kaduna event did not indicate that General Buhari provided some insights into what could

have been the basis for the metaphysical docility which Northern Nigeria seems to suffer from, despite the horrible indices of existence in our region. Why have we not borrowed a leaf from the tradition of resistance and dissent which people in Southern Nigeria regularly deploy against injustice, especially electoral heists? Must we always accept the foisting on us of rulers who clearly did not have our mandates?


I think these are points that need adequate interrogations in order to understand why people will be resigned and even be waiting to die, as General Buhari alleged! In my view,there are several factors at play,but fundamentally, we live in a society of deformed modernity; a society where neo-colonial capitalist modernity has been incompetently grafted upon survivals of pre-modern, even neo-feudal vestiges, with a very deep-seated religious ideological baggage. In our society, the majority of the people have roots in failing peasant agriculture and tenuous roots in modern industry, now compounded by the huge wave of de- industrialization and massive unemployment that Northern Nigeria has suffered in the past twenty years. So poverty has deepened; modernity is not working for the people and there are throw backs to the fatalistic attitudes rooted in certain interpretations of religion. In most parts of Northern Nigeria, that is of course, Islam.


With a failed and obscenely deformed modernity on our hands, represented by an equally vulgar elite of thieving bandits as a ruling class, the appeal to fatalism is encouraged by a pseudo-religious band of religious leaders who are allied to the ruling elite of our region. They have a powerful appeal to the poor and they can manipulate them to accept that things are the way they are because that is how Allah haswilled it! They get paid for their services in various ways, while the people’s desperate poverty, alienation and societal underdevelopment deepen. This is the social basis of the “Mutuwar Zuciya” which Buhari talked about! Unfortunately for Buhari and all those who feel passionately disgusted about the conditions of official impunity, electoral heist, the poverty and worsening social indices and the general rape of Nigeria, we are not doing the organizational and educational work, to lift the people from their resignation. There is no alternative to sustained work of organization, education and struggle, if we want to break the vicious circle of”Mutuwar Zudya” in Northern Nigeria and provide a basis for the liberation of Nigeria! Buhari’s angst is understandable, but it is just not enough!

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