Politics As Voodoo

August 31, 2006
7 mins read

Quite  a number of newspapers have formed the habit of reminding the Nigerian people the number of weeks remaining for a transition to a new, hopefully, democratically-elected government The reminder is very Useful, because Nigerians can keep at the top of their heads the remaining weeks of a nightmarish Presidency, and we can also look forward to a hopeful future. But this is the hopeful scenario. The truth, however, is that the situation in the country does not seem to nudge us in the direction of the more hopeful scenario that I have mentioned above. We have just nine months or so to the end of the Obasanjo regime, yet the political space is still characterised by a palpable air of uncertainty as the suffocating and overbearing presence of Obasanjo continues to affect the way and manner politics is conducted in Nigeria.


When we read the newspapers, interact with the political elite or hear stories about the goings-on within the political parties, one can only reach the conclusion that we are faced with far more troubles ahead than the politicians are ready to admit The conspiracies are thickening by the hour, and these are driven largely by the desperation of the Obasanjo clique to manipulate the process. It seems that the clique has not been able to work out a definitive platform given the fast pace of developments, and the pressures coming from all directions: from the expectations of the Nigerian people who are waiting to be rid of the nightmare called Obasanjo; the political elite which hopes to inherit the mantle of power and the international community, which needs a relative stability to help consolidate capitalist exploitation ofNigeria and its people. The Obasanjo clique is therefore discovering that it does not possess the capacity to completely control the process at play in the nation’s political firmament despite its very best efforts.


It is consequently determined to slow down the process of politicking as much as possible with the hope that it can eventually impose on Nigeria a satrap that wil  be sworn to play the puppet after 2007. The PDP usurpers led by the Garrison Commander Amadu Ali have been toying with all types of options to achieve the purpose above. It is very laughable to remember that _ it was the same PDP platform that was used to achieve Obasanjo’s Presidency in 1999 without so much fuss as we are now witnessing today. The process has become so tortuous only because of the undisguised ambition to ensure that certain individuals such as Vice President Atiku Abubakar and General Babangida do not get the opportunity to emerge as the eventual Winners of the PDP ticket.


In the meantime, the other political parties have become a deadly charade too, largely because a long time ago, booby traps had been implanted in the entrails of those parties to ensure that they were ineffective as platforms of alternative ideas and policies and as articulators of the interests of the Nigerian people. So rotten are these parties today that one cannot find any sincere effort at a push for power by them despite the deep unpopularity of the PDP machinery.


It is only in the setting of Nigeria that a so-called leading opposition party like the ANPP will be doing everything to ensure that its own best chances to come to power are destroyed through the conspiracies of the leading members  of the party. So much has been done by many of the leaders of this so-called opposition party to weaken and destroy it from within and ensure that it could never offer a genuine alternative to the PDP. The height of treachery was to have handed the parly to Obasanjo through a proxy called Don Etiebet who was installed as party chairman, in order precisely to help finish it off! So successful was the man that at the end ofhis assignment, he returned to his base for debriefing and is now priming to become the governor of Akwa Ibom State in apparent compensation for the job he did at the ANPP. Nigeria’s political process never ceases to amaze all its observers given the colourful tapestry that our elite weave each day within it. Just this week, I was part of a discussion about the nation’s politics with a team of American researchers working for USAID who have been quite interested in the buildup to the elections of 2007.1 pointed out that in a lot of ways, Nigerian politics has always carried the gene of voodoo at its heart.


The reasons for that are legion. We have a political elite, which ordinarily should be the drivers of a project of modernity and modernisation, but whose consciousness is still entrapped in primitive, pre-modem frames of  understanding the world around them. Our elite spends so much money consulting ritualists,  babolawos, malams, spiritualists and prayer warriors than they do in attempting to understand the workings of modem, complex societies. They take this voodoo mindset and the paraphernalia into the political process, and are therefore hamstrung by their very primitive belief systems in the way that they conduct both politics and the business of government. A political leader beholden to some obscurantist spiritualist, malam, babalawo, or is a member of some cult cannot rationally deal with the complex issues that modem societies throw up each day. That political leader or political elite is just not adequately equipped to serve the people of our country to the best of its abilities, because those abilities have not been developed anyway.


I think it was during the military dictatorship of General Olusegun Obasanjo that some law was passed which made it illegal for anybody in government   to belong to secret societies. The fact that such a law was  showed how difficult it was for the governing elite to make a cle- the mumbo-jumbo that characterised the pre-capitalist, pre-scienL. grounds of a lot of these individuals. The military dictator who made the law was setting himself up as an example of modernity and a rational ———–it seemed. I cannot recall that a single individual was sacked because of the offence of being a member of such cults.


But it was instructive that after the elections of 1999, Chief Olu Fa went to court to stop candidate Olusegun Obasanjo from being sworn as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria one of the ground was that Olusegun Obasanjo is not fit to be president of Nigeria if  he belonged to a secret society  a twist of historical fate, law of the past came to haunt the present. Although the entire petition was log for me, an important poiriLhadhec I made, that our country has fo- tci long been run by people wl n tf i: world from the jaundiced perspe fives of obscurantism, voodoo practices and other backward, pre-scientific suppositions. They have run our politics with the same voodoo tactics and has been responsible for its suffocating ambience, its lack of inner party democracy and its underdevelopment These practices have continued to influence the way  they seer  tively continue to – to perfect the main political parties and governance. It has therefore behive for all genuine p<«. m beg in to organise for open transparent political processes run in a democratic manna, built on the open canvassing of ideas, devoid of manipulative tendencies have been the hllli nation’s political party cause in a voodou the interests oftfr* p “obeatk matter. Those interests with Chief Michael Adenuga, Globacom boss cannot be openly the interest of the chieftains of voodoo that become the cc, politics, and the nation suffers dire consequences. Obr expression of vogdoo politics, as our experience ofthe past sevt shown. He is determined together with members ofhis ciis foist on the country the voodoo politics that has led us to. dictatorship and economic ruination. We must collectively resist the entrenchment of this unpatriotic type of politics. It retards national development, constricts the political space, breeds violence and assassin:” ioc not help the flowering of ideas and is against a genuine transition) eternity.


It is very crucial to fight for a political process which entains the very best interests of the Nigerian people at all times. Even within the deformities that characterise the political atmosphere today, we can begin to totally nudge our politics in the direction of democracy if all patriots work together to defeat very decisively the Obasanjo clique and its voodoo party. Between Globacom and Transcorp It was Thisday newspaper last Sunday, which carried a report  emiment might confiscate the shares that were alleged to be owned some as well as Vice President Atiku Abubakar in Globacom. I was very happy to read the story, because in his vindictiveness, Obasanjo never pauses to reflect upon the feet that he is always creating the template of actions for the future. Let’s look at some historical examples. In 1976, he passed a law to try people for coup-plotting after he had been removed from under the bed of Chiefs. B. Bakare (where he was hiding) to be  made of state by Generals Danjuma, Yar’Adua, Babangida, et al. Many years he fell foul of the same laws under General Sani Abacha, but mercifully was not executed, but merely spent three years in jail before the ex-co was taken from prison by Abdulsalami Abubakar, Babangida and to be made our president. Then as part of a process of revenge, he confiscated the Women Ce built by Abacha’s wife.


That was a very patriotic step to take in the circurr stance; because it showed that it was incorrect to use the privilege of pow to serve personal interests. If Obasanjo had lived by example, it would have served him well after his tenure. But he couldn’t stop his old habit exploiting his privileged position to feather his own nest while shout! himself hoarse about anti-corruption. So over the last seven years, he has built himself a private university while simultaneously presiding over the asphyxiation of the public university system; he openly collected billions of naira to build aj  dential Library, while he has under-funded the nation v ; tem; he “blindly” bought two million or six million in and has used his position to sell our nation patrimony TRANSCORP But Obasanjo must regain his sight in million ways Allah, the Nigerian people will take back from him all that he and his cronies in TRANSCORP (we shall liquidate that time comes); Nigerians will take away the presidential private university he has also built for himself. We will do the template that Obasanjo but if gave us. Nobody should illegalities, not even a sacred cow called Olusegun Obasanjo EFCC chieftain, Nuhu Ribadu called “ a saint” on AIT on May 29, 2007 will demystify that saint after May 29, 2007

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