*Can the people rescue themselves this time around?
From Tunde Mohammed
Building a house of stone on sand is folly. Building a house of sand on stone is yet another. But an ounce of understanding profits more than a pound of exertion. As the important 4th November 2017 local council elections in Kwara state draws near, political battle lines are being starkly drawn. This election may turn out to be something different from any other. It will probably be an election between the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) and the people.
PDP, Saraki against the people: Having been hacked into dire corners, it is doubtful if the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), which appeared to be attracting the people’s tremendous interest has finished drinking from its holiday elixir. But the party knows it occupies great privilege and the continuous overplay of its internal crisis may prove a profound challenge ahead the council polls. If per chance the party wakes up early enough from its present slumber, the battle takes a new dimension – the people and PDP versus Bukola Saraki and the APC. 4th November may be a peculiar date for Kwara.
Either it will be a month for further consolidation on the present heist or it will initiate the 21st century’s progressive era in the state. Most importantly is for the people to be vigilant and cautious for our present leaders will never dare change for they understand what the ‘change’ will mean and would be to them.
Change like birth is never a pretty sight. It is inherently untidy and painful. To deprive them of their continuous feasting on the people is akin to advising a brigand who stole to live in opulence not to steal anymore. That would amount to an unwelcome suggestion. Times have changed but these leaders still believe the commoners will do as they always do, bend, scrape and follow orders given.
Blind bald eagle: The change signs are ominous but the Kwara bald eagle has since 2003 grown to become a blind one and a blind eagle is a dangerous instrumentality unto itself and all things within its range of flight. However amidst these leaders lavish pleasantry, there appears unease too. They also have sensed that all are no longer supine below them. Piercing their over-estimation, confidence and pride is a feint yet piercing sound. It is the sound of the poor man’s indignation.
Unlike in the previous, all the common people are no longer quiet. They now seek to occupy their own future instead of allowing further these so-called leaders define their lives. A collision is therefore imminent as we seem to be nearing the end of an age. But courage is the first of human virtues and it makes all others possible. It may be the beginning of a long drawn battle but the peoples power will triumph unless the coalition is built on strong spirit, selflessness, sacrifice, determination, will and the effrontery to take the battle to the enemy’s door.
Fools are right sometimes: Kwara has experienced so many failed experiments and it has provided the starkest examples of the problems all progressive movements now face. Ego and selfishness have become Kwara’s major problems. Most people here believe they know yet they know nothing. I have often repeated that it is not how long your years in politics but how well. But we deceive ourselves so much that we refuse to understand that even fools are right sometimes.
Ask any former Saraki die hard who elected to pull out from the group to provide a strategic mart on how to defeat the APC he would go along the same narratives that we all know – how they facilitate in rigging elections – without providing any new and tangible clue or solution to the present.
We lay claim to be masters of the game yet cannot undress the opponent. Thus, drifts Kwara. With the passage of time, we seem to enjoy greater political and economic latitude than before but we lack political commitment. What all the years of our struggle have brought is that we won the chance to win and we have been having the opportunity to have opportunity. This is insufficient.
Speaking sincerely is an alien: That which our forebears laboured to achieve, we treat with nonchalance bordering on disdain. We have more but achieved less. We produce more than our national share of public figures, many of whom are talented and skilled but theirs is a false, personal perfection. We no longer produce statesmen and people with vision who speak for the good of all of us.
To be more frank, we do not even seem to have leaders who care enough to speak sincerely to us. When some of those we look up to speak, they talk in their own interest not that of the greater whole. They speak to hear themselves and to drown the voice of others but they do not speak that we may hear and understand more than we already knew. Kwara has remained here for long and there is really no solace when it is the dead that is lauding the vitality of the dying. We need attitudinal change in view of what binds us all together.
If Kwara is to succeed this time, a practical alternative of doing things must be offered. Events so far appeared to have taken control of those who are supposed to control them. Over 20 socio-political and protest movements that I know have so far sprouted in the state in the last 12 months including the recently unveil Kwara Mass Movement (Igbeayerere). An interesting and curious denominator in all of them is that they all fight not so much to destroy each other as to win to their side a decisive number of a third group – that vast mass of people ignoring the fact that none can successfully alone fight the looming war.
Have we not passed this road before? Kwara has gone this way before. And been unable to move beyond either unnecessarily caustic or meaninglessly saccharine rhetoric, we still do not understand these groups must extend a functional hand of friendship to one another. They see themselves as strong bodies while in reality they are not.
We now live in a time when the elite and mass political and economic interests collide more than ever. At individual group level they delude to engage in joyful activities that ends nowhere. To rejoice at floating a ship made of different woods is to consign our people to failure. This gift is illusory if we do not know it is sacrilege if all these bodies work at cross purposes.
We must heed this warning and if recourse is not taken to strengthen tired bonds, we may be heading towards the abysmal. The rush in organising parallel pressure or protest movements is unnecessary at this point. It can only be explained by the prurient logic of base sort of politics which leads Kwara to nowhere.
The 4th November local council elections are another litmus test again. While this election would not be available for the opposition to seek a scapegoat or search for a culprit to blame, the opposition must be compelled to look at the reality that exists and not the one it wants. Whatever the outcome of the elections determines the level of the opposition preparation and seriousness.
A definitional challenge progressive elements face is deciding whether they want to move forward or remain static. The clue therefore to whether the November elections becomes a month of the progressives will be if all political and protest movements quickly begin to collaborate and dissolve into one indivisible unit. They should evolve from the amorphous street assemblies expressing broad dissent to mass and unified organisation.
Kwara’s past experience has shown that it is only when we work as one without rancour can we attract enough support from the inactive mass of people. It is when we show political maturity and astute organisational ability that the people will have confidence and also have a fighting chance to bring greater justice, prosperity and democracy into their lives.
Such sacrifice and pain would be nothing less than the birth pangs of a new era where a people under one umbrella take more of their destiny into their hands. It would amount to ill-fate if we chose to remain scattered under the illusion that one group can fight the fight. It does not mean weakness if we offer compromise.
To achieve change we must change. If the alternative suits Kwara, we will face the Hobson’s choice of deciding whether to enter perdition in slow surrey or a speeding sedan. The storm is already here but we don’t sense it because we stand enamoured by silly assurances. As important as these individual movements are, the decision to coalesce should be a product of a balancing political considerations, sacrifice in line with Kwara’s political realities.
We have reached the point where we can say enough is enough and actually mean it. We must act quickly, firmly and decisively. Working in tandem could change the futile dynamic. Those whose tale is that Kwara can never get it right are watching and wondering as usual how we can surrender to ourselves. This is possible if we believe. What Kwara is now is not the destiny our heroes had in mind for their efforts. Nor should it be the destiny bestowed on our children.
A man that would leave office on 29th May 2011 hurriedly prepared a pension for himself and signed it by 29th December 2010, a week or so after his birthday. The law gazetted by his offspring (legacy government) on the 11th August 11, 2011.
And you have enjoyed it to fullest that by August 2014 you have idle N45million. But it surfaced in August 2017 that you wrote to stop it in August 2015. Fabu! In 2016, SSG Gold wrote to the CCT and world that you were not drawing salaries but pension.
In 2017, you announced to the world that your pension now goes for scholarship. Haba! Why building something on nothing? Do you think our brains are in default?