*Governance in the state has been in the reverse
*Battle of the people versus the empire
Decades ago, a courageous intellectual, Walter Rodney, wrote the seminal work: How Europe Underdeveloped Africa. Sadly, Rodney left us prematurely without finishing the contributions he could have rendered to mankind. If alive today, the West Indian would likely feel a sense of vindication, even schadenfreude. But the book he would probably write today as a follow-up would bear a startling title – How Nigerian political leaders loot to under-develop their people.
However, this essay returns to one of its perennial victims: those that preside over the affairs of Kwara State and its docile populace. Two factors drive the frequent analysis of Kwara events.
First, those that govern the state contretemps very well affect their people given their denial of good governance. Second, Kwara generally under its present leadership is enamoured by things foreign yet we are told not to compare the state with its neighbours.
While Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed hungers for success, Kwara’s neighbours’ success is paragon while that of the state lies only in the torrent of jingles that is almost deafening every now and then. Bombarding Kwara airwaves with jingles that have no place in a situation where nothing is on ground to match what is being sold the public goes to portray the government as unconvinced that fighting for the truth is better than accommodating the economic interest that be. Curiously, some of those that almost got caught in the jingle trick now fear it.
For six and half years or so, governance in the state has been in the reverse form occasioning the elusive light of prosperity that is being trumpeted. The situation as it is today would have been avoided if these mimickers were better versed in running a state economy like a state economy. To them the rule of law comes distant second to the rule of money. And to legitimise their mischief, they passed measures and regulations giving the appearance of propriety. But no matter the ribbons and bows placed on it what they did remains a strong-arm confiscation as if done at gun point.
Kwara no doubt has turned a diplomatic sinkhole where the laws of logic do not apply. From 2013 to date, the state has suffered leadership that have cheated the present generation and threatens to engulf the next, yet, the people pretend as if nothing is happening. For as historic as it was, I warned that Governor Ahmed’s second term election and the ‘providential’ ascension of Senator Bukola Saraki as Senate President were not the ultimate victory of a people in servitude.
It will be the type of victory that would propel the people for greater battle. We are already there. The battle of the people versus the empire. But the tragedy is that we have seen empires collapse into dust because they suffered chronic streaks of undistinguished leadership. An empire is founded by the sweat and the great but lost by the folly. It is distasteful to note that Kwara is experiencing the worst group of leaders in roughly fifteen years or so. For such a motley group to rein terror on decent people with rich history is tragic.
How such a petty unenlightened ensemble came to govern the state will be recorded as one of this era’s pivotal events. Instead of begetting humility and gratitude, inherited wealth and power seem to encourage a prickly arrogance that believes it knows everything. As it is with heirs to a family estate, so it is with the leadership of a race. But they must note also that everything illegally acquired can be easily squandered.
Sadly, wisdom is always too wise to encroach into space upon which arrogance has staked its claim. Whether out of national purpose or selfish design, the statement credited to Senator Saraki on the illegality of the proscription of IPOD is unfortunate, untimely, lacking in tact and good reasoning. If the Eastern Governors Forum can rise to move against the IPOB, what considerations motivated Senator Saraki’s pronouncement?
While it is on record that not a few Nigerians would be busy all the time laughing to stupor at his infelicities, it is doubtful he knows the damage he is doing to Kwara. It is lamentable how this young man have been unravelling our closet in recent times.
Senator Saraki may want to befriend everyone but he cannot befriend everyone because everyone does not like what he does. It would amount to irresponsibility on the part of the Federal Government under the state of a looming tragedy to remain unconcerned because a motley group desired independence in a sovereign nation in an illegal manner.
Since this matter now appeared settled by the court, it is essential only to let Senator Saraki know that political violence or acts inimical to the stability or unity of the nation is condemnable, should never be excused or condoned under any circumstances. And as a nation that has come to stay, violence is not part of the equation and cannot be a good substitute. This needs emphasis because if violence pays at one time, it can equally pay at another so no one can claim to have the monopoly of violent uprising against a government that is legitimately delivered.
Kwara is indeed drifting and as it is, it does appear we cannot produce leaders anyone. We suffer lack of economic and political commitment. That which our predecessors laboured to achieve, we treat with nonchalance bordering on disdain. They had little but did much. We have more but achieve less. We produce more than our share of public figures many of whom are talented and skilled but theirs is a false, personal perfection leading to the slipping away of something precious.
Chief Josiah Sunday Olawoyin (late), no longer represents a dream. His ideals have been reduced to something no more convenient for the people. Olawoyin and the struggle he championed are discussed as if totems of ancient history. Abdulkareem Adisa is talked about with a hallow reverence while Mohammed Alabi Lawal has become a chic slogan. These are recent people. The great ideals our people struggled for have gathered dust in untouched books in infrequently visited museums and libraries. So many others like them have gone with their rattled and discarded bones.
As things are at the moment, Kwara will become a land of expanding elites with increasing lack of vision and strength. The sad thing is that Kwarans have ceased seeing themselves in each other. When it comes to sports, music or an individual’s achievement, we all have Kwara pride. When it comes to economic and political cooperation, we become to each other as North is to South. So used to scarcity and injustice, we fend only for ourselves and leave the neighbour to rot. Kwarans have now become social excreta that no longer has identity worth knowing. We have forfeited the names given to us by our parents.
We are now known by our new first and last names ‘powerless and docile people’. This is how it is for too many of us but not how it should be for any one of us. There will always be the poor and rich yet there is no reason that after all our race has gone through that we should join in stripping our own people of dignity and worth.