*When the people decide to change a system
Christopher Columbus, Italian explorer and navigator was not a scholarly man. Yet, he studied books, made hundreds of marginal notations and came out with ideas about the world that is characteristically simple and strong but sometimes wrong. Newton, Leibniz, Einstein and Bohr, Shakespeare, Milton and Pasternak, Whitney, McCormick, Edison and Ford, James Adams, Florence Nightingale and Albert Schweitzer, none of these opened new frontiers of human knowledge and understanding, in literature, in technical possibilities or in the relief of human misery in response to any government directives.
Their achievements were the product of individual genius, of strongly held minority views of social climate permitting variety and diversity. In their determined effort to create a new world they all acknowledged the fact that while it is important to know where one is proceeding, it is far more important to know where one has arrived.
When the people decide to change things: From the depth of their individual richness, it became clearer that any society that put equality before freedom will end up with neither. This self condescension has not been disproved. From the voting booths of Afghanistan, Iraq and Liberia to the Orange Revolution in Ukraine and the Rose Revolution in Georgia to the Cedar Revolution in Lebanon and the Tulip Revolution in Kyrgyzstan, people have made courageous decisions to change their destiny.
When people want to live in freedom, they work in unity of purpose. They are not overtaken by ego, selfish-interest or wrongful motivations. Freedom like any other virtue does not exist in a vacuum. It must be worked and practised to exist. And like any other virtue, it imposes upon those who would have it the unpleasant task of discipline and sacrifice on the presumption that the people are the common denominator of freedom. No improvement is possible with unimproved people and advice is only certain when the people are well disposed to it and willing.
Truth and politics: To a stranger, all the domestic controversies of Kwara State at first may appear to be incomprehensible or puerile and he may be at a loss whether to pity a people who take such arrant trifles in good earnest or to envy that happiness which enables a community to discuss them.
Truth and politics make strange partners. The lies in politics worry me. But that is not what worries me most. What worries me most is our collective political indifference, acceptance of lies and the psychological problems of ego. That has been the problem of our democracy, politics and governance.
This indeed is Kwara’s scariest predicament. At some point however and in no distant future, this generation of Kwarans will be called upon to come to terms with the raw truth of our current economic and political situation and how we responded to it. Already, we have reached a point in our history where the next generation may have less than the one before it.
Every politician wants to be governor: Kwara has experienced so many failed political experiments yet we refuse to change our attitude. Taking small steps when the moment begged for a series of huge leaps has been our trade mark. We always lay claim to be masters of the game but lacking in strategic thoughts. No one ever settles for the lesser political office, everyone wants to be Governor. For some, ‘why are you running for office is an easy question to answer because they feel innately passionate about their political pursuit.
Others may even have murkier answers. Ask any of those in the race now why he is running for the office, the silliest answer you get is ‘my people ask me to run’. One begins to wonder who these ‘his invincible’ people are. In every election year their mandate is to run for office to please someone else and not even them or for general good.
The intrigue about human nature is that there is no better way to describe human behaviour when it comes to the issue of interest. Though, not every political action is reducible to self-interest but because of that element of self-interest lurking beneath us as human beings, everyone appear to be looking after his or her own interest and not the common interest.
We appear always to be content with catching the ire rather than use our enormous strength to provide Kwarans a new concept for a new way. History is for sure not linear. Except by some celestial intervention, it is still hard to be seen how the people of Kwara Central where the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has zoned its governorship position for the 2019 elections would not let Kwara down.
What Kwara Central means to all of us: Kwara Central Senatorial district is where Senator Bukola Saraki hails from and represents at the National Assembly and it remains the heartbeat of the state with it highest number of voters mostly uneducated. It also has the notoriety for producing not only the highest number of political mercenaries in the state but also politically non-committal youths.
Here too, the people hardly use their experience of the past to rationalise the reasons for their backwardness. And to worsen it all, the political leadership of this area suffer from a chafing infirmity. Too long insulated by their chase of narrow and petty objectives, they have always remained unprepared to field the responsibility that Kwara cast upon them.
Where it demands to think with the head they do so with their belly and turn every political opportunity as an opportunity to feast and an easy means for enrichment. Candidates and aspirants at every election time are at their mercy yet they are of no political gains or value. This is why majority of them are at Senator Saraki’s beck and call.
Now that the Central has the chance to field a candidate for the coming governorship election, it remains doubtful if their leaders conduct this time will be in proportion to Kwarans political expectations.
As it is for now, about five PDP candidates from this area have signified their intention to run for the office of the governor of the state. This for sure has never worried me and cannot be my fear because more aspirants and their people are still consulting and may likely join the wagon any moment.
The Judases of Kwara politics: But my fear is the return of the Judas of Kwara to this race. The likes of Professor (s) Abdulraheem Oba and Suleiman Abubakar ossh!. If the Nigerian Constitution were a walled city I probably would axe these men out of the city. With their academic embroidery and the advantage public office conferred on both, Kwarans had expected they would bring to bear some admirable and exemplary acts within the opposition rank during 2015 elections but regrettably every bit of their actions violated the people’s expectations.
Their approach to political philosophy has never and can never work for Kwara. A hallow of intellects. While Oba sees the opportunity in front of him as his last opportunity due to cruelty of age, Abubakar feels he is the better candidate on account of his former appointment as a Minister and a close ally of Goodluck Ebele Jonathan.
Sadly too, both men also have been asked to run by these ‘invincible people’. And to convey the simple message, rather than lead Kwara to freedom in the opportunity that offered itself in the 2015 elections, both formed part of those who pretentiously led us into foredoom. And because we must raise the bar of public representation does not mean we cannot distinguish between bad and worse.
Analogue politicians in digital age: The two belonged to the analogue class of politicians not suited for our modern day political struggle. Running for office therefore for the right reasons is critical not only to gain support but also to win. Revenge is horrible reason to run and one must also pick the right opportunity to win and not just the opportunity that is in front of one.
The next eight months or so no doubt would be critical for the people of Kwara and unless we make the philosophic foundation for strategic thinking more a living intellectual issue and its implementation a task which challenges the ingenuity and imagination of our liveliest minds, the prospects of freedom are indeed dark.