It is 2019: Do you know your fu­ture?

Sunday Trust - - FEVERPITCH - • son­[email protected] • @Son­alaOlumhense

Once again, we have ar­rived in that sea­son where pas­tors seize ev­ery avail­able mi­cro­phone to lav­ishly pub­lish “prophe­cies” for the year ahead, each one claim­ing to have heard God’s voice.

It is an in­dus­try that grows big­ger ev­ery year, as do the con­tra­dic­tions be­tween prophe­cies, the col­lid­ing pas­tors sound­ing some­what like politi­cians in a Nige­rian elec­toral con­test. When their sen­sa­tional prophe­cies are miles off the mark, they re­turn to of­fer ex­pla­na­tions that are worse than the of­fence.

There is Bi­b­li­cal ev­i­dence some peo­ple do re­ceive God’s word—or in­sight—as the Almighty deems fit. What God has cer­tainly never done is to op­er­ate by the Gre­go­rian Cal­en­dar and choose this time of time—or of year, to us—to ad­vise an army of Nige­rian pas­tors over things he has known for­ever.

With that as back­ground then, dear Pas­tor: if your prophecy—the one you chose to pub­lish of your own vo­li­tion—turns out to be false, you are a fake pas­tor.

It is as sim­ple as that be­cause God nei­ther lies nor pre­var­i­cates. If you claim he ad­vised you and you ad­ver­tise his ‘ad­vice,’ your cred­i­bil­ity—not God’s—rests on that prophecy. As God does not gam­ble, the gam­ble is yours, in which case you should in­ves­ti­gate the “voice” you claimed you heard and seek ap­pro­pri­ate treatment or coun­sel.

Per­haps your lawyer may wish to pur­sue a law­suit against the voice in your head, just as the Nige­rian vot­ing pub­lic ought seek a fun­da­men­tal in­ves­ti­ga­tion of its end­less po­lit­i­cal mis­for­tunes.

Think about it: as prepa­ra­tions for next month’s elec­tions ramp up, mem­bers of the All Pro­gres­sives Congress (APC), are cam­paign­ing with brooms. Brooms!

Four years ago, a broom was a be­fit­ting metaphor, a sen­ti­ment that is still around for next month’s elec­tions as Nige­ri­ans want the party in power swept away. The irony is that it is APC, now the in­ter­loper and pre­tender, which is bran­dish­ing the brooms.

But while that stunt is sim­ply stupid, they are de­ploy­ing it be­cause Nige­rian politi­cians con­sider the elec­torate to be stupid.

The APC pre­tense is that the prin­ci­pal op­po­nent, the Peo­ples Demo­cratic Party (PDP), is the en­emy of Nige­ria and of progress. They de­stroyed ev­ery­thing, APC con­tin­ues to whine.

But Nige­ri­ans knew that only too well in 2015. That was why they hired APC to clean up the mess, a task it has proved in­ca­pable of.

The rea­son for this, as I have con­tin­ued to say, and in view of the ev­i­dence be­fore any­one who cares to ex­am­ine it, is that APC and PDP are not dif­fer­ent cur­ren­cies or even de­nom­i­na­tions of one, but two sides of the same coin. They are philo­soph­i­cally two wings of the “APDPC” party.

That is why its mem­bers switch from one side to the other and back so eas­ily and shame­lessly. And why so many peo­ple on that side of the broom yes­ter­day, are on this side to­day, and have no hes­i­ta­tion about re­turn­ing to the other side in the morn­ing. Noth­ing on ei­ther side of that coin can save Nige­ria.

A part of this rea­son is the ide­o­log­i­cal empti­ness of our pol­i­tics. PDP grafted the term “demo­cratic” into its name, but it does not know the mean­ing. APC also says it is “pro­gres­sive” but the party is re­gres­sive in ori­en­ta­tion and per­for­mance. None of the ap­pel­la­tions ag­gre­gate the po­lit­i­cal pro­file of its mem­bers. They are all driven by the quest to ac­quire wealth through power.

It is lit­tle sur­prise then, that Nige­ri­ans have been dis­ap­pointed by govern­ment af­ter govern­ment, but the most dis­ap­point­ing have been the sol­diers and for­mer sol­diers. Think about it: Nige­ria has suf­fered far less at the hands of Tafawa Balewa, Shehu Sha­gari and Umaru Yar’Adua than she has un­der such “saviours” as Ibrahim Ba­bangida, Oluse­gun Obasanjo, Sani Abacha and Muham­madu Buhari. These are men who ar­rive pre­tend­ing to be The Answer only to be un­veiled as The Prob­lem.

Of these, two are par­tic­u­larly sig­nif­i­cant: Obasanjo and Buhari, each of whom has had two chances to lead. The Buhari pit la­trine smells fouler partly be­cause each of his chances fol­lowed each of Obasanjo’s, thereby grant­ing him the chance to ex­cel over Obasanjo, and partly be­cause the sec­ond time he had bragged the loud­est and the long­est. But the big­gest rea­son is that hav­ing now been ex­posed, his col­lapse will stink the most.

Four years af­ter he re­ceived the sup­port of a broad swathe of the Nige­rian elec­torate to de­ploy that broom, Buhari is an­chor­ing his cam­paign on the same script of the dam­age done by the PDP, rather than on what he has achieved in re­sponse.

Sadly, there are some Nige­ri­ans, mainly those who are close enough to the by­ways and high­ways of power, who are help­ing to trum­pet this dis­ap­point­ment as an achieve­ment.

But this is to be ex­pected. It has been our story as a na­tion. Just six years af­ter in­de­pen­dence, Ma­jor Kaduna Nzeogwu, who led the coup in the North in 1966, iden­ti­fied it as the men­ace of “po­lit­i­cal prof­i­teers” and “swindlers.” He char­ac­ter­ized them as “those who seek to keep the coun­try di­vided so that they can re­main in of­fice as Min­is­ters or VIPs at least; the trib­al­ists, the nepo­tists, those who make the coun­try big for noth­ing be­fore in­ter­na­tional cir­cles, those who have cor­rupted our so­ci­ety and put the Nige­rian po­lit­i­cal cal­en­der back by their words and deeds.”

To ex­am­ine Nige­rian gov­ern­ments since in­de­pen­dence is to see bands of these men and women again and again. Take Obasanjo, for in­stance. “Nige­ria will be­come one of the ten lead­ing na­tions in the world by the end of the cen­tury,” he said ex­pan­sively in 1979, three months be­fore he left of­fice.

He re­turned as Pres­i­dent 20 years later to con­clude Nige­ria’s loss of that cen­tury and spent his two terms scan­dalously de­valu­ing and di­min­ish­ing her prospects.

Obasanjo’s eight years are among the 16 Buhari con­tin­ues to lam­poon but he can­not sum­mon the courage to bring to jus­tice the lead­ers of our blight, or to drive Nige­ria’s hu­man ca­pac­ity or even to un­der­stand it.

In 2016, you prob­a­bly know, he was asked dur­ing a visit to the In­sti­tute for Peace in Wash­ing­ton DC, how he would han­dle the chal­lenge of inclusive devel­op­ment. The answer he gave—the video is on Youtube— is par­tic­u­larly em­bar­rass­ing but what is less known is that be­fore of­fer­ing it he needed help to un­der­stand the mean­ing of “in­clu­sive­ness.” To watch is an in­sight into the source of some of our cur­rent trou­bles, and why Buhari ab­so­lutely can­not lead Nige­ria.

But while I have no ev­i­dence that Buhari reads any­thing, I am quite sure he has some fa­mil­iar­ity with the W. B. Yeats classic, ‘The Sec­ond Com­ing,’.

This year is the 100th an­niver­sary of that poem, which be­came pop­u­lar in Nige­ria be­cause of Chinua Achebe’s “Things Fall Apart. I choose its lan­guage to warn Nige­ria’s men of power, prophecy and profli­gacy that—side by side with the kerosene and matches of hunger and poverty—greed and ar­ro­gance can and will det­o­nate:

“And what rough beast, its hour come round at last, Slouches to­wards Beth­le­hem to be born?”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Nigeria

© PressReader. All rights reserved.