Surely with the drama and melodrama that we have been witnessed in the past three years in Nigerian political landscape, corruption card would not be played by the ruling APC in their 2019 electioneering campaign. If there was any decency or credibility in their self-acclaimed anti-corruption warfare, then it is no longer valid or tenable.
The diversion of funds meant for refugee camps, budget padding, certificate forgeries, speech plagiarism, and the most recent kickback scandal by an APC state governor in the largest APC stronghold in Northwestern Nigeria are sufficient reasons to drop corruption out of the game.
If the Nigerian brand of corruption is defined and characterised by these nefarious activities and in recent years, sectarian violence and terrorist activities, then by now we must have realised and marked them out as common denominators, or rather constants in our political equation. A good student of mathematics knows that because these constants are not to be ignored simply because they have become natural and integral part of his equation, but they are there to support his variables to obtain the most appropriate solution.
If we keep moving in a merry go round manner manipulating the intrinsic, innate and constant features of our political equation every electioneering season, it would become evident that we are resistant to or undesirable of the kind of socio-economic development that brings peace and comfort to our ordinary people. However, when our political class resort to this brand of campaign it merely serves to indicate that they have attained a state comfort and contentment against the horrible life of their followers vertically down the social stratification.
Our question now is how to emerge a successful nation against our social odds. As the Southern Sudanese poet, Taban Lo Liyong puts it poetically;
“With purity hath nothing been won
Greece came not thru purity
Christ died through the impure
Only with impurity had japan moved ahead
The American beast came through things impure
Purity kills creativity in the womb
Impurity spreads with health
Eve ate the apple for impurity’s sake
My heart bless thyself
Thou truckest not with things that are pure
Impurity fills you up like angels of god
Thou art greater than earth and hell
For impurity limiteth the child in the cradle
Impurity is boundless like my soul”
Of course, the Nigerian society, with its empty religiosity and failed moral philosophy may not agree with Liyong’s poetic assertions and suggestions, but we cannot remain in a state of denial for eternity. Our clergies have always maintained that only a tall good old man can save our country from doom, but the reality seems to be that their prescription has only exposed us to greater doom and hindered us from booms.
It may take us a very long time to fully deconstruct and understand Liyong, but to borrow his thoughts into our political context may be misconstrued as folding and keeping aside our faiths. And that has been the dominant argument of the clergies under whose ‘pious’ watch grossly incompetent political leaders have been forced down our throats. This has always been on the basis of the assumption that our redemption must or would always come from pure men.
Ironically, even the clergies would not confidently and wholeheartedly welcome such ‘pious’ men as leaders of their own congregations, yet they feel that such men have the moral authority to lead a wider and more diverse people. Equally unfortunate is that the clergies still create an us-against-them phenomenon in the minds of their followers to advance shallow political inclinations.
I think a sincere clergy should focus more on promoting acts of kindness and empathy in the minds of its congregation at individual and community level. That is likely to unleash greater social reform than the unnecessary over-indulgence in large scale national politics in the delusional hope that such may engender social order, stability, and morality in the polity.
Therefore as 2019 zooms in towards us, it is important to realise that we have come to a point where empty rhetoric of previously failed moral philosophy and vain promises of fantasy can no longer hold. We cannot continue to be lured towards an illusionary horizon with the shadows of a dangling candy while we continue to walk on pricking thorns in vain.
Musa Kalim Gambo
—Musa Kalim Gambo is currently the General Secretary of Creative Writers’ Club, Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, and can be reached on firstname.lastname@example.org.