Of Rogues, Gangsters and Politicians
Rev. Fr. George Ehusani
May 24, 2007
They have made us a laughing stock in the eyes of the civilized world, these rogues, these gangsters, these warlords in the corridors of power. They have stolen the people’s mandate and aborted their collective dream of a land of peace, security and prosperity, these bandits, these criminals, these usurpers of the people’s commonweal. Those the London Economist recently referred to as “rotten leaders,” have trampled on all truth and desecrated all decency, leaving the people in shock and angry desperation. From Abia to Zamfara, and from Ekiti to Ebonyi, the evil genii have conspired to rob the people of their right to self-determination and their aspiration for self-actualisation, and sowed the seed of discord, anarchy and doom.
The two-day war over the soul of the Nigerian nation was prosecuted on April 14 and 21, 2007. Reminiscent of the American “shock and awe” bombardment of Iraq in the year 2003, the war was prosecuted with armoured personnel carriers, tanks, foot soldiers in military fatigues, combat-ready anti-riot and regular police officers, along with platoons of hired killers and dreaded thugs, menacingly brandishing loaded guns and machetes. The war was prosecuted with utmost dispatch and won by a landslide.
It is the day after this sordid victory, and as is to be expected, the scavengers are now hovering around in self-congratulatory braggadocio. As for the sycophants, the prostitutes of power and the contract chasers, they are at it again, doing what they know best. They have constituted themselves into pall bearers of a dying generation, bombarding the Newspapers and the Air waves with full page advertorials, singing the praises of our conquerors, and admonishing the “disgruntled elements” to surrender quickly so that the nation may move forward, and like the false prophets of old, they are committing the heresy of ascribing to Almighty God the messy victory of the reckless usurpers.
May 29 is the D-Day for the parade of the champions, and all is set for the shameless circus of daylight marauders that is to inaugurate yet another regime of plunder which I fear may finally nail the national coffin. And all these under the appellation of democracy. All these under the guise of government of the people, by the people, for the people. All these camouflaging as leadership, governance and politics.
This is the Nigerian brand of democracy, the jungle style survival of the fittest – a do or die affair. It is the resilience or is it the recidivism of the Hobbesian primitive existence where life is “nasty, brutish and short” for the multitude of people, even in the 21st Century. It is the lot of 140 million inhabitants in a land of abundant promise whose faces are a mosaic of misery and whose bodies are a calligraphy of agony. It is the plight of over 250 ethnic nationalities otherwise generously endowed by the Creator, but now reduced to a hell-hole of multiple deprivations, multiple illegalities and multiple systems failure.
Pray, where were the sages and seers when the scoundrels and the buffoons captured and domesticated the sacred precincts of national governance? Where were the saints and scholars when the clowns and the court jesters overran the polity and laid waste our national heritage? Where were the lilies and roses when the thorns and the thistles grew, spread and dominated the national landscape? Where were the bearers of truth and justice when the agents of falsehood and deceit ascended the throne and bestrode the land, poisoning the national environment and propagating the stench of discontent? Where were the shinning stars and the beacons of light as the garrison commanders and the greedy godfathers conspired to dispossess Nigeria of all her dignity and respectability? And yes, where was elegant virtue when vile vice seized the mace and legislated greed and acrimony across the nation?
Now readers, if the foregoing sounds like a dirge or a soulful lamentation, it is a reflection of how much I have suffered and agonized in recent times about the only place I call home. I have traveled quite a bit in the last few months, and so have been largely absent from Nigeria in the build-up to and the eventual staging of the coup against the collective will of the people – for that is what the outcome of the 2007 general elections amounts to. Among other places, I was in Bonn Germany, Mumbai India, Maui in the mid-Pacific State of Hawaii, and in Singapore, giving lectures and making presentations on Leadership and Integrity as well as on Global Governance and Ethical Responsibility.
In the course of my travels and my presentations, I was constantly challenged or confronted with the bundle of contradictions that is called Nigeria. And on one or two occasions my moral credentials as an ethical crusader were even called to question: Why, they said, would a Nigerian living in such a morally bankrupt society (as was seen portrayed in their recent elections), come here to teach or preach to us about good governance, leadership, integrity, ethics or responsibility? “He should be told to go back home and preach to his people, for charity begins at home!”
I was derided and lampooned for coming from a tribe of fraudsters, internet scammers, treasury looters, drug pushers and election riggers. I went around with my head bowed low, bearing the burden of our national disgrace. I felt humiliated not by the acquaintances and adversaries in Singapore or Hawaii, but by our own autochthonous conquerors whose greed for money and lust for power have pushed the country into a state of acrimonious poverty and social dislocation that have assumed the moral equivalence of war – a state of affairs where illegality is the norm, where criminality is handsomely rewarded, and where gangsters and bandits call the shots and set the tone.
Yet as a man of faith, I am convinced that our fate, the destiny of our dear nation, is not entirely in the hands of these warlords. My faith tells me that the court jesters shall not have the last laugh. I know for sure that soon, very soon, we shall be liberated from these criminals, these gangsters, these usurpers. The transformation shall come about either by design or by default, such as the aftermath of a general systems collapse that appears imminent to me. But it shall surely come about, for as presently constituted, the superstructure we have in place is only a pack of cards. It will soon come crashing down!