Nigeria Election 2015! There have always been some asinine, farcical and insincere features to the politicking and electioneering in Nigeria, even long before the real election times. Nothing has ever been normal or straightforward with politicians; if they are not involved in one corruption scandal or the other; they are involved in bloodletting, mudslinging and what not. It is entirely typical and with my universal experience, has come to realise that this particular trait of “insincere, do-or-die politics” is unique to Nigeria. Please I stand corrected and educated.
If they are only simply “asinine, farcical and insincere”; one might be mildly humorous and take it in one’s stride, but this is not so. It is murderous, and that is what makes it unacceptable and to be abhorred and detested.
Anyway, before I continue, and in order not to be seen to be hypocritical, let me say I am sympathetic towards the opposition All Progressive Congress, APC, so most of what I will be saying, will of course be biased against the ruling People’s Democratic party, PDP. But what I say should be weighed and balance with truth, common sense and sincerity of purpose, because I have no other reason than to say it the way I see it - the truth as I see it, but not necessarily right, since I am a mortal, fallible like everyone else.
In my state of Oyo and in my city of Ibadan in particular, the PDP and its gubernatorial candidate and other aspirants are on a downward trend, and one of the causes of their demise is due to their outright lies, deceit and sincerity in their promises to the people. I listen to their campaign jingles and other electioneering gimmicks, and I could not but help marvel at their inanities, and how their mediocrity shows through every time. I am not even worried by their reputation for insincerity anymore; it is the quality of their deceitful claims.
The PDP jingle on radio stations (I never watch the TV stations), sponsored by an Ibadan daughter who happens to be a junior minister in President Jonathan’s mediocre cabinet, make claims of improved agriculture, an effective, efficient and easily accessible healthcare system, building and reconstruction of roads, empowering of women, improved electricity supply, enhanced, youth employment, refurbished and standard airports and improved rail transportation, etc.
I have absolutely no problem at all these, after all, politicians must say anything to get votes and even the opposition are not immune to such lies too, except that, again, I marvel at how people are wont to believe their own lies, and wallow and exult in it.
My problem with this jingle is the dangling of the carrot of the creation of an Ibadan State, if Mr Jonathan is re-elected. This outright deceit and wrong promise is too much for me to take. With others asking for Oduduwa State in Osun State, and Ijebu State in Ogun State, and who knows how many others such small states to be carved out of the 26 existing states, it becomes pertinent to ask the disseminators of these lies how and why President Jonathan intends to prioritise the creation of an Ibadan State, assuming he can single-handedly do this or push a bill through in the National Assembly, over the others.
We should also ask the Oyo State Coordinator of President Jonathan’s Campaign, what mileage or advantage this will be to the whole people of Oyo State, comprising the Ibadans (and Ibadans now also comprise of almost every other Yorubas, and other tribes in Nigeria), the Oyos, the Ogbomosos, the Ibarapas and the mighty Oke Ogun (the peoples of Iseyin, Shaki, Okeho, etc.) if, as a campaign slogan, she is asking for the Oyo State people to vote for Jonathan, and at the same time telling them that their state will be split up and Ibadan exorcised from the rest of them, giving the Ibadans an advantage, which they already enjoy anyway, as the most populous and most metropolitan and most developed of the people of Oyo State?
I therefore find it very deceitful and condescending to the people of both Ibadan and the encompassing Oyo State to be assailed with such obviously fraudulent political promises and guarantees to get their votes.
But then I figured it out as soon as I know who the Coordinator is. Treachery and trickery, artificiality and grandstanding are not strange to them. Her father, a prominent, yet self-centred son of Ibadan, is likely to be one of the brains behind this creation of Ibadan State. It is an attempt to create an empire for their family. If such an Ibadan State is created in Jonathan’s tenure, you can be sure that the first governor will be this man’s daughter, who is already the junior minister for the Federal Capital Territory (Abuja) and is running the campaign (with billions of Naira) for the re-election of President Jonathan in Oyo State.
The coordinator of President Jonathan’s Campaign in Oyo State is a very brilliant and educated lady. I respect her for that. She was encouraged by her father to go into politics, mainly for what will come to their family as wealth and power, not to serve the people of her constituency, Ibadan. That is a proven label of the father. Her father, who is more like an remote uncle to me (he always addressed my father as “Broda Akinlade”) is a renowned international jurist and lawyer, one of the best Nigeria has ever produced, bright legal mind, a legal luminary of world renown, has always been in one way or time or the other in every government, military or civilian, of Nigeria since independence. He has always been there – twice minister for justice and attorney-general of the federation, representative on international bodies, agencies or organisations, etc. He has never been in any progressive political party in his life, but those that feed on the wealth of the country.
Unluckily for this Ibadan elite and big man, since 1960, one cannot definitely point to a single item in terms of improving and empowering Ibadan indigenes, that our Uncle and any member of his rich family has ever done for Ibadan. His mansion is impregnable and merely looking at the entrance gate will immediately deter any prospective mendicant or anybody seeking his help or connection. The man is a known miser and very self-seeking, only for himself and his immediate family. I am not saying this lightly or to deliberately malign the learned Chief, but ask any Ibadan indigene, and 9 out of 10 of them are likely to agree with me. The man and his family are not well-liked in Ibadan. So it was no surprise that when the same daughter ran for the House of Representatives in the 2011 election, she lost so severely, she lost her deposit.
Then her father persuaded the then Governor, who later became an ex-governor, to nominate her as a minister on President Jonathan’s cabinet, as the nominee from Oyo State. She scaled through, and she is still a minister now. And parenthetically, she is now at bitter logger-heads with the ex-governor that made her position as minister possible, making her an unapologetic ingrate.
Of course, her father is not the only Ibadan elite with similar selfish and covetous traits; rich elites that are more used to taking out of Ibadan and its people than giving back to develop the city. The city is replete with their acquisitive ilk. That has always been the curse of Ibadan. We have so many of them, which make one wonder why the City of Ibadan is so great and famous despite the self-centredness of some of its notable indigenes.
Ironically, Ibadan, let us face it, owes its development, prominence in the world, greatness and even its current and future political, technological, economic and aesthetic sustenance to non-indigenes. As of today, that remains the fact. Look back at the history of the city, and that is what obtained. However, it is a very lucky city, in that every non-indigene wants to be associated with it; wants to live and work and trade in it. Even the white colonial masters preferred to make it their headquarters and this transferred to post-independence prominence in every area of endeavour in Nigeria. This is not to say the Ibadan indigenes are not themselves forward-looking and hard-working or progressive. They are, but the development of Ibadan, which would have been the highest in Nigeria, had been unfortunately held in-check and back, and sometimes sabotaged or truncated, in recent decades due to the self-aggrandisement and egocentricity of these self-absorbed Ibadan elites.
So, this poisoned carrot of an Ibadan State is bound to backfire. It will not work. Yes, I don’t mind an Ibadan State, but what’s the use of having it now; a state that will keep on going to Abuja to beg for a meagre monthly allocation; and because it will not be an oil-producing state, it will be getting pittance; a state that will not be able to stand on its own industrially because of short-sighted and clueless elites; a state whose existing industries are moribund and a lack of political will is not them resuscitate them. I don’t know.
Anyway, since it is a poisoned carrot at the end of the stick, the donkey will never catch up to eat the carrot, so we can conclude that, in the meantime, we are safe from the warped, insidious, invidious plans and chicanery of those who want to create private empires and states for themselves, where their fellow people will be their serfs and servants perpetually or allow them to perpetuate them and theirs in power continually.
Forget it for now. When we have sorted out who our true leaders and elites are, we shall do what is best for us, not what is best for them. The people of Ibadan are not that daft, uneducated and diffident and unaware anymore to be lured by false, insincere and selfish political promises.
Let the Truth be said always.