Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Now that we have all become politicians, By Favour Afolabi

Published:

Favour Afolabi

“…Yet in the midst of all of these is a very duplicitous trend – the holy and uncontestable opinions shared and published by Pius & Co cannot be said to be “neutral or altruistic or simply in favor of the Nigerian cause” rather they soon dovetail into propaganda that would eventually support the opposing politicians/political parties/political movements that would run against the PDP – this same thing happened in 2011 as they majorly aligned behind Buhari/CPC/the failed alliance talks as they would do in again in 2015 behind the same Buhari/the newer and possibly aspiring lieutenants like Fashola, El-Rufai, Ribadu, Tambuwal/the being-hatched APC merger directions; these opinions are not really apolitical – the ideas as it was before the 2011 polls is to heat up plenty of tension under Goodluck Jonathan so that “by the time they are done with him” his already battered reputation would have been shredded to the point that even his Wife would consider not voting for him – this they would do as they these same “Saintly Checkers of Corruption in Nigeria” would refuse to speak of the reputations and antecedences of some of the politicians that are currently gathering around the proposed APC merger – they won’t alarm the polity that they claim to love to equally be weary of these politicians – why would they? When the enemies of their enemy is automatically their friend – why would they when they care more about removing PDP from Aso Rock that they care about the integrity of the process that brings that about – haven’t some of these same “erudite scholars” practically called for “Forced Revolutions” in recent history?

With this excerpt from my rejoinder to Pius Adesanmi’s last article, let me welcome you to this article and also congratulate the conveners of the KickOut Siddon Look campaign, using the same opportunity to welcome them into the fray of “Professional Politics in Nigeria”. Now that they have launched this very ambitious plan to gather five million signatures that would nominate the credible politicians that can replace Goodluck Jonathan in 2015 [my own words], they have finally revealed to the whole world that the theory I propounded in the said rejoinder as captioned in my introductory excerpt above was completely accurate – that they are not apolitical – rather that they are a group of supposed intellectuals who would eventually convert the following they have garnered; and would possibly continue to amass while writing and pushing populist articles all over the web, directed at Nigerians at home and abroad into a formidable base that they would eventually deliver to some other politicians in the hope of having such persons become the “new tenant” in Aso Rock by 2015.

But before I continue here, let me use this opportunity to mention what has happened in the last 72 hours being the sort of reactions that I have received due to the rejoinder that I did to the last article by Pius Adesanmi. I have another confession here – I must have completely underestimated the popularity and following “The Prof” has – “a rejoinder to my rejoinder” published on Sahara Reporters, was done by a certain Peter A. Oshun from London to express concerns that ranged from me overshooting “what should have been a rejoinder” to “painting the Nigerians in Diaspora in a bad light”.  Those same opinions have been variously shared on my Facebook wall; by many other commentators who also raised the issue on their own walls as well; while some have chastised me that I shouldn’t have done the rejoinder in the first place; even as others have suggested that I was suffering from “inferiority complex” since I have not been able to secure a visa to live abroad. Some others mentioned that I was seeking cheap attention by latching on to the popularity already enjoyed by the prof; just as others questioned the intellectual sagacity and temerity that I possess to challenge the Prof since I only possessed a Nigerian Polytechnic degree [laughs]. Well, to such people, let me inform you that I would be starting a law degree later this year and would gladly employ you in my current businesses when you need a job in one of the enterprises that I have built without a college degree!

In all of these drama, Professor Pius Adesanmi has been tactical enough to have the foot soldiers take me on rather than for he – the General to engage a supposed Lilliput as myself in direct combat. He has shunned all the name tags I placed on Facebook to have his comments on my rejoinder which must number at least 20 as at the last count. He has pretended as though he didn’t notice my comments on his other status messages on his wall. He has shunned two separate emails that I sent to him, copied to Sahara Reporters editors, in which I shared with him the contents of another email by Soni Akoji where he had confided in the fellow that “I must be one of those detractors that he might want to bother gratifying with a response” [not his exact words], in which I responded to him that there was no way I could be his detractor since he was effectively an “unknown entity” to me considering that I had hardly read any of his articles before the one  I did a rejoinder to. Well, Prof has now effectively blocked me from viewing his profile on Facebook since he seems to have noticed that “the Lilliput is becoming a giant beyond comprehension” – and it is at times like this that I thank God that “a Nigerian was not given the privilege of creating the Internet/Web or Google or Facebook” because dem for dey say make we dey prostrate for them first before we use am.

This has also become quite a disturbing trend that I have noticed within this polity – the avoidance of debates by our educated elites on social media who only want to shove their opinions down the throats of Nigerians but never want to be available to respond to opposing views on same. These are people who would drop 50 tweets a day knowing that Twitter gives no room per se for extensive debates – most of these guys largely shun Facebook where they would have been able to create a note to receive varying opinions to theirs and when they are on the platform, they would only continue to click the Like button on comments that favor the opinions they have pushed but would never respond to those that critically question their positions. They would rather choose to hide in the cocoon they have created around themselves as guaranteed by media like Sahara Reporters, Premium Times, Nigerian Village Square, etc where they are better guaranteed of a-Yes-it-is-true audience. These are the guys who will quote figures pointing at Government recklessness without providing you with the sources of such numbers. They will then turn around to ask the government to challenge the numbers with contrary evidence – in which court of law does the prosecuting party ask the defense to provide materials to nail the defendant? Yet you must not challenge these numbers or you will be torn to shreds by a cacophony of voices that must silence you so as not to reveal the weak foundations their positions stands upon. Such is the egotistic tendencies of these brand new set of dictators.

When I then noticed that Pius’ name featured prominently on the KickOut Siddon Look campaign, the first thing that occurred to me was “Waow, I must have really touched a sore nerve somewhere” and the next thing I noticed he had shared on his Facebook wall an exhortation of an article by Chiechefulam Ikebuiro published on Sahara Reporters that reads in part:

“…In 2011, I voted for Muhammed Buhari. Almost everybody I know opted for the current president. They asked why I wanted Buhari as president. I pointed to the man’s credibility. I referred to 1984 (even though I was 2 then) when there was sanity in Nigeria, Buhari’s courtesy. The man is not corrupt. Nigeria will not be where she is today if we had men that were not corrupt at the helm of affair. Buhari, would have brought his likes on board.”

Then it all came together – my theory couldn’t be far from the truth – that all these web gragra were always going to dovetail into supporting another candidate against the incumbent President – which is why I believe that the Prof and his colleagues should stop deceiving themselves and other Nigerians that are altruistic activists that there are politically neutral because they are not. The events of 2011 is still very fresh in my mind as the majority of these same group of people were largely on ‘the Buhari/Bakare train’ while a few of them were on the ‘Ribadu/Adeola bus’ – as they were chanted “Nigeria must to better” on the web. They held meetings with politicians; attended campaign events and even in some cases became rallying contractors that mobilized people for these politicians/campaigns even as some of them consulted for Atiku in his failed bid to wrestle the PDP ticket from Jonathan. Many of them and their friends and associates created and ran phony civil society groups that pushed for “Free and Fair Elections”, yet used the base built from such media to canvass the electorate to vote for some candidates. Many of them received financial grants from corporations around the world to push these positions while using the same opportunities to sponsor their own positions – all of these ventures done not to entrench Democracy in Nigeria, not to push Patriotic zeal within the polity but all in a bid to remove “Goodluck Jonathan!”

And here we go again – they want to get five million unsuspecting Nigerians to nominate certain names that I imagine they will to forward to the APC to pick from. And they will join the oncoming platform to push such names all over the web; on the ground – at home and in the Diaspora yet they would insist that they are not politicians, even though they show and display the full characteristics of politicians. They would rather prefer not to be labeled as one as such a description would mess up their good names and reputations which they must maintain to be able to continue to enjoy the support they have always enjoyed from Nigerians. Effectively, they want to enjoy the best of both worlds.

For the love of God – if these guys want to become professional lobbying agencies, they should come out and register such firms to do these and they should go about the business of recruiting clients that they would work for even as I would encourage the public to patronize and receive them as offering a valid service to the polity. This idea of riding on the crest of the huge wave of support they have garnered over the years from Nigerians that have hitherto seen them as being above board in supporting and pushing certain politicians can only be described as duplicitous and completely defeats the ideals that they have always preached within this polity – that of absolute transparency. If you want to become a Politician, borrow a leave from the activist emeritus himself, Gani Fawehinmi. Form a political party or join one. Don’t deceive your followers that you are not one when you are definitely one!

This well orchestrated ambivalence is further worsened by the fact that they will present to the polity other politicians with questionable antecedents similar to the ones they want to replace but would turn a blind eye to that since they are the ones controlling the progressives web community, as they did with Buhari in 2011. They would make sure that debates that would challenge his otherwise dictatorial past; questionable transactions while serving at the PTF; his earlier calls for the islamization of Nigeria; and his alleged rallying calls on his Northern base to protect their votes at all cost were completely discouraged or even silenced and of course made sure the man received so much support after his actions led to the death of 800 Nigerians and loss of properties worth several millions of Naira. They want Buhari to  to remained the hero they had propped him up to be. That has continued up till date. When the man made series of irresponsible comments, the response from these folks has always been: “But, is he not telling the truth now?

In the interim, let me welcome Tunde Fagbenle, Pius Adesanmi, Okey Ndibe, Tunji Ariyomo, Modupe Debbie Ariyo, OBE, Soni Akoji, Ndubuisi Victor Ogwuda, Safiyah Musa, Kingsley Obalola William Ewetuya, Anozie Ebirim, Yommi Oni, et al into the fray of professional politics in Nigeria even as I hope that this time around the financial statements and accounts of this new NGO-based effort would be published on a monthly basis as it receives support from around the world.  And one other thing, I trust that you folks won’t begin to complain or label people sycophants and government contractors when they call for 40 million signatures to support Goodluck Jonathan to run and remain in office by 2015.

At least, now that we have all become politicians within this polity, the activism industry can be said to be effectively dead giving way for the rise of the politics industry.

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