Month: July 2016

25 Jul 2016

The Psychology of Settling

When you study the history of electioneering in Nigeria since 2003, you will discover that there is a recurring trend. That trend is called “settling”.

In the Nigerian Presidential election of 2003, Gani Fawehinmi was one of the Presidential aspirants. He was a man who people loved and who had a great record when it came to standing for what’s right. Yet when the results were announced, he had just 0.41% of the total votes compared to PDP’s Olusegun Obasanjo who won 61.94% of the votes to win a reelection.

In the 2007 election, Pat Utomi looked like he had something upstairs. He contested at a point in our national history when Nigerians were saying they were tired of politicians and needed technocrats and people who had the know-how when it came to the workings of a democracy. Pat Utomi should have been a shoo in going by this national body language. But he was only able to get 0.14% of the votes compared to PDP’s Umar Musa Yar’Adua who won 69.82% of the total votes to emerge President.

In 2011, there was a nationwide delusion. Nuhu Ribadu, the face of anti-corruption then stood no chance against PDP’s Goodluck Jonathan.

In 2015, while some Nigerians were torn between choosing the PDP or APC, others agreed that Kowa Party’s Remi Sonaiya would represent a shift from the old order of recycling and mergers to a new order of competence and accountability. But again, Remi Sonaiya of Kowa was able to get 38, 076 votes compared to APC’s Buhari’s 15, 424, 921 votes.

What I am trying to show is that we have made settling an habit. We always know who can get the job done, who can be a new face compared to the old ones we have been seeing since 1960, but somehow we always manage to convince ourselves that those people won’t stand a chance. Before long it spreads, we start hearing: “Dat man for change dis kontri o, but he no fit win. If to say he dey APC.” Or “Dat woman sabi o, you no hear how she dey answer questions? But she no fit win. If to say she dey PDP now.” And like that, we convince ourselves and those around us that those better alternatives don’t stand a chance. And true to our predictions, those better alternatives go on to lose, resoundingly.

Now there is a psychological warfare at play here and it has been on for sometime now. It’s the same psychology that politicians used to win elections in time past. It’s the same psychology behind: “Whether we vote or not, dey don sabi who go win.” And so we sit at home and refuse to vote and with our refusal to vote elect men undeserving of that position.

But 2015 was an eye-opener. Misguided as the activities of the 2015 elections are shaping up to be, there are still lessons to be learnt from it. In 2015, the same politicians who had been waging this psychological war on us tried to awaken public consciousness by drawing attention to that war. There were jingles asking people to vote. There were adverts disabusing people’s minds of that notion of “whether we vote or not, dey don sabi who go win.”

The effect was startling. People voted and stood by their votes at a time when the nation was so on edge that some were running to neighboring African countries to escape the post electoral violence they were certain would occur. People slept at polling boots. People used torchlights to count votes. All over the country, voters defied the “normal”, defied the sun, went without food and helped usher in what they were certain was a new era.

Now, that psychological warfare is a two-faced war. We may have won one when we flung out the “Whether we vote or not, dey don know who go win” anthem, but the other side of that war is yet to be won. Until we fight and win that war, we will never truly have who we want in power. We will keep on settling.

Instead of giving up on who we think can get the job done because they are not running on the platform of a popular party, how about we support them because we know they are capable. How is it that we are trying to break free of the PDP and APC stranglehold and yet we still wish our preferred candidates ran on the platforms of those parties? How is it that we want to go to Canaan but we keep pining for the things of Egypt?

The reason why politicians who run on the platforms of these known parties win is because their political platforms manage to convince the people that the “battle” is between just two parties and that a vote for any other party asides those two is a vote wasted. From then on, the people begin to feel trapped between the devil and the deep blue sea. They begin to feel that they have to choose between two devils and must choose the lesser devil.

But that is psychological warfare at play. To fight and win this second phase of the war, electorates must vote who they think is best no matter the odds stacked against him/her. You will find out that millions of people feel the same way about the person. Politicians win because people vote for them. Without people, they are not better than the ordinary man on the street.

This second phase of psychological warfare will not be shouted from campaign podiums or ring from campaign jingles; it is the ruling class’ (regardless of party) weapon of mass disillusionment. The only way to win this war is to unlearn the lies we have been told about how “The woman no fit win. If to say she dey APC.” or “The man sabi o, but he no dey PDP.” We must stay true to ourselves. We must ditch the herd mentality of “Na PDP my grand papa and grand mama dey vote for tete.” Or “Na APC my fiance dey support o” and just be true to ourselves. The better alternatives can only become better choices when we give them a fighting chance in our heads. The moment we write them off as doomed-to-fail in our heads, we will only be playing into the hands of the psychological warlords bent on preying on our gullibility.

When those of us who know refuse to settle for lesser devils, our thoughts, our actions will spill over and affect the psyche of those on the streets. Did PDP not share money in 2015? Did that stop anything? Forget the “no power can stop an idea whose time has come” thing; the “idea” that won in 2015 has been around since 2003, why didn’t it fly before 2015? It’s because before 2015, the people were still held captive by the manipulations of the “whether we vote or not, dey don sabi who go win” psychological war. A victory over that psychological manipulation ushered in a totally radical way of viewing things and influenced the actions of the electorates in 2015.

That second phase must be won too to allow for the emergence of a new order separate from the familiar faces that have been around our political space since 1960. It is a victory that must be won in our minds first before spilling over to influence our actions and that of those around us.

18 Jul 2016

Dissecting The 2013 Egypt Coup and Turkey Failed Coup

Friday in the Muslim world is a very sacrosanct day that affords the faithful opportunity to congregate and share thoughts.

As for the Friday 15th of July, 2016 it was indeed a dark one as some elements within the Turkish military forces planned to topple the democratically elected government in the country.

The reality was that the coup hit a brick wall courtesy of the masses resolve to move massively against the military forces who had announced a takeover of government on that faithful day. The fall out from the failed coup was massive as well with over 200 people reportedly killed while about 1,500 sustained injuries following confrontations between the forces and the defending masses.

On the other hand, there is currently a massive purge of military officials who have been involved in the purported usurpation of power while about 6,000 arrests have been made.

The judiciary is also not left out of the purge as over 2,000 judges have been removed apparently in a bid to institute a reform process in the judiciary which will block a reoccurrence of such senseless act against a democratically elected President in the country.

This is because Turkey does not have capital punishment laws against acts of treason by individuals against the state. That the constitution will be reviewed is certain when viewed from the outcome of this ugly incident.

Recall that the president some few days to the attempted coup through the judiciary gave more powers to the military apparently to secure the nation’s territory from wanton act of terrorism that had engulfed the country in recent past.

Let me stop there for now as my intention ab-initio was to dissect the reasons behind the successful Egypt coup of 2013 whereby the first Democratic government in the country led by Mohammed Morsi was toppled and why the Turkey’s version few days ago was unsuccessful even though the two Muslim countries share similar religious sentiment.

Mohammed Morsi was democratically elected in  Egypt following the 2011 Arab Spring protest which saw the end of Egypt’s maximum ruler, Hosni Mubarak. Due to Morsi’s Pro Islamic tendencies, he was tagged as a threat to western secularism and democracy.

He was removed by General Abdulfatah Al Sisi after massive protests from the masses who were sceptical about Morsi’s posture which they believe was tilting towards a more religious Egypt. Thus, the masses rejected a government they had elected through the ballot just because of some uncertain sinister motive.

Once again the masses had their way and for me there are more angle go that. The believe that a new bloc that will challenge western hegemony had emerged hence their grip of the Middle East and by extension the Muslim world will slip away in no time is a factor to note. The west supported the military regime to topple the first democracy in Egypt a system they had always preached and even financed across the globe. It thus means that democracy is good for the people when it favours the west and it is bad when there are tendencies it won’t satisfy their selfish interest.

The social media as usual played a vital role in mobilising the masses against Morsi. While its use during the “Anti-Morsi” campaign was successful same could not be said of the failed coup in Turkey as it was a story of a different stroke for a different folk.

So what has changed between 2013 that Egypt’s Morsi was toppled and 2016 that Turkey’s Recep Erdogan was unable to be toppled?

A lot has changed. The Turkish are now more conscious of their freedom than being a stooge to some foreign conspiracies and this could be viewed from the Egypt scenario as nothing has changed since the unpopular government of Al Sisi took over. There have been growing insecurity and human right abuses with many opposition politicians and journalists now behind bars.

As for Turkey, the government of Erdogan had been accused of the aforementioned challenges in Egypt as well and had been tagged as having Pro Islamic tendencies like Morsi thereby bringing to disrepute Turkey’s secular leanings as championed by the father of modern Turkey, Kemal Atatürk. But the fact that the masses wanted him is an indication that the mandate of the people cannot be compromised.

The West should note this as more people are getting acquainted with their ploy day by day. Though they have distanced themselves from the sponsors of the coup in Turkey, the role they played in the toppling of the Morsi government leave many in doubt as to their resolve against Erdogan who shares similar sentiment with the latter.

The same social media that was used to rally support against Morsi was employed by Erdogan to reclaim his mandate from the invading marauders who had come in the form of military forces. The masses took to their feet having been mobilised by President Erdogan who urged them to picket the streets and airports to defend their mandate.  No doubt the president is popular among them even after he had been accused of plans to destroy Turkey’s secular posture.

Turkish cleric and businessman, Fethulah Gulen was accused by the Turkish government of influencing the coup attempt following successive plots aimed at pitching his followers against the government of Erdogan while latest document obtained by Arab TV channel Al Jazeera showed names of 80 top government officials who would have taken power had it been the coup was successful.

For posterity sake those behind the coup attempt be it local or foreign should learn to respect the people’s mandate which is the core principle of democracy. The Turkish government has called for the extradition of Gulen who had been on exile in the US. Such a decision should be respected by the US if after investigation the man is found to be guilty.

Other leaders from across the world should learn from Turkey’s Erdogan because had it been he is not popular among the masses, he would have been left alone to carry his cross. Such popularity however do not come from an impoverished masses, it comes from an empowered ones.

 

15 Jul 2016

Ending The Cycle of Madness: Reexamining The Third Option

I voted President Buhari in the last election. But no, it wasn’t because I thought he could change anything; I have never seen him as anything but a living and breathing disaster. I voted for him because I overrated the ability of Nigerians to think and reason correctly.

My thought was that if President Buhari failed (as I knew he would), Nigerians would sit, think, and consider a “third option”. That was what birthed my THIRD OPTION crusade. I wrote then that the problems of this country are systemic and will never be solved by mere electoral gimmicks and reforms, but by a revolutionary third force.

As at that time, PDP had ruled. A Yoruba man had been President. A southerner had been President. My thought was that if a northerner and a product of the merger became President and failed too like the ones who came before him, Nigerians would see that Nigeria’s problems surpass an APC, PDP, North, South thing and unite to birth a third option that will painstakingly erode the old order, end this current shitstem that glorifies looters and celebrates lawless leaders and establish a new order where illegality and the madness that characterised the old shitstem can no longer thrive. But I was wrong.

We don’t think. It is said that when a man is pushed to the wall, he will turn back and fight. Not Nigerians. We will bang our head against that wall and keep bleeding instead of turning back to fight. We don’t think. Baba Fela was right to have described us all as zombies. We have handed over our brains to political and religious leaders.

Look, Nigeria has bigger problems than Buhari, APC, PDP or the north. We are suffering from systemic failures resulting from a system that harbours countless social contradictions. You don’t patch up systemic failures this pronounced; you either rise to end the system or continue in the four-year electoral delusion, hoping things would change only to discover that they won’t.

Come 2019, President Buhari will either be reelected or somebody else will become President. We will restart the cycle of hope and right before our eyes see it dashed like before. We will come on Facebook and our blogs and write beautiful grammar about how we have been let down and how we have to wait till 2023. We will console ourselves with: “Your voters card is your power. If he fails, we will remove him too.” But we lie.

How many failures do we have to witness before we become old and grey and leave a horrible country for our children? It is delusional to think that any real power lies in that voters card. The real power lies in our ability to think and take unpopular steps.

Our search for sanity in the midst of these chaos will yield no fruit until this shitstem is torn down. Until then, we will continue to elect the same folks under different party names. Party names will change. Slogans will change. Emblems will change. Portfolios will change. But what will remain constant is the suffering and groaning of the ordinary people.

The children of the ordinary people will continue to get crumbs and continue to be offered 23, 000 naira jobs for 2 years while the children of the illegal beneficiaries of this shitstem will continue to get backdoor appointments to CBN, FIRS, etc. Ordinary people have no future under this shitstem. Their only hope for a better life lies in the struggle for a new system where merit, equality, freedom are more than mere words on paper.

We must end this cycle of madness. It has gone on for too long. Some people have been singing “e go better” since 1960. E never better o. Some people have been voting since 1960, chanting slogans, “HOPE xxx”, “TRANSFORMATION XYZ”, “CHANGE ABC”. But nothing has changed. Nothing has been transformed. When will we wake up to see the insanity that we have embraced for far too long? When are we going to open our eyes to see the hopelessness of our hope? There is no future for ordinary people under this shitstem; their only shot at a better tomorrow is to end this shitstem.

As long as this shitstem lives, the dreams of ordinary people will remain buried. The death of this shitstem is the only force capable of rolling away the stone from the mouth of the tombstone where their dreams and aspirations lie buried. This cycle of madness has gone on for long enough; the time to end it is now.


error: Content is protected !!