Saturday, August 15, 2015 9:57 am
By Osuolale Alalade.
It’s a long time trudging on this route to what is undoubtedly one of Nigeria’s most desired public good. This is the goal to found a relatively corrupt free nation. The threat of Buhari’s fight against corruption was the main substantive contention of the presidential campaign. In the aftermath of his victory at the polls, the main challenge as he begins to concretize his vision has been sustaining the integrity of his mantra of raising up, or even resuscitating, a nation rendered prostrate by powerful and corrupt forces from the dust as a requisite of laying solid foundations for a more secured future for all. Unable to challenge the legitimacy of Buhari’s change charge, the option of reactionary forces arrayed against his progressive vision has been intense probings to blunt the potency of the instruments or the mechanics of the planned change.
Given the emerged dynamic between the forces of change and deeply entrenched reactionary status quo elements, the challenge is to design modalities of a nationally validated struggle for change. At the same time and more importantly, the real struggle is to secure the buy in of status quo forces on how to prosecute the war against their very entrenched regimes. In other words, how do you build a national consensus, including the approval of the same key forces of the ancien regime on the process to sanitize the dirty and odious Augean stable?
As Hercules knew, the job of cleaning an Augean stable inevitably entails getting dirty and smelly. This unflattering attribute of leading radical change or shifting tectonic plates has to be read literally. For Buhari, this presents a paradox in that a democratic Buhari must somehow draw from the steely character of the old Buhari, if he is to outsmart and out last the many disingenuous shackles placed in the path of sanitizing Nigeria. These impediments include the much vaunted call for respect for due process and nuanced instigations to be mindful of ethno-regional sensibilities in his approach to unearthing the mountains of stinking accretions of national rot. These are the key distillations one may make out from recent controversial goodwill representations to the President by important extra constitutional structures and from publically issued communiques by highly respected spokespersons of key constituencies and stakeholders in relation to the important social re-engineering of the ethical and moral underpinnings of a reformed Nigeria assured of a more worthy future.
In the current circumstances, there is nothing new in the intense jousting of special elite interests, notwithstanding the attendant confusing contortions that only forge additional dilemmas for Nigeria’s contemporary change impulses. They come in the wake of one and half decade of systemic rot that was validated only by recourse to the mindless exploitation of the universally acknowledged intrinsic legitimacy of every democratic order. Yet, in light of the characteristics infused in Nigerian democracy, some would say that that brand of democracy was more of a nationally ordained orderly systemic rot-a la Chabaz. The pervasive pus from the open national abscess has defined Nigeria’s national life, with few periodic interregnums of short lived potential goodness in the Nigerian historic placements.
These interregnums in the final analysis also constitute another layer of paradoxes as exceptional moments of hope in the tortuous history of Nigeria. The interruptions here do not refer to the opportunistic interventions of the military that have been self serving and now have created a new political class of heavily loaded status quo forces. Essentially then, the social construction of the Nigerian state and the constitution of its elites allude to its badly compromised military, a decadent political class, a false and exploitative salvation peddling pastoral mercantilists. These ubiquitous tormentors of the nation are complemented and underwritten by a circle of comprador barons of an oppressive economic realm that emanate from their rank.
In the context of Buhari’s proposed change the interests of all these forces converge to pose significant threats to any radical regime change of the type that is required to unlock the chains that bound to earth the future of Nigeria’s ultimate public good. In meeting this historic challenge of radical realignments of the foundations of Nigeria’s national process and its overall moral coordinates, President Buhari has company across time and space. These experiences in other climes offer stark options and lessons in building a compass to navigate the unfolding elite contrived impasse.
One lesson of history, one thing for certain, is that Buhari cannot come to this historic equity for Nigeria’s future aspiring to emerge in sparkling clean hands. It is a dirty and smelly business to dislodge entrenched conservative forces anywhere. Buhari’s change omelet has to break eggs!! As the saying goes, he must also do it knowing that it cannot be done. Meanwhile, Buhari must change the protocols of the Nigerian time space for all. Some pray to live in interesting times like this. It is definitely interesting to watch the disparate elite interest jousting from a distance. But it also helps to seek to explore the deeper ramifications of the many sudden interventions by emerging ostensible goodwill forces to provide remedial courses to a born again democrat in the person of the President on the technicalities of the rule of law and due process in the prosecution of the change mantra, specifically on how to structure and tailor the modalities of what is intended as a robust counter offensive against an entrenched force forever poised for the eternal ruination of the Nigeria project.
The visit of the General Abdulsalami Abubakar and his auto mandated National Peace Committee curious creation to President Muhammadu Buhari is very notable. The decision of their Peace Committee to become a permanent feature on the national landscape raises a number of issues that recall questions dogging Nigeria’s history so far. Why is a peace committee needed at this juncture in the nation’s life? Yes, there are security challenges that pre date the Buhari administration. As far as is known, the peace committee has not infused in itself the role of bringing an end to the bloody assaults of the mad men in the North East. As Nigeria gradually gets the handle over this curse, we are able to face other more sinister and devastating but less dramatic forces with destructive impact on the very integrity of the Nigerian project that is today responsible for the total denudation of the ethical foundations of state and society. The crisis that Nigeria faces today relates to the containment of this deep systemic sore that has infected all facets of national life and dangerously compromised the future of the nation. Some quantifiable impact of this national decadence may be cited here.