Monday, March 22, 2021 12:05 am
By Hope O’Rukevbe Eghagha
Let me from the start alert my readers that today, my chosen topic which carries a question mark ‘Are you the Anointed One’? – has nothing to do with notions and practices of religious zealots, true and/or false prophets, how they milk people, how the people love to have it so and how they sell the ‘anointing’ to gullible followers who are ready to sell off their property to sow a seed! Nor am I interrogating ‘anointing’ from the viewpoint of a benevolent heretic, which I am sure, can lead to perdition or everlasting destruction, not in hell in the orthodox sense which I fundamentally disagree with, but annihilation just like the Boko Haram in Northeast Nigeria and bandit scoundrels of Zamfara, their supporters and their financiers (in and outside government) will suffer at the end of time! How many innocent lives, families have they destroyed?
Today, my focus is on ‘anointed’ persons in the political world, the world of politics in Nigeria and perhaps beyond. Of course, I am a firm believer in the Divine, for which I have no apology, especially now that I have crossed sixty, if I may reference the biblical threescore and ten allocation of life chronology and the implications on my tenancy on earth! So, when I interrogated pastors who buy jets in my essay three weeks ago, it was not out of heretic convictions, or a mischievous attempt to ridicule the holy and the sacred order of things. It was following in the tradition of the Master, the Greater and More Perfect Tabernacle who once picked up a whip and lashed at money-doublers who made merchandise of and desecrated the sacred awe of the temple of the holy One!
As we know, in religious circles, ‘the anointed one’ refers to a ‘special calling from God. In Nigerian politics, it refers to the person whom the powers-that-be have declared should occupy a position, merit or no merit, election or no election! When there is an anointed person, all he needs to do is present himself for election. And pronto! It is done! For the beneficiary, it is sweet. You know, a man who enters a race knowing that all the elements will be mobilized, structured, skewed, manipulated, and deployed in his favour.
To be sure, there are different levels of anointing, whether at the very low level, middle level or the most strategic level in the polity. Anointing is widespread. It is found in religious groups, in the corporate world and in politics. From chairmanship position of the local governments, through Members of House, House of Representatives, Governorship, Senate and the presidency. In our peculiar circumstances, we zone a position to a region, the region zones it to a district, the district then uses other opaque factors to further zone the zoned and somebody emerges. Often, the beneficiary is the product of a godfather, local or national. In the corporate world, an outgoing chief executive could favour one of two or three deputies by ensuring that the Board accepts his successor. An outgoing governor could also want to produce his successor by anointing someone from a particular constituency. It is not always successful, this business of anointing a successor.
Sometimes, a person could become the anointed owing to prevailing circumstances. In other words, certain powerful persons could decide that the fellow in question would serve their interests in power. Also, there could be a misperception of the character of the anointed one, that he would make a difference in the polity. His political value could also be a myth, as recent developments in Nigeria have shown, not all that glitters is gold, gold could take rust too, and it’s easier to say than to do, especially if the anointed one has a hidden agenda! In the Second Republic the UPN hierarchy wanted all governors anointed to run a second term. There was a rebellion by party stalwarts, and the party was not the same again.
In the kind of system that we run the best person may be rejected by the kingmakers. In 1979, the kingmakers in both the exiting military government and the NPN decided that Chief Obafemi Awolowo, easily the best of all the candidates would not get the presidency. Did somebody say that the best candidate did not have to win and when Chief Awolowo died, did someone say that he was the ’best president Nigeria never had? A land of jokers!
We are on the verge of another election and the anointed persons at the national level who have thoroughly messed up the country are preparing to heist power through the ballot box. They have anointed themselves as messiahs. They will anoint governors through the courts, even at appellate levels. They will anoint Senators. They will anoint cows and herds to govern the land. And we shall remain in the dark, except the God who liberated the nation from Abacha’s stranglehold decides to intervene again, for which we pray, and in which we hope. That the real anointing of the next president should come from above, not from men of evil hearts who have a nefarious agenda that has ruined lives!
Are you the anointed one? You know, when some candidates start the campaign for office, they would be asked whether they have been anointed by the powers-that-be. In that equation, the people do not count. It is not a question of who would be acceptable to the people, because in the real sense, the ballot box does not count. Which is a tragedy. The truth is that the doctrine of anointed candidates has not served Nigeria well. Democracy is all about competition on a level ground. In a federal system it is good to work out an arrangement of power sharing. Yet such an arrangement should place premium on competence. A country which chooses a moron or an unhealthy leader over a bright and astute candidate is only digging itself into the mud. It may take another generation to recover from the blight of incompetence, clannishness, and ineptitude. Are you the anointed one? Let the people anoint you. Not the selfish godfathers whose interests may run counter to the common good!
Professor Eghagha can be reached on email@example.com or 08023220393.