Ibrahim Bala writes,

“Some things must be said, and there are times when silence becomes an accomplice to injustice,“ Ayaan Hirsi Ali said.

What is ridiculous that has not happened in Nigeria does not exist. Nigeria’s political experiment hit its lowest recently. An incumbent CBN governor – Godwin Emefele, in an absolute disregard for legality and morality,audaciously joined the bandwagon of partisan politics to the far extent of obtaining the presidential nomination and expression of interest forms of the ruling party – APC, although through proxies.

With desperation unparalleled in the annals of Nigeria’s nascent Democracy, he approached the court to keep INEC and AGF off his back. Against the backdrop of his prowess in the financial sector, where anything can be bought and sold, he seeks the allowance to eat his cake and keep it. It is no wonder that the CBN governor collaborated with his political associates to politicize the agricultural and other Federal Government interventions, and the Bank of Agriculture and Development Bank became spectators.

Politics is a moniker of “mad money” in present-day Nigeria. The visible, questionable and stupendous wealth amassed by our current crop of politicians, engrossed with perpetuating themselves into power, is enough evidence. Their recurrent actions make it seem like access to political offices is the most lucrative business venture. They see it as a veritable means of financial freedom in the country, unlike in the 60s, during the time of our distinguished-in-governance founding fathers, when it used to be a matter of labour, honour and genuine service to the people and country. 

However, the funniest part of the conspiracy of the political class is the rumoured defection of former president Goodluck Ebele Jonathan from PDP to the ruling APC and subsequent purchase of 2023 presidential nomination and expression of interest form, courtesy of a northern group identified as Miyetti Allah. We look forward to an official discredit of this interesting political episode as Otto Von Bismarck advised, “never believe anything in politics until it has been officially denied”. Like the rumours of “Meffy 2023” being the campaign slogan of the CBN governor before it, which’s now history, the truth will come to light.

The en masse declaration of interest by both performing and non-performing politicians from the two major political parties in the country, the APC and the PDP, is a charade. Any discerning observer would understand that they are two sides of one coin. Regardless of the outcome – head or tail – they win in their battle to capture and control the public treasury for self-aggrandizement. 

There’s no gainsaying the obvious. The overwhelming problems of insecurity, epileptic power, and an economy that has defied the efforts of successive governments say a lot. The monetization of partisan politics, especially by the ruling APC, has brought money to the fore of our political space, while vital virtues like competence, capability and track record have moved to the background.

This party outrageously revalued its presidential nomination and expression of interest forms from N27m in 2015, the “Maigaskiya” rate, to a whooping N100m in 2023, as a means of separating the “men“ from the “boys”. On the rationale behind the mass purchase of the APC presidential nomination form, tell me another easy and legitimate way to “fund” the party within the limits of the electoral act. However, the big question is; which party belongs to the poor Nigerians – the Talakawa? Has the preoccupation of the poor in the electioneering process diminished to only voting and not enjoying votes? 

That’s the travesty and irony of our current political realities, yet we say we are not blind. As the manipulation proceeds with the pilot of the process, the political class favour the selective winners. They manage to give the illusion that they are in government for the people. This idea exists only in the theoretical sense of the definition of Democracy as these politicians are far away from the poor people in practice. In their view, power, despite its transient nature, must reside permanently with them.

The most ironic part of the conspiracy of the political class is that they unite for their permanent interest, lording over our collective heritage and public treasury as they look after and protect themselves. A typical example of their connivance is the mysterious (if reported correctly) defection of GEJ to the ruling APC whilst voters continue to insult and fight one other over the same politicians.

The shenanigans of the political class have shown that they are only interested in power, the allure it brings and the ultimate financial benefit, not serving the people who elected their “majesties”. Which story would the #bringbackJonathan campaigners tell Nigerians? Reminiscent of a former superintendent who looked the other way while some opportunists robbed Nigeria’s resources dry and squandered our opportunities, to the extent that whatever could go wrong went wrong during that era. Nevertheless, are Nigerians out of Egypt? 

It beats one’s imagination that the ruling APC promised us “Change“ and morphed into the “Next Level“, making us think it could deliver genuine democratic leadership and disciplined party politics, especially by denouncing and moderating the heavy monetary focus. The same party has resorted to a ₦100m scramble for the party‘s presidential ticket to the coveted “Villa“ by its stellar members, either as status symbols or indirect donations to the party. This expression doesn’t give one an impression that things have changed, except for the worst. Our society is where the political class continuously recycles poverty for the masses – where the N30K minimum wage is yet to be implemented by some states amid plenty of financial resources to go around.

Despite the abject poverty and insecurity that has bedevilled the north, the northern political elite, dancing alongside some gullible poor, are at the forefront of most of the politicking and political intrigues in the country. The truth is that the northern political capital is a force to reckon with, as the young and the elderly are neck-deep into partisan politics as self-acclaimed custodians. However, the most surprising part is that one would not expect that their unflinching involvement does not translate into the overall economic growth and development of Northern Nigeria.

The region has become farmland for all sorts of vices. Drug abuse, kidnapping for ransom, banditry and the wandering stock of Almajiris as easy recruits, enmeshed in its internal contradictions, self-denial and irretrievably dependence upon power and politics, while other regions like the south-west have transformed into economic power zones. The northern political class could not save the Bank of the North, a collective heritage and financial powerhouse during Soludo’s banking consolidation. 

They claim to have the answers to Nigeria’s problems. For example, we are still experiencing the same epileptic and interrupted electricity supply to households since 1999, after billions of US Dollars, not even Naira, have been spent on power projects, which made PMB ask; where’s the power?

Electricity remains a luxury to poor Nigerians. Quality education has also become the exclusive preserve of the children of the political class. Whenever our political class tells you that they are running to provide social amenities and economic prosperity for all, it’s NOT true. The good news is that the 2023 general election is just around the corner. This piece is a clarion call for patriotic Nigerians to choose wisely for Nigeria’s betterment. Those who do not learn from the conspiracy of the political class and continue to fall for their empty promises would continue wishing for THE COCONUT TO FALL.


Ibrahim Bala is an Alum of PEN Press UDUS (Education Economics’ Class of 2004). He writes at  ibmahmood@yahoo.com

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