What if the systems just don’t work? Part 1.
I generally like to say “I told you so”. It is one of the many flaws in my character. This time however, I say it with a bit more gravity and humility than before. In the run up to the last general elections, I was often drawn into the dichotomous public discourse about who the better candidate was for Nigeria’s top job was. On the few occasions I chose to engage by saying my piece, I got the same reaction each time- a very weird mix of disdain, pity and incredulity. Few people could understand why a right thinking, well-meaning Nigerian wouldn’t just take a side: continuity vs change.
It was difficult for me to articulate at the time, but I think as things have progressed, my argument has gotten clearer though I’m not sure that my detractors on either side will be any more convinced of my point now. If anything, in my very casual observation of the Nigerian political space, its key players, analysts and commentators, I’ve seen that the arguments have only heated up; divisions are deeper, associations more fragile and utterances extremely toxic and inciting.
It all makes me wonder, will we ever learn? Is anyone taking notes? Are we even paying any attention? In our illusory quest for utopia, have we allowed ourselves to be deceived by bigots and charlatans spouting hollow promises that they neither have the will nor capacity to deliver? Those who clamored for continuity have no plausible explanation for the mindless misappropriation of our collective resources by the last administration. Beyond ethnic sentiments and frenzied clutching at skeletal progress in some fields, they all sound hollow.
Those ardent believers in the proponents of change, the fiery group who staged a quite miraculous uprising, setting history in the process haven’t fared any better really. One wonders how long they can hide behind inheriting a toxic, cataleptic government. Their supporters are finding it more difficult with each passing day to explain why all challenges notwithstanding, there just seems to be no ‘clarity’ about where we are going. There are so many other loopholes in terms of people and strategy…the opposition have quickly honed their skills in pointing this out.
To the ‘neutral’ observer, the ‘bystander’ it all looks so crazy. If it weren’t so sad, it might have been comical. As far as I can see, we’re being set up for a vicious cycle. And this brings me back to my initial question…what if the systems we are looking to don’t work? What if candidates and parties and manifestos and agendas are all a hoax? Or to be less dramatic, what if they are grossly inadequate to address the sort of problems we face as a nation? To borrow an analogy, it often feels to me like we keep prescribing mild analgesics for a patient with a brain tumour!
So I’m just going to come out and say it: I don’t believe that socio-political systems have the capacity to solve Nigeria’s problems! We have allowed ourselves to be divided along lines of empty monikers and useless social contraptions conceived in the minds of people who may have been well intentioned, but perhaps lacked the depth of knowledge required to address true human problems. This might be a bitter pill to swallow but anyone open to having an honest conversation will see that there is a sound argument here.