Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Politics of "Substitution by Elimination"

Early hours of Tuesday morning, the news broke that the 2007 Action Congress Ogun state gubernatorial candidate, Chief Dipo Dina has been murdered. ‘DD-Direct’, as he’s fondly called by his political admirers, was shot through the windshield of his car near Covenant University in Otta.

Just as the nation battles to wriggle its way out of the current constitutional quagmire, created by the indiscretion of an indolently selfish president, we witnessed yet another ‘political-motivated’ killing of a humble and distinguished politician.

The gruesome murder of Dipo Dina is not the first of its kind. We have an endless list of politicians that have been sacrificed on the altar of political machinations. Sadly all of these cases remain unresolved. I recall the killing of the former Justice Minister, Chief Bola Ige. Up till now, no one has been found guilty of his murder. In fact, one of the suspects, who is a serving Senator, won his Senatorial elections while undergoing investigation in Police detention.

I would say that political-motivated killing is one of the legacies of past repressive military regimes. But unfortunately, the current political leaders have claimed this legacy as an inheritance – albeit with greater zeal! Whilst past military regimes were notorious for killing people with dissenting political views in order to strengthen their grip on power, the current politicians are now engaged in what is known as do-or-die politics. But if the sole aim of public office is to serve, why does anyone need to go the extreme of killing his/her political opponent? Why the need for this sort of desperation? Why can’t we practice politics without bitterness? What is it about this ‘do or die’ politics?

The students of the ‘do or die’ school of politics can be broadly divided into two main classes. The fundamental principle of the school remains the same, however the modus operandi of the students differ. The first class is made up of students who subscribe to the theory of ‘substitution by elimination’, as seen in the case of Dipo Dina. Their target is to substitute their opponent by eliminating him from the face of the earth. The second class consists of students who believe in doing all it takes to perpetuate themselves in power. Such people see political office as a family/birth right, even if it means they need to be permanently plugged to a ‘life support machine’ to remain in office.

But can anyone plant cassava and expect to reap cocoyam? What can we expect from an electoral system that is bereft of transparency or fair play? A system designed to reward thuggery, rigging and all forms of violence. A system designed to ensure that the incumbent perpetuates himself in office. A system that ensures that the winner take all. A system designed to disenfranchise its citizens.

As usual, the vice-president has given an order to the Inspector-General of Police, Ogbonna Onovo, and other security agencies in the country to fish out those behind the hideous murder of Dipo Dina. But as my friends will say, na today? We are sick and tired of the lip service the govt pays to security of lives and properties. The govt’s record in investigating this type of cases is appalling. And it’s not just political-motivated killings. Every year, hundreds of lives are lost to religious violence. However, none of the security agencies can categorically tell us who the perpetrators of these crimes are. So how will Dipo Dina’s case be any different? How can the VP convince Nigerians that Dipo Dina will not just be another statistical figure?

Everyday, the Nigerian media is awash with bad news. The nation has now become an extension of Hollywood box office. It is suffice to say that the suffering masses are now film watchers, waiting for the next box office hit. The media, who should be at the forefront of informing and sensitising the public, have become armchair “movie critics”. We now have newspaper editors who are paid ‘script writers’ – thanks to brown envelopes. And with the likes of Ojo Maduekwe, Michael Aondoakaa, and Dora Akunyili, the movie producers can never be short of actors/actresses.

I refer to the famous biblical verse “Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth?” (John 1:45-46). Most of my non-Christian friends may not be familiar with the quoted bible verse; however this nine-word sentence aptly describes my feeling about the current trend of political events in Nigeria.

So if I may ask, can anything good come out of Nigeria?

1 comment:

akaBagucci said...

sad one again man... wither Nigeria?