Written by Sunny Lawrence-Oputa
It was the famous poet, Robert Burns that said, “Man’s inhumanity to man, makes countless thousands mourn.” Inhumanity is callousness, deprivation, oppression or an ungodly act of one man to another. It is an epitome of cave-man’s mentality; a dysfunctional behavior that should be shunned in any civilized society. Therefore, the brutality that encompasses politics in most African nations, especially Nigeria is gruesome and points the arrow backward towards primitivism. This incessant and wanton killing of politicians in Nigeria by their rivals or opposition groups has culminated to a culture of extreme cannibalism, and should be strongly condemned by every right thinking person.
Four days after Chief Funso Williams, the assassinated People Democratic Party (PDP) governorship aspirant was laid to rest, the assassins dagger expired the life of another PDP gubernatorial aspirant by name of Dr. Ayodeji Daramola. Before, these recent massacre of souls in Nigeria’s political field, there have been plethora of politicians who have been cut down in the prime of their life. Chief Bola Ige, the former Attorney General of the Federation was one of them. The frequency at which these mayhem are been perpetuated is seriously truncating Nigeria’s road to representative democracy. Instead of growing into a modern day democracy where the people are allowed to speak, and determine who rules or not, this most populous African nation is turning into a political abattoir where power lies in the bullet of the assassins by the instructions of their masters who benefits from these orgy of blood.
This new wave of hacking political opponents down in order to eliminate opposition and grab power is not novel to the political system of this giant of Africa. However, the rate at which these gruesome murders are committed has become alarming and prompts for quick intervention by the Nigerian government. There should be a new paradigm which must be humane enough to give credence to the true meaning of politics and showcase Nigeria as a democratic nation. It has become germane for Nigerians to reconsider their steps whether they are working towards the realization of representative democracy or gearing towards ‘mobocracy’.
Democracy is not cannibalism or Nazism. It is neither fascism nor machiavellism. In the simplest term, politics whether in government, institutions or corporate organizations is a way by which decisions are made within a group. Democracy itself as propounded in the ancient Greece, and during the Declaration of American Independence by Thomas Jefferson in 1776 to the present day, is a system of rule in which power belongs to the people, and they have the right to elect those that will rule them and also have the ability to revoke or annul the powers given to their representatives.
By these incessant mayhem, the noble game of politics in Nigeria is deviating into a macabre dance meant for only jingoes, butchers and gladiators. Good spirited people- gentlemen and ladies who would have loved to be involved in the politics of their nation are been silenced out of the game for the fear that they might be killed unnecessarily. The dearth of good people in the Nigeria’s body polity may not only drain the quality of its human capital, but will usher in bunch of mediocre into the system. This will definitely hamper the social, political and economic development of that country.
The perpetrators of this reckless waste of human lives in Nigeria are mere canals ruled by avarice and hubris. Over ambitious men, suffering from “macbethian” syndrome, who wants to grab power without going through the necessary steps. In same class of politicians orwannabee are those that absolute power has corrupted and intoxicated.
The people of Nigeria have kept silent enough. They have to speak out and work against this apparent inhumanity. Wole Soyinka, the Nigerian Nobel laureate in literature must have envisioned such calamitous situation when he said that “the man dies in him that keeps silent in the face of oppression.” Avraham Yehoshua, a Jewish writer in his recent book ‘A Woman in Jerusalem’ said ‘when there is no humanity, the man dies.” Oppression and inhumanity are like a hydra-headed monster that should be opposed.
Nigerians have to be empowered to stand up against this oddity. As Nigeria prepares for the next political dispensation, the atmosphere requires to be deodorized and the stain of blood in the political fabric of this oil rich nation washed anew. Those dirty linens must be taken to the laundry by the people and government of Nigeria. The nation can do better than sit on the fence; waiting until God intervene. For sure God will intervene because He abhors unrighteousness. If those agents of human destruction have imbibed similar philosophy like Nietzsche who declared that God is dead and does not see, then they better be told that it is only a fool that will say , there’s no God. God is alive and all seeing and will surely judge the quick and the dead.
Apart from the current war against corruption in Nigeria, the Obasanjo government has another war to fight. It is war against indiscriminate political assassination. The government has to come out with a strategy and a road map to nib this ugly situation at the bud. If the first rocket must be launched, this is the time. Delay or dilly-dallying over this will eventually wreck the boat of the nation towards modern democracy. Nigeria’s already battered human right status will be worsened and this might etch an indelible stain on its global image. The government of Olusegun Obasanjo should reinforce the country’s homeland security through the internal affairs ministry.
There should be collaboration between a homeland security unit, state police departments and all communities in order to achieve this onerous task. The government should empower the people by organizing village and town hall meetings in order to raise awareness and make its stand clear concerning the prevailing situations. Having urgent meeting with all political party leaders , delegates from all states and local government , police chiefs should be one of the steps the government could initiate to stop these cancer of political assassination from spreading. Hopefully, these measures would help to curtail this new tribe of political butchers and clean the malodorous pool of blood they have spilled.
Sunny Oputa is a Senior Fellow and a Political Analyst.