Hero or Villain

hero or villainRecently I witnessed why we, a great nation in Wonderland; a corrupt nation at heart; and a weakling in reality, continually blaming more serious nations for our inadequacies and military deficiencies, cannot but be right where we are: aimless, voiceless, dying… our legislators collecting exorbitant salaries; our executives looting our treasury, and complicit in the evanescence of our oil; and our Naira falling, in need of 0.5% of the crooks’ take-home pay to stabilise itself, and yet not likely to get it.

For some things do happen ONLY in Nigeria: It is only in Nigeria that a whole ship disappears with oil despite the existence of the Navy, NIMASA, Intelligence services, et al! It is only in Nigeria that BH gets rescued and the military advancement gets scuttled each time we are going to win the war. It is only in Nigeria that our sovereignty is dependent on the US, and her aid– if you ignore Israel, Germany, and, lately, France, that is… First Ebola vaccine, then military weaponry. Why can’t we be self-sufficient in the latter as we were in the former?

We are anti-truth… We are afraid to die for what we believe in, if at all we believe in anything… We are hypocrites criticising others for a trait we all bear, an act we all wear, a flaw we all share… And what is worse? We are not even bothered!

Recently i saw how a class that will not agree to appoint a leader quickly resorts to begging the unwanted one once the villain shows promise of winning. No, they must have the lesser of two evils, if at all they must have evil. It did not matter if the villain could do the job, and do it well. It did not matter if a willing hand was better than a forced mind. It did not matter that they all refused to pick the gauntlet. The villain just must not be appointed, shikenah! Alas, they did not need a hero to rally about, they could do as much rallying against a villain. The point is to rally, after all, and we do that quite well, don’t we?

Quite the same way we have rallied to Buhari despite the uncertainties, despite the insecurities, despite the undeniable flaws… Despite his figurehead past, anti-freedom policies, pro-BH stance. We just must have the (seemingly) lesser of two evils, even if we will yet pay for it.

Recently I saw how a hundred and fifty persons could not organise themselves in credible affiliations to appoint competent officials. How then does one expect sanity in the democracy of a hundred and fifty million? How? If a hundred and fifty people cannot vote for the most competent as the most eligible, if they mistake congeniality for competence, and loyalty for productivity. If they will not speak the truth and be damned.

If Jonathan can be called clueless, liar, thief; but not their president. Oh, their president is a sacred cow, we must not attack his personality, we must not bring him to book; he must not explain why he was firm on the one hand and slack on the other, why stealing is not corruption, and contemptible enough to warrant his dismissal at the polls. Oh, I too am attacking his personality, I s’pose… I better stop.

It doesn’t matter whether he is innocent or guilty, if he is acquittable or culpable, if he actually is unfit for presidency: he has washed the right feet, worshipped the right knees, rubbed the right palms; he has consulted the right wazoo, he must win– his inadequacies not withstanding. Àbí no be so una dey do? Vote the highest bidder, the most rice, the more kerosene, and not necessary his integrity and competence, passion and compassion!

If there is any position where personality, personal values, and judgement are inextricable, it is the presidency. I want to be sure that my president is of sound mind, that he is trustworthy, that he is reliable; that he will not call kettle pot, or spade, shovel. Yes, he has to pay attention even to such minute details. And if in such thorough cross-examination I attack his personality, then I better be so damned. Luckily, I cannot have more enemies as it is, since they have said I have no friends (among them)!

And this is, as they said I would write, “the class I lead”.

We may vote Buhari. We may vote Tambuwal. We may vote Jonathan. But until we change our attitude to truth (and death) as a nation of hypocrites, we remain the suffering masses that we always have been. We remain the prime villain of our own story. Even as none of our politicians is a hero in the true sense of the word.

They are politicians, navigating the tides, doing what is best for themselves, installing their kin, and securing our allegiance at all cost– since we are yet for sale, and our price his hypocrisy.

Ayokunle Adeleye

Ayokunle is a doctor, a writer at heart, his opinions are strong and he wants a better society. Follow him on twitter @adelayok