If as few as 36 highly-placed politicians occupying very high political offices in Nigeria could not conduct themselves with a high sense of integrity to even carry out a credible and dispute-free election, we feared for the general elections.
And so the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) came back as a single group, after two years of inane politics that tore it into two factions and made our country the laughing stock in the art of understanding the basic principles of democracy. Our understanding of simple counting and ‘mental sums’ (as it was called in the primary school days), was called to question.
For about two years, a bunch of megalomaniac governors, driven by their insatiable love and lust for impunity insisted, in spite of clear evidence, that there was a new mathematical theorem which made 16 greater than 19. That theorem was celebrated and given official acknowledgment by Nigeria’s President and Commander-in-Chief, thus giving it the official imprimatur of the government of Nigeria. We complained; we shouted. But the government, the irresponsible governors and, sadly, their ninny followers and supporters, sneered at us, because they thought us too weak to matter where they operated from.
But this week, as we count down to the official commencement of the much touted ‘Change’ that all the while seemed impossible, the prodigal governors represented by Jonah Jang, Godswill Akpabio and Babangida Aliyu shamelessly went back to the mainstream fold, thus admitting that they were all along wallowing in perfidy.
Not that it mattered to us who was heading the NGF, that being nothing more than a social club of state governors, without any legal or constitutional authority or power. What worried us though was the quality and character of those calling the shots as far as our politics goes at the state level. If as few as 36 highly-placed politicians occupying very high political offices in Nigeria could not conduct themselves with a high sense of integrity to even carry out a credible and dispute-free election, we feared for the general elections. If we couldn’t count 36 votes, how were we going to be able to count millions? It was enough to deflate our already sagging image in the international scene.
While the division remained, some of these hapless and clueless followers were busy abusing and even hating one another (supposedly on behalf of their ‘leaders’). I hope they can see clearly now how they have once again been used and dumped as pawns on the political chessboard.
What happened in Abuja on Monday was that the authentic Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) headed by Governor Rotimi Amaechi met and the prodigal governors, including Akpabio and Aliyu attended. Jonah Jang sent in an apology for his absence, thus also acknowledging that Amaechi had all along been in the right on this and the so-called Jang-led faction (I call it the ‘Jang-Gang’) was fake and inglorious.
At the media briefing, a journalist asked the governors about their inglorious past but Amaechi was quick to save his prodigal brothers the humiliation by saying bygones were bygones and that any question about that would be met with the answer, ‘no comments’.
Well, Governor Amaechi, while we appreciate how you politicians love to operate as family and protect each other when it suits your purpose and make a fool of the rest of society, we are not going to let you off easily on this. We must name and shame every part of us that reeks of obscenity and abuse of process, lest that part of us falls into it again and again and keeps kissing and making up. No society develops through such.
We see this happen too often. In the parliaments, we remember how, after wasting everybody’s time, accusing their presiding officers of corruption and even removing them on account of that, at the end of the parliamentary session, parliamentarians would often open their book of perfidy and reading therefrom, pronounce every ‘sinner’ cleansed of any wrongdoing. They once even declared that certain records of their ignominy be expunged. That is the power of the crooked ruling class, a power we must break or change.
To what do Nigerians owe this newfound love of the 36 state governors? And how do their willy-nilly cheerleaders feel now? While the division remained, some of these hapless and clueless followers were busy abusing and even hating one another (supposedly on behalf of their ‘leaders’). I hope they can see clearly now how they have once again been used and dumped as pawns on the political chessboard.
Effanga, development activist and governance expert writes from Abuja and is reacheable on email@example.com