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The push for power in Edo

By: Erasmus Ikhide  
 Published Published March 13th, 2012

Political power in Nigeria is more of might rather than right. As for might, it is the creation of the de facto right. The seizure of political power leads to the establishment of authority which politicians exert against the people with brute force; couple with primitive gathering of public funds for selfish ends. For them, the possession of power is just an end in itself and the question of comparing the extent to which they can modify events according to their own will becomes obscure and defective.

It is more pronounced when power seekers criminally mutate onto position of authority and use the same power to oppress the citizenry that saw them through to power. Little wonder that Hannah Arendt, a political scientist of 19th century posited that ‘‘power is never the property of an individual; it belongs to the group and remain in existence only so long as the group keeps together.’’ When we say of somebody that ‘‘is in power’’ we actually refer to his being empowered by a certain number of people to act on their behalf.

The fundamental problem is that the concept of power seeks to make static statements about a dynamic reality and the consequent doubt must be as to whether the concept ever really helps us understand or predict real events such as the fall of a hitherto ‘powerful’ politician. This is the drawback or ‘‘false consciousness of power’’.

But the solution to this paradox is to acknowledge that the possession of power, political or otherwise, can have unintended consequences. The test of whether a person has power or not must be conducted in terms of control, and of capacity for good intentions and governance. If a person acquires political power, the consequences of that power must be attributable to that person, who is responsible for those consequences. Hume’s essay ‘Of the Original Contract’, comments on power offer one of the first clear versions of the assumptions of a ‘modern’ age, which seeks to study politics positively, eschewing theological justifications and moral evaluations in favour of a causal assessment of how the political world works in reality.

The fortifications of political sanity in Nigeria have been breached by the PDP and the barbarians now freely roam the streets within the country political power walls. They have faltered abysmally with the electoral promises they made to the mass of Nigerian people. At every turn, they are either grossly misinforming Nigerians about the state of affairs or they are overt misanthropes! This bothers on the deformity of our political system and experience. Modern day political liberalism is associated with ‘‘one person one vote’’ as promoted by comrade Adams Oshiomhole detests political domination by a property own elite and requires government to ensure that equal access to policy makers is a working reality as well as a natural right. But the thinking of PDP is different. They have borrowed a leaf from the fascist Italy under the repressive regime of Benito Mussolini – canvassing an abridged version of democracy based on the idea that only the ruling party – the PDP is capable of understanding the problems of the people while the ordinary citizens are incapable of understanding the great problem facing the nation! Mussolini believed in propaganda and brain washing for indoctrinating the minds of the people. Unfortunately for the PDP, the abridgement refused to gain currency in Edo.

In modern form, power, providentially, is concerned with which groups or persons dominate, get their own way, or are best able to pursue the general interests of the larger people in the societies. This explains the jostle at ‘capturing power’ in Edo State in July 14th 2012. And those who profit from rumour mongering had thought that there will be internal implosion in the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN in the state. The reason is simple: they want to benefit copiously from the shell of its crumbling edifice for the retention of the much sought after governorship seat. They want to acquire power for its comic effect.

The PDP have been angered by Governor Adams Oshiomhole concerted development within a short period of three and half years; exposing their lackluster and hopeless corruption that attended their 10 years plus administration. Tarring of roads, even to the godfather’s house was more than daunting task they could not accomplished why the make-belief administration lasted. Edo people must be very careful in casting their vote. It will be unwise to vote based on emotion, especially anger on behalf of the godfather. It is always better to vote with the mind not from the gut; it is more prudent to vote in furtherance of majority’s objective interests than voting to impede them. We will be colliding with the danger that lurks around the corner by placing power in the hands of angry, ignorant people whose minds are capable of only one notion at a time – corruption.

They have been thumping their chests in delight that they will win July 14th governorship election since they have one thing going for them: ‘ability to rig elections’! More to the point; this is evident while Chief Tony Anenih, the godfather and ex-while chairman, PDP board of Trustees made horrid public statement at a PDP campaign rally recently in Cross River State that Governor Oshiomhole will be ‘chased out’ of Osadebe Avenue comes July 14th, 2012. If it is convenience for the godfather to so assume, then so be it. Abstract thinking is a poor and dangerous substitute for the lesson of experience; more so that Governor Oshiomhole earlier shattered PDP rigging machine in 2007.

The evil the PDP mete to Edo people is not hard to phantom. They have been pouncing on Oshiomhole government as if the Edo people didn’t know where their bread is most lavishly buttered. The people are the real democratic push that brought about the infrastructural development that is being witness in every part of the state. They are no more ready to remain standing outside, noses pressed against the windowpane and watch PDP and their cronies drink and make merry inside the elaborate banquet hall of segregation.

Already, PDP is victim of its own misadventure in government and callous estimation on how an average Edo person reasons. They cannot see beyond their immediate goal of looting public treasury to understand why they are being rejected by the people. They believe themselves to be modern day Samsons bringing down the Philistine temple. Instead, they are modern day Philistines bringing down the institution of democracy and development most responsible for the actualization of nation’s greatness. They have gone to such an absurd length in pursuing power that they now stand in danger of the same power – forgetting the essence of it. They are like the obsessed doctor forcing a noxious elixir down the gullet of his struggling, uncooperative patient, then asserting, ‘‘you are going to swallow all this medicine even if it kills you.’’

It will be unimaginable for Edo people to allow these triflers to diminish the attained legacy under the stewardship of Adams Oshiomhole which has been building the state over the last three years. The people already know that they will bear the high cost the exorbitant error will visit on them if the apostles of ignorance are incumbent on foisting their reign on the people. If the PDP have their way, a massive dislocation will ensue in the polity that will jolt the nascent democracy to its foundation. The shock will be such that every lover of enfranchised democracy alive will feel it. Incidentally, I don’t see Edo people verging on casting their patrimonies in the sewer because it will take them back to the old order, where it is convenient for electoral robbers to justify their stolen mandate at the altar of impunity and ineptitude.

Never has the Nigerian nation seen a predominant political party shoved so rudely down the throats of the people with its blink agenda of self-imposed distortion that serves insignificant corrupt section of the country. PDP has saddled Nigerians with its ornamental misgivings, psychological deceit and incubus graft that now turned morbid on the surface. None of the developed measures of six dimensions of governance: voice and accountability, political stability and absence of violence/terrorism, government effectiveness, regulatory quality, rule of law, and control of corruption has been witnessed in the last 12 years of our democratic governance.

It is apparent that Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN has the sole capacity to bring about the structural development that has shrunken the growth of party democracy in Nigeria. The party alone has a total conception of the commitment needed to instill in the masses the critical self-consciousness that will lead to the overthrow of PDP and the development of new political order.

As it is in Lagos, Edo, Osun, and Ekiti; and most recently in Oyo and Ogun, it is crystal clear that Nigeria democracy, in spite of its shortcomings, has grown from leaps and bounds. We only hope that this superior achievement of ACN becomes the converging platform upon which Nigeria rights all the political wrongs visited on it by the power seeking elite.

Erasmus Ikhide
A public affairs analyst
Writes from Benin City,
Edo state.

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