During the governorship and states’ houses of assembly elections that took place in Nigeria last Saturday (April 11, 2015), several persons reportedly died across the nation. As I write now, a day after the elections, there are reports of raging battles in a couple of states. What it is most likely to boil down to is that some other people will also foolishly waste their lives like some others before them before the smoke of the senseless war clears.
Now, apart from any hapless individual “accidentally discharged” by some habitually reckless and trigger-happy cop or someone caught in the crossfire as rival political groups clashed and unleashed violence on each other, all the others killed during this election while fighting “political wars” died for nothing. They died for nothing because they counted themselves as nothing, hence they could waste their precious lives fighting for mostly common thieves or glorified thugs striving to become governors or “honorable” members of the house of assembly so that they can plunder the resources of the state and cart away as much loot as they can before their tenure expires.
What beats me is how a human being could devalue his life so much that he could expose that life to serious danger by agreeing to undertake a violent activity on behalf of someone who may not even be informed if he is killed – someone who does not even know him or care whether he lives or dies. Sometimes, all it takes to motivate these misguided combatants would just be a few crumpled naira notes, some bottles of beer or gin and poorly produced T-shirts bearing the faces of the fellows who they have been hired to fight and die for. Most of the time, he does not even have the slightest hint of contact with these his “ardent supporters.” Or if he does, it may just be to come out in front of his house or step out of his luxury car at some other place to address and charge them to be prepared to lay down their lives to ensure that only the “credible candidate” (himself) wins the election “for the good of the state”.
Meanwhile, he had taken care to ensure that his wife and children are far removed from the theatre of battle where he is urging some deluded Nigerians to shed their blood to secure for him and his family a life of limitless luxury. He would only bring them back to join him to wallow in boundless comfort when the battle is won – after some fools had died and gone to hell while fighting to ensure he was rigged into office.
Of course, we know that whenever Nigerian politicians threaten that blood would flow, what they always have in mind is not their own blood or that of their children and wives. Even their distant relations and friends do not figure in their calculations. What they have in mind is the blood of grossly impoverished Nigerians (people totally unfamiliar and unrelated to them) whom they believe they would always be able to easily brainwash and deceive with dirty naira notes to unleash violence and sometimes waste their lives. And only a thorough fool will allow himself to be deceived.
Indeed, it is time these Nigerians realized that they have been fooled and debased for so long now. It is time they placed great value on their lives and nudge themselves into the edifying awareness that these politicians that move them into the streets are in no way superior to them. In fact, they may even possess more dignity and even better intelligence than those politicians they are worshipping and dying for.
When the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Attahiru Jega said that Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressive Congress (APC) has won the presidential election, it was reported that not less than 25 people died and several others were wounded while madly celebrating the announcement. Like many others before them, these, too, died for nothing. As they ran about and indulged in several life-threatening displays, some of them fell off motorcycles and cars where they had perched carelessly chanting the name of a man who is not even aware of their miserable existence or would even see, let alone, mourn, their corpses after they have foolishly wasted their lives. Some others were crushed by vehicles that rammed into them as the wild reveling was stretched to very dangerous extremes.
But as these fellows of very low self-esteem rejoiced themselves to death, the man whose accomplishment they were wildly celebrating was in his comfortable house in Daura calmly savouring the joy of his sudden elevation and transformation and surrounded by his family, and, perhaps, new fat leeches who were busy negotiating themselves into the corridors of power from where they would, like their predecessors, suck Nigeria pale. And it is possible that only a few hours earlier, those same people were lying prostrate at the feet of President Jonathan licking his feet. That is the enduring character of Nigerian politics and politicians.
Now, despite all I have said here now, some fellows will still elect to die for nothing in 2019 or during some of the governorship elections that would come before then. But if they are wise, they would choose not to. Indeed, it is within their power to decide to avoid this grossly unprofitable game of death. They can boldly tell any politician threatening that blood would flow not to count on them to help him accomplish that. He should instead start with his own blood and that of his wife and children. Yes, these Nigerians can refuse to be the ones to die for nothing.
By the way, who is this noisy politician urging you to die for him? When stripped of all the pomp and flowing gown, he may just be another scum out there merely looking for a meal ticket. And that is bitterest part of it.
*Ugochukwu Ejinkeonye is a Tuesday columnist with Daily Independent newspaper.([email protected])