2015: I Endorse You, Spectocrat! By Pius Adesanmi

Pius Adesanmi
Columnist: 
Pius Adesanmi

We are a nation of 150 million spectators. In political discourse, we are arguably the world’s largest spectocracy. Our spectocratic tendency may be music in the ears of the English Premier League and other European football leagues which serve as national diversion from our sorrows, in the domain of political agency and participation, however, it makes us a thing, that insulted thing which is the exact opposite of a citizen. When next you call yourself a Nigerian citizen, you lie. You deceive yourself. You are not a citizen, Nigerian, you are a spectocrat and here’s why.

You are a spectocrat because the validity and legitimacy of your country’s political process do not inhere in you, your choices, and your preferments. It is precisely because these things inhere in the citizen in genuine democracies in Africa and elsewhere in the world that the citizens of such countries are referred to as an electorate. You, Nigerian spectocrat, are a member of a spectocrate, Africa’s largest spectocrate, because all political choices and options are rammed down your throat in a top-down process. Your ability to even be a spectator of how your life is run and ruined is further dependent on the benevolence of PHCN or your generator. Otherwise, you are in total darkness.

It is from the pit of this spectocratic darkness that you grumble – in your living room, in beer parlours, at Premiership viewing centres, on commercial buses, on social media – that your vote does not count during elections. Actually, you are making a mistake by focusing on your worthless vote at the election. You are underestimating the condition of your sorry ass. It’s worse than you think. There are other things that did not count before your vote did not count. You just didn’t realize this because you are used to being a spectocrat. And a spectocrat, like I told you already, is a thing, not a citizen.

So what else did not count? Check out these scenarios from two responsible democracies. You know already that in the build-up to the last presidential election in France, Ségolène Royal lost out in the race for her party’s nomination to François Hollande, the man who eventually ousted Nicholas Sarkozy. What you may not know is the scenario she describes later in interviews about her preparations for the party primaries. She talks about some four to five years of crisscrossing France, selling herself, her vision, and her programmes to the people: townhall meetings, focused-group meetings, meetings with all kinds of organized professional bodies, labour unions, associations, organizations, rallies, debates, advertorials, etc.

Mind you, she is not the official candidate of her party yet. Why is she doing this? Let’s go to America for our answer. Those positioning themselves to run in the Democratic or Republican Primaries also begin the race, like Ségolène did in France, by trying to sell themselves to the party base and to the country. Then the media comes in, playing a civic role by constantly relaying news about who is polling well in which critical states and among which critical segments of the country. Who is polling well with – women, men, young, old, whites, blacks, latinos, rich, poor, middleclass, students, teachers, industry workers, trade unions, Christians, gay rights advocates, civil rights advocates? Who is polling well with all these critical demographics and why?

You can see that Hillary Clinton (you know why she is leaving the State Department), Chris Christie, Paul Ryan – indeed, anybody with a potential for 2016 – has already begun this critical process of trying to poll well with the electorate. Meanwhile, what are the party leaders doing as Wolf Blitzer, John King, Rachel Maddow, Chris Mathews (and even racist lunatics like Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh) begin to relay analyses of who is polling well and where?

Party leaders are listening and watching very carefully. They are plugging in because that is how they eventually gauge who is sellable, who is a viable candidate. In essence, whether it is in France or in the US, the process begins and ends with the electorate. I am not saying it is perfect. Money and other factors do come in, by and large, but you do not stand a chance of getting your party’s nomination if you have not gone through a grueling pre-electoral process of selling yourself to the electorate and polling well.

What do you have in Nigeria? It is an arrogant and frustratingly insulting process in which the spectorate – I insist that we don’t have an electorate – considers herself grateful if she is even accorded the privilege of spectatorship at all. And our media is complicit in this process of national insult. It’s always the same ritual, at least since 1999. Two years to an election or so, Obasanjo, Babangida, Tony Anenih, Tinubu and all kinds of risible godfathers, corrupt stakeholders, and yeye elder statesmen will wake up and begin to announce who they have decided to endorse. The media falls in line and the spectorate is treated to haughty headlines: “Obasanjo Endorses X”, “Babangida Opts for Y”, “Governors’ Forum endorses Z”.

Then these characters will spend the next year treating us to catfights, mudfights, and roforofo fights. Mind you, nobody has yet asked us our opinion. We are spectocrats. Then they will kiss and make up. They will align and realign. They will enter into every manner of agreement. They will zone, re-zone, de-zone, and unzone. They will share offices. They will then organize primaries and announce to you who the candidate will be. Nobody has consulted you up till now. Nobody has tried to sell any vision to you. You do not matter. They know that they have produced three generations of Nigerians who lack civics and therefore will not ask critical questions about why they are spectocrats. It is only after this stage that a general election is announced and you are told that you have now qualified to go and cast votes that will not count because the winner of every election is always already pre-determined.
2015 is at hand and you can already see this insulting scenario unfolding. Which presidential hopeful have you seen crisscrossing Nigeria since 2011, selling a carefully-calibrated vision to students, farmers, traders, market women, etc, in the hope of polling well, preparatory to contesting his or her party’s primaries? Which presidential hopeful has been selling himself to NURTW, NUT, NUPENG, PENGASSAN, (we can’t mention NANS, can we?) and other critical national unions in the hope of polling well with them? Which presidential hopeful has been grilled by socially responsive media outfits such as Punch, Premium Times, Sahara Reporters, Ynaija.com, Omojuwa.com and a host of others? This will not happen because you do not count. They do not need to poll well with you. All they need is a war-chest built with the proceeds of corruption and the blessing of Obasanjo, Babangida, Anenih, Ahmadu Alli, Bola Tinubu, and patati and patata.

If you are tired of these insults as we approach 2015, then you belong in the category of Nigerians that Tunde Fagbenle, Okey Ndibe, and yours truly want to work with as we map out strategies to break the jinx of spectocracy in the weeks to come. Tunde Fagbenle has already kicked off what we plan to do in his Punch column last week. Please check it out here is you have not already read it: (http://www.punchng.com/columnists/tunde-fagbenle-saying-it-the-way-it-is...).

Nothing is cast in stone yet. We are still discussing. And we are under no illusion that the task ahead is easy. We are merely powered by the conviction that we are neither voiceless nor powerless. And we believe that there is a sufficient number of Nigerians out there whose anger and frustration could be harnessed and conjugated into a movement towards 2015. We believe that we have the numbers to confront the corruption and insults of the current crop of players and their godfathers who are already preparing to ram candidates down our throats top-down. We believe that we do not have to accept their choices, their arrogance, and their rudeness. We believe that if we build a movement powerful enough – powerful only in numbers for we have no money – our largely docile and complicit media will resign from their vocation of merely reporting the choices and preferences of corrupt godfathers and yeye elder statesmen and begin to focus on the preferments of the people. We believe that we are the only ones who can transform ourselves from a spectorate to an electorate.

Our strategy for now – we are open to suggestions. Just join us first and let’s start the movement – is to see if we could collect five million signatures in support of a candidate we would have agreed upon through a process we shall make public in due course. We are thinking of drafting a credible, patriotic compatriot with solid personal capital, who would not come from the ranks of the current jokers running Nigeria. We are thinking of massing at least five million or more of you behind this choice. Personally, I have expressed my preference for Bishop Mathew Hassan Kukah and Tunde Fagbenle has supported it. Okey Ndibe will also let us have his own suggestions in due course. When we open a Facebook page for this project, you will be able to let us know who your own choice(s) might be and what strategies you envision going forward.

Please do not join us if you are wearing tribal or religious blinders. We are reaching out to kindred spirits hungry to become an electorate beyond the limiting and destructive faultlines of our national experiment. We are not interested in the ethnicity of the next President. We are not interested in his religion. We are not interested in quota and zone talk. For all we care, if he or she is your choice, has credible personal capital, and has not been tainted by dalliances and alliances with the current crop of corrupt rulers, s/he may even come from Otuoke. In essence, there is nothing inherently wrong with an Otuokean succeeding an Otuokean in Aso Rock so long as the new man is not cut from the same clueless, corrupt, and incompetent cloth as the incumbent. In essence, do not bring religion, tribe, zoning, and quota talk into our conversation. We have serious work to do and we have no time for distraction.

As discussions proceed and as we refine and define our strategies, please stay tuned to the three weekly columns of Okey Ndibe, Tunde Fagbenle (Punch), and yours truly for periodic updates. Let me leave you for now with this parting shot. For 2015, I endorse you, spectocrat, to become a democrat. I endorse you, spectorate, to become an electorate.

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Pius, mr too know.

..."to even be a spectator of how your life is run and ruin.." Pius, u are just mischievous, Nigeria 'll be great again. You can say whatever you want because u are in Canada. Isanlu people are yet to forget all you stole before u ran away. Papa couldn't recover from the shock of how u made away with some of his belongings before he passed on, of coz u prompted his death. It is ur life that is run n ruined in canada not d lives of well-meaning Nigerians. We hate u even in ur exile.

Why Kukah?

By suggesting Kukah, you just proved that your initiative will increase the unemployment rate in Nigeria, while countries the world over are concerned about putting people to work. Employment rate is one of the indices to look for to judge the economy of the state.
Did it occur to you guys that Kukah is a Reverend father and will not have a First Lady? Do you know how many people that will be lost to the unemployment market with that singular move? Not to talk of businesses that only cater to that revered office.What about Special Assistants, Travel advisers, Fashion advisers, Soothsayers, Pastors, and Religious leaders that earn their living from this position.
I will support the movement when this concern is addressed. Keep the good work, and let's together keep searching.
Akin

Awakening call

Dis is an awakening call 2 d few Nigerians who stil believe in Nigeria. I pray n believe dat we all support dis movement 2 bring about d lng awaited fresh air. Hw ar we 2 sign in or get d facebook address?

Kai

Kai, I am in!

Racist lunatics like Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh

I was enjoying the piece and the message it was conveying until I came across the part where u described and name some talk show host and journalists in the USA (and I assumed those u agree with) as providing Americans with analytical information but called Sean Hannity and Limbaugh as racist. I think you are wrong here brother unless you have evidence of their racism. Chris Mathews have made some racist comments for which he was challenged on but I guess that is okay with u. I will continue to read your piece but please in the name of fair play do not call people u do not agree with their politics racist.

The dictatorship of the proletarian

I'm in."The history of all hitherto existing classes is the history of class struggle.We need to exorcise the spirit of crass docility and gullibility in us. Time to act is now.

If is real

If this story is real just like your face, It will be a pleasure to be part of the change.

I have been praying and fasting for this kind of movement.

 

God bless you.

2015 endorsement

Many thanks to PA for yet again another patriotic and incisive mail. I wondered if you read my article a few weeks back. You are one of those patriots that must arise and I am happy you are, together with Okey Ndibe and Tunde Fagbenle.

This is the link below:

"@YNaija: Opinion: Arise o compatriots…which compatriots? http://t.co/H7ye5IXq"

Why must we be fixated about only the president? What about 36 govs, 109 senators, 360 Reps, 774 Local Govt chairmen?

I fully endorse the initiative. My shortlist of those whom federal leadership (executive/legislative) should revolve around is in the article. We should come up with lists at the state level. Pius and co should help us x-ray and recommend/endorse those best suited for the different roles avauilable. Time is in our favour this time. Naija o ni baje o!

@Pius, Count me in, we need to start throwing spanners in...!

In response to an article "How Britain corrupts Africa and makes it poorer " http://apache.saharareporters.com/article/how-britain-corrupts-africa-an... John Iteshi on February 9, 2010 - said:
"In my opinion, we need to begin to tell oursleves the hard truth about our failures. We need to focus on the challenge of proving that we are not inferior by building civilised/successful societies!".... "The Asians have since their independences been pursuing development, but no Black African country has achieved anything tangible. Black people are the only racial group that cannot point to any successful society of their own. Black Africa and the Carribbean have proven incapable of building their own Malaysia, India, Indonesia etc".

His comment then, even though is on a different subject matter, is still as relevant and revealing. We need to starting throwing spanners in the works of our neo-neo-colonists in our midst. @Pius, count me in!

Don't reinvent the wheel

There are number of association that have started similar movement, like the 'Patriot', which include eminent Nigeria leaders. You can join forces with some of this already established actions to create a stronger front to drive this initiative.

Rest assured that you'll have the support of people like me

An opportunity to bite

I the biter of evil,do solemly pledge to use this opportunity to bite this evil of spectatorship tha has held grip on us as citizens of this country .So help me God

Its Time!.

Its high time!, now it shows that staying in abroad has carve a great inch into you towards your fatherland. Anyway just bring it on, we ever ready sir!.

On the contrary concerning this disgrutled fellow named "Deri", this is the opputunity for your grandfather Dumbo, at least so he could benefit the SS sorry state in other to prove his worthwhile, I mean that would be from now so that his point could be elevated. Meanwhile I pity you sha and personally, I admire your stand and courage in defending your region and especially your wanna be "mona-lisa" of SS aka the great Dumbo.
So Dr. for the sake of lost sights and focus of SS citizens or Spectorates rather; launch this Miraclous page, then wonders shall begin.

God bless Nigeria!.

Nigeria desperately needs the

Nigeria desperately needs the kind of movement Pius is suggesting.

If you agree, join us at 3pm tomorrow to discuss this article in more detail - on http://bandung.caster.fm/.

Come along and have your say. Share your views with like-minded Nigerians around the world via Skype.

deri & co

As for deri & co. i started the south south internet initiative cos l tot the north were acting like over lord. Jona is a disgrace to everything south south...d guy no represent at all !! e be like alien, to the slang worri boy no dey carry last. l have lost faith in him. every state in nigerian is endowed wit different natural resouces including MAD PEOPLE & agberos !! DERI is one of dem. we can not at dis stage of our national age engage in weak generalisation. I grew in lagos (eko 4 show) but mad men & beggers roam the street every day, if dey now come online...dos it make lagosian the city of lunatics. ignore deri...wen the train start....dey will all be crushed.

Yes! This is what I've been

Yes! This is what I've been hoping and praying for. Count me in. We must let these jokers know that we won't be complacent anymore. It's too much. We can't take it anymore. The time is now!

David Vs Goliaht !!

This proposition brilliant as it may appear and as somebody who has lived and studied abroad. l find it amusing wen folks like prof come up wit such utopian idea. HAVE DEY HEARD ABOUT THE NIGERIAN ESTABLISHMENT INDUSTRY !! can dey witstand their might. l have met tunde fangbenle at a public fucntion and his mien appears to me as one who can not stand gusau prison. the establishment goes after you if u threaten them. WHY WAS PA REWANE KILL? This idea is painstaking, blood will flow, u need loads of money !! PDP and ACN THRIVE in the politics of deprivation or lutocracy...keep the pple poor so you can lord it over them. setting objective & operationalising the plan are 2 different tins. ASK GANI FAWEHINMI !! u need to mobilise in 36states ; get financias; holds seminas at least twice a month in each state in 20month;involve celebraties;conduct canivals;build consensus etc. bros pius no be mai mai o ! but am in 4 it doe

Am in

Prof count me in o. just keep us updated with further details.

Cheers.

Sahara Reporters could play a

Sahara Reporters could play a crucial role in publicising this scheme - a crucial and defining role in the liberation and development of Nigeria.

Would they?

Signature LINK required

WHERE IS THE  LINK  TO APPEND OUR SIGNATURES.

Your analysis is spot on!

Your analysis is spot on! Your suggestions re moving forward are 100% correct! The movement you are trying to build is exactly what we need in Nigeria. Nothing else, absolutely nothing else, will bring about change in Nigeria. We (ie ordinary Nigerians) must create a new Nigeria with our bare hands, from the ground up.

With this article, you Pius have justified all the hopes we have ever placed in intellectuals to lift us out of our collective morass. This is the logical conclusion of all those satirical pieces you wrote previously (probably as a displacement). No matter what happens, the fact that you've started this, that you suggested it even, has won you a lifelong fan. Very well done. My soul applauds.

No Matter

No matter what some people say about this, no matter their comments, no matter their negativity, no matter their words of discouragement, i am a Nigerian and i want Nigeria to be not just a nation, but a nation to associate with positively, so YOU HAVE ME ON BOARD.

PS: "Personally, I have

PS: "Personally, I have expressed my preference for Bishop Mathew Hassan Kukah and Tunde Fagbenle has supported it. Okey Ndibe will also let us have his own suggestions in due course."

Please don't bring any of that crap to a brand new initiative. In what way then are you fundamentally different from IBB, OBJ and others who impose on Nigeria by endorsing a particular candidate as their preferred choice? Tread carefully lest you pollute and destroy this thing with hypocrisy from the very outset.

An excellent article -

An excellent article - probably the most admirable and inspiring piece you will ever read on Sahara Reporters or any Naija website. The type of practical, hands-on activism Pius advocates and embodies in this article is what people all over the world expect from public intellectuals and thinkers.

Until now, learned Nigerians have consistently betrayed these hopes, choosing instead to chase after government appointments and contracts. As soon as you guys set up the Facebook page, I will be in touch to volunteer my time and other resources.

There are many Nigerians like me out there, looking for something they can believe in and contribute to; they too will be looking forward to the launch of this brilliant initiative.

yes but...

You have me on board as well in as much as the candidate is not HAUSA/FULANI. There are enough able and credible persons from us the REST period.

With the Social Media We Can Overcome

This is the mother of all political strategies which we can make to work. With the social media: Facebook, Blackberry, Twitter,Text Msg. the cost of publicity and advertisement is taken care of. Who needs the weak and expensive Nigerian media with their poor readership and circulation.

Our generation must use technology to beat them.

Any plan that makes Deri go mad as he's done in his usual senseless and idiotic Presidential blogging must be a good one.

People's Democracy is Good

I support this move wholeheartedly. Bring it on!

'Goodmorning' Nigerians

I have been yearning for this. Achebe says' the time a man wakes up is his morning'. We can do this. Yes we can. The recent appointment of Tony Annenih into the Board of Nigrian Port authority by Jonathan is a call for a new breed of Nigerians that we restore hope to millions who have been reduced to 'spectorates'. You have my support.

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