Tuesday, 17 January 2012

When the Falcon Ignores the Falconer

George Washington, a man constantly regarded in the United States as one of their top three presidents of all time, once said the following;

" “Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master"

I don’t know about you, but I read this quote a few times just to ensure I fully digested it. Why, you may ask. Well, the first GW to rule the world’s most powerful country is regularly described as "the father of his country" for his crucial role in fighting for, creating and leading the United States of America in its earliest days. Notably, in spite of his strong belief in governance, he appears he was never blinded to its perils.

Naturally, he was the choice to serve as the country's first president in 1789 after the new United States Constitution was ratified. He accepted power (albeit reluctantly), served two terms, turned down the opportunity for a third and returned to his Virginia farm.

The Nigerian in you may break out in a smirk at the thoughts provoked by the last part of that statement. Here was a man who grudgingly became Commander-in-Chief, ruled his people with a listening ear and left the stage when the ovation was loudest. Novel, isn't it?

The trouble of course with the situation people now find themselves in Nigeria, is a continuous parade of leaders who have flipped the script and treat their constituents with unbelievable disregard and neglect.

The deference required to understand the people is shockingly lacking and the people in charge have somehow convinced themselves the gravy train will run forever, even though it is becoming increasingly evident the stimulus and maintenance requisite for such endless largesse is slowly but surely running out.

The only words of wisdom emanating from our country seem to be from those who are fearless enough to put their heads above the parapet and willing to take the uncertain risk of trying to talk this government into action.

Warnings from writers, political observers and bloggers on imminent issues - the dangers of impending religious conflict, the slide of Nigeria into a potential occupied country and the inevitable uprising amongst the dissatisfied - way ahead of these events occurring; have all clearly fallen on deaf ears.

Like the Pharaohs before them; our leaders have lost all powers of patience, reverence and perspective. Maybe the situation is a lot simpler and the people at the top are just devoid of ‘No’ men who could bite the bullet and tell the President what he needs to hear, rather than what he wants to hear..

Maybe no one in Aso Rock is given the task of picking up newspapers (like in most civillised governments) and gauging the mood of the people on the ground and reporting to the President. Maybe those of us who have not tasted power are not equipped to comprehend what it takes to rule so badly....maybe it's a power thing!

Maybe it is just a case of the powerful joining the ignorant school of thought that believes Nigerians will never risk their lives to achieve change. Only God knows what occupies the minds of the privileged!

But if I were affiliated to this government, I would be warning it about the fact that no army; no matter how efficient and no force; no matter how expedient, can handle a Nigerian ‘spring’ (for the lack of a better phrase).

I would tell the President it is extremely hazardous to underestimate the damage that can be inflicted when lawlessness becomes the currency of the day. I would draw the attention of the executive and legislative fat cats to the swift and brutal ending of the Gaddaffi network. If he could fall, I would suggest no power structure should allow itself to be lured into a false sense of security.

It is not a matter of' 'if'……things are beginning to fall apart. The subsidy protest is just the tip of the iceberg.....a distraction compared to the imminent avalanche gathering momentum, from decades of stewed resentment and revulsion for everything government in Nigeria.
The Falcon is increasingly ignoring the Falconer and unless things start to change now; it may not be able to find its way home.

1 comment:

  1. So many things to take issue with in this piece notwithstanding its eloquence - from the erroneous suggestion that popular uprising had anything to do with Gaddafi's assassination to the suggestion that we should marvel at the power of foreign occupiers! But alas! I won't!! I'd merely warn that it is the Nigerians, not GEJ, who should be most fearful of the fallout that would emanate from an uncoordinated, disparate series of uprisings corrupt in it's very construction & philosophy!