Ballots Revolution(2): The Metaphysics of our Present Dialogue 177)

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Hunger with dignity is preferable to food eaten in slavery
-Frantz Fanon

You may like the way your country, State, or community is working; but search your conscience, is that how it ought to work? Is the leadership truly making meaning to the generality of the people? Are the general disillusionments among the people in your country, State, or community simply the expressions of hatred to the leader(s), or are they as a result of his or her weaknesses in attending to certain issues bothering on the growth and progress of the country, State, or community? Is your personal position on the leadership borne out of the conviction that the leader is fair and judicious in his leadership; or does it borne out of your personal interest or collective interest(s) of your family, group, community or State? Or does it borne out of what you personally stand to gain at the end? Think. Man. Think. As Frantz Fanon would admonish us: hunger with dignity is preferable to food eaten in slavery.

Hunger has been the most powerful weapon a master can use to manipulate and control his servants or slaves, or have them enlisted into his brand of ‘religion’. Nigerian politicians are very conscious of this fact all through the years of their political foray in a society ravaged by hunger and poverty. They tacitly use hunger and poverty to manipulate and control the thinking, reasoning, and actions of a segment of the Nigerian population that really fall prey to their whims and antics. That segment of the population, by social and demographic description, is the one we may categorise as the ‘growing kids’.

The ‘growing kids’ are the young men, women, and elders who hardly think through into the condition which humanity has been reduced into through the deliberate policies of their idols in government, who have stolen so much of public funds to enrich themselves and members of their families and clans. They are called ‘growing kids’ because they are still yet to grow up, to think independently of anyone in government. Whoever is in government, to them, is Mr. Right. Their idols in government are no longer humans; they are super-humans who can neither err nor falter; and cannot be questioned under whatever circumstance. Their idols in government therefore take advantage of such opinions of their praise singers to reduce governance to a game of winners-take-it-all. No more sense of accountability. Accountability therefore becomes a watershed in our polity due to the roles the ‘growing kids’ are playing in our democratic processes.

Nigerian politicians have succeeded using the people against themselves through the instrumentality of hunger and entrenchment of poverty as a societal norm that cannot be ameliorated or erased. It is only a negligible percentage of the populace that is aware of this fact, and may at any point in time stand by Frantz Fanon’s words, that hunger with dignity is preferable to food eaten in slavery.

Of course, hunger is a weapon of manipulation in the hand of any greedy and heartless individual in a position of authority. He knows and is aware that with hunger biting your stomach, you are likely to do anything possible in order to eat, to survive. He will always take delight in giving you ‘fish’ rather than to teach you how to fish for a long-lasting effect. This, he does, to have you around him in order to continually massage and boost his ego to enhance his chances of controlling the political space.

For someone who is updated in senses and has charted a course for himself to navigate through and across the vertical bars of class barriers instituted by the system manipulated by the greedy and heartless politicians, it is possible for him to ignore the baits often swallowed hook, line and sinker by the ‘growing kids’. This is a segment of the populace that would always seek for the ventilation of the political space with new blood and energies to evolve new schemes that may advance the course of life and enrich our democracy. Their words and actions are always to ease out the politicians who hardly legislate or evolve friendly policies to enhance the prosperity and growth of the people, hence the Ballots Revolution.

In any electioneering season, Ballots Revolution is an approach towards correcting some wrongs in governance and in the establishments. Those who truly cherish democracy must encourage and see Ballots Revolution as a means of rejuvenating the political systems for the growth and development of the society. With the pervading killings of innocent Nigerians by seemingly government-sponsored terrorists and the reluctance of the present crops of leadership to arrest the phenomenon, there is no time to embark on Ballots Revolution than now. Of course, truth has a way of making a man audaciously blunt.

(Offong Okodio is a priest in The Temple of Justice where truth is the presiding Judge)

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