The election that hurls me upon their lives is emotions bereaved! As I move across campaign grounds, stump cities for votes, I see the office of my target, the perquisites and booties – awesome as ocean treasures – packed within. I don’t see the voters to bring these to be: lives torrentially scarified by Nobel-class insufferables! While my campaigns last, I give them cash as I throw bananas and sweets at monkeys that entertain my guests in their harnesses. The gifts convey no brotherly messages, but that of the master to his servants: at least they need energies to move to polling points – slaughter slabs for the discomforted – where they thumbprint themselves into slavery, ratify my reign of deceit! Blame me not if I don’t carry feelings for the ones whose votes sanctify my turn in the opaque (not Oval) office!
It is true the electorate run on same blood and water, eat, drink, copulate to pullulate, just as I do! But in me is a disease that sunders them – oh, whole needy lot! – off my concerns as president, governor, national/state lawmaker, council chairman, minister, commissioner, others. I am aware of their exceeding lack! We live just doors apart, but we are worlds apart! Arigeni, a country of nearly 200 million individuals – vast business empire for routine careerists – is structured to serve me too, Officer have-it-all!
The sundering, sanctioned of the structure that patterns darkness into conducts within my office, assures my limitless access to treasures that must limit their pleasures. My treasures as found no measures remain props for their discomforts of borderless horrors. The structure also allows only my signature as seal upon contracts, whatever the volume and purpose – contracts, many of which exist on only paper, but cash values of which must make their way into bank vaults in my personal honours! Where is the Gulf oil windfall? With my signature, even a pin can be procured for a million naira!
Social contract is the thinker’s offer, the bonding sense of belongingness and shared roles between the rulers and the ruled. A side of the contract impel (not compel) the Officer to submit office booties to supporting the subjects; another side impels the subjects to offering obeisance to legit laws of the land. A mutual, consensual process of give and take, you may say! But this is lost in Arigeni over which I superintend. I am not socially contracted by permissions of my office to apply whatever gains to bettering anyone/anything, save my personal estates, and if these are not in need, the gesture goes to my pets, for which I nurse more humane affection. I can afford to fly ailing Alsatians, even lions, guarding my belongings, out to America, Asia, to be minded over by the best of experts, never my house helps or drivers that are often similarly stricken. Make no mistakes! The drivers and house helps can grow wings, should they be too well cared for, to insubordinate my reign. Pets never known to nurse poisonous intents!
I am messenger for only the EXTERNALS who I serve as EHM, from whom I accept loans cheap to obtain, but impossible to repay. With this the unfortunate Arigenians get riveted to a limitless tenure of UNBREAKABLE servitude – borrowings for projects the country is rich enough to bankroll unAIDED! EHMs are materially favoured quislings like me who serve the mammons at world’s capitals, from Washington DC, to Paris, to hobble own economies!
You compare THEM with US? Goals divergent, visions differ! What an error to presume governance as ‘attainment of greatest good for the greatest number’! Arigeni licenses me to deliver the greatest, most valuable, good to the smallest achievable coterie of politically connected. THERE, subordinates look as robust as the (Executive) Officer, sometimes even better. This owes to policies – standing anti-poverty programs, including Food Stamps, the Earned Income Tax Credit and Medicaid, others, as do actually level survival fields, quite unlike HERE! Where salaries are paid to partners in the development process cannot be same as where they are paid to perpetuate slaves of the same process.
Again, HERE, my office, located in well recessed, heavily guarded quatres, and made of concrete prefabs, has thick iron doors which I often lock upon entering to deal blows on them! While inside, can anyone ever guess at my wiles? THERE, the office is often positioned on the streets and made of transparent, see through glasses, accessible, both ocularly and physically, as much to the Toms, as to the Dicks and Harries. Consciencism and morality? Tufiakpa!
I love Whiteman’s capitalism idea as public administration option, recommending ‘government has no business in business’, banishing the credo of equity in governance! Come witness limitless freedom to sell off common possessions through privatisation recommendations – NEPA, NITEL gone! I have since rushed many other public concerns into ownerships of my family members, friends and close political associates. This is pure capitalism, one as worsens want for the majority. But impure capitalism – with overt welfarism taints that emplace levelers, has always found residence among those who sold me government-has-no-business-in-business idea! Wonderful! My subjects can bring their proposals for salary increments, I have a way to shortchange them in the process – for them is a take home pay that must never take them even half the way home!
How can I share with them such humongous sums through so-called social amenities: good, well-paved roads; running, portable water piped into habitations; solid hospitals, affixed with up-to-the-moment amenities; 24/7 electricity power supply, affordable housing for all? IMPOSSIBLE! They also struggle to give their children education to be like me. Zero-sum! Ninety-nine in every hundred of their kids have nowhere to go, despite their certifications! This is the structure long established, same I sustain!
I have broken all prescriptions on social contract. This Arigenian edifice is about giving way, courtesy promptings of my perverse gluttony, emotions denied superintendence. Some among my subjects often do run berserk, attacking sanity/decency just whatever way they feel. Disobedience earned, you will say! Any moral qualification on my part to penalise so-called nonconformists? Banditry thrives by the designs as much of my heart as of my hand! I, as the Executive Officer, am only the head of a ring of bandits that you know too well. Kidnappers, robbers, insurgents, herdsmen, have their daredevilry oiled by white collared errors I unloosen across the places, and through other crime-compliant schemes.
All these, even as activists who should cog my advance seem gone for good, especially with the death of fiery solicitor, Igan Wefamihin! In his place now are impostors who make interesting shows of activism in the day with placards, while in the night they retire to my quartres for proceeds of their investment. The police are not policing and the army/navy/air force remain ever ill-prepared, heavily compromised and have proven serially impotent to guard the borders – terrestrial/picrocholinal/aerial! Despite a multiplicity of duplicitous internal security formations, insecurity festers, blood flows in Arigeni like rivers – provenances of my dealership leadership! I cannot pretend not to know all these! But, please recall, just before Uganda imploded on Idi Amin, what did he do?
- Sulaiman Salawudeen, writer and freelance journalist, writes via firstname.lastname@example.org
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