2015: I Endorse You, Spectocrat! – By Pius Adesanmi

Published:13 Jan, 2013

NigeriaWe 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.

 

– Pius Adesanmi

via SaharaReporters

  • Raji Said Olalekan

    And we proudly accept the title and fitting garb of democrat and electocrat. Enough of deference to this haughty theiving and tribeless aristocracy. Humility in the face of ours and our children’s future is nothing but further subservience to perpetual slavery. The name of Matthew Kukah should gladden every detribalized and patriotic Nigerian. But that ominous looming shadow of ignorant religion is a threat we would need to combat with all our might.

Related Posts

Recent Posts

Abdulmumin Jibrin Warns Against Politicisation of Buhari’s Anti-Corruption War

Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Appropriation, Hon. Abdulmumin Jibrin has urged members of the National Assembly to support President Buhari’s anti-corruption war.   The Lawmaker’s reaction in a series of tweets Thursday through his verified twitter handle @AbdulAbmJ? comes shortly after opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) caucus in the national assembly withdrew their support for the government of President Muhammadu Buhari.

EFCC Traces Three Mansions To Fayose’s Associate

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission( EFCC) has traced three posh houses to an associate of Ekiti State Governor Ayodele Fayose. The houses, one in Abuja and two in Lagos, are believed to have been bought with part of the N1.219billion pumped into the 2014 governorship election.  The cash believed to be from the office of the National security Adviser (NSA). Fayose has denied having any dealing with the office while Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd.) was...

Reps Ask EFCC, ICPC To Probe Bala, Others Over Land Swap

The House of Representatives yesterday asked the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC) to investigate the former FCT Minister, Bala Mohammed, to examine the likely abuse of financial regulations in the land swap policy he introduced while in office. Also to be probed alongside Bala are the Executive Secretary of the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA), Engr Adamu Ismaila and the coordinator, Abuja Infrastructure Investment...

Aisha Buhari Gives Fayose 5 Days To Apologize Or Go To Court

Wife of the President, Aisha Buhari has described the statement by Ekiti State Governor Ayo Fayose which fingered her as an accomplice in the famous Halliburton bribery scandal that landed former U.S. lawmaker, Williams Jefferson in jail as “very wild and unfounded.” She threatened to drag Fayose to court if the statement was not retracted within five working days. The letter emanated from the chamber of Mary Ekpere and Co. The letter signed by Ismaila Alasa and Mary Ekpere...

EFCC Arraigns Senior Air Force Officer For Allegedly Receiving N40 Million, Landrover Bribe

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Thursday arraigned, AVM Rufus Ojuawo, in an FCT High Court, Apo, for collecting N40 million gift and a Range Rover sports car from Hima Abubakar. Mr. Ojuawo, a former Director of Operations, Nigerian Air Force, was arraigned before Justice Mahawiya Idris on a two-count charge. The charge says Mr. Ojuawo while in office in March, 2015, accepted a gift in the aggregate sum of N40 million from...

Fresh Militants’ Attack In Ikorodu Communities

Gunmen suspected to be militants were said to have invaded Igbolomu and Ishawo areas in Ikorodu Local Government Area of Lagos State. According to eyewitnesses who escaped from one of the invaded areas, said the gunmen from the Niger Delta came through water channel since yesterday and started shooting sporadically. Credit: Vanguard

Police Confirm Attack On Shell Facility In Imo

The police have confirmed an attack on a facility belonging to Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) at Awarra, Ohaji/Egbema Local Government Area of Imo. Andrew Enwerem, the police public relations officer in the state, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), in Owerri that the police received report of the attack in the early hours of Thursday. Mr. Enwerem could not disclose the extent of damage done to the facility or the group that carried...

I’m Being Prosecuted For Old Grievances- Dasuki

Former National Security Adviser (NSA), Col. Mohammed Sambo Dasuki (rtd), has told a federal high court in Abuja that he is being punished by some persons at the highest level of power in the country for perceived grievances they had held against him while in active military service many years ago. Dasuki, who did not name any particular person, said the punishment being meted out to him was unfortunate having being borne out of mere vendetta.

Government May Borrow N165b To Pay Civil Servants

With fast declining revenue, the Federal Government said yesterday it is now faced with the prospect of borrowing to meet the monthly civil service wage bill of N165 billion. Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, who had met with protesting workers of her ministry on Wednesday, said in a statement in Abuja yesterday that she does not have any power to pay N1.2 billion, which was not in the budget of the Ministry. The minister said...

Nigerians In UK, Europe Express Disappointment With Referendum Result

A cross section of Nigerians in Europe on Friday expressed disappointment over the decision of the UK in a referendum to leave the European Union. Results released early on Friday by UK authorities indicated that 17, 410,742 Britons voted to leave EU, while 16,141,241 others voted to remain. The Leave campaigners won by 52 per cent to 48 per cent with England and Wales voting...

Militants Threaten To Resume Bombing As New Group Emerges

Niger Delta militants have threatened to re­sume hostilities and have alleged that the two weeks ceasefire agree­ment elapsed without any commitment on the part of the Federal Gov­ernment. The fighters said gov­ernment officials are more interested in grand­standing rather than initiating dialogue with them. In a statement entitled: ‘If you make the peace­ful change that we seek impossible, we will make violent change possible’, a group called Ultimate Warriors of the Niger Delta said if...

New Zealand PM Rules Out Ransom For Citizen Abducted In Nigeria

New Zealand Prime Minister, John Key, on Thursday ruled out paying a ransom as a long-held government standing for a New Zealander abducted a day earlier by gunmen in southern Nigeria. He said at a press conference in Wellington that there was no chance of the government paying a ransom for the release of New Zealander being held hostage in Nigeria. Key said the compromise would only put a bounty on the head of any...

PDP Senate Caucus Withdraws Support For Buhari

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Senate caucus yesterday announced its withdrawal of cooperation with the All Progressives Congress (APC)- led Federal Government. The caucus said the resolution would subsist until the government “ceases the belligerent attitude towards PDP members.” A communiqué read by Senate Deputy Minority Leader Emmanuel Bwacha, endorsed by Senate Minority Leader Godswill Akpabio, Minority Whip, Philip Aduda and Deputy Minority Whip, Mrs Biodun Olujimi, said the resolution was adopted at a meeting...

Shootout In Maiduguri Government House Over Rice Distribution

There was shootout between policemen and soldiers in Maiduguri Government  House Thursday afternoon when soldiers in a truck attempted to forcefully get a share of the rice being distributed to Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) not living in camps. Reporters gathered that the distribution of rice for the IDPs had started from about a week ago under the watch of policemen in the Government House who are to ensure that the rice is given only to...

FG Suspends Sack Of Resident Doctors, Negotiations Continue

The federal government wednesday suspended the sack of members of the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) pending the conclusion of the ongoing negotiations on the matter. This was part of the resolutions reached at the mediatory meeting initiated by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara, between the federal government delegation and leaders of NARD. The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, was quoted to have suspended the sack as part...

Gunmen Kidnap Foreign Contractors In Calabar

At least three Australian citizens and one Australian resident, who were contractors for Lafarge cement company have been kidnapped and their driver killed in Calabar, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said on Thursday. There was an initial confusion over the number of victims and nationalities of those involved, as police in gave conflicting accounts, Reuters said in a report. But media reports indicate that three Australians, a New Zealander, a South African and two Nigerians...

AMCON Shuts Senator Bruce’s Companies Over Debt

The Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria on Thursday morning sealed the Abuja premises of Silverbird Galleria belonging to Senator Ben Murray Bruce. The galleria currently houses the Abuja studio of the Radio and Television stations of the senator as well as his other business interests. Apart from Bruce’s companies, the seven storey building also houses other business interest of private individuals such as Shoprite, among others. The building was...

House Of Reps To Conduct Public Hearing On U.S. Sexual Allegations Against Members

The House of Representatives says it will convene a public hearing as part of its investigations into an alleged sex scandal involving three of its members. The hearing will allow Nigerians weigh in on the matter and be transparently engaged in the investigations as promised by the House leadership, Nicholas Ossai, the chairman of the House Ethics Committee, said. The scandal allegedly occurred in the U.S. state of Ohio early June. The allegations were...

Army Debunks Militants Allegation On Plot To Topple Buhari’s Govt

Authorities of the Nigerian Army have said allegation by a militant group claiming that a coup plot to remove the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari were the handiwork of mischief makers since there was nothing like that in the offing. A statement titled ‘Warning to Mischief Makers; Nobody is Planning Any Coup’ and signed by Col Sani Usman said, “The attention of the Nigerian Army has been drawn to another campaign of calumny and distraction by...

Boko Haram Fracturing Over Islamic State Ties- U.S. General

A senior U.S. military general on Wednesday said the terrorist group in Nigerian, Boko Haram, had been fractured internally. Lieut.-Gen. Thomas Waldhauser, the nominee to lead U.S. military’s Africa Command, disclosed this in Washington during his nomination hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee. He said that the problem in the group resulted from some members splitting from shadowy leader, Abubakar Shekau, over his failure to adhere to guidance from the Iraq and Syria-based Islamic...

Nigeria Cuts Off Gas Supply To Ghana

Nigeria has suspended the flow of natural gas to Ghana over unpaid bills, local media reported on Wednesday, saying an amount of some USD 180 million was outstanding. News outlets reported that Ghana’s state-owned Volta River Authority owes N-Gas, which in turn is in arrears to the West African Pipeline Company, the operator of the conduit that transports gas from Nigeria to Benin, Togo and onwards to Ghana. The latter’s arrears have been building since October...