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

Afenifere To Senate: Leave BOI alone

The attention of Afenifere has been drawn "A Bill for an Act to establish the National Development Bank, 2015’, and sponsored by Senator Ibrahim Gobir which seeks to repeal the BoI, the Bank for Commerce and Industry Act and the National Economic Reconstruction Fund Act. The bill further seeks to bring the total assets of the organisations under one body to be called the National Development Bank.This bill has passed the second reading in the Senate since October 12 and...

‘We Didn’t Appoint Consultants To Collect Money From You’ – LASG to Table Water Producers

Following the controversies generated over the collection of water related revenues in the State, the Lagos State Government (LASG) has clarified its position saying that at no time did it authorize any consultant to collect such revenues on its behalf. This development was as a result of the petition published by the Concerned Members of Association of Water Producers of Lagos State on Monday, December 5, 2016. In the petition, the body accused the Lagos State Water Regulatory Commission and the...

Buhari’s school feeding programme takes off in Anambra

In another rollout of one of the Social Investment Programmes of the Buhari administration, the National Homegrown School Feeding scheme has entered implementation stage with the feeding of primary school pupils in Anambra State Thursday. Last month, the N-Power scheme kicked off with the selection of the first batch of 200,000 unemployed graduates, many of whom are now being deployed in the 36 states/FCT in the first batch of the planned half a million graduates to be engaged in the...

Nigeria Air Force personnel ?kill man ‘over prostitute’

A 60-year-old man was on Tuesday killed at a brothel in Maiduguri, Borno State, after a quarrel with some personnel of the Nigeria Air Force. The fight occurred at a popular brothel located in Simari area of Maiduguri. Witnesses said the victim, Ibrahim Bulama, was shot dead by soldiers after they clashed over a woman at the brothel. Air Force authorities confirmed the killing, but did not clearly admit its personnel were involved in a struggle for a prostitute. The Commander of the...

Christmas: Lagos to sell bag of rice for N13,000 from December 15

The Lagos State Government on Thursday said it was ready to roll out Lake Rice on December 15 to Lagosians at N13,000 per 50 kg towards the Yuletide celebrations. The sale will come as succour for millions of Lagosians who like their counterparts in most parts of the country have had to pay over N20,000 for a bag of rice, mostly imported. Sanni Okanlawan, Special Adviser on Food Security to Governor Akinwumi Ambode, made the disclosure in Lagos during the Lagos...

Senate reschedules Magu’s confirmation to December 15

The Senate on Thursday rescheduled the screening and confirmation of the Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Ibrahim Magu, to December15. The Deputy Leader of the Senate, Bala N’allah, made this known while addressing journalists on Thursday in Abuja. He said the postponement of the exercise from December 8 to 15 became necessary to allow for a full house to convene. According to him, lawmakers who travelled out of Abuja for official assignments requested the postponement pending their...

Unpaid Nigeria’s Super Falcons withhold Nations Cup trophy in protest.

The Nigeria national women’s football team, the Super Falcons, are still holding on to the Africa Women’s Nations Cup won last weekend in Cameroon in protest against the government’s failure to pay them. Though the Minister of Youth and Sports, Solomon Dalung, on Thursday reassured the African champions that they will receive all their entitlements, the team has not relinquished the trophy. The minister, who was in the company of the NFF’s General Secretary, Mohammed Sanusi, met with the players and...

NCC releases short code to opt out of unsolicited messages from Telcos.

The Nigerian Communication Commission, NCC, on Thursday advised consumers to take advantage of the 2442 short code to choose the type of messages they want to receive from telecoms operators. The Executive Vice-Chairman of NCC, Umar Danbatta, gave the advice at the 79th Telecom Consumers Parliament help in Abuja. He said that the parliament, with its theme: Implementation of the `Do not Disturb’ (DND): the journey so far,’ was aimed at sensitising the public to the policy. Mr. Danbatta said that the...

How Nigeria’s economic challenges affect West Africa – ECOWAS

The depreciation of the naira and other economic challenges affecting member states have slowed down ECOWAS economic integration and the adoption of a single currency, the News Agency of Nigeria(NAN) reports. This was one of the main issues discussed at the technical meeting of the ECOWAS Macroeconomic Policy Committee on Multilateral Surveillance in Abuja on Thursday. The out-going Chairperson of the committee, Ommy Sar Ndaiye, said that it was pertinent for member states to develop strategies to address the prevailing economic...

Kano generates N18 billion internal revenue in 2016.

The Kano State Government has realised N18 billion as internally generated revenue from January to date, an official said. The Chairman of Kano State Board of Internal Revenue, Sani Dembo, disclosed this on Thursday shortly after he defended the board’s 2017 budgetary allocation at the State Assembly. Mr. Dembo said that in 2015, the board generated N11 billion as tax revenue, while N12 billion was realised in 2016. He further said “within the 10 month of this year, we also generated non-tax...

Why I will not honour Reps’ invitation for now — Jibrin

Abdulmumin Jibrin said on Thursday that he will not honour the invitation to appear before the House of Representatives’ Ethics Committee until he receives a formal invitation to that effect from the Speaker, Yakubu Dogara. Mr. Jibrin said he had already defended all allegations of corruption against the speaker, and dismissed the fresh attempts by Ethics Committee to investigate him for corruption and official misconduct as a charade. Nicholas Ossai, chairman of the committee, told the House during plenary on Wednesday...

Lai: Newspaper editorials can no longer bring down a government.

Lai Mohammed, minister of information and culture, says gone are the days when newspapers were so powerful that their editorials could bring down a government. Speaking at a meeting with resident information officers (RIOs) in his ministry, Mohammed acknowledged the role of social media in the dissemination of information. He claimed that the federal government was under-reported because its information handlers were not using the right and current communication channels. “Government is doing so much, yet  people keep saying they do not...

Oyegun to Rivers electorate: If they slap you, slap them back.

John Oyegun, chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), on Thursday encouraged members of his party to retaliate whatever action they get from loyalists of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) during Saturday’s senatorial rerun election. Speaking during a mega rally of the party in Port Harcourt, the Rivers state capital, Oyegun particularly said: “If they slap you, slap them back.” He expressed satisfaction with the turnout at the rally, and urged the people to head to the polling units in droves...

Dalung: Nobody even knew Falcons would win AWCON

Solomon Dalung, minister of sports, says the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) would have applied to the sports ministry for funds early enough if anyone knew the Super Falcons would win the African Women Cup of Nations (AWCON), which ended in Cameroon at the weekend. The Nigerian women defeated hosts Cameroon on Sunday to win the tournament for a record eighth out of 10, but they have yet to receive their allowances. They have consequently refused to vacate their hotel premises in Abuja,...

D’banj: Nigeria does not have piracy. I’ve never been pirated.

Dapo ‘D’banj’ Oyebanjo, Afro singer, says Nigeria is the only country in the world where piracy does not exist. The Kokomaster on Thursday said his creative efforts have never been pirated. The singer made this comment at the inaugural edition of Music Week Africa, which held at the Nigerian Stock Exchange, Lagos. Explaining the reasoning behind his assertion, D’banj noted that what goes on in Alaba international market can’t exactly be called piracy because original CDs are being sold side by side...

Rivers Rerun: “Don’t kill anybody but don’t be killed”- Rotimi Amaechi to APC Members

Ahead of Saturday December 10th legislative rerun election, Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi, today called on members of the party to be vigilante during the election and that they should not kill and also not get killed. Speaking at the final campaign of the party in Port Harcourt, Rivers state, Amaechi said; "This is what we call the election of our lives. Before I used to tell you, ‘Please don’t fight’. Is that not what I used to tell you?...

Serving Kano Commissioner, Permanent Secretary arraigned for alleged fraud

The Kano State Public Complaints and Anti-Corruption Commission, on Tuesday, arraigned the state Commissioner for Land, Faruk Bibi Faruk, in court for alleged criminal breach of trust and illegal acts. Also arraigned were the permanent secretary, Mahmud Bari, and a director in the ministry, Ahmad Ibrahim. The trio were arraigned on a three-count charge before Justice Nasiru Saminu of Kano High Court 22 bordering on land deal. According to the prosecuting lawyer, Rabi Waya, the officials allegedly connived sometime in April to...

Reps move to impose time limit on appointment of Ministers

The House of Representatives on Thursday passed for second reading a bill proposing that nomination for appointment of ministers should not be later than 30 days from when the president takes oath of office. The bill also seeks to provide that nomination of commissioners shall be made not later than 30 days from the date a governor is sworn in. Presenting the bill, Solomon Adaelu (PDP-Abia), said that the need to ensure improved efficiency in governance prompted the amendment bill which...

Boat accident in Lagos; father, mother, son missing.

The Police in Lagos on Thursday declared missing a father, mother and son after two boats collided in Badagry area of the state.   A statement by the police spokesperson in Lagos State, Dolapo Badmos, said the actual number of passengers aboard the ill-fated boats was yet to be ascertained.   “At about 8: 30 pm on Dec. 7, a canoe with passengers that took off from Pathfinder Jetty on Badagry Marina heading to Gberefu Beach collided with another fibre boat coming from...

Nigerian Senator ‘secures’ federal jobs for 300 graduates

A Zamfara Senator, Kabiru Marafa, says he has secured employment for more than 300 unemployed graduates in the past five years.   The chairman of the Senator’s Relief and Assistance Committee, Ahmad Mai’aya, disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday in Gusau.   Mr. Mai’aya said that from 2011 to date “we have over 300 graduates with degree, HND and Diploma/NCE who got employment with various Federal Government organizations through Senator Kabiru Marafa”.   “We are now making...

Woman arrested for allegedly trying to sell 3 babies

The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons, (NAPTIP) in Ebonyi State has taken custody of a woman, Odinaka Ali, arrested by the police for alleged attempt to sell her three children in Enugu State. The Desk Officer of NAPTIP, Florence Onwa, stated this in Abakaliki while briefing journalists on the rescue of her children. The 25-year-old woman from Ezilo in Ishielu Local Government Area of Ebonyi State was said to be living with her husband in Enugu State...