OPINION: Asari Dokubo And The Burden of Mediocrity – By Jonah @Obajeun

For Asari Dokubo to have made such pronouncement, it goes to show that we have succeeded in venerating mediocrity to the vantage where people who are suffering from intellectual kwashiorkor are now dictating the tune.

Dokubo-AsariA consensus appears to have emerged that Nigeria cannot continue along the lines of the present economic and political disorder and disequilibrium. While an alternative is busy adding flesh to its idea, fear seems to have engulfed the coast in the ruling class. Now the dogs are barking!

The worsening conditions of existence, and of brazen consumerist and kleptocratic character of the ruling elite, have induced in the society, creeping cynicism, if not outright disdain for intellectualism. At the level of popular expression, it is common these days for one to be dismissed as “acada” in preference for the “money-bag”. This perhaps explains why increasing numbers of the largely uneducated comprador-elite now get the ears of the president. One recently opened his stinking mouth to declare the existential uncertainty of Nigeria if his kinsman is not re-elected in 2015.

Asari Dokubo is a product of Yar’Adua’s anti-ideological crusade. In the bid to obscure issues and spread ignorance and mystification, Jonathan’s Presidency now seeks to stamp out radical perceptions in our intellectual outlook, where militants are now galivanting with unassume bravery. While many progressive writers have predicted the departure of Nigeria if certain issues are not addressed in the near future, no one has for once, attributed the extinction of the country in no time to ballot revolution against a person. For Asari Dokubo to have made such pronouncement, it goes to show that we have succeeded in venerating mediocrity to the vantage where people who are suffering from intellectual kwashiorkor are now dictating the tune.

The crisis of the post-colonial Nigeria has been made worse by the unproductive and corrupt ruling class. Because of its nature, the bourgeois class depends on the entrepreneurial state for capital accumulation through contracts and outright looting of the state treasury. Yet the country faces challenges arising from contradictions between the various social classes and the overbearing presence of looting agents at the corridors of power. Being fully immersed in class struggles, the state lacks the capacity and legitimacy to mediate political differences and conflict as an impartial public force. So how did we get here?

As in all peripheral social formations, the Nigerian state emerged as a crude tool of foreign capital. It was used to coerce the people into market relations, to change their pattern of production and ultimately, facilitate exploitation and accumulation on behalf of the metropolitan interests. Given the programmed transition to neo-colonial dependence, the post-colonial state came out weak, unstable and internally compromised. So there is no point being surprised that a Reuben Abati could be repressed to thrash his goodwill or a Jonathan could order his armed men to disperse constituted protesters and kill some without any legal reprisal. Why should we then be taken aback by Asari Dokubo’s bellicose outburst?

Given the elusiveness of development, a condition that has heightened class contradictions, progressives have become critical of state policies, leading to a creeping antipathy between the state and intellectual forces. The state would rather seek economic and political advice from uneducated intellectuals who are now being promoted to lord over the progressive community. But it is one thing to uncover the roots of misbegotten mediocrity as in the case of Asari Dokubo’s shallow assertion, it is another thing to know how to reclaim a lost heritage because we have vested intellectual power in the hands of the uneducated.

We need to move fast to recover Nigeria from rogues, diehard leaders of crude armed men who are speaking from their vantage positions to rubbish our intellectual fundamentals. We need to rid the seat of power of these shallow thinkers who are hellbent to send our continued existence to its immature grave because of an impending ballot revolution. We need to rebuild our intellectual arsenal and make life difficult for mediocres to survive at the corridors of power

For example, Asari Dokubo is clearly suffering from the burden of mediocrity. I concede to him his constitutional right of association, to be eternally associated with mediocrity.

 

Jonah Ayodele Obajeun blogs @www.obajeun.com. Reach him on twitter via @Obajeun

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