2019 General Elections- A citizen’s perspective
By Bernard Balogun
A pessimist, more often than not, has negative thoughts running in his mind. He vehemently promotes such pessimistic tendency, sometimes with outdated analysis and illogical parameters that cannot stand the test of time. Of course, when such outdated analysis and illogical parameters are repeatedly repeated, they began to assume the coloration of truth. The beauty about truth is, it naturally flows like a river. On the other hand, falsehood is deliberately created to cover up, to sustain and support a determined course, knowing that such a course is false, consequently mislead a group of people or even a society. Painfully, the Nigerian society is made of, largely, people who are gullible and intellectually lazy in many respect. Our so-called leaders, on both sides of political and religious divide are not helpful, especially the religious leaders, who ought to be above board and authoritative with profound statistics, are confusing us the more with such disappointing utterances. They are not helping matters. These religious leaders control a large segment of the society and their followers have enormous respect and hold strong to the their prouncement as the Gospel truth. For the politicians, especially those of modern day, are known to “double speak”, often times promising what they cannot implement. This has been the experience of most Nigerians, especially with analytical minds, minds that cannot be easily manipulated. It is an unfolding dilemma as we approach February 16, first of a series of elections in 2019. With this kind of obvious deceit, deliberate misinformation, power-play and over-heated utterances in the political space, one is bound to be genuinely concerned. In my small way, l shall endeavour to proffer solutions that would reduce the “heat from the political furnace”. So that whoever wins, either APC or PDP, PMB or Atiku, they will have a country to govern, a country at peace with itself and its people, not at war, a society made up of citizens, citizens of civilised society. I recently stumbled on a paper presentation by Dr Kethoser Kevichuse, a Psychologist.
Permit me therefore to share with you the thought of this erudite scholar, a thought that appropriately captures our current situation with profound relevance.
According to Dr Kethoser Kevichuse…
There are always three kinds of people in every given society. The three fold distinction has been and made by notable sociologists and public intellectuals. Of the three kinds of people, it was first identified and first stated by the supporters and founders of democracy in ancient Greece. For the Greek people, the people who in many ways gave us the modern civilised world. For the first kind of people in any given society are the idiots. For the Greeks, the idiots is not necessarily someone who is mentally deficient, rather for the ancient Greek people, the idiot, they said, is someone who is totally private person, totally self-centered and a totally selfish person. They call him the idiot. The idiot is always out for his person gain and personal interest. He does not have a public philosophy, he had no knowledge, no skill, no character and no virtue to be able to live and contribute in a flourishing society or community. He is all out for personal pleasure and personal treasure. And the Greeks said an idiot is just an upgraded barbarian.
The Greek people said there is a second kind of people in any given society. The Greeks call these people, the tribes people. When we say the tribes people, we don’t necessarily mean the fact of belonging to a certain tribe, which is a good thing. But when they use “tribes people”, the Greek meant a tribal or tribalistic mentality. And the Greeks said the tribe people are those who are in unable to think beyond their small tribe or small group. For tribe people, their primary allegiance, their only allegiance and ultimate allegiance is to their tribe. Their tribe is their God and their religion is tribalism. And the tribe people, the Greeks said, are always afraid of things that are different and that are “a little alien” to them. They are always suspicious and fearful. They always dealt with different people, with difficult situation, with intimidation, with force and with finance. And the Greeks also said, the ideal person for the tribe people is the warrior, because the tribes people are war making people.
For the Greeks, there was another kind of people, the ideal person. And the Greeks called this ideal person – citizen. Here when you use the word “citizen”, we are not talking about the legal status or political status. We are talking, essentially, about the idea and ideal of citizenship. And who is the citizen? The citizen, according to the Greeks, is someone who has the knowledge and the skill to live a public life, is able to live the life of civility. The citizens recognises that he or she is a member of the Commonwealth and strives for the common good. That is the citizen. The citizen knows her common rights in a society. He or she also knows her rights and responsibilities to the society.The citizen can fight for his right but always with the awareness of, with respect and interest for others, of his neighbours, of the smallest of the minorities and of their enemies. The citizens, the Greeks said, make up a civilised society, because citizens settle their differences with civility, so produced a civilised society….. Society literally means friendship and friendliness. That is the three fold distinction the Greeks has given us…..
Would we be idiot, living only for ourselves; or we be tribal, tribalistic people, unable to think beyond our tribes and small group or would we be citizen, citizens in the best and true sense of the word? End of quote.
On this threshold of another election year in Nigeria and on this historical day, l believe, l want to make this decision to be counted amongst the citizen fold. In Nigeria, let us not be “the idiot” or “tribes people”. As citizens, let us be solidly united in enthroning an eligatarian society, a society built on social justice and fairness, where the dreams and aspirations of the masses are substantially, not necessarily totally, met. As citizens let us eschew tribal sentiment, stereotypical tendency that borders on an “idiot” theory, a theory that is retrogressive. As citizens, we have been brainwashed by leaders and have been misled in taking decision that further improverished us as a people and as a Nation. We have progressed in error too far away from our dreams. But it is not too late to retrace our steps. At a time like this, let us deeply reflect, ponder and consciously create that awareness within to vote for the right candidate, a candidate that will positively impact on us – pay our salaries as at when due, cater for the rest of us, provision of drugs and Medicare in public hospitals, provision of an improved public transportation system, improved electricity supply, functionally and quality educational system, etc, etc. Do not allow the “idiot or the tribes people” influence your decision on election days. Hold onto your PVC, your conscience and your God to guide you.
Balogun (BenPino) writes from Wuse District, Abuja and can be reached via 08037879275