Nigeria News

Peace Accord and 2015 Elections: The origins of political disorder

Illusions are built on fantasies. Illusions are the creations of a mind that is steeped in a reality that does not exist. Now, what drives a mind to begin to concoct illusions?

What propels a people to choose the path of destruction egregiously hinged on fault lines that set them on a path of conflict? Conflicts arise when individuals exploit fault lines that manipulate them, and employ them to set individuals against one another or nations against nations.

Well, a warped mind is the fertile ground for the germination of illusory images. And that is why individuals or nations begin to entertain fantasies that create illusory images of convoluted sense of self importance and might.

That was why an Adolf Hitler built his castle in the air, believing that he could conquer the world and become the absolute ruler. If the supernatural being had planned for just a nation or a people

to rule the world, greater men of violence who came before Hitler and dominated the world would have achieved that feat.

Yet it needs to be interrogated why people allow otherwise simple, straight forward issues that ordinarily need not heighten tension to lead to conflicts and crises of gargantuan proportions.

In Francis Fukuyama’s book, THE ORIGINS OF POLITICAL ORDER (From Prehuman Times to the French Revolution), from where the title of this piece is adapted, he explores the interrelationship between the state, rule of law and accountable government. He explains the not so apparent conflict between the three and asserts: “A successful modern liberal democracy combines all three sets of institutions in a stable balance.

The fact that there are countries capable of achieving this balance constitutes the miracle of modern politics, since it is not obvious that they can be combined. The state, after all, concentrates and uses power, to bring about compliance with its law on the part of its citizens and to defend itself against other states and threats.

The rule of law and accountable government, on the other hand, limits the state’s power first by forcing it to use its powers according to certain public and transparent rules and then by ensuring that it is subordinate to the will of the people. “These institutions come into being in the first place because people find that they can protect their interest and the interests of their families through them.

But what people regard as self interest and how they are willing to collaborate with others depends critically on ideas that are legitimate certain forms of political association. Self interest

and legitimacy thus form the cornerstone of political order.

“The fact that one of these three types of institutions exists does not imply that the others do so as well”.

These arguments have led people to attempt to justify the need for an absolutist leader, believing that only an individual in that mould can truly forge a robust yet meaningful alliance of the three for the good of citizens. But you can never get it all together perfectly.

And that is why there is sufficient angst against President Goodluck Jonathan. He is seen as a leader lacking in depth and stamina to effectively confront Nigeria’s problems. Muhammadu Buhari, on the other hand, is largely seen as firm, resolute and determined.

The former is a southerner and the latter a northerner. The lines have been drawn. Whereas the North wants power back at all costs, the South-South insists its son, Jonathan, is being needlessly harangued. Into the mix is the argument made popular by some leaders in Yorubaland who constitute the bulk of the opposition – that the numerical strength of the South-West and the North- West would be enough to galvanise the needed votes for presidential election victory. And whereas the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, instituted a power sharing arrangement between the North and the South, the man at the centre of what is bound to be an explosive outcome after the February 14, 2015 presidential election is Olusegun Obasanjo.

For a man who was once well-respected across the globe, Obasanjo’s southward metamorphosis into a self-serving nationalist needs mentioning. Any cause that would not benefit an Obasanjo, even if it is the greatest good for the largest number of people, he would oppose it. Thinking he would successfully put Jonathan in his pocket, Obasanjo unashamedly repudiated, indeed, laughed off an arrangement which was meant to create order.

Indeed, Fukuyama noted in his book that processes “created to meet one set of conditions often survive even when those conditions change or disappear, and the failure to adapt appropriately entails political decay”. Rather than adapt, or re-create another process that would respect the rule of law and take congisance of the contingency occasioned by the death of Umar Musa Yar’Adua, it was this same Obasanjo who said the North could go to hell and “Jonathan, you must contest”.

Jonathan would have been a better president for Obasanjo if the latter had been allowed to rule by proxy; and all this heat would not have come.

Put differently, had good sense prevailed to allow for a northerner to take over in 2011, the argument today would have been the constitutionality of that individual’s right to seek re-election, against an agreement by the PDP to rotate power between the North and the South. That would have been a better argument to engage than this potentially sanguine outcome of a Buhari victory and a Jonathan defeat or vice versa.

Whatever fears today that led to last week’s signing of the peace accord to eschew pre and post election violence may never have been necessary had Jonathan been generously productive, thereby leaving with the opposition clutching at the straw. But, today, the opposition can find faults and campaign grounds to lampoon Jonathan.

Yet, Nigerians are not in tune with the spiritual, emotional and intellectual ways of Buhari who is too tilted and set along a rigid path. Worse still, the hawks around Buhari would bay for blood and in the event of a Buhari presidency, whatever Nigerians may have considered inequities of the North against the South in times past would be child’s play compared to what such a presidency would bring – not minding Ahmed Bola Tinubu’s entertainment of fantasies of running a collegiate presidency with Buhari. That would never work.

Has Jonathan met the expectations of Nigerians generally? Not really. Can he change for the better? That would be a desirable change as the opposition is also clamouring for. Can it be done? That is Jonathan’s call.

Yes, Nigerians want change! But the consequences of the type of change Nigerians want could be worse in outcome than the change that brought an alleged kleptocrat, Yanukovich, to power in Ukraine with unfulfilled promises; or the type that brought Mohammed Morsi of Islamic Brotherhood to power in Egypt who, again, had to be removed from power by another call for change.

Anthony-Claret Onwutalobi
Anthony-Claret Onwutalobi
Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC and CEO of Portia Web Solutions. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.

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