The Brigands Own Politics In Nigeria

By Basil Okoh July 2, 2020

The Brigands Own Politics In Nigeria

It is time now to remove educational requirements as qualification for elective office in the electoral law of Nigeria. From Salisu Buhari and Evan(s) Enwerem to Muhammadu Buhari, Bola Tinubu and Adams Oshiomhole, forgeries of certificates and nonqualification for office has dominated political discourse in Nigeria.

It appears that Nigeria will contend with this problem for a long time because the ones who stay back in classes to pass exams are usually not the brigands who bestride the Nigerian political space. We see them, the school dropouts without certificates, everywhere, noisy and garrulous and threathning always to smash heads, cut throats or burn polling places.

Failure in the classroom has become the enabler of political success because It removes annoying restraints to action and violence. These are the essential ingredients for success in politics in Nigeria. In the season of anomy, certificates become burdens because education imbues candour, conscience and good conduct. In the Nigerian political environment, these become disfunctional moral weights.

So Nigerians must no longer be required to flaunt educational certificates in order to be eligible to stand for elections. The history of the 4th Republic so far is replete with the carcasses of ambitions, persons of high office brought down by disputes over forged certificates.

These should no longer be allowed. Courts don’t award degrees or certificates and so should no longer be permitted to make pronouncements on them. To validate or invalidate should no longer be the question.

The entire judiciary has created a medium sized and thriving industry out of disputes over certificates. The inviolate profit motive has made sure that there is no longer any criteria for validating or invalidating certificates presented to court anymore. The court jesters also need to eat.

Certificates or no, the entire nation is engulfed in low performance with bumblers in every sector of national life, merchants in power who know next to nothing about managing the people or the economy and worse, persons who lack creative thinking in almost absolute terms.

Take the lockdown in the early days of COVID 19 pandemic for instance. While the youth of Nigeria were fighting traders in different market places to force the price of gari, yams and other local food oroducts down to make it affordable for homes that were isolating, Governments were going around distributing noodles and rice imports to Nigerian homes. All that money was lost to imports and nothing was purchased from local farmers. Can you beat that dim wittedness?

Muhammadu Buhari in almost forty years of public life and rulership has no papers to show for any kind of education or training. But the nation of two hundred million persons elected him even when he cannot tell the meaning of “livestock” or pronounce the word in the official language of the country.

Bola Tinubu has no genuine papers to present, even after decades of working for an international organisation and eight years of governing a state with the biggest budget and largest population in Nigeria. From “St. Paul’s Aroloya (I know of St. John’s, Aroloya, Lagos Island) to Government College, Ibadan and onward to University of Chicago”, Bola Tinubu has lied his way to public office, prominence, wealth and political oligarchy.

“Adamu the tailor” (Adams Oshiomhole in other words) has just been forced to climb down from the position he was promoted to, far beyond his competence and educational attainment, as school drop out and tailor. From the position of National Chairman of the ruling party of the largest country in Africa, he now returns to the dung heap which should be his rightful entitlement. Just like Bola Tinubu, he too has no education and no classmates he shared classrooms with to call as witnesses.

In a country in which the truly educated ones, even for all the bluster, behave and perform no better than the brigands at the public spaces, it will be welcome to remove the requirement for education and certificates so that we face with equanimity every four years, the prospect of electing the worst among us. It can never be as bad a deal as we are having now, where international agencies are determining that a full 60% of our budget are stolen off our hands and no questions asked.

From the Local Government Council to State Assemblies to the National Assembly and onward to the Presidency, forged certificates and illiteracy have become the preferred qualification for entry.

To save the nation from the spiralling cost of litigations, the nation should abrogate the requirement for educational qualifications for entry into elective posts.

The educated ones in office are not showing marked difference in output and performance, after all, Oshiomhole can outtalk anyone with “dogon tureinci” (long English), no matter how long the persons certificate and rèsumé.

  • @basilokoh.