Did We Thumbprint Away Our Ideological Blueprint?

DID WE THUMBPRINT AWAY OUR IDEOLOGICAL BLUEPRINT?: An article on the political climate in Rivers State, Nigeria.

Many have said that the 2015 and subsequent 2019 gubernatorial elections in Rivers state were widely acclaimed by the majority of Rivers indigenes. Indeed, this statement may need to be qualified. Sometimes when a society is under immense difficulty they often pray hard for something to happen, no matter how life-changing it may be. In the same way, many people in Rivers state were very relieved when the political fistfight came to an end albeit anticlimactically with the emergence of (I've got to say this correctly) His Excellency, the executive governor of Rivers state, Chief Barrister Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, POS Africa (Whatever that means) as the new driver of the battered 5.3 million seater danfo that Rivers state had become. This is not in any way to say that the people of Rivers state were happy over the blunders of the electoral body but it strained the faith at that time to think otherwise.

Admittedly the press, prostitute that she is, that unsatisfied wench with an ample lopsided blossom ready to offer multiple tainted nipples to the highest bidder to suckle upon, praised the new regime to the highest heavens. Columnists outdid one another (myself included because man must chop) in their bids to attract the freshly multi-billion dollar minted eyes of the new masters... But they had no choice in the matter. They either had to sing such praises to the new administration or just shut the hell up. All who spoke simply said what the new administration wanted to hear. Indeed, every random sampling of the press at that time revealed "overwhelming" support of course. But... and the big but remains, what of the silent millions who merely looked on, too indifferent, too illiterate, too helpless, too disenfranchised, or in most cases too numb with fright to either applaud or jeer? No, the success of any new administration cannot just be judged from the pages of newspapers.

After all, a few months, weeks, days, and I dare say hours before the fall of the Right Honourable(though I've never seen a wrong one) Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi-led Administration, it still had undivided support from its press and people. It is thus the people's day-to-day reactions to the daily stress and challenges of living that provide a better basis for such judgment. Herein lies the alley-cat-faced albatross. In a despicable administration, the people surely die a slow death. But if one can still go out and come in Safe and sound, sleep with two eyes closed, earn a basic and fair income devoid of insane state tax schemes and live under a relatively stable economy then such administration has much to be recommended for. After the 2015 Rivers state elections and subsequent 2019 elections, few people can even whistle aloud on the roads past 7 pm. The Ikwerre ethnic group was indeed jubilant over the turn of events, and the careless and ignorant among them suckled greedily on nipples offered by the whore press and used her to express this excitement in no uncertain terms.

This was mostly because of some fluke of luck or ridiculous political shenanigans, chicanery, and while another Ikwerre man was becoming governor subsequently for the third time back to back..(but this is a discourse for another day). However, it may be easy and tempting to blame the Ikwerres for this obnoxious attitude but I sincerely believe that most tribes would feel the same way if they found their tribe in such an advantageous position(take a bow, my northern brothers..una too much). Anyway, ours was, and still is, a tribal society. The herd instinct is still very strong, and most people feel far more at home among members of their tribe than in any other company. Even all around us today, communities feel honored when a member of their group is appointed to a high office. Goodwill delegations are led to the appropriate governor to thank him for the singular honor done to their clan and pray to him to continue to keep such clan in his good books. This communal sharing of joy and sadness is very human albeit insipid, but in every multi-tribal country like Nigeria or state like Rivers state, it is a formidable stumbling block. 

Let's go deeper...

The poverty and hardship, with its concomitant low standard of living, that was brimming within Rivers state, lends strength to this herd instinct. People see the tribe as a divinely created island in a desperately seething, unstable socio-economic sea. Who else will give you a job, if not your brother? How will a policeman caution you for an offense and let you go after a light "bail" if he was not your tribesman? How could a scholarship board know the needs of your community if your son was not a member of the board? The red tape is cut, all formalities brushed aside, and all protocols unduly unobserved, if your man is at the top. These attitudes are still deeply ingrained in the minds of the people and lead them to different behaviors, attitudes, opinions, and fortunately or unfortunately (depending on whose side you're on) voting decisions and will surely take generations to erase them. It is also a shot in the foot to suppose that only the poorly educated have these notions.

Many commissioners, permanent secretaries, and high executives within the state still feel that their first duty is to their tribe. However, this supposed allegiance is now flickering like a dying candle. Moreso likes the ones purchased at Mile3 market which are made up of wax and clay. Yes, I said it, clay. God help us. Anyway, I digress... The point is this. Whether we call it herd instinct or mentality or communal unionism or as one social commentator aptly put it, the "privilege to be on a farm where harvest season never ends" the issue remains, is life better now? Or once again have we thumb printed away our ideological blueprint to a better more prosperous tomorrow based on what my wife refers to as bull poo? We'll let tomorrow birth the answer to that. I just pray tomorrow doesn't abort our hopes or worse have a miscarriage on the way as we set our sights on 2023.

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