By Raymond Oise-Oghaede
The struggles and contributions of our nationalists towards the attainment of the country`s independence cannot be quantified or measured. They were united in their quest for self reliance which they relentlessly pursued to a logical conclusion despite the allegedly perceived intentions of the colonialists to hold on for much longer. However, when they eventually got the power and authority they craved (independence and democracy); the intelligence and wisdom which they hitherto collectively used to match the sophistications and wherewithal of the colonial masters became tools for the promotion of sentimentalized politics. Regional, tribal and personal ambitions replaced collective interests and this led to the beginning of politics of mistrusts amongst the major tribes of the nation. Consequently, things fell apart and the center could no longer hold. Insecurity crept in and became the order of the day; and, this opened the floodgates for military intervention in governance. Since the first coup d’état to the time democracy was restored in 1999; the human and material sacrifices put-in were so enormous that it would not be an overstatement to say they outweighed those of the struggles for independence. Today, it is very unfortunate to observe that the commitments, selflessness and the relentlessness which we collectively embraced to pursue and reclaim democracy in 1999 have once again become elusive as were in the days of old; and, the people are now divided as usual. Expectedly, insecurity has set in and the menace is gradually taking away the shine from the country in the comity of nations.
As a fall out of the above, little wonder why things are presently not moving on smoothly in the polity; not because we are naturally bad or that we cannot do things rightly or excellently; but, because our reasonings have been corrupted by the self developed perception of mutual suspicions. Though in democracy, it is a normal phenomenon to have the ruling party or government and the opposition groups. The logic is for the later to stand as checks on the former for the progress and betterment of the country. In this vein, they criticize the government objectively and offer or proffer reasonable and justifiable suggestions to challenges facing the nation. They are partners in progress and their main objective is to join hands together to move the country forward.
In the Nigerian context today, our supposedly elites and protagonists of democracy have categorized themselves into three distinct groups viz the HAILERS, the HATERS and, the WAILERS. Their antics are persistently tearing the country apart in every passing second. The so called HAILERS are the supporters of government in power (mostly members and supporters of the ruling party); and, as the name implies, they are always hailing every moves of the administration. Ordinarily, it is a welcome and desirable thing for the citizenry to support the government with the aim of moving the country forward in all ramifications; it becomes a cause for concern when they began to applaud even those moves of the government that are obviously capable of resulting to catastrophic consequences. It is worrisome to note that objectivity has eluded their thinking to a larger extent that some of them are advocating for dictatorial tendencies to replace the principles of `rule of law` in governance (under a democratic system). They are very quick to castigate and criminalized those criticizing the government regardless of whether their criticisms are objective or not. They are always on social media misleading their gullible followers and supporters who swiftly and nauseatingly like, support and share the array of their bigotry and biased posts without using their own brains. Unfortunately, they are by their actions, causing more problems and destroying the image and reputation of the government they tended to be supporting and promoting. They cannot do comprehensive analyses about issues of national concern to remove all doubts and convince the people of their desirability and importance to the advancement of our collective interests; but, they are very good at doing parochial and negative overview on the worthy and patriotic opinions of those who criticize the policy(ies) of the administration.
On their own part, the HATERS are those who express baseless and inappropriate aversion to the government of the day. They are mostly supporters of the parties in opposition and are perceived to be the enemies of the government. They do not seem to see anything good in the policies and working of this administration and they do not believe that there is any blueprint or concrete agenda in place to move the country forward. They are usually not objective in their assessments of the performance(s) of the government; and, they are quick to condemn every initiative without giving considerations for their importance or relevance to the building and development of the country. They are also always on social media misleading their equally gullible followers to do their biddings. In the same vein, the WAILERS are mostly those that are always complaining and lamenting about everything concerning the people at the helm of affairs and the state of the nation. They careless to know whether efforts are being put in to normalize the situation or not; theirs is that the government is not living up to expectations. In some cases, these categories of people could also be found in either side of the divide depending on the situation on ground. As such, the hailers perceive anybody that complains about the unpleasant situation in the country as a wailer. Also, when the tide seems to be favouring the calculations of those in opposition; the complaints of the hailers in this regard are termed as lamentation of the wailers by the haters. For example, when a court judgment favours the ruling party, the outcries from members of the opposition and those that are not happy with the decision are seen as those of the wailers and vice versa.
From the aforesaid, it is obvious that majority of the people in all the groups usually tied their actions, inactions, hatred, love and outcries to sentiments; and, that is the key factor that has contributed majorly to the problems we are presently facing in the country. All things are enmeshed in mutual suspicion to the extent that those in the same category do not also trust themselves because of tribal and religious differences. As I have noted earlier, these categories of people are desirable in every societies if they play the politics sensibly and objectively. Therefore, there is nothing bad or wrong in `hailing` a government when it is living up to expectations. In this case, the hailing will act as propeller for it to do more and better. In the case of `haters`, they can freely `dislike the bad policies of government` and not the `people in government`. In this situation, the people in this category should be objective and patriotic in their approaches which must be aimed at achieving better results for the benefits of all. They can always channel their grievances through their `elected representatives`. Presently, there is no single constituency in the country that is not represented at the federal level. That is the more reason why we have equal representation by all states at the national assembly. You can always send representation to and or through the state assembly depending on the jurisdiction of the matter in question. The `wailers` also have the moral justifications to wail under unfavourable hash conditions in the country. They may not have solutions to the problems but their wailing can draw the attention of government to the realities on ground.
Consequent upon the aforementioned, it is very obvious that we can turn the politics of hailers, haters and wailers around for the positive gains of our country and its citizenry. When we embrace objectivism and patriotism in how we go about it; we would soon come to realize that `no category is permanent` because it is the bedrock of “politics of no permanent friends or enemies; but, permanent interests”.
Oise-Oghaede is a public policy analyst/commentator, he sent in this piece from Surulere, Lagos State. He can be reached via phone call: 08023116867 or 08099405562.