Thursday, 2 June 2016

A journey through change by Uthman Shodipe

They came with a screaming messianic holler. There was that vehemence of the true believer, the giddy self-assurance profile of a curative largeness, the dubious omniscience of those who pretend a comprehension of the full portents of earth and heaven! There was that vain, hubristic projection that insinuated a total grasp of all national ills.

They came with the pious certainties of infallible arbiters; restless and impatient, thundering with rage and incandescent fury, insistent on the adept mastery of all our searing confrontations.

In flurries of vacuous promises, in contrived partisan swindle and flamboyant podium hosannahs, they had asserted a swift and immediate healing of all broken places. They claimed a privileged prism to the promised land where the observable imbalances would be rectified with the charmed expertise of superior kindling, where the obvious inequities would be erased and then repaired by the righteous articulations of the just who abhor societal distortions.

And thus, with practised venom and Goebbelian fluency, they lashed out at the ills of the hour and then manufactured a thousand monstrosities to increase the odium of those who were already soiled and at once arouse the incendiary ardor of a crushed populace.

But it is not to be said that there were no monstrosities. It is not to be argued that the defrocked power was somehow innocent and untarnished, paved in some serene, salutary emblems.

Not true. It was indeed a period of legitimised larceny where the national coffers were brazenly appropriated as mercenary spoils in a squalid orgy without hierarchical borders.

But it was a universal pillage that bore no partisan badge that harboured no exclusive, confining toga. It was a national rampage of the privileged who ransacked the treasury with uniform inveterate greed. It had no tribal colouration or partisan exceptionalism. Behold, some of the pivots of the present hour are still the most egregious looters of the condemned past. They are yet shielded by the overt partisan cordon of the state.

And yet this oddity: the presiding powers will now withdraw into a deliberate selective targeting, choosing and picking the object of state hounding with hoarded, predetermined conclusion.

In crude, unhidden haste and primitive stampede, every perceived stalwart of the old order is harassed and hounded into bruising confinement with a cowed and prostrate judicature subverting the very integral pillars of civil liberties, turning a subdued and castrated isle into a widening thoughtless garrison where a very few are still stirred in conscionable rebellion against an errant, indifferent arbiter.

The voiceless cadre now grows. The traditional structures of legitimate dissent are being decimated through the iron fist or distorted into nullity through the well honed egregious compromise of the old days that they are now vilifying!

There is an uncomfortable silence everywhere. There is that nonplussed resignation, a confounding inanimation, a frozen conundrum of purpose, a stagnated will that struggles with the deepening confusion of today, halted from deciphering the unknowingness of tomorrow.

In this swamping relentless battering of a frightening riddle of what constitutes the purpose of power and the natural role of a conscionable electorate, those who now wield the arbitrating scepter withdraw into unquestioning licence and drunken latitude.

Everywhere there are feverish, unthoughtful somersaults of earlier podium declarations; a swift, widening entrenchment of puerile equivocations as state policy!

They are not to be held to any course of action. They are not to be tied to any sworn attestations of the recent past. They must prevaricate, invent oafish acrobatic channels to tunnel a wriggle room. They take no responsibilities. They accept no moral affirmations for any derailment. Nothing must stick. There must always be a fall guy to take the plunging sword.

In this uniform spectacle of muddled intransigence, there is no defined clarity in the general structures of the state. There is no observable fount of a grand philosophical articulation about the guidance of the national platform. There is no general corpus signposting an agreed direction of power.

All are bedlam and conflicting convulsions masquerading as a vision. Everywhere, the ultimate fundament of power as a protector of the general throng and as an assuaging balm and fillip in the period of storm and tumult is promptly discarded and flung into the gutter as the blind arbiter instead wields a venomous scourge of impoverishing an already savaged people.

From the lengthening unemployment rolls to the vast widening hunger haunting the hovels of the poor, from the harsh punitive infliction of the utility tariff to the cruel severity of the hike in fuel price, from the open undisguised creed of crass ethnic triumphalism to the murderous licence of the heathen savages from the bowels of religiousity— there is that grim fixity on retrogressive pattern. There is that deliberate illogic to discount all opposing views, to banish all debates, to etch all alternative articulations as the promptings of rebellion.

Amid this wild intolerance where there is no enrichment of plural discourse, where there is no contesting ferment of balanced erudition, the nation sinks deeper into the morass of a stale mechanical echo where the same insane equivocating twaddle is repeated in droning lunacy, where the self-aggravated ills of today are still dubiously transferred to the orphaned past.

Alas, the presiding testimony is thus a nation freighted in splendid incoherence where a benighted hubris deceives itself as enlightenment, where a contumacious idiocy struts about in a deluded sense of perfection and contrived clarity.

But we do know that the arbiters are largely wobbly and untried. Their grip is no discernment but intemperate venom. Their focus is no leadership but an outdated complex of tawdry Araby that growls at superior thought that kicks at higher intervention with the virulent distrust and ignorance of a neolithic instinct.

And pray, the road to the redeeming passage? A deferred horizon, a distant spatial chimera! Definitely not in their grasp, far beyond their ken.

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