It is election season in Nigeria. Testosterone- charged and power-hungry politicians are on the rampage seeking political offices to implement their vile agendas. The scramble is on. Political horns are clashing; hooves are kicking, as they seek every avenue to get to power.
Proponents of evolutionary democracy, Nigerian style, might argue that in accordance with Darwinian natural selection, it is apropos that only the fittest, strongest, most capricious, cunning, vicious and vile political animals survive to occupy the hallowed official spaces. To get a measure of the keenness of the contest, estimates suggest there are, on the average, 10 political beasts eager to occupy every office.
The public offices, range from the lower–level ones that can be mounted and occupied over and over again, to the high-ranking ones that statutorily can only be occupied twice by the same person. These high-ranking ones are 36 in number and most are coming into statutory heat right now.
Over and above all these of course is the alpha public office, the Presidency. It is to be occupied by the alpha personality. Two persons are in keen contention for it right now. One can be likened to a vintage 1983 model Ferrari, the other of course to a 2011 model Languid Odyssey.
The 1983 Furious Ferrari has been accused by critics of having been parked for too long. In spite of this its fans swear it is still in excellent physical condition. This machine is undoubtedly fast and sleek. So fast indeed, that many bystanders are fearful they may be crushed once it is commissioned and set in motion.
They claim that three persons were crushed by this particular vehicle in 1984 before it was parked permanently. However, if you want to move quickly from point A to point B, its fans swear it is the car for you.
The 2011 model Languid Odyssey is not built for speed. As a family mini- van or space vehicle, it is built for something else. Its fans say this particular car has been tested and is still very much in use. However, critics say it has not been well maintained. In fact they claim you have to push it to start. Ever heard of someone pushing an automatic vehicle to start?
Critics also say this particular car is a very slow vehicle. Its major selling point seems to be that it is very roomy and can carry much load. So if you want to haul bullion from your office to your village that is the car for you. Nigerians carry a lot of excess luggage as most international airlines staff would readily testify. Not surprising, many Nigerians are still rooting for the Languid Odyssey.
As a clincher, the Languid Odyssey’s fans claim that since it was commissioned as the official vehicle of the nation in 2010, first in an acting capacity and later in a substantive one, it has never crushed any road user, unlike many other retired national official vehicles. Its critics however counter that it has killed thousands of innocent people indirectly.
They say it is better to kill three allegedly criminally minded people, extrajudicially than to kill thousands of innocent people indirectly. They say that when its ignition key was turned on in a bid to convey urgent aid requirements and succour to victims of Boko Haram insurgency in the North East, the vehicle refused to start despite all pushing. They allege, it took an American special-purpose vehicle to crank it to life. Even till date, they testify, the Languid Odyssey has not yet made it to Chibok, Maiduguri and other neighbouring towns and villages where many people are still dying daily.
*Published in the Daily Times newspaper dated Thursday, January 8, 2015