The Southwest And Southeast 2023 Barometer - THE DAILY CRUCIBLE



Thursday, July 8, 2021

The Southwest And Southeast 2023 Barometer

By Prince Femi Kusa

It is probably still too early to be definitive. Nevertheless, some interesting images of the political journey of the next 18 months to the elections are beginning to emerge.

FOUR forces are likely to contend for power 
1) The political class
2) The irradiated traditional class
3) The age-long voter class and,
4) The agitated new voter class.

The politicians are, ofcourse, the political establishment. However divided they may be, members of this order will unite, very likely against the irradiated traditional order, whose  members they believe have always been their footstools. Who will lead the political class is not yet clear. The contest for leadership will be between the Governors, the former Governors, and green horns in leadership. Who will lead the irradiated traditional order is everyone's guess. The word IRRADIATED is employed to describe the traditional class for the simple reason that it is now politically agitated. Either to, it always stood like a flock of lamb behind the shepherd which is the leader of the political class. But, now, the traditional class has become irradiated, that is charged with energy, emotionally and psychically, if not spiritually, to believe that the political class has failed the land and sold it out to the enemy. So, the irradiated traditional class would want to take its destiny in its hands. It has roused feelings in many southwestern towns and cities. It is receiving encouragement from overseas by another group which does not believe in 2023 but in self determination for the southwestern region. Thus, among the irradiated traditional class, there is a section which believes the southwest region should procedurally or otherwise get out of Nigeria. There is another group which believes the way to securing the land is through political restructuring in Nigeria and the ballot box. But this other group would rather place political control of the southwestern region not in the hands of the political class. Rather, it would wish that the leadership come from the irradiated traditional class. The irradiated traditional class has an uphill task on its hands while Federal Nigeria is trying to hammer it into surrender to the southwestern political class. Atleast one powerful traditional ruler, powerful because he wears the beaded crown, has dissociated its Royal Court and its people from the dreams of the irradiated traditional class. This is a bold step in these uncertain times. And the differences may be what Federal Nigeria may exploit to maintain status co ante in the march to 2023 and beyond. 

Thus, we have a formidable political class which may nevertheless be fractured by leadership squabbles on one hand, and, on the other, an irradiated traditional class already being divided at the followership level.

The traditional order has come up, agitated by Nigeria's inability to secure its security. They are strugglers, have no mouth-watering estates, even if they have anything to their names,  are unlettered, have hardly travelled abroad and are unknown or unsong anywhere on the globe. Nevertheless, they have discovered the power in group action. They are the ones who are being roused from one public protest rally to the other in southwest, demanding self determination. They are the ones whose rally the police have just disbanded in Lagos, which is now setting the record of intolerance to public protest. They may look up for leadership from masterminds of the new political ferment abroad, irrespective of whether the dream for a Yoruba nation comes through. The rank and file or the foot soldiers back home may then settle for smaller political offices after dislodging the old age political order.

The old voter class may be divided. The political climate had been suffocating them for decades. Some of them may shift camp this time. 

It is the new voter class that may trip the carts. They are largely young University graduates who have had no meaningful jobs for almost a decade after they left school. Everyone is agitated here. Their solace was in internet money making and in the social media which obliges them psychotherapy for their pains. Since the federal hammer on crypto currency business and on Twitter communication, this group has been seeking new social and financial shelters. They will be more interested than before in political shelter as well at this time. The political behaviour of a group such as this usually tends towards demolition of established order to build a new world for itself from out of the ruins. 

Nnamdi Kanu walked into the Lion's den. Europe and America are safe havens. Africa is a Lion's den for an African fighting and African government. His style is at home with the social under-growths, but not with the political order and the successful business class. From the state of events, this region is unlikely to obtain the Presidential ticket of any party, except, ofcourse, that of a home grown party. Even a Vice-Presidential ticket may be a pipe dream, unless one of the two parties shops for a Presidential candidate in the North and the other goes for it in the Southwest, and the Northern candidate goes Southeast. A twist would have happened, though, if former President Olusegun Obasanjo succeeds this time in putting a viable third party together as speculated last month. But he has refuted these speculations. Where the speculations right on the mark, and going by his anti South-Western antecedents, former President Obasanjo would have preferred a Presidential Candidate to come from the North and his running late to come from the East. This will gladden his heart as he, again, settles yet another score with the Southwest region which refuses to accept him as its leader over Chief Obafemi Awolowo.

In the interim, the barometer of the journey to 2023 continue to load and download new images. So, everything is still foggy. But in the fogginess, some outlines are appearing. Nnamdi Kanu is as well a Nigerian as he is a Briton. The Federal government will hold him up in the Southeast as an unreliable chameleon that should not be followed to battle because he has a shelter overseas to flee into if he loses out in Nigeria. His young and deprived followers may swallow the bait under the pains of military jackboots, leaderless and without hope of succour. Successful Southeast business men and women would prefer a wider playing ground that is Nigeria to a land locked Southeastern region from where they would require Visa's to travel to Lagos, Kaduna, Ibadan or Port-Harcourt, for example. What if Kanu succeeds and their heavily loaded containers become contraband in every part of Nigeria. The Southeastern business class would see this as a bad dream and rather lick its wounds, retreat from physical battles and live for another day and another opportunity to hit back at the smiters of the land and to avenge smithing eagle. 

Indeed, the time in which we stand is a painful and suffocating time for everyone. Many people feel sick without knowing that their problem is the negative news flying around everyday. In the North, 120 students in a Christian School are kidnapped and taken into the Forest. A few days later, the kidnappers asked for money and for rice and beans to feed the students. Someone will take the rice and beans to the kidnappers. Someone will take the cash to them. The cash will be counted until it is complete. Nigeria's security forces will pretend to not know that the kidnappers have asked for rice and beans and that the rice and beans have been taken to them. They will also pretend to not know that money will change hands. The parents of students kidnapped recently from another school provided not only money but also motorcycles to support the transportation requirements of the rag tag army that will appear mightier than Nigeria. Everyone is doing business with the kidnappers, speaking and dinning and whining with them. But the government does know them and where they are, although it knows the people doing business with them and where they are. Yet kidnapping is a terrorism and Nigeria swears before the world that it is a fighter of terrorism. In the Southeast and in the Southwest, except for violence spurned in one of the Southeastern state against the political order, the basic agitation is for self determination. Nigeria is a member of the United Nations and of the Africa Union, both of which accept self determination as a basic human rights. Yet, Nigeria refuses to protect this right but is too anxious to challenge and to clubber it into silence. These two scenarios, one in the North, the other in the South, are the pathways that will lead the way to 2023.

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