Michael Orodare: Enough of the politics of every man for himself (Y! Politico)

by Michael Orodare


The truth is that we have been infected with the age-long ‘virus’ – lack of trust, which our leaders battled with after gaining independence.

Every time we gather at symposiums to discuss the way forward for Nigeria, the social media has become a second home, where we derive ‘pleasure’ in lashing out on public office holders, but deep down within us lies religious and ethnic dogmatism which always make mockery of our unity as Nigerian youths.

What then happens after all these gatherings? We go back home to live in our world of delusion and religious bigotry. When we are confronted with issues of national interest and how to make the nation a better place, rather than standing up and speaking with one voice, our first criteria for taking sides will be the ethnic and religion we represent.

The truth is that we have been infected with the age-long ‘virus’ – lack of trust, which our leaders battled with after gaining independence.

Bias for members of our ethnic group and religious organisation, regardless of the magnitude of the havoc their attitude is causing our national existence, has worn into our patterns of thought and actions.

Sadly, it is just a tiny minority among us who still take the bull by the horns to confront religious and ethnic anomalies, and when they do, they are persecuted by their kinsmen or co-believers for being ‘traitors’ and Anti-Progressives.

Maybe we have been bewitched by the Ango Abdullahi and Asari Dokubo
spirit, which gives us a monolithic feeling that our region can do it all without support from other regions. The same spirit which exterminated the vision of our leaders at independence, and made them jettison their collective vision (if any) of what type of Nigeria they wanted to build.

After the independence they all fought for with one voice, they suddenly lost that one voice and in the words of Prof Bolaji Akinyemi “each of the Premiers with his political associates started building a vision for his own region at the expense of a collective vision for the whole nation. There were no goals around which a consensus was built.” And this is where it has brought us now, one man for himself.

Also, we are heading towards that state of losing that one voice, ethnicity and religion, as already established and spreading its tentacles even among the Nigerian youths.

Once a corrupt public officer can identify with one religious organisation as a devoted member, adherents of such organisation immediately lose their sense of discerning, to choose between right and wrong, and give all their votes to their corrupt member to the extent of returning him to office once he shows interest in re-contesting.

And If that doesn’t work, they adopt the option B, which is talking to the traditional rulers in making them compel their subjects and reminding them why they should give their son the opportunity to do it “omo wa ni eje ose” syndrome and one will be overwhelmed with the large number of support that will supposedly come from the people. I can assure you, that those two options are a sure bet, not minding whether there was a precedence of a criminal record.

When issues of national interest are raised which require our collective voice, we start withdrawing our voices once such issues are religiously motivated, leaving others to continue with their ‘ranting’, while we stay at the back stage mocking the noise-makers, simply because we don’t want to be seen standing against our religion, but unfortunately at the detriment of the growth and development of the nation.

While, I do not begrudge anybody for being strong adherent of religious doctrines, I believe it should not be a basis for deciding who gets what in our society.

It’s so sad today that when our collective effort is needed to sway a change, many of us lose our voice on the basis of religion and ethnicity. This is sad for advocacy, sad for Nigerian youths and except there is a change now, the much anticipated change might only exist in the illusion of the few incurably positive change agents in the country.


Michael Olanrewaju Orodare has worked in the Office of the Chief Press Secretary to the Ondo State Governor as a Media Assistant. He has garnered experience writing in the The Nation Newspaper working with the paper’s Sunday Desk. He leans towards the Labour Party. He blogs at www.michaelorodare.blogspot.com and tweets from @MichaelOrodare


Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.

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