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The proposed cabinet of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has many redundant minds chosen to serve the needs of political expediency. The anachronistic selection criteria appeared oblivious of a recent paradigm shift and misjudged political expediency. Yet, the mob raged against one of the few imaginative minds in the cabinet. The cabinet didn’t meet public expectations because it has many black sheep in it; sheep in wolves clothing and downright empty vessels. So, why wouldn’t the mob let merit breathe? Many in the cabinet lack the sobriety and mental rigour required to grapple with modernity and development ideas. The cabinet has an abundance of boring folks, most of whom the electorate has rejected but whom rigging has sustained. Persons, whose only political relevance stems from the stubborn, albeit fast dwindling, influence of ill-gotten wealth, thuggery and electoral malpractices. Yet, the mob’s revulsion was against one of the few exciting and upright young minds who can inspire an increasingly apathetic youthful population.
The mob. A large disorderly crowd. Particularly, a crowd bent on some self-indulgent destruction. A mob. A frenzied crowd in a high state of suggestibility. Suggestibility. The quality of being easily swayed. A mob. A collection of people engaged in temporary thinking and demands, and makeshift logic. A mob. In other words, a congregation feasting on raw emotions. A mob. An excitable bunch that can eulogise stagnant mediocrity and rise to bully reasoned scepticism formed against prodigality and the bastardisation of values.
The mob will welcome with fanfare the nomination of Ganduje as the chairman of the ruling party. Of course, Ganduje is an innocent man. No court has found him guilty of stuffing his agbada with bribe money, as seen in that secret video recording. Political parties are now run like mafias. The only principle that matters is crude loyalty. But why wouldn’t the mob fight for the substitution of many of the old rotten eggs with a few of their preferred, loyal and tech-savvy youth? The mob can accept the nomination of Matawalle as a minister. Though he was rejected by the Zamfara people after a disastrous tenure as governor, he is still a rich man.
Yes, Mattawalle and company love the country, and they call themselves progressives. Despite their travails with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), they are renowned statesmen, patriots of a great nation. But Bosun Tijiani is not a patriot. He is an insolent dissident against an old exploitative order. Having thrown tantrums at an indolent country whose clumsiness has stacked up misery for generations yet unborn, he must be banished from leadership. If he were a loquacious lackey of a big but small-minded politician, he would have been celebrated. He isn’t a slippery chameleon, like many of the politicians on the ministerial list, so he must be crucified for holding strong opinions about the country’s drift. If he were a docile fellow sitting on the fence, waiting for crumbs or singing promiscuously for egotistical, self-absorbed politicians, he would have been deemed well-mannered. But he is a passionate youth with an independent mind, filled with righteous exuberance, so his frustrations must be interpreted without the relevant contexts.
The raucous rabble can conjure up justifications for the nomination of elderly
and slimy agents of religious exploitation into the cabinet, but it can’t figure out that the president must seek rapprochement with a certain disenchanted segment of the population. The mob is quick to recognise the parochial service of entrenched interests and contemptible obeisance to feudalism as a sagacious political strategy, but it can’t fathom an olive branch to disenchanted youth with a restless creativity and boundless passion. Corruption and indolence are now traditional; so, the queerness that must be quarantined is caustic political criticism.
The upwardly mobile, intensely fervent young people whom the country has filled with frustration have become an enemy tribe. They must be treated as traitors because they have dared to question the purpose of an incurably dysfunctional nationhood. In that cabinet of 48, not more than 10 can face the EndSARS youths and come out acquitted as diligent and knowledgeable, passionate and sincere, and selflessly devoted to national unity and progress. But does it matter to the mob? They reckon the EndSARS youths as coup plotters. Yet, Jagaban knows that as irreverent as those young people are, they can champion national development if their passion is harnessed.
A techpreneur, Bosun Tijani was born in Agege and trained in Jos, Leicester and Warwick. His biography details pioneering efforts at mainstreaming technology for social development and mentoring the youth. He is not contaminated old wine in a cheap new bottle. Many voted for Tinubu because of his proven ability to fish out and assemble talents. If Jagaban’s cabinet were filled with exhausted governors coming into the cabinet to hide from the EFCC, it would have been an inexcusable tragedy. But with Alake, Edun, Fagbemi and people like Bosun Tijani, some neutrals might give the new president the benefit of the doubt, in the hope that the kitchen cabinet would think and innovate, while the other ministers enjoy the perks of the office and do agbero work during elections.
Patriotism isn’t subservience to political leaders or submission to dysfunctional political orders. It involves the identification and moral pursuit of actions that serve the overall best interest and values of the country. The country here means the masses. Patriotism then must include even acts of rebellion against the established order, if they are undertaken to attain superior moral objectives in the ultimate interest of the nation. If the apology Bosun Tijani tendered signals capitulation rather than tact, time will tell. Nevertheless, a feudal view of patriotism that enervates youthful dissent is an instrument of oppression. The oppressed must not quit. Principled nimbleness, rather than unbending idealism, might help to infiltrate the rot to begin the renewal.
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