In this article, Ibiyinka Solarin, in a rather sophisticated manner, bemoans the methodology and eccentricities (for want of a better term), of the Nigerian President. Clever though it is, to what extent is this article a constructive critique of the outgoing President, if at all?
BABAISM is the Nigerian contribution to political thought and praxis in the 21st century. Babaism is not predicated on any highly formalised, carefully reasoned body of thought. Its essential core is captured in the title of the American sit-com, 'Father knows best.' It is also not based on an aggregate body of rules, processes, and procedures. It derives its practice from the whims and caprices of the Baba. It is totally unpredictable for that same reason.
Since there are no rules except the pronouncements of the Baba, to whom many are materially beholden, even adults older than the Baba grovel. One of the provincial captains of the Baba put it this way, 'in the system we practice here in (Babadom), the Baba is next to God... everything else is secondary, one has to know how to behave.'
It ought to be stated here, that it is NOT that there are no codified rules, it is just that Baba does not believe in any rule except the one he makes or the ones that suit him or his designs. The subjects of our imperial personage humour him, by suggesting that he had, in the past, had a professionally regimented life, for two decades to be precise. If that were the case, what does one make of those who lived this life for almost four decades? Baba considers codified rules, at best, a nuisance and inconvenience, to his uniquely divine wisdom. Baba is both impetuous and imperious, a la 'l' etat, c'est moi' .
Baba is likely to erupt in tantrums even in public, out of provocation, and many defer to him out of respect for his position as Baba. Such is the level of deficit in refinement. But, Baba considers himself, the elect of God, not realising that the deference is to THE position and NOT the person. Baba's situation is made worse because many unfortunately grovel at his feet, for lucre, patronage and favours because of the unique pyramidal structure of Babadom. This of course only fuels Baba's bloated self.
Baba is both petulant and knowing, given to fits of temper, such that the craven coterie of aides and hangers-on that surround him, deem it fit not to cross him or dare suggest an alternative point of view. Indeed they cross him at their peril. Baba knows all, even in matters in which he is patently untutored. Since Baba is of the mind that rules are not made for him, he is given to arbitrary and capricious pronouncement, since legality and constitutionalism seem to be beyond his ken. His subjects are often confounded and amused when out of evident embarrassment the Baba turns around, flailing, looking for rule-based decisions. Not that it matters, since Baba sees himself or his designs as not bound by rules.
To Baba, being right, and being self-righteous are the same thing. Naturally, he is given to preachments and sermons, such that his subjects are drowning in this sea of bombast periodically dished out by our personage. Baba has, in the face of damning dismal reality of his polity, created his own reality, sustained and reinforced by members of his amen corner. Baba's subjects are exhorted to disbelieve the dismal and deteriorating socio-economic realities of their lives, the want, the poverty, the personal and communal insecurities, the impassable road network, the erratic and often non-existing power supply, conditions unameliorated for eight years, in he face of unprecedented earnings. You might just wonder how Baba attained this dizzying height? Well, Baba himself provided that answer in commenting on one of his provincial prefects. He, (the provincial prefect), was a mistake.
Of course, out of politeness, more than anything else, no one will tell Baba that he himself is a mistake, a mistake that has been foisted on his country for upwards of three decades. Mercifully, the countdown is on for Baba; the clock is about to run out. Sooner or later, in the fullness of time, the polity will rid itself of the likes of Baba. And the dawn of a new era of a flourishing liberal democracy based on constitutional accountability, transparency, unerringly on the rule of law and not that of man will be born. May that era come soon for this traumatised Babadom. Amen.
Professor Solarin lives in Tyler, Texas, United States.