“Anyway, no drug, not even alcohol, causes the fundamental ills of society. If we’re looking for the source of our troubles, we shouldn’t test people for drugs, we should test them for stupidity, ignorance, greed and love of power.”
P. J. O’Rourke must have suffered terribly from consequence of rogue leadership, a kind of nasty experience which had obviously inspired his deep thoughts on the linkages between stupidity, ignorance, avarice and lust for power from people in authority and the rudimentary social ills that beleaguered the society.
The Kano of present, bears all the characteristics of the kind of society contemplated by P. J. O’Rourke. The bland CEO (despite his academic qualifications) neither exudes the basic intellect required to govern the diverse peoples of the Center of Commerce nor radiates the charisma necessary to garner acceptance from the citizens. He carried on, like the classic certificate-flaunting, title-crazy and marionette-inclined lots who lack the cosmopolitan character and interpersonal skills required to accommodate conflicting interests and manage diversity. There’s also the manifestation of avarice of primitive mass accumulation of wealth – the Gandollar videos is fresh reference for direct bribe taking from contractors awarded public infrastructure jobs.
That’s not all! Despite these deficit in quality leadership, the old dude is surrounded by motley bunch of ignorant, semi-literate, mediocre and thuggish minders, goons and aides who lack the basic understanding of right and wrong, our laws and conventions. These guys don’t have the knowledge and skills to compete for decent jobs in the market hence they outdo one another in doing anything bad under the sun to ensure their principal stays in power so as to safeguard their access to his largesse and perpetual leeching on our commonwealth.
Where greedy leadership meets ignorant advisers, enablers and helpers; stupidity becomes the order of governance. That’s dangerous! particularly when it comes to the delicate art of exercising political power. The immediate casualty here is morality which takes flight as the contrast between right and wrong blurs; experimentation with crimes hitherto seen as taboo are explored and a trajectory of manipulations and outright subversion of democratic norms and disruption of fragile scale of social cohesion becomes manifest.
Eventually, thugs oiled by deep public coffers and proceeds of corruption from kickbacks, takeover machinery of politics and governance. Ignoramuses take charge of political campaign with do-or-die abandon; freely issuing threats of fixing the outcome of governorship elections come-what-may with impunity. They subsequently deployed crude manipulation tactics, intimidation and violence – under the cover provided by security operatives and the conspiracy of election officers – never before seen in the democratic history of Kano to subvert the will of the people and impose a majorly despised and unpopular candidate.
They pulled off that electoral heist with relative success – at least in the meantime – exploiting the vulnerability of the opposition and determined voters that anchored their trust on the impartiality of the Commissioner of Police who was adjudged to be upright, fair and just in the discharge of his responsibilities. The swindled voters drew restraint in the face of outright provocation, gloating and recklessness for the love of peaceful Kano and posterity of its commerce.
But then, impunity is a sponge monster which balloons by sucking up more moisture to become the demonic colossus. The greedy and ignoramuses got emboldened with their temporary successes; they have mistaken people’s preference to thread the narrow legal path to seek redress to cowardice and have resolved to push the frontier of their subterfuge and of course their stupidity to the next level. The fine intellectual and outspoken philosopher and Reformer King was their target simply because they hate his guts, nay fear his signature erudition, eloquence and uncommon courage to speak his mind on topical issues of good governance, quality leadership and social justice which has always been the fulcrum of his intellectual energy and argument and would remain so despite the discomfort exhibited by mediocre, incompetent and corrupt characters who presently occupy our corridors of power. Now, distraught and out of basic smart options on the card to deal with the MSII challenge, they are plunged into the murkiest depth of stupidity to figure out reactionary quick fixes ~ as they sink further to the ocean bed of their ignoble political career made weightless by out-of-this-world primitive vote rigging and imposition.
Typically, greed, ignorance and stupidity are recipes for disaster! Instead of firing at the Emir, the dunderheads picked on Kano Emirate and by extension, the good people of Kano. Balkanizing Kano into 5 emirates was a dumb copycat of failed Governor Rimi’s shallow script to get personal at the late Emir Ado Bayero. It failed then and it is destined to suffer similar fate, woefully and with a bang, this time around. For over a thousand years of our history, the people that threaded and lived within the geographical expression we call Kano today, had over the years come to terms with reality of their being ‘Kanawa’ – the inhabitants of a great center along the Tran-Saharan trade route, glorious military powerhouse prior to European colonialism and presently, a renowned commercial nerve of the territory once referred to as Sudan. They look up to Kano Emirate with all sense of pride, appreciation and fidelity, as the custodian of their time-honored rich history, traditions and culture. Theirs is an ancient Emirate that draws reverence, acclaim and interest from scholars, Nigerians across divides and internationally – it is top amongst the respected traditional institutions in the sub-Saharan Africa.
It is so unfortunate that Kano and its fine history is presently pushed to the cusp by the stupidity of its political leadership buoyed by greed and vengeance and egged by depraved ignoramuses and wicked souls. The seeds of emirate-based socio-political and economic rivalries have been sown – it is dysfunctional battle of supremacy between Kano ‘Birni’/Kanawa and others/’Kauyawa’. Regrettably, the overall progress of the state of Kano would slow if not stagnated. We have been forced to retrogress and join the league of Jigawa, Katsina, Bauchi etc at this material time of economic malaise when realities imposed on states to cut costs of governance and increase IGR in order to survive. The law that established the new emirates is a ticking time bomb as it is not a well thought-out piece of legislation: the provisions listing the kingmakers for the five emirates; the definition, selection and tenure of chairmanship of Kano Emirate Council; and eligibility of serving emirs of the four emirates outside Kano who are heirs to Dabo throne to become Emir of Kano in the event of vacancy.
The consolation for the good people of Kano is the stupidity of the plotters against Kano Emirate which was translated in the hasty manner the chieftaincy law was amended without broader consultations and public hearing to gauge the views of the people. The violation of due process could be the new law’s Achilles heel. It is soothing that the matter is in court; and we hope Kano would be saved this madness, soon. The election petition tribunal sitting over Kano gubernatorial elections offers another glimmer of hope to restore the people’s stolen mandate and save the state from the bull-in-the-china-shop and his onslaught and bastardization against the Emirate. Abba K. Yusuf would restore the pride of Kanawa upon redemption of his nicked electoral victory. My hunch tells me it is not the question of ‘if’ but ‘when’.
The current desecration of Kano Emirate is deja vu. Similar creation of new emirates was experimented by late Governor Rimi and was subsequently reversed by late Bakin Zuwo. Meanwhile, the traditional institution has survived disruptive forces in the past with uncommon resilience: the Fulani Jihad of Danfodio, British colonial conquest of Hausa states, the Nigerian Civil War, military jackboot regimes, etc.
This too shall pass as the action is being challenged at the courts and the imposter is living on borrowed time. Kano shall rise again under a united Emirate. The will of Kanawa shall prevail!
According to Dorothy Thompson, “only when we are no longer afraid do we begin to live.”
Mr Sanyi-Sanyi writes from Abuja