A Tempest-Tost Empire – the INEC Budget and the Nigerian 8th NASS In the Eye of the Storm by Jimi Bickersteth


There were masses of dark clouds in the sky this morning at the precinct of the Three Arms Square, as a collection of curious toys and the most expensive piece of our expenditure and democracy merged together in a picturesque panoramic drama through whose naked lenses were shown extremely unpleasant,

unacceptable and monumental metaphor that Nigeria is today.
A strong metaphor
devoid of senses, and one in whose process, the nation’s beginning to confused the Container with the contents and unable to recognised the contents in its substantive form. It is quite sad that the nation and its people cannot totally protect themselves. The quality of life in the nation so poor and not what the people want it to be,and cannot stand it any better than it already is.
There is a question here though, as the political leaders and legislators consider the people as miniature adults and are constantly asking them to straightened deck chairs on a sinking ship crippled by storm.
It would appear as if democracy is blurring the nation’s political leaders visions. The power blocks their vision and causes them to often and always vacillate.This has become a barrier to creativity, and it render the people less powerful and politicians more powerful.
As the systems give hope, then take it away, restore it, and remove it yet again. Take the people’s spirit up and down until they no longer know which was which – and,lacking a measure of their own feelings, those feelings became the lawmaker’s to use.
The barbiturates of deceit and false promises luring the people to floating in a comfortable relaxation of dreamless sleep. Like Orwell’s 1984- The truth is not breaking the people from without, but doing it from within.
The national Assembly peopled by characters engaging polemics and all that tend to produce the wrong emotions. A NASS, presently preoccupied and crippled by distractions,disabled by insincerity and handicapped by halfheartedness, ordinarily felt the presidency was trying to break their spirit.
The nation is becoming unnecessarily heated,agitated and worrisome. The air is invulnerable with the vain blows of malicious mockery. The leadership of the NASS appeared to have
marched through a political career so accomplished with a smile that was at once engagingly shy and quietly intense.
One liked the people who tried to swim against the tide. Moral courage was more rare a commodity than the physical kind, a fact as true of the political avocation as any profession. With this in mind, I entered the chambers, cold and dark despite the extraneous lighting.
At the Red chambers, business was being conducted. All kinds of business. Everyone there knew it. Everyone there was part of it. Everyone there needed it. And yet everyone there was in one way or another dedicated to stopping it. For every person there, the dualism was a normal part of life.
The politicians in their better-than-average clothing and erect posture, the ready, robotic smiles. They were the masters, knew it, and their demeanour proclaimed it. They lost perspective, lost whatever it is in man that tries to avoid the profligate waste of young and middle aged life.
You don’t know where they stand. If only they were good as the architecture of this building. Whoever built them sure had style. The gleaming walls,the pop ceilings. I think the amphitheatre the dome of which is overdone, of course, I know Nigerians have a national tendency to overdo a lot of things. Well, at least some of the tax money went for something beautiful and monumental; as stylish and attractive as a cinder block.
To Nigerians, who rarely had enough of anything, “having enough” meant having more than anyone else. Pure evidence of a national inferiority complex, and have to remind oneself that people who feel themselves inferior have a pathological desire to disprove their own perceptions.
It still surprised me that love and hate were emotions so finely matched in the human mind. That one factor dominated all aspect of the proceedings of the Assembly, displacing mere logic as the basis for reaching consensus even getting into murky waters as each first had to satisfy own paranoia that no tricks would be played by the other.
The degree to which this crop of lawmakers raising more of substantive questions than substantive answers misunderstood each other, misunderstood the Executive arm was at one hand and the same time amusing and supremely dangerous. This has affected its objectivity as a political creature, and figured like the NASS was a waste of time and resources anyway. It has changed nothing in the nation.
The nation’s problems wouldn’t end if all the false perceptions were laid to rest,but at least things could be more manageable. One had to admit to oneself that this might be as false a panacea. Let’s drop the shop talk.
The threats to democracy, the electoral acts,the INEC budgets with details already in the press,and already certain members of the NASS were saying how fair it was- and why don’t we just agree to it,showed patently that the threat didn’t come from the president or the people; as always, it came from the politicians in the NASS and their mistakes. It’s ironic that the lawmakers perhaps know the significance of their own worries, but not its substance.
The chairman had charm and power-the sort of visceral presence that came with his post,but for one, he doesn’t to me look or behave like a doctor, not precise, not so careful about everything. A man who had not led an idyllic
youth, he paints the picture of one always in a hurry and stubbornly rigid.
What sort of man was he? What was he after? What does his attitude portend for the nation’s democracy and his political vulnerability.
Why are our politicians opposed to some of the executive bills that would benefit the nation or was the president’s evaluation incorrect? Do the lawmakers know something the nation do not? That was a question or better still: Did the lawmakers know something that the President did not? Or was it all part of the grand game.
The grandest game that was. The game of the throne that was inimical to the nation’s peace, do power and ambitions make the nation’s politicians invulnerable to such normal human concerns.
The NASS had a sense of unusual prescience or obstinacy and a pretension, though wary, smugly satisfied that the nation needed its help. It was sad, terribly so, that the force that drove ambition could suppress their humanity.
The nation cannot let this go any further.
And, probably, the NASS,that sees halo in the mirror when they shaved, would stop and think. That was the important part- to stop and think. A man might attack cities on impulse, but not after sober reflection.
It is foolhardy to state that the lawmakers with the carriage of a snake that had just swallowed something large enough to choke it,must note that the safety of democracy supersedes any of their mundane rules. They should be persuaded in their wisdom that that safety is one of truly vital importance to the Motherland.
I stepped out of the chamber, the sky was clear and blue, the deeper blue that comes from being above most of the atmosphere. What was not clear was about our politicians and their true and real intentions. They would be expected to be pragmatic. The nation’s problems, while complex, did have a solution-while not a perfect one, since we live in an imperfect world,but damage limitation.
It should be more a question of not destroying so much that there would be nothing left with which to negotiate with which to negotiate. It had been recognised early on that the NASS beaming,stewing and sighing under the Ne plus ultra democratic system’s unctuous liberty and independence became easily irritated and annoyed and became a fractious arm that would not submit to the harnesses of state and uncommon common sense
and were using the privileges, protection and immunity guaranteed it by occupying the hollowed chambers as offensive weapon with a defensive mission.
The intent to destroy the ‘opponent’, in this wise,the Executive arm was the classical formula both to incapacitate the executive and forced it to dance to its tune,particularly, with the new found definition of its unlimited powers of appropriation. Oblivious of the fact that such power accrued to both arms, had transformed the historically proven formula of unilateral intimidation into a bilateral deterrence, however, made that proposition unpalatable.
It meant that the political equation was destined to return to the classic balance of offense and defense, that both elements could now be made part of a single strategy. This view of course, may be simplistic. No system would ever be foolproof- and even if the system worked, political leaders would find a way to use it,like the NASS was doing, to its greatest advantage; you could always depend on politicians for that. It’s not any immediate threat to the nation by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s development the nation could have done without.
Now to some deep thinking, one hopes it’s not too late for that sort of deep thinking, especially, now
that the nation had the middle of the line, but neither end. Both the NASS and the executive have to get accustomed to knowing the limits and rules of their engagement.
So few of the lawmakers who viewed themselves as the ultimate arbiters and regarded rules as inconveniences to be ignored, in their grim majesty should note that PMB knew what combat was like. People were so easy to frighten, but combat taught a man what to fear and what to ignore. Its pretty difficult to pin PMB. He could perhaps be swayed only with arguments based on principle. A man with a mind is a man who probably did wish to change things, one doubt if any political realism would change that.
Politicians- Frankenstein’s Monster who look bigger on the outside but small in the inside, a little more than kin and less than kind. They hold the people’s windy sigh of forced breath together with all forms,moods and shape of grief. A writer spoofing emotions here,but as some ungracious pastors do,show the steep and thorny way to heaven, while like a puffed and reckless libertine treads the primrose path of dalliance and satyrs.
To your own self be true and like the night follow the day,you cannot be false to any man.
What a scorecard!
PS: Nobody is invisible. Those whom the gods would destroy, they first make proud. That’s not the way Sophocles said it. But think about it.#
Jimi Bickersteth
Jimi Bickersteth is a writer and blogger.
He can be reached on Twitter
jimi.bickersteth@gmail. com


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