Fable tells this awful pungent tale of notorious Soviet dictator, Joseph Stalin. It was narrated that Stalin was once accosted by journalists in his farmyard and was asked how he had managed to rule over the Soviet Union amid serious economic cum political woes bedeviling the Soviet Union under his reign without virulent resistance from the people. Stalin bent down and picked up a chicken in his farmyard. He brutally plucked off very single feather on the chicken until its bleed in pains. Having tripped the chicken naked with blood stained over it, Stalin set it free and the poor chicken ran off the field. Stalin drop grains on the floor as he walk round the farmyard and immediately the same poor chicken in pains ran towards Stalin and was picking each drop of the grain. Stalin then turned to the journalists and said “This is how we govern stupid people”.
Though there is no concrete evidence to ascertain the truism of the Stalin’s chicken experiment. However, there are frustrating records depicting the contemporary Nigeria in the light of Stalin’s chicken analogy. As the drumbeats to 2023 general election intensify across the country, we can all attest to the potency of “Dollars” as political parties took turns to conduct primaries and pick out candidates for various political offices via delegate system.
Nigeria political class has borrowed a leaf from Stalin’s philosophy and serves us an overdose of it because we Nigerians are also “stupid people”. Our kind of stupidity is so unique that 8 years of hardship vanish the very moment our politicians spray us with grains of hard currency to renew their mandates for another episode of hardship.
Even as we speak, an appointee of this government (suspended accountant, Ahmed Idris) is under EFCC probe for alleged N80 billion fraud, a toll which has rise to the whopping sum of N170 billion after additional N90 billion were uncovered by anti-graft agency. In his confession, the embattled Ahmed Idris, top government officials, among which is former Zamfara state governor, Abdulaziz Yari, who according to Ahmed Idris, benefitted N22 billion from the loot. This is a former governor that has just won APC senatorial ticket in Zamfara state. Likewise former IMO state governor and APC presidential aspirant, Rochas Okorocha who has N3 billion probe hanging on his neck.
All it will take these aforementioned public office holders to get reelected into public position is spraying just 5% of their loots on the ground like grains and watch the “stupid people” called Nigerians rush in their thousands to get a bite of the spray. After all, Ibori is celebrated in Delta state just like Alamieyeseigha is celebrated in Bayelsa for defrauding the same people that celebrate them.
One million Nigerians can march for Peter Obi but one thousand Nigerians cannot march in protest for the future of children of the poor as universities remain indefinitely closed due to ASUU strike. Millions of Nigerians can troop out in mass to receive Kwankwaso in Lagos but two thousands Nigerians cannot protest the immediate release of victims of Abuja-Kaduna train attack despite spending 63 days in captivity. Millions of Nigerians can welcome Tinubu in Abuja yesterday but not even one thousand Nigerians can march in protest of the insecurity prevalent across regions of the country. Are Nigerians not truly stupid?
Delegates are deeply concerned with getting hold of aspirants with highest monetary bid at the primaries, while the nation’s electricity generation has remained epileptic, erratic and abysmally in short supply. Unemployed youths are forming political groups to mobilize support for their respective chosen aspirants, whie our education system, health system and security system are ships with a broken engines. Unfortunately, this kind of political lifestyle has metamorphosed into a culture, a way of life with compelling order of nonchalance.
The sum total implication of this money-bag political lifestyle is that nothing works for the good of the citizens who had sold off their birth right for a pot of porrage. A short time benefit and long time consequence kind of life that makes the citizens beggars from the politicians, which unrepentantly continue to make us permanently vulnerable to the whims and caprices of of their manipulation. Hence, so long this brand of political lifestyle continues unrevoke, we Nigerians will justify Stalin’s philosophy of being “Truly Stupid People”. For only a demonetized political engagement can give Nigerians optimal rights to legitimately make claims to people’s oriented governance from their supposed leaders.
Ismail Abdulazeez Mantu