No to Historical Revisionists
I will not allow historical revisionists the opportunity to quickly rewrite Nigeria’s recent history – especially former president Mohammadu Buhari’s dismal performance and misgovernance of Nigeria in the last 8 years.
True, the fawners, bootlickers, toady flatterers and clappers, who benefited greatly from his warped tenure, are ever ready to applaud, clap and “rank” him forever. I am not one of them. I never was. Never will be. Or are you? Let me however thank President Buhari (as I had done severally before now), for decorating me with the prestigious National honour of Commander of the Order of the Niger (CON), the 4th highest honour in Nigeria.
This adds to my 2009 National Honour of Officer of the Federal Republic (OFR). Buhari did this notwithstanding my strident criticism of his governance and leadership style throughout his 8 disastrous years of poor governance.
He sure has tons of guts and strong balls to have taken my frequent disagreements with him in good faith. He earned my deep respect and admiration in this regard of large-heartedness. This is because not many in his huge shoes would have done so, given the same circumstances. However, whilst thanking the ex-president, I will not be fair to history, the present and future generations yet unborn, if I do not give my earnest, but humble assessment of his 8 years of mis-governance of Nigeria.
It was simply the squandering of riches. Missed opportunities! Missteps. False steps. This is where BUHAROCRACY comes in. he wobbled. He fumbled. He dawdled. He groggled. He literally crumbled. Buharocracy is the concept of government. But, let me background this write-up with my neologism.
I have since evolved OZEKPEDIA- my own neologism – my coinage of new words and phrases that appear not to exist before, but which I now throw up to achieve popular or institutional recognition and thus get accepted in the mainstream English language. It is in this regard I have since minted fresh words such as ELECTIONOCRACY (Nigerian politicians and the “go to court” antics, By Mike Ozekhome); SELECTOCRACY (BUILDING BRIDGES FOR A NEW NIGERIA); EXECUTOCRACY (Building Bridges for a new Nigeria); LEGISLATOCRACY (Is this the Nigeria of our dream? – A lecture by Chief Mike Ozekhome SAN on Ambrose Alli Day); and JUDOCRACY (Supreme Court Yet To Take Decision On Naira Swap Policy, Says Ozekhome).
I had also coined, with reference to former President Buhari not treating Nigeria as one unified “Federal Republic of Nigeria”, some aberrated terms employed and practiced by Buhari in his peculiar style of governance.
Buhari practiced “Federal Republic of the North”; or “The Northern Republic of Nigeria”; or “Republic of Northern Nigeria”; or “Republic of Federal North”; or “Northern Nigeria Republic”; or “Republic of Northern Nigeria and other vassal states”. (NIGERIAN LEADERS AND THE EPHEMERALITY OF POWER; The Cable, “It is illegal for Buhari to Solely Appoint IP, says Ozekhome. (NBA “fractionalisation”: Jibrin Okutepa, SAN, sorely missed the point); (Remove That Fatwa From Bishop Kukah’s Head, By Mike Ozekhome (SAN)).
I did not coin, but I have since used and popularized “Amala politics”; “Gbegiri politics”; “Come-and-chop politics”; and “Stomach infrastructure politics”, etc. But, I have also minted into our political lexicon, words such as “tuwo sinkafa politics” “politrician”, “militrician”, “civitrician”, and “politics of akpu”, “edikang ikon”, and “politics of omisaghue and amato”. In one of my outings as far back as May 11, 2015 (even before Buhari was sworn in for his first term), titled, “Era of Decampment: Politicians Without Principles” ((Opinion) Era of decampment: Politicians without principle), I wrote as follows:
“The “come-and-chop” or “chop-I-chop” politics syndrome found its name into the Nigerian political lexicon long before Fayose. Long before now, we had colourful politicians like Busari Adelakun (Eruobodo) and Lamidi Adedibu, who popularised “amala” or “gbegiri” politics. Some call it “akpu”, “edikang ikon”, “tuwo sinkafa” politics. I call it “politics of “omhisaghue and amato” (don’t ask me what these mean in my Etsako, Weppa- Wanno language).
“This genre of politics is simply anchored on the cheap principle of sharing (never baking) the national cake amongst family members, old schoolmates, kinsmen, religious peers, business companions, political affiliates, etc. It is a euphemism for freely stealing from the national treasury and pillaging our commonwealth.
“It thrives on cronyism, tribalism, nepotism, undue favoritism, clannishness, religious bigotry, ethnic chauvinism and ethno-religious jingoism. It abhors merit. It detests brilliance. It enthroned mediocrity. As a principle, “come and chop” politics advocates that the strongest continuously pummels and subdues the strong into a comatose position of irreversibility, while the already weak ones are battered into oblivion and totally interred or entombed alive.
“The Nigerian politician (sorry, politrician) is at once a “Militrician” (Military top brass turned into politicians and “Civitrician” (civilians practicing politics). The Nigerian Politician has corrupted politics and madly stripped it of its inherent nobility and integrity.
“Like common whores, they prostitute from one political party to another, never ashamed to return to an earlier party that he left with éclat and celebration to eat his vomit. Whether the party is PDP, APC, AD, APP, AC, ACN, CPC, ANPP, the Nigerian Politician gallivants about shamelessly, strutting from one party to the other. He lacks morality. He is allergic to political decorum or democratic nuances. He is a loose cannon.
The same political class rotates offices amongst themselves. The same faces, but different offices. Once a local government chairman, he aspires to be member of a state House of Assembly; then House of Representatives; then Senate.
“Later, he leaves Senate to become a Governor; or from his gubernatorial seat to become a Senator. Over the years, it is the same dramatic personnel. No new entrants. No fresh ideas. Power is rotated from father to son, mother to daughter, brother to brother, and kinsman to kinswoman. Little wonder that Nigeria has not grown. Even her purported development has been without actual and real development.
She continues to suffer the fate of the barber’s chair of perpetual motion and rotation on its axis, but without progress. Her growth is stunted, for there is no manure or fertilizer to resuscitate the parched soil.”
On OZEKPEDIA, therefore, do not blame me or come after my jugular for daring to challenge Collins, Websters, Blacks and Oxford English Dictionaries. This was how Andrew Le Breton first conceptualized 28 Volumes of the Encyclopedia in French. It was later translated by Dennis Diderot, an 18th Century French Philosopher, Art Critic and writer, between 1751 and 1772.
Indeed, it was actually an avid writer and admirer, who after following my writeups for a very long time, sent me the coinages – “OZEKPEDIA”, “OZEKMATICS” and “OZEKDICTIONARY”. He was referring to many of my writeups, including those on the requirement that the Nigerian President must compulsorily need to have 25% votes of FCT, Abuja; and my linguistics; syntax and prose style. I thank him immensely. Thus, as at today, we have ENCYCLOPEDIA (1751-1772); SMITHSONIA (1846); WIKIPEDIA (2001); SCHOLARPEDIA (2006); LEGALPEDIA (2007); and EUROPEDIA (2008). Now, enters OZEKPEDIA (2023). So, help me, God. Amen.
Ozekpedia and Buharocracy
Nigeria had her independence on October 1, 1960. She was however totally severed off the umbilical cord of imperialism in 1963 – when she became a Republic. Since then, the story of her leadership travails has become an unending tragedy; a cesspool and affront on the labours of our heroes past. The Nigerian polity became engulfed in the grip of series of military juntas under the thin guise of salvaging the decaying system.
This went on until 1999, when a democratic government was ushered in. This year makes it 24 years of uninterrupted democracy. But it seems – like a man with a heavy load of web on his face – that Nigeria is still undergoing a vicious cycling and recycling of her leaders, de – die – in – diem.
In times of much uncertainty and untrammeled corruption bazaar, Nigeria was so unfortunate to have been governed by an apparently pretentious man who was almost deified and canonized. Buhari, like a man who never believes that once beaten, twice shy – ensured that Nigeria was beaten twice by the same man – Buhari. First as a military dictator. Later as a civilian ruler (not a democratic leader, in my humble estimation). I hope we are now awake from our self-imposed slumber and selective amnesia in this democracy.
Nigeria is Far From Practicing Democracy
Strictu sensu, Nigeria, in my humble view, does not practice democracy. Rather, we practise other “cracies” (not democracy), which I have coined from my dictionary – Ozekpedia. These are Judocracy, Electionocracy, Executocracy, Selectocracy and Legislatocracy. (INEC Betrayed Over 100 Million Nigerians By Going Against Its Electoral Act – Prof Mike Ozekhome;
Mike Ozekhome Says We Are Not Practicing Democracy In Nigeria, Declares That What We Have Under President Muhammadu Buhari, Others, Is Election-Ocracy, Where The Leaders Elect Themselves Into Office On Election Days
I have today, added another “cracy”, but this particular cracy is crazy – ‘Buharocracy.’ Buharocracy is a type of cracy, where government is ‘abysmally ignoramus, zero-idealistic, and dictatorially at its crescendo.’ Little wonder, popular African singer, late Anikulapo-Kuti, in one of the ‘Abami Eda’s songs, “Beast of No Nation”, sang, “Na craze world be dat, craze world, No be outside Buhari dey, craze world, na craze man be dat, craze world.” (See https://punchng.com/fans-remember-felas-lyrics-on-democracy-day/). Fela warned us then, but Nigerians feigned deafness; maybe because they said he smoked weed.
Nigerians forgot that to be forewarned, is to be fore-armed. Former President of America, Barrack Obama, once admonished, “I always believe that ultimately, if people are paying attention, then we get good government and good leadership. And when we get lazy, as a democracy, and civically start taking shortcuts, then it results in bad government and politics.”
Oh, see where our refusal and neglect to pay attention to history have landed us!. Leadership, to be sure, would also be accounted for in the last days of human existence. Taking solace from the Bible; “Blessed are you, o land, whose King is of nobility and whose instructions Princes eat at the appropriate time – for strength and not for drunkenness.” An Islamic cleric, Ma’qil narrated, “I heard Rasulullah (SAW) saying: “Any man whom Allah has given the authority of ruling some people and he does not look after them in an honest manner, will never feel even the smell of Paradise.” (Sahih Muslim).
John G. Lake, once told us, “The man with a groan never moved the world except to more groans.” Buhari tried very hard to flourish himself like a saint in white apparel, when in fact, he was the chief repository of negative governance. Therefore, Stanley Baldwin was not wrong when he said, “Dictatorship is like a giant beech – tree – very magnificent to look at in its prime, but nothing grows underneath.”
Where have the 8 wasted years of the once-feared “anti-corruption Czar” led us to today? I don’t know. Or, do you? The voyage of Nigeria since May 29, 2015, through May 29, 2023, (being the second and final coming of Buharocracy), amounted to a craze of all cracies.
There are many “cracies” corrupted from the word “Democracy”, as shown in Ozekpedia above. When Abraham Lincoln on 19th November, 1863, eulogized “Democracy” during his Gettysburg Declaration as “government of the people by the people and for the people”, he could never have imagined that subsequent world leaders would corrupt this beautiful term invented by the ancient Athenians of Greece in 507 BC, following a turbulent era of aristocracy and tyranny. “Demos” derived from Greek, meaning “people”, or “population”. “Crasy” means “rule”, “government”, “governing body”. So, democracy is government of the people.
Buharocracy and Its Effect
Buharocracy is a form of government where the people expect so much, but get nothing; or at best, so little in return. It is a system of government in which the ruler, during campaigns and in his manifesto, promises so much; but brazenly discards and trashes all promises upon being voted in by the people. In Buharocracy, the ruler freely deceives the people. He is a maximum dictator, rules by precepts, rather than by examples.
The concept allows the ruler to ride slipshod on his people; destroy institutions, enkindle divisions; and enthrone cyronynism, prebendalism, nepotism, favouritism, ethnicity, sectionalism, tribalism and religious bigotry. Under Buharocracy, rule of law is literally suspended in place of so called National Security, a veneer for self-interest or government interest.
Under Buharocracy, the elected rules, rather than governs. He tells the people, “do what I say and not what I do”. Because the ruler suffers grave disconnect with the people, he feigns amnesia of their sufferings and despondency. He neither sympathises, nor empathises. He lives in a make-belief world; a world garnished with grandeur of illusion.
The ruler is permitted to discard his hitherto pretentious Spartan-like life. He indulges in vain-glorious affluence, pomp, pageantry and razzmatazz. Kakaaki trumpets escort him to the airport when travelling, and also welcome him back from his frequent medical trips abroad.
The maximum dictator under Buharocracy is deaf, dumb and numb to the feelings, yearnings and aspirations of his beleaguered and vanquished citizens rendered prostrate through misgovernance, high-handedness, corruption, insecurity and jack-bootism.
He would rather build rail lines, refineries and industries in a neighbouring country like Niger, wherein he has his own firm roots of origin, to the detriment of his own country – Nigeria – that elected him into office. Restructuring and true federalism are an anathema to Buharocracy. That is Buharocracy for you. And more…
Mike Ozekhome is an activist and Senior Advocate of Nigeria