SOMEWHERE in a WhatsApp group, there is a material that could appropriately be entitled: “The Power of the Vote of an Idiot.” There is no defining what an idiot is here. Everyone should define his own idiot. The short material by Mr. Tony Dele Ologun is very apt. It ordinarily would need no form of explanation, but when it is read with insight about our bumbling Nigeria, it heightened the need for digestion and humility. When a man swallows humility his shoulders would be lowered. His haughtiness and high-handedness are defeated. But an idiot is not humble. He is usually humbled. He is haughty and displays it. The concept of an idiot fits into an admonition our Primary Six teacher, Mr. Odoemelam, daily rang into our malleable heads at Awomukwu Central School, Ikwuano: “He who knows not and knows not that he knows not, is a fool.”
Harry Stein wrote the hilarious but stinging The Idiot Vote: The Democrats’ Core Constituency. The soft essay hit the Democrats really hard. But Stein is a known Conservative. Tony Dele Ologun brought his short exposé to a platform to which I belong. He says: “The biggest flaw of democracy is the underlining assumption that everyone thinks, and rationally too. Unfortunately, this is not so. In an election, the vote of an idiot is the same as that of a genius. One vote.
“Now in the society, the geniuses or those with the capacity to reason are always in the minority. So, the idiots of the society would always have their way. Win. That’s why politicians don’t waste their time on intellectuals. They know what to do and where to get the votes.”
A peg to this painfully hilarious but true submission is that it is very Nigerian. It has Nigerian elections and voting written all over it. Progressively, Nigeria has been retrogressing in governance. The road to growth and development in Nigeria has permanently remained bad. It has been deliberately kept so by the hawks holding the reins of political power in the country. But that’s a matter for another kind of debate and deliberation.
Another leg to the contention by Ologun is that the genius of most of our politicians and hordes of their idiots is hinged on the negative side of the society. The wielders of power in Nigeria only come up with something positive for the society only when it is expedient and when it has become dangerous to their ambition to not do so. Some call it tokenism. By Ologun’s contention, they know the path to thread, what to tell the dwellers of that terrain and how to arm-twist them for favour and votes.
The politician knows the power of the vote of that idiot that will not ask questions but hail every gibberish they utter. The politician knows the power of the vote of that idiot who would get excited on seeing his own reflection on the glimmering new vehicle of his political god. That idiot has one vote which power has been buried in grains of rice, balls of onions and a number of seasoning cubes. He has one vote just like the genius who would ask questions and query some obvious red flags. The idiot and the genius have the same political worth. Then the idiot becomes of more worth when he is backed by the powerful politician. That’s how idiots are replicated. This mutation of idiots is the meaning of ‘Nigeria happens’ in some cases. It could be called nepotism or favouritism.
When this is the case as it often is, then it means that the rope holding the Bata drum of the genius has snapped. The next action for the genius is to sit out the performance in complete helplessness and frustration. Yes. When the rope holding the Bata drum snaps the drummer will only need to return to his seat. Tí bàtá bá já’kùn, yíó di ìkàlè ni fun onilu. Those geniuses in Nigeria without voter’s cards are literally a castrated tribe. The power of his brain and the usefulness of his intellect have been rendered impotent. Should geniuses allow idiots to keep directing the affairs of our national life?
Before the current administration, the feeling during the electoral season was always different. When the country is in the build up to elections, general inflation eases. Food prices drop and related consumables come within the reach of the common man. Petroleum scarcity is usually brought under control and make-believe solutions are provided to make the citizenry think that the powers-that-be have their interest as one of their priorities. During this period also, politicians reach out more easily and even respond to every flimsy greeting. They accept and attend to nearly every invitation. They readily smile like… again, that word, idiots! The politicians practice generosity and become susceptible and obedient.
That aura is not there anymore. It has thinned out like the goodwill of the Buhari administration. Now, all the excitement associated with ‘election-is-around-the-corner’ has been flung behind like the outer garment of a dancing masquerader. The politicians in the saddle now have us where they want us, so they don’t care how we feel with the state of the nation. We are approaching elections in deep petroleum scarcity and general supply mess. Elections are upon us but we are running the game with our inflation at a disturbingly high record. We are used to unbridled inflation and none of the presidential candidates has told us how we would restart the crawling economy. They have us where they want us and unfortunately, geniuses don’t have more votes than idiots.
Geniuses can’t stand sophistry that eventually leads nowhere. They also can’t stomach the shenanigans of some unscrupulous INEC officials who have been accused of working extremely hard to frustrate some people and prevent them from collecting their voter’s cards. That notwithstanding, one may not properly fit into the mould of a genius when one has no cogent reason for the current struggle to collect one’s voter’s card. You probably haven’t worked hard enough to get it or you didn’t start the struggle to get it early enough. It might also be due to both causes. However, one of the hallmarks of geniuses is determination. The cause is good and nothing good comes easy.
INEC says there are millions of permanent voter cards PVCs uncollected by registered Nigerian voters. They are mostly in southern Nigeria. The commission says without the voter’s cards, there will be no voting. So, millions have trooped to designated centers across the country to get their cards as they intend to vote. However, there have been tales of the absurd about the many things they experience at the wards where they are supposed to get the cards. There are even reports of some politicians mopping up the voter’s cards. Still, Nigeria must be determined to defeat the idiots – whoever they are.
Dear genius, that one vote of an idiot will impose a bad government on you. His vote will not discriminate except that it would make you cringe, as usual, and then you protest and carry placards that would not move the bad government. The ruler would even impose sanctions on you for protesting and shoot at you if you persist with your protests. So, prevention is better than cure.
YOU SHOULD NOT MISS THESE HEADLINES FROM NIGERIAN TRIBUNE
THE standard-bearer of the Labour Party (LP) in the February 25 presidential poll, Mr Peter Obi, on Tuesday, said the country needs a stingy leader to develop in all sectors…
The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, has met with officials of the British government to discuss issues bordering on economy, security, and immigration among others that are likely to be of mutual interest if he is elected the president of Nigeria…
The Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) has warned to go on a nationwide strike if the federal government does not meet its demands…
Aare Abdulsalam Abdullah, a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and ex-Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Oyo State, in this interview with OLAWALE OLANIYAN, spoke about the chances of the re-election of Governor Seyi Makinde…