Kwara: A Song for the Returning Fugitives

By Tunde Mohammed

In the aftermath of World War II, a new global order primarily authored by the United States of America was established. The post-war order resided on two intended pillars. The US and the Bretton Woods. Furnishing the structure for international politics and the law, the US enshrined the ideals of collective security and pacific resolutions of conflicts. The Bretton Woods established a global economic architecture of minimal regulation and free markets while the American objectives was to spread its vision of free market democracy to the four corners of the globe.

However, a surprise was waiting. In the corner dearest to the Soviet Union, America and its allies encountered the unexpected third pillar of the post-war global regime – the Cold War.

That the Soviet Union allied itself with America in the World War II did not mean a shared global vision. It merely was an evidence of a shared enemy – Hitler. And once Hitler was interred beneath the rubbles of his defeated fatherland, the alliance against him met its demise. So the difference in American and Soviet Union histories produced two antinomic world views sharing almost nothing in common. A friend of convenience had become a foe of conviction.

The grim irony cannot be lost on European statesmen and its philosophers of human progress. The nation state paradigm which has brought humankind its most spectacular achievements to date appears to have reached the end of its tether. Nobody can be sure of what will replace it and how this will be done.

We sure live in interesting times and this is about the only thing one can vouchsafe for now. In all its contradictions, there is surely a recipe for political hallucination.

As I have often noted, hegemony is not mere dominance. It is structured and systematic domination relying on persuasion and a combination of force and spiritual coercion if and when the need arises. Since consent is not exclusive of coercion, hegemony oscillates between brutal force and persuasive blackmail.

In any society, the construction of hegemony is an arduous and painstaking task. This is because it is an attempt to reset and reorder a society in its material, martial, intellectual and spiritual totality. In the attempt to dominate therefore, feudal hegemony becomes arrogantly insensitive and lacking in ability to navigate the ethical compass of a modern state.

But in the abracadabra world of contemporary politics, nothing appears impossible. It only required a greater courage to suffer. Also a man may make for himself a throne of bayonets, whether he would be able to sit on it is another matter entirely. The chickens they say must now begin to munch on each other’s entrails; an indication that the life and times of our politicians have assumed fantastical proportion.

In Kwara State, a surly and sullen mood pervades its political landscape once again as the ruling party APC, is ambushed by its own perfidies and treacheries in a well-oiled plot that has permanently put paid to the political aspirations of some of its major and minor political players in a humiliating circumstances. It was to be a payback time after all, until tyranny and a well-choreographed ambush set in leading to a summary imposition.

Sadly, demoralized and dispirited having gone through one of the inglorious political scams ever, I hear some of the state political fugitives are returning from compulsory exile after defying decency and the Kwara spirit. We hear also that a few of our local and itinerant musicians are also returning to the studio to wax lyrical about the returning ‘heroes’.

Tentatively, one of the praise singers have titled his album ‘Treacherous’. Another one has titled his offering ‘Nwon pewa ni Mediocre’. Meaning they call us mediocre. The artist, a brilliant purveyor of social acrimony, had panned out litigious lyrics with savage delight and concocted in subversive exertion.  Indeed all manner of knife appear at the funeral of an elephant.

Well if this musical revival is the only thing the state gains from its Governor’s curious brand of Glasnost and Perestroika, we may yet have the Ilorin born administrator to thank. There is a sense now in which it can be argued that the 2023 general elections will mark another watershed in the political evolution of the state. It is sure to signal the end of the struggle between good and evil. It is going to be the last titanic struggles that would translate to a new harmonious order to be founded on the state’s precept of true democracy and economic emancipation.

For now, Kwarans must continue to persevere until the next elections come; even though they have lived most of their lives in an adversarial relationship with their political leaders. They have also managed to survive and have continued to survive so many nightmares with a political history that is not only awash in blood and devastation but also brutal and often murderous.

This is not because its people’s worldview is shaped by the state’s merciless political history but sadly that is what befalls a state whenever the reins of significant power are placed in the hands of leaders dispossessed of sufficient candor and the elegant strategic thoughts.

One therefore begins to wonder why it has over the years proved impossible for governments in this state, including the present one, to study the mood and disposition of the people over which they pretend to rule. It must be noted however that no one can rule a state like Kwara in times of steel challenges without understanding the soul of the people. It is not enough to be smart or have a scent for politics. A leader must have a heart. Even though he needs not cry every time people stubs his toe, a leader must feel their hopes and fears at a personal level. The people must reside inside his soul and he must be talking to them in a way that points their better selves to a better tomorrow.

Curiously, the state’s political condition has a way of turning potential heroes into stark and berserk antiheroes. Now that some of the fugitives are being welcomed back home, they must go the whole hog in support of the current effort to bring the necessary closure to this open sore and its accompanying farce. What has happened smacks of power desperation and this had been the bane of post-colonial politics in Nigeria. The damage has already been done. Today, incalculable political, economic and spiritual damage has been inflicted on them.

The general question occasioned by their aborted aspiration has worsened. This is nothing but a fundamental assault, subterfuge and ambuscade. There are many, this writer included, who were not fans of any of these men but who chose to fight on the side of truth and freedom. We chose to lose all, rather than be ruled by some primitive predators. The less said about the party leadership, the better.

Poverty is a culture. To overcome poverty, Kwara need to overcome the culture of poverty which is a cacophony of strategic plans and ideas. No state gets rich by chance. To our returning fugitives, they must take solace in the fact that what befall them in the APC collectively was not only a manifestation of the state’s political dysfunction and leadership failure; they must equally accept also the reality that there are battles worth fighting and there are enemies worth having. It must also be noted here that, it takes more than minatory violence to rule a state like Kwara in this modern times.

Real power, in all its persuasive force, flows from the might of example rather than the example of might. So as with all moments, regardless of their historic value, this regime will pass and we shall together write the next great chapter in our history and meet the test of our time.


Ibrahim Sheriff is the Editor of Fresh Insight and former Special Assistant on Media to the Speaker, Kwara state House of Assembly. Although a management science researcher by training, he has over five years experience of practice in Journalism, Public Relations and Communication Strategy. Sheriff holds a Masters Degree in Finance and Bachelors Degree in Banking and Finance from Kwara state University, Malete. He has Certificates in Digital Journalism, Enterprise Creation and Skill Acquisition (ECSA) and Basic Econometrics Data Analysis, as well as Bank of Industry (BoI) Certificate in Business Management. He is also a holder of Diploma in Cooperative Studies from Kwara state Polytechnic, Ilorin.

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