Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Article: Are Nigerian Leaders Superhuman Or gods?

Some Nigerian Leaders
 By Rufus Kayode Oteniya (
“All gods are homemade, and it is we who pull their strings, and so, give them the power to pull ours.” - Aldous Huxley
They are superhuman. That’s what we’ve made them to believe. Some even live with the illusion that they are gods. They didn’t make themselves so but we did. On ascension to office, we worship them; make them untouchable, unreachable and unquestionable; and expect them to lord over us while they live above the law, at least, for as long as they last in their offices and worst of all, we celebrate them in their mediocrity.
Others are human being, they are not. They are superhuman if not gods. We have made them forget that they are mere mortals who would give accounts for their deeds.
They cannot tread, where we walk; they cannot shop in the same market with us; dine in the same eatery with us and live in the same neighbourhood with us. We are worlds apart.
We allow them absolute power forgetting that it corrupts absolutely. They plunder our commonwealth without any restraints; yet, we celebrate them and beg for crumbs of what is ours.
Whenever they intrude our world, they leave behind bitter memories and pains. Whenever they come to town, we must be kept in traffic for them to move freely; whenever they visit our hotels, their armies of aids security details and entourage relegate us to the background. Whenever they are ‘guests of honour’ at our functions, we are treated with little honour.
We build shield around them, follow them like zombies. Everyone calls them Chairman, Excellency, Rt Honourable, Senator…. We dare not call them by their names even if we had grown up together. And they call us with little respect.
Lo! Those who suppose to serve us are lords over us. They didn’t make themselves so, but we did.
We sell our birthrights for their pots of porridge whenever we look up to them for our daily bread. We give up our rights to ask for their stewardship whenever we queue for the remnants from their ‘unholy’ tables. We become their slaves and they, our godfathers while we wait for them to turn the tides in our favour on the queue for the national looting. We made them so, they didn’t make themselves.
A Nigerian ceases to be a ‘normal human’ as soon as he ascends to the position of leadership and authority. He instantly becomes a god. He forgets so easily that he was human just moments he came to office. We give him all the privileges of a deity. His words become orders. Abruptly, he swells in wealth and power becoming drunk with the latter forgetting that it is transient. We made them so.
We make ourselves available at their beck and call and ready to do any bad for them so that we can be in their good books. We praise them as if they are the best things to have happened to mankind. We also re-write their sad pasts.
We praise them to high heaven and everything about them becomes first. Their wives become first ladies; their children, first children; their parents, first parents; their in-laws, first in-laws; and their dogs, first dogs. We call them so.
This is not new. It has always been! Ogun was a man here ages ago but his people turned him to a god. They bowed to him and made him the god of iron. Shango, no doubt was a great warrior in his days just like Alexander the Great , Julius Caesar and many others in history. While no one worships the European warriors, without soliciting, Some turned to worshipping Shango as the god of thunder.  Nyame, Ala, Yemoja, Osun were people whom others made their gods and goddesses. Every oba was a god. He could kill, take possession of another man’s wife and children; and in a nutshell he practically owned the land and the ‘fullness’ of it. The people made them so.
That was then! And this is now!  We are here today claiming to be done with the idolatory as we openly profess our faiths in Christianity and Islam. But behold, we worship our leaders as if they are gods. We exalt the officials above their offices and place politicians above the laws of the land in the same way that we sometimes reverence the clergies more than God.
We praise their mediocrity in the name of being friends of ‘Any Government In Power – AGIP. We collaborate with them to steal what belongs to all of us while they use and dump us and further weaken our strength by using religious and tribal divide.
The privilege to serve in an office does not make anyone bigger than another. There are no superhuman talk less of being gods.
We should hold this self-evident truth that all men are created equal and they are also equal before the law.
We have to respect those in the positions of authority, not worship them.  We must understand that respect is mutual and reciprocal. We must also demand respect from them the same way we give.
We do not only have the right, but we are also duty bound as the electorate (who are the employers) to say to those whom we have elected to give the accounts of their stewardship. The power to hire and fire lies with us. We must know that it is human nature to stray if unchecked and go out of control if not controlled. The highest form of check in a democracy is the electorate. We are!
We must resist the oppression that we have hitherto accommodated from the political class. If anyone is a god, it is the electorate. We are! And greater is the power in our hand.