2023: The Coming of the Endangered Species
By Folami Mustafa
In 1982, with 13 major species of whales teering on the brink of extinction, the International Whaling Commission imposed a moratorium on commercial whale hunting.
Since then, the Northern Pacific gray whale has been taken off the endangered-species list; the only whale to make it back from the brink.
Like the gray whale, the only whale that survived the PDP’s tsunami of the Obasanjo era was Tinubu. He was the only man standing after the great flood. He became an endangered species; the only political whale that made it back from the brink.
In understanding this, it is to Fukuyama we turn to.
Writing on the preface to his groundbreaking works, “The Origins of Political Order, Fukuyama posited, “The wantoks are led by a big man. No one is born a big man, nor can a big man hand title down to his son. Rather, the position has to be earned in each generation. It falls not necessarily to those who are physically dominant but to those who have earned the community’s trust, usually on the basis of ability to distribute pigs, shell money and other resources to members of the tribe.
“In traditional Melanesian society, the Big man must constantly be looking at his shoulder, because a competitor for authority may be coming up behind him. Without resources to distribute, he loses his status as a leader”.
From the stand point of a foreigner, the behavior of the Melanesian politician looks like political corruption but from the stand point of the islands traditional tribal social system, the Big man is only doing what Big men have always done, which is to redistribute resources to their kinsmen. Except that now, they have access not just to pigs and shell money but also to revenues from mining and logging concessions.
Fukuyama was x-raying the evolution of tribal societies in Melanesia, an area covering Papau New Guinea, Solomon island, and other cluster islands around the coral sea.
A close observation of the Fukuyama submission will in no doubt accord with the Bayyert’s theoretical postulates on the state of politics in Africa.
In understanding Fukuyama postulation, we attempt to exorcise the ghost of Jean Francois Bayyert in his celebrated work “The State in Africa: The Politics of the Belly”.
Bayyert attempted to reconstruct a mode of analysis in the theoretical debate on the state and politics in Africa. He was of the opinion that traditional African societies are in fact ordinary particularly when it comes to politics.
In Africa, Bayyert submitted with a phrase, “Goats eats where they are tethered”; a situation whereby the educated rise to power, then seize the state resources and refuse to enhance the economic state of mass.
In as much as this article does not pretend to be an academic dessertation, it is pertinent at this juncture to ask: Will Tinubu take us to the Promised Land?
There so many spectrums to answering this question.
I chose the voice of a 65 yes old Nigerian farmer, Mr Biodun, who resides in a farm settlement in one of the Southwest states. In a chat I had with him on his farm, he said: “My brother, don’t listen to hearsay and he recounted his story:
“I graduated from the university without a job. It was Babangida that gave us this land”, pointing to his farm, “We’ve been here for years without any government intervention. Then, Tinubu heard of us. He was here.
“Graduate farmers living without light, without water, without access to primary health care.
“He promised to do something and here you are you can see for yourself.”
We walked along a pathway around the farm estate with an interlocking terrace as our guide.
Tinubu like a silver coin has two faces. The farmer had only shown his side. The other side lay wide as the arena opens on the road to 2023.
And as I move along the foliage and greenery, it was the poem of Franca Forthright that hovers in the sky.
Darling, will you be luminous in soul?
Have you been a benevolent custodian?
Have you used your spectacular fortunes
To elevate or subjugate
To leverage or enrage
To animate or to deplete?
Your role is special, the Lord has specially endowed you
Please, take caution…, Lose not your soul.
In the heap of glittering foes. (Extracted from Glowing Channels).
Folami Mustafa is a former research writer National Review magazine.
Share your thoughts on this piece with NigerianSketch in the comments section.