State Capturing: Main Aspect of Politicians’ Aspirations By Andrew A. Erakhrumen

There is a caveat here! This article is for open-minded readers; it is not for those looking for write-ups to play dirty politics against their (political) enemies. It may be (rightly/wrongly) perceived as political but we are watchers that observe, not politicians in, Nigeria’s murkypolitical waters. 

This is a vital intervention because Nigerian politicsand the resulting state have been captured by a few. This capturing is surreptitiously wished for by politicians, anywhere, except for the difference in levels of consciously installed and reinforced organic capacity and capability to significantly prevent it in different places.

The seemingly ‘successful’ intention of Nigerian state captors is to put all others (including the electorate) in a box and prevent them from participating freely in the processes that produce them and other public office holders.

The foregoing scenario is not in any way new. However, what should be, that has not been, taken seriously and handled with the urgency it has always deserved is the increasingly increasing daredevilry with which those in charge of the paraphernalia of state have forcefully excluded others (including their fellow crooks in the other groups they deceptively call political parties). The winnertakes all mentality! Unfortunately, the little that was ‘hastily’ considered as recent gains in electoral processes through the introduction of electronic devices into the country’s political processes were rubbished by the Supreme Court of Nigeria based on well-orchestrated faults and weaknesses deliberately dubiously incorporated into the country’s electoral laws by the politicians. The same crooks! We are aware that the only permanence may be impermanence and inconstancy the only constant thing! Yet, a forward-looking people should strongly disallow retrogression or decay by firmly encouraging positive societal progress!

It should now be conspicuously clear that Nigeria has, again, gone back to the political epoch where and when elections are “won” by anyway and anyhow possible; the “losers” are today told to “…..go to court…..” and some people are “cashing out”. Painfully, the Nigerian courts (owing to faults/weaknesses in the countries electoral laws and legal technicalities) have taken the country’s electoral process back to 1998/1999 to embrace manual collation of votes irrespective of itswell-observed proneness to fraud! As at today, it is as good as a waste of time for an incumbent to be challenged in an election! The incumbents (or their anointed successors) need not fear any ‘opposition’ as long as they can smartly adopt/adapt the ‘successful’templates of barefaced display of brigandage and criminalities as employed during the recent off-season 2023 gubernatorial elections in Bayelsa, Imo and Kogi states. The waters were tested successfully in February/March, 2023. There is history to be referred; many of those crying foul, today, were also beneficiaries of several past electoralfrauds! For example, a former Nigerian president and his group (many of whom are with the ‘new’ groups in power today) among other shenanigans, engaged in undemocratic removal of state governorsfrom office! He was quoted to have referred – perhaps correctly – to Nigerian vice presidents (and by extension, deputy governors) as “…..mere spare tires”. In the build-up to the 2007 general election, the self-righteous former president was also quoted to have told the world that the (2007) presidential election will be a “…..do or die affair…..” and it actually was! As usual, after the elections, noises were made; nothing happened, Nigeria moved on! Worse scenarios have been happening, again and again; is Nigeria not moving on? Presently, there are people shamelessly justifying recent electoral robberies using pastinglorious occurrences like the above-mentioned 2007 scenario! Sad!

Nigerians are now well-configured to hopelessly rate previous horrible governments higher than an awful incumbent! The point, here, is that today’s typical Nigerian politicians will only bewail when they are not beneficiaries of political fraudulence. If the pendulum swings their way, they see nothing wrong with the shambolic processes leading to their “victory”. Almost all – if not all – Nigerian politicians areinvolved in electoral rigging and associated criminalities but a sideends up outwitting others; they are as good as same! We “…..looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which” using the words of Eric Arthur Blair with the pen name Gorge Orwell (1903–1950). There is no need to cry for these politicians; the determinants of election outcomes have been taken away from the realm of electorate’s freedom and decision-making! It is all about the politicians! Again, votes are not counting anymore! Nigeria is back to the detested past! There may be no need for the humongous amounts, from the public till, spent on elections; perhaps, those in governmentshould just allocate/reallocate public positions, recycling themselves conveniently, as the state has been successfully captured! We know it has been captured for long only that the state actors have recently beensillily imprudent about it! However, the fear any sensible human should have is encapsulated in the Third Law of Motion: Action and Reaction by Isaac Newton (1643–1727) which simply states that in nature there is an equal and opposite reaction. That is, whenever one object exerts a force on a second object, the second object exerts an equal and opposite force on the first. Succinctly, forces result from interactions.

Here, critical minds should understand the import of the above-mentioned Newton’s law because all the elections held in 2023 are already serving as watershed for future ones. Either Nigerians like it or not, the reality is that those interested in ‘grabbing’, ‘snatching’ and ‘taking’ power at all cost, and ‘running’ with it, in 2027 would have learnt new lessons from these elections. Notes are being taken and strategies/counter-strategies are being devised and perfected. Certainly, as we said in another piece “…..It is clear that 2027 general elections may be worse and Nigerians will be the losers.” It isunfortunate that the group of people breathing down the neck of those administering the central government – before 2015 – are now in control with shoddier outcomes! They are worse in comparison withthose criticised in the past! It is the case of being out of the frying pan into the fire! The Federal Government’s cluelessness and directionless in the last 8years have been unprecedented! They have only been good in blame game, lame excuses and worthless propaganda; the situation has not changed, for now! As we earlier said, this piece is not for politics but to state things as they are! What we want is a better Nigeria and this will be largely dependent on sound quality leadership (and followers) that will bring it forth. Glaringly, as it stands now, Nigeria does not have that kind of leadership; those being referred to as Nigerian political leaders should be aware of this fact! Surely, they do not learn from history but it will hit them hard when what occurred on 17th June, 1789 in Paris, France, is re-enacted in Nigeria. Since the main dramatis personae behind that France’s historical occurrence were the intellectuals and intelligentsias, it is ‘logical’ to those holding power in Nigeria, at every point, to attack higher educational institutions especially public universities. Fortunately for sanity, scholarship has always outlived huge mediocrities. This is a fact history taught us!

*Andrew A. Erakhrumen currently teaches at the Department of Forest Resources and Wildlife Management, University of Benin, Benin City, Nigeria.