by Sam Omatseye:
It would have been a time to jeer. Rather, this essayist would rather pity. The victory of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu has spawned many an emotion. For some, it is rage. For others, it is tears. For a few more, it is a call for the end of Nigeria. To a few more, it is hysteria, very close to what Poet Samuel Coleridge calls “purposeless malignity.” All of this is because they cannot live with the outcome of democracy.
Before the polls, a young woman posted her tears and fears on social media. Visceral and heartfelt, she cautioned God against letting Tinubu win the election. She threatened the Almighty and vowed never to peer the holy of holies ever again if Tinubu won the polls. She had never met Tinubu. Of course, her heart and soul slobbered on the LP candidate’s bosom. It recalls the devotion of the soldier in one of W.B Yeats poems. “Those I fight I do not hate/ Those I guard I do not love.” But this young lady is more of a true believer in the mold of Eric Hoffer who penned the classic, The True Believer. He once wrote, “we lie loudest when we lie to ourselves.” The young lady must be bewailing God now, and forswearing fasting. She belongs to the class of self-pity. I pray for her remorse. No election or candidate is worth our God. We rather obey God, says Paul, than men.
What of our man on the plane with a PHD in law, who thought by carping to fellow passengers he could finagle his LP man to victory? This was not a man swinging his sword for the God in heaven, or in defence of a holy book. He belongs to that ilk who have lost their taste bud or ear for music. They have disappeared into the dark revelries of illusion. In his case, reality aches and cudgels him out of his fantasy. He has realized Tinubu has won and wonders why his fellow travelers are not determined like him to turn the tide. May 29 is a looming nightmare. He belongs to the class of appalled realists.
I cannot fail to speak of the soothsayers. They are the ones who saw soot all over Tinubu’s prospects like the first chapter of Charles Dickens’ Bleak House. They had soothing words for their candidate. They went to heaven and returned like Jesus on the transfiguration. They had seen the future and hoisted its roses. Those who spoke on the pulpit, and out of it. Those who ordered them to vote for their faith. Those who said they already saw the result. They asked the candidate not to worry. The Lord had assured them of victory. Those who said he would come second and Tinubu would be arrested on May 29 and power handed to their candidate. First off, the prophet said the LP candidate would be announced second. He was announced third. False prophet. They spoke on phone, in whispers, and administered holy communion. Their followers fell for prophecy, and it became a turbulence of belief, a rallying cry of the zealot. It has powered their heart, their street rabble, their righteous indignation, their internet prattle, and their faith in an unerring destiny.
Can we forget the fuddy-duddies? It is what in Hausa Language is called bakin ciki, or what in Warri we call jiga belle. Malice. It is basically from two old men. One is the Owu chief, who knew his candidate had lost and wanted instant cancellation. He was labouring under the lie that his son would win, and when it turned the other way, he suffered from the line of Caribbean writer Georg Lamming, “something startles where I thought I was safest.” A big shame had fallen on him. He had to play the spoiler. The other man is Ayo Adebanjo, a man aboil with a bitter soul, afraid of Tinubu and blind with hate. As Shakespeare wrote, we hate that which we often fear. His is a fear of gratitude. The man has done him so much good, and his only revenge is hate. Elder Fasoranti put him in his hoary place when he denied Tinubu won. The best writing on him is Bisi Akande’s book, Participations.
We have the set of the doomsayers. They were the ones who wanted to bring down the country with a proposed riot called #endNigeria. The LP candidate gave an ambiguous response, at once dissociating from them and saying the court is his primary and priority option. I pray, what are his other options? He has given a hint. We are waiting. His deputy who went on a wild peroration about not swearing in Tinubu belongs in that category. I wonder whether he is in on the so-called “religious war” or is he lying to himself.? Maybe an unaware conscript. They were the breed who knelt at the defence headquarters calling for an army takeover. These boys remind us why the Owu chief obliterated history in schools. They don’t know leprosy the army gave us for decades. They don’t know they are even the sons of the army who were disgraced out of office. By calling for them, they are calling for their temperamental fathers. A little monster invoking his father. They are the apologists of tyranny. It means they do no know the spirit of democracy. The army believes in zero-sum games. Just like them.
We have the “mathemythicians.” They are turning numbers into comfort. The first is the PDP. They were told that their only path to victory was squelched by the LP man. They had lost their stronghold in Lagos to him, as well as most of the south-south and southeast. Atiku admitted that at his grieving party. That basically cancels out the south. Yet, he says he won. Where could he get the numbers? Tinubu was already in contention in the north, both northeast and northwest. No matter his numbers, Atiku could not win with the north alone. Not even Buhari did. Hence, the APC. Asiwaju had his numbers in Lagos and southwest, as well as the north-central. Even in his dialogue with “yes daddy,” the other fellow begged for Christian votes in southwest and Kogi, Kwara and Niger. He knew he was not strong there and the result confirmed his fears. The LP man’s ethno-religious “mathemythics” meant he would do well in south-south and southeast, which he did. And north central and Lagos. He was, however, bested in the north central in Kogi, Kwara, Benue and Niger. He had good numbers in Plateau and Nasarawa, confirming his “yes daddy” dialogue.
But that cannot give anyone a path to victory. Not when you campaign in Sabon Gari in Kano, and rally easterners in Sokoto and Kebbi, and depend only on southern Kaduna. The haul of Northern votes came from where he ignored. The core north saw his church pilgrimages, whose purpose we heard in his “yes daddy” dialogue. We also saw some who argued both here and abroad that winning about 37 percent of the votes cast was not democracy. What ignorance. If three ran, were the votes not going to split in three? In this case, in 18 places. LP and PDP were too lost in their triumphal hubris when they were warned that they had opened the path for a Tinubu victory. It is not new in his history. It has happened a few times in American and European history. Just one example, George H. Bush lost his second term vote to Bill Clinton when Ross Perot entered and gobbled up the conservative entitlements of the incumbent. Historians say it up till tomorrow. It is, however still speculation in a straight fight between the PDP and the APC if new forces or strategies may have handed the same result.
We have the Solomon baby mothers. I refer to the split-baby scenario that King Solomon gave posterity. The PDP and LP accepted all their National Assembly results. But they forswear the presidential. They are products of one womb: the Feb 25 poll. They are like the woman who lost the baby by asking Solomon the king that they should cut the baby in half, so she could have a part and the other woman who had the baby the other. Solomon knew who was legitimate. So, it is with the PDP and LP. They want to eat their cake and have it. They want to cut our baby of democracy. They want their certificates of return but want the other certificate returned. But we cannot separate them like water into water.
Part of the noise comes from discontents in Lagos and largely the southeast. Most of the country has accepted. The north did not holler after the polls, nor the north central, nor the southwest. The governorship was more than a little turbulent in parts of the north because they had little problem with the presidential and national assembly polls.
But the hullaballoo makes the wailers think they own the narratives in parts of the south. The western media latched on to the internet bile and fury, and no one has come with a mind of science. Not even the eager western media has advanced clear data. It is unscientific minds that stir trouble. For instance, if they say the elections went the other way, what are the facts? Recently, for all the noise about Lagos, Deputy Governor Femi Hamzat, reported that of over 3,200 polling units, about 80 polling units had problems. Governor Wike lashed back that the hoopla in Rivers was over four polling areas. Has any of the noisemakers taken the pains to count how many of the hundreds of thousands of polling units across the country had problems? The NBA went around and reported the polls merited an 80 percent pass mark. The law calls for substantial compliance.
Tinubu won by beating two regional candidates and an ethnoreligious poseur. Some of the angry people we see on WhatsApp, the most vicious social media platform. They live in their own bubble, where they spit, piss, sweat, and fart. They enjoy the sty and call it the new scent in town.