The Real Threat To Democracy In Cross River Is Not Imoke BY OBASESAM OKOI

In Breaking News, Columnists, National News, Opinion, Politics
Obasesam Okoi
Obasesam Okoi

The greatest threat to democracy in Cross River is not Imoke, but the leaders, the intellectuals, and the masses. This thesis is predicated on a critical evaluation of the prevailing political fix in our state, arising largely from historical political contradictions, the result of dysfunctional leadership that has rendered the people powerless, hopeless and helpless, compounded by intellectual hypocrisy.

I train to analyze politics scientifically and make predictive explanations of political events and behaviors that shape such events using mathematical equations. This kind of reasoning is dominant among political scientists in the United States, Canada, Germany, Austria, Denmark, Norway and Switzerland.

For a long time I was looking at Nigerian politics through this lens. I thought I could use equations to predict outcome or Western political philosophy to understand human or political behavior. But the unfolding drama in Cross River defies this theoretical logic.

I am beginning to question whether Nigerian political scientists can claim objectivity in their methods of studying or theorizing Nigerian politics. I am wondering if there are domestic and context specific theories or methods of analyzing Nigerian politics or whether we simply adapt Western philosophy in our attempt to make sense of local political events. Above all, it’s appalling, but also interesting what conclusions are emerging from our analysis of Cross River politics.

These questions have become necessary to clarify some misinformation about the unfolding drama. I am prompted to raise these questions because of the intellectual hypocrisy that so becloud our sense of judgment, that blind us to political reality, and that narrow our reasoning. This hypocrisy constitutes a burden to our individual and collective memories.

I am saddened by the attempt to reduce objectivity to the reasoning of intellectuals who chose to demonize Imoke in other to promote Florence Ita-Giwa as Deputy Governor to Jedy Agba. And we think that citing Western philosophy to explain unrelated political phenomenon in any way make us less vulnerable to intellectual hypocrisy?

Can any reasonable person point to a single theory that explains the unfolding drama in Cross River? How do you theorize a democracy based on hypocrisy and corruption from above or below and expect to establish a moral foundation for your argument to the extent of casting blames where they do not exist? How do you theorize a political situation where the masses are suffering in poverty and insecurity and crying for jobs and good roads while politicians are arriving with hand sanitizers? This is symbolic oppression.

And then we condemn Governor Imoke’s political calculations and miscalculations, yet position ourselves as objective analysts. How do we maintain objectivity by demonizing one party or individual? What has been our contribution to the political process? What actions have we taken to correct the injustice we criticize?

In moments like this, I base my logic on neither realism nor constructivism. I chose to be pragmatic. Pragmatism is where political outcome is measured against practices that are working in a specific context. I argue that the context of our politics must be understood through events that shaped our political destiny since 2009.

Perhaps, if Donald Duke won election by imposing all 18 local government chairmen or sending armored tanks to destroy his opponents and even incarcerating some, he has defined a new way of looking at politics and the context of theoretical analysis.

If Imoke decides to emulate Donald Duke’s example, then Duke’s actions can be reasonably justified as a worldview, maybe the rise of “Political Dukism.” So how do we blame an individual for subscribing to a theory he didn’t create?

This raises another set of questions: Who killed opposition politics in Cross River? Who initiated imposition politics in Cross River? Who introduced violence in Cross River politics? Was Imoke the governor of Cross River State when these problems started?

The truth is these problems were created by Donald Duke. I would argue that Duke laid a faulty political foundation for Cross River. Imoke built on a foundation already laid by Duke. Some of Imoke’s greatest critics today contributed to the building process.
Yet the same Donald Duke came back to impose a candidate on Cross Riverians and all am reading from the intellectuals are lessons in Political Science, that is, lessons that Imoke didn’t learn or could have learned. They have silenced the critical lessons emerging from the historical foundation of our problems so long as they are indirectly looking for tactical ways to endorse Jedy Agba and grab his money. For me, this is the worst form of irrationality that produces followership, couched in cheap and irrelevant endorsements based primarily on eye service.

There is a second group of intellectuals blaming Imoke for every problem but taking directives from Governor Amaechi – a man that is considered to be intellectually and morally inferior to Imoke. Amaechi literarily controls the Cross River APC platform. From his home in Rivers State, he decides who become the APC chairman and other exco members.

I was ashamed to hear that Cross River APC, despite the change they preach, could not conduct simple election to determine its leaders at the state level until Amaechi intervened to impose the candidates of choice.

The same people will not give us a break about Imoke. Where is our pride? Today, some APC stalwarts are patiently waiting for Jedy Agba to defect to their party as insinuated and then grease their palms in secret. Some are ready to go against, if not already gone against, their party philosophy, just to grab money.

At the same time, most of us have been educating the public to make rational decisions based on vision. We have been asking Jedy Agba to sell himself based on his vision not his wealth. But the reality is that the size of a man’s pocket attracts more followership than the size of his vision.

I argue therefore, that Imoke didn’t make any mistake that caused people to gravitate towards Jedy. It is our nature of politics. This exemplifies the concept of “stomach infrastructure” – the politics of hunger and the hungry. If not, Emmanuel Ibeshi has communicated the best vision so far on how to propel our economy.

I will argue further that the politics of greed, hunger and the hungry has contributed in our lost political destiny. This has gotten us to where we are today, not Imoke as many are arguing. Imoke is playing the politics of the land. While some are arguing that the man has made a mistake, it might just be that our politics require such mistakes to happen for the needed political transformation in Cross River that would revive opposition politics.

Otherwise, what do we expect by selling our future over a meal and then turn back to vilify leaders who do not meet our expectation? How do we expect a man to spend billions of Nairas in campaign and not loot our treasury to recover his investment?

But when we support a leader – whether Jedy or Ntufam or Legor etc – for communicating a persuasive vision, we can certainly hold him accountable in the event that he fails to deliver on his promises.

This is why I chose to understand politics through practices that are working in a particular context rather than attempting to theorize the impossible. The behaviors of leaders, intellectuals, and the masses have so much to teach us about our political destiny.

Culled from Obasesam Okoi’s facebook timeline.

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3 commentsOn The Real Threat To Democracy In Cross River Is Not Imoke BY OBASESAM OKOI

  • Whatever Obasesam’s opinion is; he’s entitled to it BUT I just have to let him know clearly that until we tell ourselves the hard truth/confront the issues that have politically & economically bedeviled CRS, sooner or later that State will sink. The people need to decide who Govern them at all levels in order to get the best hands & brains.

  • Obasesam Okoi, I think someone has to at some point tell you the truth though you will not hear. Your problem is narcissism, simply put, seeking attention unduly. You like most promising online commentators who lose steam along the line and go hollow, has degenerated to a level where only yourself cannot see. Have you not noticed that those who respond to you these days unlike before are the class I refer to as internet rats who have nothing they believe in or postulate. They comment on anything, like anything, poke anything and their comments are mostly in very bad and incoherent grammar. That wasn’t the norm, remember? In your pretentious attempt to create the impression that you are not biased, the same offence you try so fruitlessly to accuse others of, you lay yourself bare, pitiably though, as a supporter of not only Imoke and cohorts but of Bassey Ewa, a man you once vilified with the harshest of language. You didn’t even come to Nigeria, you stayed wherever you are and sent some bucks to people to gather about fifteen people in Yakurr about two years ago. An event where Obono Obla and Shan George were those who made the difference. They came to talk to those who attended, since then, you have posted ‘fake’ testimonies of those who have been calling you from everywhere telling you how that program you called YES, has changed their lives. Hope Obeten started his calabarblog long before your YES, Endure Onun learnt web design in a seminar organized by CrossRiverWatch like you were rightly told by the publisher in a reply to your blanket vituperations against the press in the state.

    Today, because they came to a take a sit in YES, they have suddenly become your objects of campaign bring down Activists, the Press and even intellectuals in Cross River. In your recent works, you have demonstrated a venomous degree of arrogance and arrogated so much importance to yourself, importance that is merely to feed your overblown ego.

    In your recent rantings, you have taken on the Press, the same press that has managed to feed you with the little information with which you are now making your jaundiced analysis. Young people who unlike your phantom YES program have suddenly added verve to our political process and given us an arena to discuss politics like never before in this state, instead of joining hands with them, everyday you are writing nonsense about how the press has compromised, compromises what exactly? I thought you called yourself an online journalist too? Everyday you are busy abusing activists, Obono Obla was your role model who addressed the fifteen people that attended your YES program. Apart from him, which other activist are you referring to? Or do you refer to yourself as an activist?

    Who are the activists, you have the audacity to accuse intellectuals too of compromising and you Obasesam Okoi are deluding yourself that you are the only one doing the right thing and if that thing is not done by you, it is not right. Please, to help yourself I will frankly advice you to stay off social media for some time until you recover virtue. You have exhausted virtue if you ever had it. You need to hibernate and rejuvenate. You are beginning to embarrass yourself with your inconsistencies. Give us a breathing space please.

  • Clothing bigotry and bias with the semblance of reasoning. That’s what you lot do when you make leaps of judgement that cannot be explained by any facts that you have put down. So-called ‘thinkers’ that argue backwards – from conclusion to premise.

    Questions for you:
    A. Most people are agreed that the ongoing crisis will be better for our state politics going forward. Why are you straining yourself to argue the contrary and doing so very poorly?
    B. Without the entrance of Jeddy Agba into the race we would not be having these debates, and if he were a poor man we would also not be having these debates so his money is not the devil here.
    C. In your opinion, is Jeddy Agba richer than Imoke?
    D. How is it possible for Donald Duke impose a candidate when he’s not in control of any part whatsoever of the electoral process?
    E. Is it anybody’s fault if the person that you consider to have the best vision is too high and mighty to interact with people at their own level or initiate teams to do so?
    E. Next time you talk about Imoke being demonized as you put it, please don’t forget the why – the local government council ‘selections’, the bullying and intimidation of Agba from the onset of his ambition, the opaque workings of CRS PDP and its abuse of constitution. When you present the facts on both sides, that’s what we call an argument.
    (F) Lastly, this line is too low even for you:

    “There is a second group of intellectuals blaming Imoke for every problem but taking directives from Governor Amaechi – a man that is considered to be intellectually and morally inferior to Imoke.”

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