South East: Orphans Of Nigeria’s Progressive Politics


The political progressives now claim they have indeed, without equivocation, come-into power in Nigeria; and are actually, at the helms of executive authorities in the country. To say the least, the reigns of political, economic and social dynamics are in their hands currently to shape, in our beloved nation. Since political independence in 1960, they have struggled to attain Federal authority in Nigeria, but have failed each time they tried. They seem lucky this time; and 2015 is the year, in the annals of their worthy attainments. But will they be progressive in all they do? Your answer is as good as mine. Let's proceed!

According to the Oxford Dictionary, Progressive (albeit: as a political ideology) means: moving (the society) forward, proceeding step-by-step, successive, achieving in social conditions, character efficiency, favouring a rapid progress or reform (change), etc. In this instance therefore, it could then be rightly asserted that “Progressivism” is equivalent in meaning to Liberalism/Welfarism; and opposite in meaning to “Conservatism”: which means tending to conserve, averse to rapid changes, disposed to maintain existing institutions, promote individual enterprise, moderate (in actions and attitude), cautious and purposefully low (keyed in attitude and actions), etc.

Therefore, a conscious wearing of an excellently-working, and perfectly conditioned political binoculars/periscope; or even a casual peep into a good political microscope on heretofore national affairs in our country, will definitely convince one, without doubts, that Nigeria was indeed on emplaced bumpy roads and rough-rides of the Political-Conservatives'. They (Conservatives) drove non-developmental and unhelpful mechanisms and trajectories since-from the days of her political-independence from Britain in 1960. Furthermore, a simple analysis of the definitions of Conservatism, especially as it has panned-out since Nigeria's flag-independence, will clearly show that the Conservatives (former Civilian-Military-Civilian Governments in Nigeria) have had their fair share of power; and ugly days of taken the generality of Nigerians on political and economic rigmaroles—which were against the nation's destined-destination. They were actually at the helms of affairs in Nigeria for a very long time. But did they achieve much for the Nigerian nation? That will be another study's brief and concern; not this!

Presently, the progressives are in power and are actually the nation's socio-economic and political drum-majors now. They are indeed the captains of the nation's ships and aircrafts of future attainments in positivity (notwithstanding the so-called pessimists who will always say: negativity). Future will tell though, whether they achieved for the peoples of Nigeria; achieved for the nation; and achieved for posterity to acknowledge or debunk. We wish them well! But we are seeing orphans in their midst—indeed, within their soaring fold. We mean those among them who are not totally confident that they are in the same ship/aircraft of change (which we are told, capable Progressives are currently piloting for the good of the nation—but do they have the Theory? Without the Theory on Progressive Politics: the practice will be difficult, great attainments will be far-fetched!).

They are the South Easterners of Nigeria! Their Progressives!! They joined the ship/aircraft of change at its loading bay/embankment/tarmac early enough–at the time others were joining, but it looks like they were left at the said bay/embankment/tarmac; and the “change-aircraft” has taxied-off and actually taken-off with her captain and other properly assigned crew without them. They seem stuck in the waiting-room for another opportunity to be on-board and possibly take-off later (to properly enjoy their own ride). But that means they will not be, and are not in the same aircraft with their contemporaries and fellows (and seemingly initial co-equal joiners). Surely, even if they will have an opportunity to ever fly the “Progressivism Plane”, they will be in another one and on a later flight. Are they marooned? Are they now orphans in Nigeria's progressive-politics–in its national and recurrent balancing-equations?

Further questions: Let's face it, with a clear assessment of their ways and attitudes to life, are South Easterners Liberal/Welfarists (which sums into Progressivism)? Do they step-by-step advance the social conditions for the good of all; and do they also favour rapid progress, change or reform, etc (for the good of all)? This is just to mention a few of what it entails to be in “True Progressive Politics”. OR, do they like to maintain existing institutions, promote individual enterprise, and are averse to rapid changes, etc (like Conservatives do)? Indeed, answers to these questions will be varied and perceptively-contentious! But in all, they (the various-contending answers) are the answers and need to be carefully under-studied to arrive at a concise-solution to de/un-orphan them (South Easterners) from their seeming political orphan-status (albeit in progressive-politics) now–as it is playing-out in the present times in Nigeria.

To say the least in addition, is that the hard-core and battle-tested former progressive-militants (the right word may be: activists), who have before today  (in the recent times) captured power, who indeed bestrides the political landscape and are enjoying the perquisites of power, are consciously and unconsciously side-lining the South Eastern “Progressive-Neophytes” with them. But can all of them be classified as “Progressive-Neophytes”? True, they (many of them from the South East) made great sacrifices and joined early enough like others (who are now ravishing the beautiful damsel of the present progressive electoral victory); but they are side-lined and seem orphaned in the scheme of things (this is the truth whether we like to say it or not; or accept the fact or not). But also, it is a good lesson for them (South Eastern Progressives) to learn, even though it is a hard one! “Nothing is bad, except the mind that made it so” (so posits an Indian proverb). After all, negative and positive wires make the light glow!! Destination is never too far, as long as the journey has been started!!! We are keenly-watching and sympathetic to the orphans and those who orphaned them. It is well!!!! (So posits a Christian hope-enhancing cliché). Our counselling here though, is that we should follow the Igbo tradition of handling orphans. The tradition makes it imperative not to consign orphans into orphanages, but to keep them with their near or distant relations, in order to bring them up properly. So that in adulthood, they will never remember or tell they were orphans (because: in any case, every one becomes an orphan in his/her adulthood—when parents must have eventually died—making a great many of adults not to have a father or mother any longer: making it mandatory also for one to care for oneself and one's family thereafter).

Written by Ejike Kingsley Osuji.
[email protected]

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