…As citizens vowed to defeat incumbency
By MUHAMMAD BABALE
I want to start this piece with a very exciting note. At last, various factors including the most potent of them all, hunger, is forcing the people to think about themselves and the circumstances in which they live. It is interesting the kind of results our initial assessment exercises of the state government are turning in. In fact, there appears to be a consensus that things are not alright in government, and that if we must survive, the situation must change now or we strive in peaceful manner to change it. I must confess that this is certainly the best development. I have studied for my own education the process of change, both for the individual and the society as a corporate entity. And one common thing I discovered, about them, is that consciousness of the state and the agitation should follow it, are requisite instruments, for a successful peaceful overthrow of the existing clueless status quo.
Yet, those who want to be vanguards of a new order must first understand some hidden truths, if their real interest is to make a success of the venture for the benefit of the presently deprived and deceived with bogus claims of performance, for that is what changing an existing status quo amounts to especially a clueless one. The first fact they should know is that changing a clueless status quo is not a tea party. It is a deadly, serious business that needs seriousness and total commitment. This is because in every prevailing status quo, there are maggots who, not only benefit from its existence but their total survival depends largely on it. So, to succeed, a perceptive change agent must know this and at the same time provide strategies and structures to take care of sponsored retaliatory protests by hired agents of reactionaries. Then the rise of the change agents is a presupposition that a platform is in place. It must be clear that no change can come off successfully if the platform remains the same old one as we are experiencing. The platform can remain same if the objective is co-option, adoption or better still collaboration. In this kind of set up, the grouse for the attack and disagreement is usually not systematic failure drawn, but is a fight provoked by abandonment, cluelessness, insincerity and ineptitude combined. But those who desire holistic change must see the need to create or put in place a stronger and more credible platform which should, have the capacity to attract and keep the peoples affection and loyalty lively.
Those who know do appreciate that platform would only have meaning and essence established if such platform produces new visions. I believe that this is one area in which our local reformers failed woefully from the inception of the present bitter concoction threatening our progress. For most part of the time, what we hear oozing out from the media chamber of government, are not germane to the many issues at hand. In a situation for instance, where millions are unemployed and the employed frustrated with bogus verification exercise, health-care and qualitative education priced above the reach of 2/3 of the people, it is holistic to build a vision and a message around fighting or challenging the incumbent government in power. This will of course make bigger sense to the suffering public whose support the change agents need to succeed.
So those who desire to undertake the project of Change the Changer in 2019 must realize the importance of VISION and EFFECTIVE MESSAGE. They should be able to give us a clear picture of the pathetic situation of the state, where they intend to take the state to, how long it will take to get there and how they intend to realize that, given projected resources of various kinds available to the state. What should ordinarily follow the message should be the organizational strategy. I have followed and painfully studied some feeble attempts in the past three years and my researches threw up some amazing discoveries on the Bauchi state administration.
I found out for instance that those who had in 2015 sought to bring change, used the tricks of the old discarded system to secure control of power without a clear cut message other than the credibility of Muhammadu Buhari, while their standard practice was to limit discussions and meeting sessions to a few selected elite, whose only qualification was that they had held public offices before which in most cases, they had abused.
The presumption here as in the old order, was that change the responsibility of few concerned elite, who after having done all that was necessary, passed on the information to the ultimate beneficiaries, who are the deprived?
But the truth is that no full blown change will be successful except the people for whom it is intended see it as theirs and have clear understanding that the outcome will be to their advantage not to the advantage of those in leadership as the case today. What this means is that in our kind of social conditions, the kind of change that will make oppressors quake and withdraw in their own interest must take into cognizance the strategic role of economic and professional associations and their social counter-parts like the town unions and religious bodies. Leaving them out at the conception stage, creates a gap that may never be filled at all or may be very difficult to fill at a later stage when the struggle gathers momentum and requires high acceptance and support base to push through.
While the strategy of taking along the associations is vital, it is important for change agents to also realize that, tactics employed should also be determined by the nature of the immediate environment, level of development attained and then the kind of forces and interest contending for supremacy. In our kind of situation where the youthful population is becoming very frustrated in one form or the other, they invariably constitute a strong pillar deserving special but deliberate attention not the type presently obtained. This is where the concept of personalized attention comes in. This method requires leadership of change organizations to act and behave like their target groups. You wear the T-shirts with loud and bold messages, fold the hand of your shirts and wear jeans trousers and organize parties and religious sessions, during which you end with messages of change and their subsequent enlistment. Those enlisted should have space to graduate into volunteers, leading others to carry the message to the inner corners of the state that have persistently been denied the basics of life from the commonwealth.
Our struggles for change in 2015 has been a huge failure because those who sought to bring those changes are making the same mistakes of making the venture elitist, expensive and restricted to sycophants and bootlickers. Besides, many components of the state are denied representation in the system thereby murdering the theory of relativity.
The first civilian governor of Plateau State, Chief Solomon Daushep Lar drew enormous strength from the enumerated strategy. He sought and engaged locals to run his campaigns. He made it a point of duty to respond to invitations in places his aristocratic background ordinarily could not have allowed him to go. Moreover, he organized tea parties, dinner and discussions in his private residence to bring neighbors to him and hear his message. Malam Isa Yuguda, who sought from the beginning to make history as the first to give a good challenge to the power of incumbency in Bauchi state, copied the strategy of Lar in 2007 but in a modified fashion. In addition organizing discussions, interactions and support to the poor, he introduced internet and telephone networking and then extended the political tent by deliberately enlisting the participation not only of millions of youths who just turned 18 years, but the other ethno-religious organizations who had it rough and tough with the Ahmadu Mu’azu supremacist establishment.
Those who want to change their society from the hands of the itchy-fingered must understand the strength of their oppressors. This should be important because those who control a status quo are ever alert and thinking. The point that intrigues me is their ability to always show readiness to suvert due process in order to keep their hold on power.
This particular observation I want to state has come between the people and change. In this instance, genuine change agents not those masquerades, trick and fraudsters can learn from far away America’s Civil Rights struggles or South Africa’s independence struggle. When the civil rights movement forced American government to support the law on abolition of segregation in transport service, two days after the review was announced, the rights groups sent few people to board the trains, taxis and buses. And when they saw the rule was not implemented, they instantly fought back. It is my strong believe that the time has come when people, who rig elections to maintain the status quo, subvert processes or instigate anti-people and anti-progress actions should be consigned to the dustbin of history and not allowed to remain or test power for a minute.
This is where the issue of followership comes. There is no doubt that Bauchi state has had a docile and very confused followership. This has not been helping positive growth. Change agents should critically look at this, ascertain what the problems are and come up with applicable answers. From what I see and hear in Bauchi state, the ingredients of changing the 2015 changer are stockpiled. What the people earnestly await are the right harvesters to take us out of the quagmire. There will be no more cases of purchasing horses at N96million or award of contracts to fronts and family members at inflated costs. Change is desperately needed in Bauchi state in 2019.
In our subsequent edition, read the inside story of Bauchi state brouhaha on why aides are resigning in droves and the promises that may not be fulfilled by the Governor, including the supply of ‘Air-conditioned Keke-Napep’ to Bauchi state Keke-Napep operators.