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OPINION: Elitism And The Power Of Privilege; The Bane Of Nigerian Development

According to the American born Sociologist Joseph Sore’s, his intellectual discuss on the power of privilege examines the nexus between social class and admissions. He uses the glaring classism in the United State of America as an example and proved his assertion without any whiff of askance in which to get admission into America’s top colleges, and having a good job in the system despite your fantabulous academic performance, remains a darn fantasy due to the lackadaisical adherence to meritocracy or how its impulse was much weaker than is commonly believed. The acceptance in prestigious colleges or getting god jobs still remains beyond the reach of most students and the less privilege working class, except those from high-income professional families. It was only for the elites, their kith and kin or those they recommended.

Joseph Sore’s example on American classism is an undeniable aphorism that conform today’s realities of the Nigerian State.

The first republic Nigerian elites who patriotically and selflessly laid the foundation for developing the country, after fighting and obtaining the independence from the illegal British domination, have come and gone like a lightning, leaving behind tears, doleful and doloroso. The untimely evanescent of these great leaders of blessed memory, have really left the  herd of unsuspecting innocent  Nigerian’s with no any alternative than to face the reality of a doomy and charade adverse leadership style, which is full of blustering and virulent to the health of Nigerian development. It is very unfortunate that Nigerian leadership have falls into the hands of wrong leaders who promised to be good baby-sitters in order to engineer and guide the nascent developing toddler to maturity, but ended up as bunch of gluttons with their hoax tendencies.

It is prevalent today in Nigeria that those who met the academic qualifications but did not meet the social class expectation are not been considered. Nigerian political elites due to their clannish selfish nature, have insulate and isolate themselves from the masses who has good intention for the country. They do all possible within their reach to ensure that non-elites do not join their membership because they have bad intention towards the development of the country. They reproduce themselves on an individual and selective basis, there recruitment to the corridor of power is often parochial and bias. A cursorily look at the present administration with its most reiterated change mantra during its campaign period was highly alacritous, cherish and supported by the Nigerians, thinking that their messiah has finally come to salvage them from the shackles and manacles of the chronic abject poverty biting the entire country. But alas how are Nigerians faring today, the incessant exhibition of vendetta, smear campaign of anti-corruption war, the height of pathological self-centered, egregious ethnocentric/religion bias in terms of political appointment and social class expectations without merit, have rendered the system tenuously and comatose. Nigerian political office holders especially the National Assembly members and the executive arm have failed the masses with their show of inactive on the matters that bother the general public. It is unfortunate that their inactive and selfish nature which thwarted them from delivering has ignite and buoyed the present odious brawl within them. The glaring evince of the incompetency’s exhibited by the present leadership have exposes its bereft of leadership wherewithal’s, which brought about the choppy waters that the Nigerian democracy has sail into and no one can predict how it will finally quay or berth.

 For how long will Nigerians are going to remain in the throes and trajectory of deep underdevelopment quagmire?

The frantic efforts to ensure free and fair election which may usher in the patriotic ones have always failed. The cause of this is not farfetched, it is basically because the country has been hijacked by a stratum of plutocrats and timocrats who happens to be ubiquitous in any administration that comes into power, be it Military regime or democracy. A smooth democratic government which is a doorway to the development of a given nation, becomes effective when it’s directed and managed by a stratum of selfless minority group that are imbued with organizational skills, knowledge and drive. But it is worrisome and blimey when the state’s affairs are run totally by deadhead plutocrats and political machines, a class that uses the resources of the country to consolidate their political and economic interest rather than better lives of the citizenry.

The degree and high rate of their ill-accumulated wealth In the Nigerian society have given them privilege to circulate the power within their cartel hegemonic oligarchy, which gives them dolce vita and buzz to carve out their niche by selfishly monopolizing all the sources of power. Nigeria as a supposedly pride and giant of Africa has corroded its image before the comity of nations due to the height of corrupt practices by its leadership which become pernicious to the people that are supposed to be taken care of.

Nigerian elite’s power by extension reinforces and crystallizes Lord Acton’s famous aphorism, which “all power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely”. Money power corrupts and ambition backed by money power both corrupts and blinds “Eskor Toyo”.

Every nation has its own peculiarities, problems and solutions, it is expected that Nigerian present leadership should emulate from the altruistic and patriotic live of the past leaders of blessed memories in likes of Dr. Nnamdi Azikwe, Alh. Ahbubakar Tafawa Balewa, Obafemi Awolowo, Sir Ahmadu Bello, to mention but a few. They should equally take a cue from the developed nations in relation to models of development. Many wealthy elites in developed countries or democracies in terms of investing, consider their own countries first before any other country. This is true because for instance, investors like Warren Buffett of USA, William Henry (Bill) Gates- an American business magnate and investor, Ted Tuner-an American and the founder of cable News Network (CNN), Carlos Slim Helu of  Mexico, Bernard Arnault of France, Larry Ellison of USA, Lakshmi Mittal of India, Amancio Ortega of Spain, Eike Batista of Brazil, Mukesh Ambani of India are all top 10 wealthiest men in the world and investors that contributed maximally in economic development of the world beginning from their countries. It is a known fact that, these wealthy individuals do a lot to develop their societies via donating to charities, heavy taxation as well as the establishment of foundations that fund education. But this is not the case with Nigerian wealthy men. However, there are quite a number of Nigerian politicians, technocrats and bureaucrats though in the minority, who have indeed straddles and contributed in no small measure towards the economic and political development of the country by investing largely in the country. The likes of Aliko Dangote (Dangote Group), Cletus Ibeto (Ibeto Group), Alh. Mai Deribe (Mai & Sons Ltd), Chief Olusegun Obasanjo and Alh. Atiku Ahbubakar fall under this category. Nigerian Millionaires and billionaires should have a rethink and re-invest their wealth in their own country where some of them have looted from rather than investing in other countries that have already attained optimal advancement in various spheres of life. It is high time for Nigerian’s to rise to the occasion and stop the views, sentiments, whims and caprices of the elite’s class that are often articulated and recognized. The opinions of the masses or the ‘representatives’ of the masses are always taken with a pinch of salt because they do not have the financial clout or power to influence and in some cases, counter some policies of the government that seem not to have human face.

PHILIP BRANDFORD ADAMS

WRITES FROM THE UNITED NATIONS UNIVERSITY FOR PEACE

(COSTA RICA)

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