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EDITORIAL: The End Of Empires

EDITORIAL: The End Of Empires
  • PublishedMay 6, 2022


EMPIRES eventually crumble and empire builders eventually come a cropper as the English will in tone. Empire building is part of the human composition, both an emotional need interwoven with and indeed an economic necessity. 

Recent manouvers in Nigeria’s political season as we countdown to the 2023 general elections make it imperative to take a look at empires, the builders of empires and their longevity. 

An often stated, attempt to unravel the riddle comes from the English nationalist politician, philosopher and one-time cabinet Minister, John Enoch Powell. A contentious figure in his own way, Powell noted in his seminal biography of the statesman Joseph Chamberlain that, “All political careers unless of course they are terminated in midstream at a relatively happy juncture, they always end in failure. This is the nature of politics and politics itself is but a reflection of the human condition”.

Powell’s position gives food for thought and affected the calculation of notables who refused to succumb to delusions of grandeur. One of them is Nelson Mandela.

In Nigeria, the delusion of the immortality of self-acclaimed builders of empires exercising the dictatorial prerogative of “godfather” is unraveling. In panic and confusion, scaremongering as well as abuse has replaced rational thinking. As a result, the godfather must be deified. In a mixture of authoritarianism and cultism, divergence of thought can no longer be accepted. 

Within this context, a newfound battering ram is pressed into service from the lexicon: “Betrayer”. We are now told in a display of fear and psychotic dysfunction that the right of independent thought and action is a symptom of “betrayal” of an everlasting relationship. The mindset is straight out of feudalism and has no place in a democracy. The age of master-servant relationships and of indentured labour is over and will never come back.

The end of empire and the punitive rule of godfathers is over. It has run its course and is inevitable as democracy deepens. Nigeria today faces on several fronts a myriad of existential threats. We have to deal with them with the presentation of a well-worked out program of social and economic reconstruction. Such a program will require a national democratic agreement and is best implemented by those with the mindset of democrats and not delusional autocrats posing as godfathers.

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