Many Ironies of Love
Plans to deregulate have been touted as the best thing to happen to hard pressed Nigerians.
Many Ironies of Love
By Abdulrazaq Magaji,
Nikita Khrushchev and Harold Macmillan had more than one thing in common. Disregard the fact that both men operated in different climes. Macmillan was a politician of the right; he is best remembered as one of the best prime ministers Britain ever produced. He is also remembered to be the first leader of a colonial cum imperial European country to acknowledge that the 1960’s would alter the world’s colonial equation. As war time prime minister, he is credited with many positive steps he took to advance the course of his people.
Khrushchev was also a politician but, unlike Macmillan, he was left leaning. He is best remembered as leader of post Stalinists Union of Soviet Socialist Republic, USSR. He came at a difficult period in the history of the defunct USSR and tried to undo some of the harsh policies introduced by his predecessor, Joseph Stalin, as well as denounce the lies, falsehoods and personality cult ably put in place by Stalin. He too was eventually condemned by his countrymen and women who saw him as a weakling after his untidy handling of the Cuban missile crisis of 1962.
Aside being politicians, both men were statesmen. And as has come to be generally accepted, politics and statesmanship do not mix; indeed, they are strange bed fellows. Interestingly both men held views that are not entirely different about political skill and politicians. Hear Macmillan’s definition of political skill: ‘Political skill is the ability to fore tell what is going to happen tomorrow, next week, next month and next year. And to have the ability afterwards to explain why it did not happen.’ Two years before the Cuban missile crisis, a crisis that brought the world dangerously to the verge of World War 111, Khrushchev, while on a visit to the United States of America told the World press in New York: ‘Politicians are the same all over. They promise to build a bridge even where there is no river.’ What both men are saying is that politics and double speak are twin brothers.
Funny as it sounds, both men have a point. To the average politician, the very art of politics is a means of achieving some self serving aims. Politicians, no matter how clueless or informed they are, are prepared to take their subjects into war or into peace if that will serve their whims and boost their flattered ego. In playing politics, the politician does not really care a hoot if he has to tell lies and make false promises if that will hoodwink the electorate. After all, the politician believes lies and falsehood and fake promises are part of the game; they are the ingredients that make politics what it is. If a politician fails to make and break a promise the first time, there will no more be any lies and falsehoods and fake promises to be made the next time. In politics, promises are made to be broken so that in that comatose state they provide the tonic for even greater promises that are not meant to be fulfilled anyway.
Caught in the web of dashed hopes, unfulfilled promises and outright subterfuge lies the fever of deregulation. In simple words, deregulation means restructuring. And when as an individual we decide to restructure, there are certain privileges we may be forced to forego. Same applies to nations. There is nothing wrong with restructuring. Individuals do it from time to time. Nations do it when it becomes necessary. But even if restructuring is accepted as a way of life, something we have to do from time to time, it makes no sense if at the end of the day it does not ensure efficiency. How restructuring affects the less privileged and excluded members of society should be paramount in deciding to restructure; not how it serves the purpose of a few.
We have been told that restructuring, this time around, is meant to free hard pressed Nigerians from their suffering; that restructuring will take Nigerians to el dorado. Promises! More promises! Yet, fake and hollow as these promises sound, we are bound to get some sense of fellow feeling because it is an act of love for a hungry, hard pressed people to be told by their leaders that efforts are being made to end their suffering. What man, if we may ask, would balk at the prospect of his suffering being brought to an end? What long suffering man would not feel genuinely moved if he sees his benefactor almost tearfully promising to end his suffering? But wait a minute: in this tearful display of act of love, is it not an irony that the very act aimed at ending the suffering of the majority is at the same time an act that is bound to inflict more suffering on the people?
The price of love, especially the type that is forced on you, does not come cheap; it is never cheap. If anything, the price of unsolicited love is so short, nasty and brutish to the extent that it makes no sense to those who are expected to benefit from it; it pushes the supposed beneficiary to the brink and worsens his condition. And they soon discover that in the place of bread to fill their stomach, what they have been given by their supposed benefactor is poison. And there lies one of the many ironies of love.