Gabriel Akhabue Iruobe

Hope does not just spring up in a vacuum. There are factor that often give rise to the nature or emergence of hope. In fact, hope is often kindled when men are at the lowest state of motivation or lowest rungs of a psychological equilibrium, a resultant effect of a low social stimulation and enthusiasm in the pursuit of a desired goal, personal or communal.

Hope propels initiatives and the amount is dependent on the amount of the latent frustration engendering the hope.

At an instance of desperation for answers, any “array of hope” becomes ferocious, vehement and monstrous. No matter the size of the hope, it is often perceived as gigantic due to the anomic situation giving rise to it.

The eye-opening participation of selected elites in the management of the affairs of the country under colonial rule drove in the consciousness of denials, deprivation and reckless exploitation by the erstwhile colonial masters. Thus the struggle for independence became paramount in the minds of those that could draw the nexus between policies of expropriation and individual family poverty. Then things were fairer than it is now. We once lived like princes. In the good days of our frying pot experience jumping out was hopeful until we jumped into fire under the new elites and intelligentsias. Nigerians couldn’t imagine that exploitation of the masses by the Colonial masters could be any worse. Therefore, gaining independence was the answer to all the African problems, they thought. The possibility of gaining control of governance by Africans became the ultimate goal and the propeller of hope, as the evils of colonialism was tangible on the streets.

As Nkrumah was agitating in Ghana, Anthony Enahoro was having sleepless nights over Nigeria. Hope was created, maintained and sustained by the dept of deprivation felt. So, the proclamation or declaration of independence by the colonial masters could no longer be maneuvered but affirmed. The forces of hope become too crushing for anyone to stand its way.

On the American scene, Obama’s ‘Audacity of Hope” was revolutionary enough to precipitate a massive response of Americans in Obama’s endorsement as president. What was this audacity of hope? It was a piece written to show Americans that they were deviating from their core mandate. Obama emphasized this American dream and hoped it came to pass. American’s understanding the rhythm of Obama, keyed in because of the hope it brought to them. It was not easy to stand on the way of the tsunami of hope.

In the sad post colonial years of experiment with democracy in Nigeria and the ignoble practice of arson, politics of ethnicity, bitterness, exclusion and revenge, introduced into the Nigerian body polity, hoping for who would wrestle power from the elites because the yearnings and aspirations. The only “messiahs” then were the military that was perceived as never corrupt. And when they eventually overthrew the civilian government, their mantra was “war against corruption and indiscipline” ; until they showed they too can beat the civilians in corruption index. Gen. Sanni Abacha’s loot is still being shared controversially amongst politicians. Hope dashed!

When Moshood Abiola came up, many had already given up on governance. But, hope was rekindled since he had been very benevolent to the poor and community from antecedence. Hence the June 12 Election Annulment became Nigeria’s most dreaded nightmare.

With Gen Sanni Abacha came another moment of frustration for Nigerians. And on the day he died, rather than mourn, Nigerians celebrated. The jubilation was about hope for a better Nigeria they didn’t think was possible with a “camelonish” Abacha metamorphosing from a military head of state to a pseudo and utterly deceptive civilian one. Youths Earnestly Ask for Abacha slogan is still fresh in some people’s memories. Who were these youths? Induced youths, of course!. That was the era of not only vote buying but candidates purchase. And I am sure our current politicians were taking notes and learning fast, especially on how to pre-rig elections. So, don’t blame Jagaban and Articulate for the show of craftsmanship in candidate purchase at primaries. They are only good students of history.

What led Jonathan winning any election or promotion in Nigeria was not necessarily because of his popularity. The fear of Movement For the Emancipation of the Niger Delta played a role in it too. With the way the death of President Musa Yaradua was muzzled with a delay in transmitting power to Jonathan as a vice, there was a serious yearning and high hope that South-South can be president of Nigeria. The hope for an “all inclusive Nigeria” became the driving force as against the sectional dominance.

Comrade Adams Oshomoles Trade Union activism precipitated another hope for Edo in their wish for good governance. The political apathetic dusted their voters card for Oshomonele’s election – the hope for an Edo providing opportunity for both the rich and the poor. It was a confrontation with wealth or those who are master riggers, and didn’t want to remain in the ruins and unleveled field of the incumbent government. Although, through INEC’s error Professor Osunbor was declared winner, hope kept alive brought in the zest to pursue the case until the mandate was recovered. When oppression, intimidation and marginalization is high, any array of hope is also usually ferocious. Oshomonle then represented the voice of the voiceless and oppressed.

Hope for better Nigeria also played out when Comrade Adams Oshiomoles didn’t want to listen to his people anymore and made attempt to impose his preferred candidate as against the choice of the people. Hope silenced Oshomonle too.

Now, Nigeria’s statehood is more in doubt than not as insecurity heightens. The economy has also became comatose and sliding briskly . Youths unemployment is also being aggravated by ritual killings. Nigerians watched the nollywoods primaries wirh much disappointment. Some concentrated on Africa Magic in the period. Hope was smothered.
But like a miracle, one of the presidential candidates defected. It was good news. Televisons ope ed in homes again.
They knew that men could not be angels. But they appeared enlivened by the defecting candidate for his many side attractions. Hope has been rekindled once again. But the question is will the hope be met or dashed. The handwriting on the wall appears to be pointing in one direction. Hope is up for Nigerians again. Nigerians may increase their presence in the pursuit of this hope in the coming days. They are not likely to run after those that don’t give them hope. Otherwise, I would conclude that “our mumu never do”.

About Gabriel Iruobe

I have a background in Sociology from the University of Ibadan. Although, an industrial sociologist, my interest in rural societies have grown over the years. The sociological insight gained in my school days have had me define development in a fashion slightly different from an orthodox orientation. Studying or researching on rural life is quite easy for me since I spent my early life in a rural setting, viewing all the attractions often overlooked by the urban elites. If the rule of sustainable development is to be followed, no aspect of the world's cultural heritage is to be ignore or neglected. This is my obsession.

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