Sadly, but true, an army of irredentist supporters of the political leaders are discolouring the political atmosphere. Somewhat educated, but spineless and liverless. Full of dialectics, and often rhetorical. But contextually empty, only reechoing bits from the point’s man. The late sage, Pa Obafemi Awolowo (SAN GCFR) lamented in his ‘Adventures in Power’ series the destructive roles of those he described as the jetsam and the flotsam in the society in the political conflagration that consumed the Western Nigeria, and eventually the country’s political process of the First Republic. Papa was apt, precise and clear in his analysis of this class of supporters.
The jetsam and flotsam are usually jobless, thoughtless, soulless, and even brainless hangers always swarming around the political leaders and living on crumbs to feed on. They are ever-present around political figures, no matter the level in the political ladder.
Papa must have soberly, but sadly dissected these characters in all his political life, and more particularly, during the treasonable felony trial and its aftermaths. He must have dropped his head, Spirit lowered, and recounted his losses through their activities. The low thinking, low self-esteem, anything goes, hungry hangers-on. Their activities simply defy simple logic. Once they logged in into a political camp, they scavenge around like parasite and causing untold confusion.
Clearly, these set of political hangers defy ages, time or dispensation. They share a similar profile. Regardless of where you find them, they exhibit similar tendencies. They pretend to be loyal. They tend to put their bodies on the line defending the leader. They over amplify the leaders thoughts and actions. They have prices though. Not above few wads of naira notes. Most times ‘amala and begin’ added and you have them. But any budding political leader who mistakenly takes all these for loyalty or support base may be in for a rude political cataclysm.
Profiling one of these itinerants’ political rats is easy though. Even far easier now with the social media facility. He’s ever-presents around. They take any insult in their stride, no matter how damaging to their psyche. They have no opinion on any issue. He speaks through the mouth of the leader, farts through his anus and pretends to live his life. He washes the man dress, and next day, rushed to the tailor to make a similar cap, dress style. Even, tries to ape his mannerism.
What do you see now? Mass occupation of the social media space by no fewer miscreants in the name of political supporters. ‘I’m Buhari’, ‘The real Atiku’. ‘Jagaban Original’, they come in all manner of nomenclatures. But they are dangerous, very dangerous, not only to the so-called leaders but more dangerous to the system and the process.
They help not these leaders in any way. They are not loyal, never. They only debase their values and create image crises for them. Most of these leaders, invariably, gullibly gloat over the activities of the so-called supporters, thinking it is part of political manoeuvrings. No strategic mistake can be more fatal at the end of the day when the chips are down. Because when shoves come to pushing, these quislings are never found. Loyalty is alien to them. Anyway, they are scavengers, looking for crumbs, and once the music changes, like the parasites they are, are usually the first set to flee.
To change commitment is pretty too easy for them. Anyway, they are easily prone to change. Once a more generous and naïve leaders prop up, they move in droves to his side. They first feel his temperature, his pocket and his ease of dipping hands into the pocket and draw out bails of naira wands, the next moment, they start singing his praises.
At the stage, they start recollecting all the odiously repulsive insults hurled at them by the former paymaster. They now remember how stinging he was, how selfish and even how snobbish the wife.
These are the jetsam and the flotsams in the political process. They bring nothing to the system. They offer nothing. They add no value, save the nuisance, which they could be extremely good at. But pray the wrong button is never pressed, not even accidentally. They could be fatally destructive, and absolutely unpredictable.
More interestingly is the fact that these characters cut across all strata of society. The very educated, the not too educated and even then not at all educated. Educational background does not matter. What matter are the crumbs from the table or the salivating dream of such? Although in most cases, these dreams remain what they are: dreams.
When late Pa Awo experienced them, society was a little saner. Decency level was relatively high. So was personal integrity. Now things have gone haywire. No scruples. In short nothing holds anyone again. They are not enticed by any ideological conviction, nor by any demagogic preaching. Not that a system that works is in place. No! Not at all… Politics to them is all about one’s stomach … apologies to Apostle Ayo Fayose … but that’s just what it is now. But ‘Peter The Rock’ easily identified them, both educated and uneducated. He created a scheme to accommodate them: Stomach Infrastructure! Take it or leave it, Fayose crudely exposed them.
But would our leaders ever learn? The millions of ‘Atikulated’ Nigerians never translated into votes for the poor man. They were never registered to vote in the first place. Yet they make the most noise belching out unintelligent propositions and claims on the cyberspace.
Shockingly, however, the Bloomberg TV ridiculously was reported to have asserted that despite the known emptiness of President Muhammadu Buhari, the man is still far more intelligent than his supporters’. Why would the media outlet not make such a sweeping claim when the nonsensical ‘I’m Buhari’ would not stop trending on the social media. Everything the man does, they pick up and amplified, pontificate far beyond what he originally meant. To them, Buhari can do no wrong. Same goes for other naïve and desperate juggernauts.
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Afolayan Adebiyi, writes from Lagos, Nigeria
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