From EndSARS To Entitled Stealing: In Search Of A Model



    “There is no revolution: There are only revolutionary moments. These, we have to perpetuate”- Horst Bienek.
    The avid Nigeria observer would have been overwhelmed, if not confused by the conflicting narratives in the pushbacks by parties identified as trustees to what has now become the palliative patrimony. 
    From a statement credited to the Chief Executive of First Bank, to the recent one issued on behalf of the Northern Governors Forum and the others by some state governors in between, there is yet to be enough coherence to rid ambiguity and affirm credibility in the fiery eyes of the hesitant, highly agitated Nigerian public. 
    The separate statements have attempted to absolve the parties concerned for the mysterious unravelling of stored food items among other essentials, long after they were expected or assumed to have been distributed to beneficiaries. 

    For more days now counting, warehouses and other storage facilities are being profiled for onslaught in more states, with the tailback consequence of shutdown from imposed curfews to avert a breakdown of law and order, in others. 
    Concerns are already rife that, in the days ahead, a new shift to gradual anarchy may follow the current wave of ‘revolution’ triggered originally by the EndSARS campaigns, weeks ago, if not adequately contained. After the initial movement transformed into a hunt for  items meant for official distribution to less privileged persons, the appropriated ‘entitlement’ of forceful evacuation and sharing of COVID-19 relief items, from their storage locations across the country has opened up widespread looting of unrelated government entities and private investments of innocent persons including top politicians who have been targeted. 
    A particular report of a rice miller in Adamawa, whose 10,615 bags of rice worth N188 million was lost to vandals, among many such occurrences throwing up victims in other parts of Nigeria, portend severe implications, including anarchy.

    This ignominious shift, like the originally initiated movement from which it was inspired, does not represent the trappings of the much touted revolution. 
    The notion of a mercantilist, greedy elite force being decimated or dislodged by a retributive force of reactionary ‘proletarian’ elements will still remain a myth for some time to come. 
    Yet, the unfolding rogue model is diabolic in intent, evil in its purpose and clearly departed from any known ideals or doctrines of popular struggle. 
    Robbing persons of their hard earnings or investments is not a radical tackling of class exploitation. 
    Even in the ancient dialectical materialist conception of class struggle, social revolution is founded in productive social activity, not opportunistic, entitled stealing. 
     So, the current wave of looting by so called deprived persons is only consistent with (and complements) the primitive accumulation from the larger, sustained and more entrenched plundering by the elite political class.  
    While animals feeling the lack of food may instinctively seek it, we are clearly seeing man’s artificial desire to callously appropriate what is neither socially owned nor directly related to his immediate survival. 
    Incidentally, this entitled theft is rationalized by a class of people once described by Spanish philosopher and author, Jose Ortega Gasset as ‘new barbarians’- “men, ever more and more learned, but less and less cultured”. So, the entitled stealing or its rationalization by any means is neither the revolution nor the road to it.  
    There will, in actual fact, be no revolution in the sense of the many erroneous meanings (Arab Spring or many like it) being generated regarding it; but revolutionary moments- depending on what we make of them, as German novelist and poet, Horst Bienek once asserted.
     Interestingly, even as the post-EndSARS wave has further exposed the weakening credibility of some of our political leaders in the perception gap imposed by the mysterious discovery of relief items; our elites may learn little or nothing ahead of this, and may only return to focus on their primordial priorities when the dust settles. 
    To complement their nuances, the amnesia of the current army of reactionaries will also permit the sustenance of the sphere of influence of the political class over our lives, as we approach the next elections. 
    The truth is, many young persons of self-entitled influence cannot draw their legitimacy from their local communities or sustain same, due to the greed or opportunism which may encourage ‘conspiratorial’ relationship with the same political elite group they claim to be currently up in arms against. 
    At the heart of the consequent hopelessness is the critical question of culture, or in specific terms, value, for which a systemic revolution can be appropriately contextualized and advanced. 
    In other words, we will have to begin to see revolution differently, away from the utopian ideas of armed or violent revolt against a particular class of society, to “a process of transformation of social beliefs by another, in which the former social values no longer have meaning” for us all, because we are almost all clearly the same. 
    For, our culture influences our environment, even as our environment is influenced by it. 
    The product of this interaction is what renowned political scientist, C.C Onu once acknowledged as “national character”, which is synonymous with political culture. Sadly, our profane lack of genuine patriotism is a major hindrance to obtaining a national character or evolving a goal oriented political culture. 
    Beginning from when we entrenched a regionalization of nationalism, we have gradually declined in developing objective national feelings, opinions or judgments in our individual consciences and collective consciousness regarding issues that affect us all. 
    Even more unfortunately, we have significantly declined in humanity.

    Ahmed BS teaches at the Department of Mass Communication, Kaduna Polytechnic, and writes from Hayin Danmani, Kaduna.


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