From the Past



By Uthman Shodipe


THE anarchical theme will not go away, it deepens still as the twists and con­volutions of power hurry breathlessly to some conclusive inevitability. It is as if an overwhelming blindness has entrapped and engulfed the concourse of power voiding re­formist alteration, disallowing liberal maneuverability, halting any acknowledge­ment of reproof, instilling a motif of tragic casualness everywhere.

Nothing is being solved. There is not even a pretense of leadership. There is only an abject yielding to a muddled continuity. We are all swallowed in an indefinable normlessness, a vacuity without discernible strands, an emptiness defying even form and order. The Caudillo has reduced us all to a flail­ing at the wind, crawling between earth and heaven without attainments, grasping noth­ing, perceiving nothing, enveloped in a pullu­lating void.

Even madness should have a purpose. Ma­lignancy should have a mission. Venom should have a resolve. Not this evil. Not this power. It stalks everywhere like an aberrant law of nature rooted in unfathomable exist­ence, without pronouncement and enterprise, defeating enlightenment. It is a vacuum oc­cupying space. It is there but its exertions are unknown, unseen. Yet it haunts us still. And since the Caudillo can neither guide nor lead, stripping statecraft from coherence; and predictability others, more opportunistic and brazen, steeped in mercenary bravura, are now filling the void.

The result of course is this widening anar­chical license, the colliding riot of capricious energies gushing from every hollow and crev­ice, deepening the increasing sunder with overflow, gathering with torrent and flood to overwhelm the eroded ramparts.

Everyday, the maladies are thronging fast and long. There is a holler to every theme. There is a pitting at every path. Counsels are sought endlessly and fruitlessly in an attempt at a unifying chord. Saner symbols steer a normative ethos and bearing, urging a com­mon purposes, inducing a national verity. But the Caudillo daunts all with contempt and idiocy, blighting any attempt at clarity with an indecipherable purposelessness.

And thus the ceaseless thronging of riot and the ferment of mercenary arbitery whose bravura grows keener as the absence of a conciliatory force is deepened. And even now, the once unifying code of gov­ernance which is invariably luminous and obvious to everyone is invariably and de­liberately being muddied by multifarious usurping interpreters.

Had there been a purpose in power, the perceived ambiguity in the instruments of state would have been promptly illumi­nated by the highest court in the land with the supportive lever of a discerning pre­siding order. But not here. Not ever. And so, in this particular instance, bra­zen and headless power-mongers who have virtually sold their people down the river can continuously manufacture pitiable, stunted, abysmal wilderness in the grand mockery of grassroots enhancement.

Constituencies are decreed at party ral­lies. Abject poles are sprouted in oafish mandates, legitimizing the absurd. But never mind. The spoil is merely widening. One man, one orbit. Two chickens in every pot. Water will flow. Free healthcare at every doorstep. Tute­lage without tuition. Everyman a king-fish (re-member the American fascist from Louisiana!). Welcome to the African Nirvana.

The reality is of course an increasing and more wretched despoliation of the collective coffers. The misery index is lengthened as the mirage explodes on the gullible, scarring hope, nulli­fying dreams, freighting subsisting burdens with more hellish attractions, savaging redemptive possibilities.

The gullible will not be dissuaded of their entombment. And the mercenary arbiters are far too gone in the game to withdraw their triumphant swagger knowing full well that the Caudillo is muddled and ineffectual. There is nothing to stop the riot.

And thus we revolve still in sheer anarchical permanence without a guide, without agreed ethos, with every pocket of mercenary arbitration defining its own will, imposing its own dis­torted vision upon a captive people.

And what does the Caudillo do? He wobbles still in some mysterious, ungainly unconcern, incapable of an intervening redemptiveness. He travels everywhere with a complex, uncertain authority. Every day he looms more in spectral hopeless perplexity, trading the majesty and substance of office for the tawdry, simplicity of caucus solution and ad-hoc whimpering.

Even in mulishness, the Caudillo bears stern decisiveness, that necessary ingredient without which leadership is rudderless and for­lorn. He is borne upon a stifling, incurable am­bivalence of one who, having sprung from dirt, and still latched to dirt, pretends a vacuous el­egance.

The fraud is obvious. None is deceived. Alas, this is why the little mercenary arbiters every­where defy him with open contempt, invariably vitiating his riotous venom, knowing fully well that the Caudillo is stunned, dodder­ing, stricken by an advanced stage of moral and mental disuse, leaving us all in some despairing purgatorial prison. But even purgatory is terminus. This riot will pass.

First published Friday, March 26, 2004.