By Oludayo Tade
When Seun Onigbinde, co-founder of BudgIT, a group committed to transparency and fiscal accountability, was appointed in 2019 as technical adviser to the Minister of State in the Ministry of Budget and National Planning, little did he know his consideration would be short. lived. His sin, according to the Buhari Media Organization, BMO, was that Onigbinde had criticized the government of President Muhammadu Buhari, PMB, separately and cannot ‘benefit’ from an appointment from the same government. After the campaign mounted online and offline, Onigbinde was forced to reject the appointment.
The story is no different for the celebrated columnist, Dr. Festus Adedayo, who had applied to become a media adviser to the President of the Senate, Ahmed Lawan. Shortly after news of his appointment broke, he started the #sackfestusadedayo campaign because he was accused of being too critical of the PMB government. Consequently, the appointment of Dr. Adedayo was terminated within 48 hours. While the duo’s expertise was not in doubt, their civic contributions were labeled ‘sins’ and they were denied the opportunity to elevate governance with their intellectual power.
Welcome to Nigeria, the land of the swamp. The pantamism that recently gained popularity is the belief that statements (and decisions) made in the past are susceptible to change and people should not be denied privileges and opportunities on the basis of that, especially when they have advanced in age, position and understanding. This belief recognizes the possibility of a change in previous convictions, just as political prostitutes do when they take refuge in the party they had harassed. In postcolonial Nigeria,
Pantheism is practiced by rulers and ruled. It is exhibited by electorates and is not absent in erotic relationships. It can be implemented so that the friends of the state benefit. It can also be extended to anyone who shares similar beliefs with the beneficiaries. There is no better time to enjoy the richness of studying Sociology in Ibadan than now. As a scientific study of human society and the contours that condition social relationships, I am trained to unravel the complex processes involved in human social relationships and how shared beliefs bring birds of the same plumage together in our developing democracy. ‘You spades, I pick. ‘
Isa Pantami is the current Minister of Communications and Digital Economy. He has been facing attacks for historical affinity and alliance of thought with violent extremist groups. The #PantamiMustGo movement hit Twitter to influence Pantami’s dismissal or resignation from office. They argue that since the exhumation of this historical data, it is dangerous to retain the Minister when he currently oversees the national identity data scheme.
I think someone who had chaired the National Technological Development Agency, NITDA, is an insider and has enough information to do some harm if he wants to follow that line. The presidency adopted the ìgbà àìimò (period of insufficient knowledge / exuberance) approach to support the Minister. Presidential spokesman Garba Shehu stated that: “In the 2000s, the minister was a man in his twenties; next year he will be 50 years old.
Time has passed and people and their opinions, often with good reason, change ”. The defense of the Presidency was based on Pantami’s “rebirth” stance on the issue. He said his previous comments were based on “understanding of religious issues at the time” and that this has changed “based on new evidence and maturity.” How are Nigerians different from Garba Shehu’s position and to what extent have they departed from their previous beliefs?
Without resorting to our recent history, we would not understand that the sociology of pantamism is linked to the parable of the amukun. Amukun erù é wó, ó ní òkè lén wò, e ò wo ìsàlè (Amukun your load is inclined, he said that the reason is with my leg not with the load), is a Yoruba maxim that advises us to trace the root of a problem to be able to tackle it. Amukun symbolizes a physically disabled person who has one of his legs shorter than the other.
Due to uneven legs, any load on your head is tilted. The analysis of contemporary pantamism adopted by the presidency (although they did not extend the principle to others) will be incomplete without examining the pantamism displayed by Nigerians. After serially rejecting the then Congress candidate for Progressive Change, CCP, three times (2003, 2007 and 2011) due to his alleged clan mentality, holding extremist views and plans to Islamize Nigeria, Nigerians would later rule out these notions and voted for its appearance in 2015.
This was after former Lagos Governor Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s group repackaged their former enemy and dressed him in messiah garb. He was framed as the one with the magic wand to change the luck of Nigeria. The candidate Muhammadu Buhari was also at Chattam House to declare that he was a “converted democrat.” The harmonization of opposites gave rise to the Congress of All Progressives and culminated in the defeat of the incumbent president, Goodluck Jonathan, in 2015. Despite seeing that nothing is different from his pre-2015 beliefs regarding the actions he is taking the president, 15.1 million Nigerians gave back the president to take their ‘good works’ to the next level in 2019.
The rival, Atiku Abubakar, of the PDP, obtained 11.2 million. Note that the 2019 presidential elections were contested by 73 candidates, but the Nigerians kicked PMB for a second term over others. After taking the oath, PMB promised us that we will see the difference. Without a doubt, the difference is now CLEARER.
What emerges from above is that the Amukun are Nigerians who embraced pantamism in 2014 and the consequences of their action is what we are dealing with in Nigeria today. Pantheism is a belief expressed in all sectors in Nigeria. Terrorists are granted amnesty (some are even sent to school abroad), governors grant pardon to imprisoned criminals who, according to them, have shown remorse.
We ask the wives to forgive and forget the spouses who cheated and vice versa. The holy books provide for confession and repentance. A deadly ex-thief has now been born again and is dedicated to evangelism in prison. Many past rapists, armed robbers, ritualists have converted and are now shepherds and imams somewhere in the country. In fact, such people are invited to witness during revivals to win more souls.
Thus, there are many pantamists in the public and private sectors, churches and mosques, educational institutions, not to mention their multitude in the political institution. Even in a love story, we ask our partner about their past, but most of the time, they tell us that everyone had a past no matter how terrible; the door of positive change never closes as a constant in life. Those who had terrible marriages that ended in divorce initially made their decisions based on their convictions at the time. That is why you can hear a phrase like: “this is not the man (woman) I married.” The thinking of a poor man changes once he becomes rich. You may not even want to see poor people on your doorstep. Our thoughts evolve and are conditioned by our position in the social world.
Looking ahead, I don’t think removal or resignation will help in this matter. The president has always remained faithful to his preferences regardless of the dust that has been raised: does the appointment of the head of the security system in the country tell a story? There are more pressing problems: poverty, unemployment, unmanned borders, free movement of bandits and kidnappers, inflation and BokoHaram claiming territories, among others.
Like Pantami claimed to have resigned from a previous position, Nigerians can also, based on the evidence now available, revise or stick to the position taken in the 2015 polls. They may decide to delude themselves and face the consequences of their intended action in the years to come … until then, the burden on Amukun’s head will remain tilted until the source of the problem is addressed.
Dr. Tade, a sociologist, wrote via email@example.com