Sowore, nationhood and the need to begin again


It would have been a euphonious whisper swiftly lost in a cacophonous torrent. But in the quiet of OUR HEARTS it is as piercing as an air-raid siren. THAT IS THE STATE OF Nigerians as we suffer and smile and yet too timid to speak out.

All of us have probably been in a situation where we saw something and we’ve tried to describe or address it, but we were quickly shut down or realized it is not allowed to do so. If all of our memories were accessible to our conscious mind, most likely we would see that it started very early AND IT IS NOT DIFFERENT FROM A CALL TO BE BETTER GOVERNED.

Sowore understand the importance of effective governance and to protect communities from violent crime and banditry and criticized abusive practices by the class in power that undermine the nation’s effectiveness and how a country should be properly run.

Politics in Nigeria still shows few signs of recovery if only it would ever recover. Narrowly we escaped a heart attack in the elections earlier in the year as we had to choose between the blue sea and the devil himself, but the country’s leading daily mark feels this has done little to alter the accelerated decomposition of the political system.

But the convulsions in national politics are not confined to the Villa or the centre of power.

Exhaustion, hopelessness, the dwindling effectiveness of old ways: these are the themes of politics all across the country. This is why energetic authoritarian solutions attempted by President Buhari as typical of him, are currently so unpopular.

The most momentous development of our era, precisely, is the waning of the nation state: its inability to withstand countervailing revolution forces, and its calamitous loss of influence over human circumstance and galvanizing the nation behind her leader.

National political authority is in decline, and, since we do not know any other sort, it feels like the end of the world. This is why a strange brand of apocalyptic nationalism is so widely in vogue. But the current appeal of machismo as political style, the sainthood of hitherto the condemned by switching to the party in power, the mythology and race theory, the fantastical promises of national restoration – these are not cures, but symptoms of what is slowly revealing itself to all: nation states everywhere are in an advanced state of political and moral decay from which they cannot individually extricate themselves.

The crisis was not wholly inevitable.

Since we returned to democracy in 1999, we have actively reduced our nation’s political system to a dangerous mockery of what was designed by former President Obasanjo and those that followed and many others after the cataclysm of the doctrine of necessity, and now we are facing the consequences. But we should not leap too quickly into renovation. This system has done far less to deliver human security and dignity than we imagine – in some ways, it has been a colossal failure – and there are good reasons why it is ageing so much more quickly than the military governance it replaced.

Even if we wanted to restore what we once had, that moment is gone. The reason the nation state was able to deliver what achievements it did – and in some places they were spectacular – was that there was, for much of the early years, an authentic fit between politics, economy and information, all of which were organized at a national scale were available. We had them in the ministers and the economic team that was set up and not mediocre as the present team is.
National governments possessed actual powers to manage modern economic and ideological energies, and to turn them towards human – sometimes almost utopian – ends. But that era is over. After so many decades of globalization, economics and information have successfully grown beyond the authority of national governments
But to acknowledge this is to acknowledge the end of politics itself. And if we continue to think the administrative system we inherited from our British lords allows for no innovation, we condemn ourselves to a long period of dwindling political and moral hope.

There is every reason to believe that the next level of the techno-financial revolution will be even more disastrous for national political authority. This will arise as the natural continuation of existing technological processes, which promise new, algorithmic kinds of governance to further undermine the political variety.

The stakes could not be higher. So, it is easy to see why Buhari’s government is so desperate to prove what everyone doubts: that they are still in control.

These strategies are ugly, but they cannot simply be blamed on a few bad actors. The predicament is this: political authority is running on empty, and leaders are unable to deliver meaningful material change. Instead, they must arouse and deploy powerful feelings.

It is time to think how that capacity might be built. We do not yet know what it will look like. But we have learned a lot from the economic and technological phases of globalization, and we now possess the basic concepts for the next phase: building the politics of our integrated national system. We are confronted, of course, by an enterprise of political imagination as significant as that which produced the great visions of the 19th century – and, with them, the hope of a nation so properly called.

But we are now in a position to begin.

Ayo Ologun is a broadcast Journalist and writes from Ondo. He can be reached on


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