I borrowed the word ‘higi-haga’ from Igodomigodo, Hon. Patrick Obaiyegbon, presently the Chief of Staff to the Governor of Edo State. Hon. Obaiyegbon has registered his presence in the political landscape with his very atypical manner of speaking. To some, he is annoying and nonsensical, to some he is amusing, while to others, despite his use of words in different languages that could be compared to some form of earth tremors, he is making a lot of sense.
I am not sure of the etymology of the word ‘higi-haga’, not even sure, if the spelling of it herein tallies with that of Hon. Obaiyegbon. However, I have decided to use that word, for want of a single expression to capture the dimensions of absurdities in our political landscape. It is interesting to note that, I have also taken liberty to pluralise the word- ‘higi-hagas’.
A survey on the discourses on Nigerian Political activities, shows that we might have exhausted all the adjectives to qualify the Nigerian Political landscape. No doubt, Nigerians are very good in the use of English Language, at least we have our own Kongi, as Nobel Laurete in Literature, to show for it. The first African to enter into this elite of the Nobels!
Even though Professor Soyinka is a winner of Nobel Prize in Literature, very many Nigerians have also excelled in the use of English Language. To this extent, there is no deficit of adjectives or expressions to qualify our ever intriguing political activities. For now, I believe, ‘higi-higa’ sounds hilarious, but at the same time, it sounds ludicrous and apt enough to capture the unfolding political activities.
Indeed there are many ‘higi-hagas’ in the Nigeria political landscape. It is so interesting and intriguing. It is a political landscape that is not based on any form of altruistic values, but predatory values. Ours is a political culture that is not based on any noble or heroic history, but it is consistently operated on amnesia. That is why at every point, when it is expected that we take decisive steps to truly evolve a new Nigeria , there is always sinister ways of avoiding such moments by the political class. One of the amusing but annoying escape route is always the invention of cliché such as ‘ to protect our nascent democracy’ and ‘let us move on’.
It is in this clime, that a father is reported to be campaigning for a son, who was a Governor, and has performed woefully, and he was reported to have told his audience, (that) “if you child has failed, will you not allow him to repeat (the class)?”. We laughed about it, and indeed the son repeated the Governorship. It is mind boggling how we simply overlook disasters in form of irresponsibilities and lawlessness of political leaders and simply ‘move on’, as we would always say-‘let us move on!’ Is there any other way we can describe this absurdity than invent a name word or phrase for it? ‘Higi-haga’ is so apt. ‘Higi-haga’ it is!
Unfortunately, whether we like it or not, the “Nigerian ship” is towing in the turbulent waters of a destructive storm ready to capsize the ship!; and no matter the political prevarications that are sold through Government paid commentators on the pages of Newspapers and other social media, this ‘higi-hagas’ will haunt us one day. It is already hurting the soul of Nigeria.
I am a staunch believer in Nigeria project, I love Nigeria, I am proud to be a Nigerian, I am passionate about being a Nigerian. Nigeria should not be a failed Nation. I am convinced that Nigeria should be a blessing to humanity.
However, when things are moving in the wrong direction, patriotic Nigerians must continue to raise objections to the political and economic absurdities. Those who love Nigeria will not share in the vain hope that Nigeria cannot collapse, when some people are hell bent in destroying the country. I am yet to understand the basis of their hope. When you are programming yourself to fail and you say you cannot fail, that is the highest form of delusion. For Nigeria to be the Nigeria of our dream, we need to be honest in dealing with the political ‘higi-hagas’.
One of the enduring ‘higi-hagas’ is the absurdities of the election of the Governor’s Forum. The endurance of the new arithmetic 16 more than 19 till date, is to say the least terrifying. More terrifying is the loss of sense of shame by the Governors, and the country’s political leadership. For discerning hearts, this particular situation is a threat to the soul of the nation. It portends a great danger for the 2015 election. At a point we thought that the era, whereby election results are announced in Abuja, while the election proceedings are still going on was over. Recent events in the country show that it remains “business as usual”. It appears, these guys are test-running a clandestine scheme for 2015. Will there be an election, or mere negotiation? The latest meeting of the Governor Jang’s group was on the 11th August, 8:00pm News on AIT reported the infraction as the Nigerian Governors Forum.
I am actually waiting to see how the same station will report the Rotimi Amaechi’s group that has 19 votes, whenever its meeting is convened. I think, the little difference between what happened at the Nigeria Governors Forum election and the elections of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) at Motor Parks lies in area of the weapon deployed in the battle. NURTW members would have freely deployed dangerous weapons, like machetes, axes, and guns, (remember Tokyo and Eleweomo in Oyo State), on the contrary, the weapon deployed by the Governors is so lethal to the soul of Nigeria. It is an assault on values, assault on the sensibilities, and a great danger of morals for our children. Something must be done about this ‘higi-haga’.
The ‘higi-hagas’ in Rivers State is still subsisting. It appears that we have ‘moved on’ as usual! No news again, at least for now. What I find so interesting in the whole saga is the sectional dimension it took, and the long term implications for Nigeria State. ( It is very interesting that the debate and politics of ‘relocation’ and ‘deportation’ of some indigenes of Anambra State, from Lagos State is ongoing.) In Rivers State saga, the non-indignes were accused of meddlesomeness, and have been advised to stay clear of Rivers State internal affairs. There are indeed so many issues in Rivers State Crisis, however, the manner in which the Political elites have been carrying on is very disturbing. It is important that the Political elites live in the consciousness that Nigerians voted for President Jonathan, as such, he is the President of Nigeria and not of South-South. The votes of South-South alone cannot gain for him the Presidential seat. In as much as I acknowledge their achievements in politics, whatever it might be, I think their calculation may be wrong after all. If they strongly feel that the ‘higi-hagas’ are mere internal problems, they should go back to the history and read about the 1953 Kano riots, (it is interesting to note that some of the elders are also part of that era) they would realize how weak is their argument. It is pertinent to refresh the memory.
At the struggle for Independence, the Southern Political Leaders, made up of the Action Group ( AG ) and National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons (NCNC) earnestly sought for self Government by 1956. A motion on the self-government was tabled in the parliament by Late Chief Anthony Enahoro in 1953. The Northern Political Leaders, made up of Northern Peoples Congress (NPC) opposed the motion. They have their fears of being emasculated by the well advanced Southern Region in the event of Nigerian Independence. The Southern Political Leaders viewed the stand of the Northern Leaders as retrogressive and reprehensible, they staged a walkout. The Northern Political leaders where thereafter confronted by hostile crowds, apparently southerners, who jeered at them and called them unprintable names.
These reactions enraged the Northerners, and heightened the tension between the South and the North. Riot broke out in Kano when the southern leaders went to the North to campaign for self –government. So many lives were lost, not to mention property that was lost. It is on the record that even at this point Northern Legislative House sought for secession. With this background, and with the benefit of hindsight, knowing fully well the politicking within the so- called “Nigerian Democracy”, allowing their followers to pelt the five Northern Governors with stone is a terrible ‘higa-haga’. However, it appears we have moved on again, but I guess it is a temporary reprieve.
It is imperative that the Political Leaders and elders should have a rethink about the future of the country they intend to ‘govern’ not the one that have so far been ‘conquered’. A ‘governed’ Nation is a civilized and progressive Nation. A ‘conquered’ Nation is a retarded and lawless nation akin to the state of nature before our forefathers learnt how to use stone or fire not to talk about the age of enlightenment. To this end, I absolutely agree, Nigeria can be negotiated, we need to once and for all settle some lingering matters, so as not to disintegrate but to truly be a nation, a pride of Africa and blessing to humanity.
Benedict Oladipo Koledoye
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of SaharaReporters