BETWEEN THE ASHEWOS AND THE RUNS GIRLS:
“One of my classmates, a lawyer and well known international journalist, called me out on the Oshiomhole – Obaseki brouhaha, “Nero, what do you have to say about what your party is doing in Edo State?”. On that forum, they think i am a die-hard member of the APC because i support Buhari, i always attack the PDP and i told them about and showed them my APC membership card. They know me well but they don’t know that i don’t ” giveafok” about Nigerian political parties and they (the parties) can all “geddifok” for all i care.
I answered my friend’s query by saying,” it is a fight between ashewos and runs girls, so need to bother analysing and dissipating energy on it”. Being a sharp and inquisitive mind, my friend came back with, so who are the ashewos and who are the runs girls and what is the difference between the two ?. He wanted more clarification from a “beer parlour analyst” because he had more high falutin words and phrases to describe the scenario and couldn’t reconcile himself to my decription and context.
We have managed to run a democracy uninterrupted for 21 years, from 1999 till date, in all our years of existence as a sovereign nation. Meaning, we are a 60 year- old country with the democratic brain, attitude and idiosyncracies of a 21 year-old. We are not as experienced as we claim and think we are democratically. We are fumbling and wobbling along , hoping to either get it right deliberately or accidentally, or we “scatter everything”. Our politics is being played, not by democrats or would be democrats but by despots, tyrants, thieves, hustlers ,shameless ashewos and runs girls with no vision, plans, integrity, honesty or any virtue worth copying or upholding.
Suffice to say that politics in Nigeria is organised banditry, where majority of those involved are motivated by either the lust for power and the greed for money or both. The welfare, wellbeing of the electorate/citizens does not feature on the list of priorities. Service, public service makes no sense or meaning to our politicians. Politics all over the world is full of intrigues, schemings, strategising and outmanouvering one’s opponents but the Nigerian version comes with a certain petulant streak of willingness and readiness to destroy everyone and everything if an individual or group can’t/don’t have its way. Truth be told, this streak is in 99% of our political parties. The ones you know and those you don’t. It is either some individuals hijack everything or some groups do. Nothing, repeat nothing, is done in a straightforward, just and fair manner. There must be under the table, behind the curtains ” ojooro” or “magomago” , if you like. We don’t have the temperament, tolerance, attitude and behaviours of democrats in our genes at all. Our default setting is to wield power, when we have it, in a punitive and oppresive manner.
Nigerian politics is full of “bothsideisms”, check Urban dictionary for the meaning of that. No side is right or wrong, it all depends on the side you are on at any particular time. No one amongst the contending parties, is coming, can come to equity with clean hands. Typically, not immune to the environment, our ” equity” (judiciary) is totally compromised and partial. They hawk justice on trays looking for the highest bidders. The incestous relationship between our politicians and our judiciary is as shameful as a father sleeping with his biological daughter, if not more. The situation is known to all yet we can’t do nothing about it.
The fourth estate of the realm, who should also be an impartial presenter of facts and arbiter, as part of that “equity”, are even worse. Totally sold and bought, cheaply to all bidders. The print ,electronic, social media all suffering from the same deadly and infectious virus……the lure of lucre. Brown envelope and political appointment journalism, all the tenets and pillars of the profession thrown into the bin.
The question to the Nigerian audience, whom this intervention is directed at is , ” shey naa so we go dey go?”. I have always advocated for more participation by our elites in our politics, which was what informed my joining and picking an APC membership card some years ago. But with what we see and hear everyday, can all the shenanigans, misbehaviour and brigandage encourage, motivate new people into the fray?. Politics is not (that) dirty in some climes but the Nigerian version is particularly dirty. Sorry we have to tar everyone with the same brush because finding decency amongst Nigerian politicians is as difficult as finding a virgin amongst prostitutes. Which brings us full cycle to my earlier description of recent events as a fight between ashewos and runs girls. No need to define any of the terms since we all know abi?
You will recall that the PDP tried very hard to make and reinforce the point that, ” we are all the same”, whenever you accuse them of being robbers. They never say, no we are not, instead they say, “ehen, even the APC people are robbers too, we are all the same”. The PDP will attack you in January and by June, if you join their gang, you are the next best thing after sliced bread and 5G technology. If you come in with enough money and clout, you may/can be given a gubernatorial ticket by consensus arrangement to boot.
The APC on the other hand, have confirmed that even if they are not as shameless as the PDP and do not stand on the streets to do their ashewo work, they are your typical runs girls, pretending to cover up their ashewo work with some other vocations. But we all know that in morals, behaviour and mentality, they are the same…….two sides of one coin, six and half dozen. In both parties, loyalty to the electorate (citizens) pitches you against the party faithfuls and big wigs because the needs and wants of the citizens and that of the party faithfuls are never in synch. You start wondering if that is peculiar to Nigeria or its the norm all over the world.
The ” koko” of the matter is that many Nigerian citizens are more tolerable and accomodating of the runs girls than the ashewos. Runs girls are everywhere , in our schools, offices, churches and in our faces on social media but the ashewos are not, they are more (self) restricted. When an ashewo upgrades, he/she becomes a runs girl. Sometimes, a runs girl can also downgrade to ashewo level for political expediency like Obaseki did. The line demarcating both aisles is blurry, only the discerning can define and see it. Some will argue that they are both the same but we all know what to expect when you call a runs girl ashewo………you had better be ready for a verbal or physical fight. Furthermore, some runs girls dey form “loving you” while the typical ashewo “no send”. So the APC sometimes show and form ” loving the citizens” but the ashewo PDP “no send the citizens ” at all. Their party slogan is “share the money”.
While we are all watching and enjoying the entertainment and drama, we must ask ourselves the important question, ” all these shenanigans are been done at whose expense?” As in ultimately, who will bear the brunt of all the “two-fighting” in Edo state? Definitely it can’t be the people of Minnesota or Winnipeg.
Why can’t we form, fund and sustain a decent and effective third force that will set things right? Why can’t we allow independent candidacy in our politics? Or just limit our platforms to three…..Ashewos, Runs Girls and Independents (Virgins if you like)? Tweak our electoral laws and systems to reduce all the shenanigans to the barest minimum? Reintroduce an Option A4 system that appears tailor made for our shenanigans ?. Bring some order and decency to our politics deliberately and constitutionally? Like i asked earlier, “shey naa so we go dey go?” . So we haven’t learned any lessons from all the previous aborted/truncated political journeys?
Though i still have the membership card of the Runs Girls association ,i will never descend low to the Ashewo level, never ever. I would rather reboot and reset as an independent………because i know that….
Politics without ideology is like religion without faith.”
Copied from Aiyegbusi Abiodun Franklin’s wall.