Tuesday, November 17, 2020 7:20 am
By Rèmí Oyèyemí
“The best philanthropy is constantly in search of the finalities – a search for a cause, an attempt to cure evils at their source.”
– John Rockefeller
Aninism is the encapsulation of the philosophy of robbing Peter to pay Paul. It is a concept in which the expression of love and empathy for the poor and the oppressed is expressed through robbing vulnerable as well as endowed institutional targets with arms and later distributing the appropriated loot in the market place for the benefits of the poor and the disadvantaged.
It is akin to the story of the English outlaw, Robin Hood, who led a company of men, to rob the wealthy in his society to feed the poor. His group, named “Merry Men” were glad to work with him because they felt he was doing “justice.” Robin Hood himself in one of the several versions of the stories dating back to 1261, was reported to have been deprived his property by the Sheriff of Nottingham, and therefore justified in his raids.
Aninism is a concept popularised by the most daring armed robber in the History of the contraption called Nigeria. He was not only daring, he gave the Law Enforcement Agencies a run for their money. At his apogee, from Lagos to Maiduguri and Calabar to Sokoto, the policemen were cowed and bullied. They were scared stiff. They carried their uniforms in cellophane bags to their stations to wear.
They had not the courage to wear their police uniforms and walk the streets. This was because Lawrence Anini, the man after whom Aninism was coined, could show up at anytime, anywhere and leave trails of blood. His targets were policemen against whom he had some grudges and he was determined to teach them a lesson.
Lawrence Anini, because of his escapades, became a legend. He was like a ghost armed. An apparition. A phantom. An unseen entity whose presence was undeniable. Stories of his sightings simultaneously, in several cities all over the country, drove fears into law abiding citizens as well as law enforcement agents. He was like the Irish banshee, the awareness of whom could only bring to bear an eeriness that is cold and discomforting.
He was an eidolon. A fantasy. Like a mirage, present in the subconscious, but absent in the conscious. Lawrence Anini created among the populace and the police, a psychological as well as optical illusion. Anini’s appearances in market places to spray stolen money endeared him to the people, especially the poor. Though, he was a wanted man for his robberies and hated by the establishment, he was a hero to the deprived who benefitted from his largesse.
This philosophy of Aninism is what our politicians have been practising. They stole money from our commonwealth and become philanthropists with it. After stealing us blind, leaving blood and sweat in their trails, they flagrantly prance the length and breadth of our communities as good Samaritans, donating our money to us, using our money to buy themselves “positive images” as kind hearted personalities, when in fact and indeed, they deserve to be stoned or lynched by all of us.
They created a coterie of cronies and empower them to sing their praises. They install accomplices and comates in several cadres of governance and milk us mercilessly. In their hapless myopia, the public is made to show gratitude for having leeches of their own hue in positions that has no scintilla of benefits for them or their children. The public is convinced to be grateful victims for being povertized, pelorized and impoverished.
Their singsong is simple and straight forward – “We have Yorùbá in this government. Osinbajo and others are there. We should be happy and satisfied with this.” But of what use is the Vice Presidency of Yemi Osinbajo for example, to an ordinary man on the streets of Ibadan, Itire, Akure, Owo, Lokoja, or Iragberi, who got denied his wages for his diligence; who has no hospitals to take his sick children, who could not pay his wards’ school fees and eventually got murdered on death trap roads to make his wife a widow and his hapless children orphans?
These politicians stole all the money meant for the development and maintenance of our educational system and give scholarships to selected few, exuding the false image of good-heartedness. They siphoned all the financial allocations for the improvement and maintenance of our health system and make donations to our hospitals to show that they care, albeit falsely. At any slightest sign of headache, they fly in their private jets to London, Frankfurt, Dubai, Delhi or New York to get treated. They turned our hospitals to slaughter slabs.
They would construct feeble roads that would eventually become death traps and begin to fly in helicopters and private jets bought with our money illicitly appropriated from our treasuries. They won’t pay teachers their due wages. They won’t pay the doctors. They won’t pay the nurses. They won’t pay the policemen and women. They won’t pay soldiers. They won’t pay the civil servants. They won’t do anything for anybody except their partners in crime.
All the politicians do is to steal, loot, pilfer, plunder, pillage and divert our commonwealth to become emergency philanthropists. They engage in tokenism and crumb dispensing to assuage their consciencelessness. They dash out dabs and drams to further dig the dreary dungeons of dearth and destitution for our people. They have no genuine interest in helping anyone. They are just trying to wade off bitterness, arising from people’s deprivation and elasticize their docility.
The genre of philanthropy being practiced by our politicians is fake. It is not designed to liberate our people from poverty. It is to further hold the people in bondage. It is to further strengthen their spirit of subservience; to enhance their acquiescence to servility. Ará ilé eni ò fé ká lá, béè ni nwón kò fé ká kú. It is totally at variance with what Rockefeller preached above. They are not seeking to cure evils at the source. For they have the opportunity and the resources to do so in government. But rather, they ate up the resources like rapacious cicadas to create the conditions for their putrid philanthropy.
Our politicians, are students and graduates of Lawrence Anini School of Politics. We should have the presence of mind to find FINAL SOLUTION to their marauding. We must not allow ourselves to be sold on the crumbs they crush for their sentries. An end should be put to their pillaging. The #Endsars protest should be a beginning. The storm of #Endpredatorypoliticians is gathering. It should be fermented and fried for the polity to benefit. Hopefully, it would lead to other things we desire for our freedom.
-Remi Oyeyemi, journalist and public affairs analyst, writes from the United States