By Promise Adiele
The spiritual practice of ‘anointing’ occupies a sensitive place in the Christian theology underscored by a measure of sacrosanctity. To be anointed carries with it a divine transfer of ideology which the beneficiary is expected to incubate, harness, and consistently revalidate with a tenacious commitment. Anointing is a ritual of consecration involving the application of olive oil on the head or forehead of a chosen person by a higher authority. It could also mean a spiritual revival where someone is anointed to receive healing from sickness, demonic affliction, or poverty. Thus, the Biblical book of Isaiah 10:27 assures us that “the yoke shall be destroyed because of the anointing”. I have witnessed a dramatic spiritual enactment where people fell in large numbers because a man of God passed by or just blew air into the microphone. It is believed that such people fell under the power of the anointing. Indeed, anointing is powerful. I have seen where people took their work instruments to church to be anointed by a man of God. Internet fraudsters also take their laptops to church for anointing. It is believed that when such anointing takes place, the instruments will automatically receive power and work in double portions to increase productivity. Hahaha, how you see that level?
The spiritually inclined understand anointing more than most mundane, sublunary people, especially the bookworms who try to rationalize and reduce every system to an empirical matrix where proof is evident. I do not know how ‘anointing’ is understood as a spiritual practice in other religions. However, non-Christians understand anointing as a deliberate endorsement, where one is blessed and chosen to succeed another person. Unfortunately, the last meaning of anointing pervades Nigeria’s socio-political culture. To be anointed in Nigeria’s political engineering means a lot and everybody understands it. It is usually believed that when a political office holder is about to quit office, he selects someone that would continue with his philosophy and anoint the person. This is done with a mindless disregard for the person’s competence or the will of the people.
Anointing as a political practice has ensured who became the governor in many states in Nigeria with Lagos State leading the way. With regards to the office of the president, Obasanjo anointed the late Yar’Adua to succeed him. The rest is history. An idiot can be anointed. A thief, criminal, or an empty barrel that does not understand the variegated nuances of public office can be anointed in which case he becomes an object to be remote-controlled by the anointer. Given the meaning of anointing in the Christian parlance and its diffused, meaning in Nigeria’s political lexicon, it is easy to see a misnomer, an appropriation of the accessories of a divine spiritual exercise into the womb of deceit. Today, the practice of political anointing stares Nigerians in the face as the 2023 general elections approach. Obviously, a looming, ominous cloud hovers over Nigeria as to who will become the president next year.
The ruling APC government led by Mr. Muhammadu Buhari has dragged Nigeria to the gutters and we are collectively swimming in the cesspool of economic anguish, social uncertainties, and different kinds of threatening dislocations. That is not even the problem because Nigerians have a way of getting used to any situation no matter how suffocating. The problem is that the APC led government and Buhari are carrying on as if it is fait accompli that they would win next year’s election. That kind of attitude is not only insulting to Nigerians but shows the primitive political attitude which APC represents. I see people quarrel over Tinubu and Osinbajo as if anyone that emerges APC flag bearer between the two will automatically become Nigeria’s next president. Such impudence shows the disgraceful depth of our political journey in Nigeria. I have contested that given what Nigeria has become in the last seven years of APC/Buhari administration, the party has no moral justification or iota of honour to ask Nigerians to vote for them in the 2023 elections. But unfortunately, there is no honour in our land, therefore, those who have dragged the country backwards are asking Nigerians to empower them again to further complete the business of annihilating what is left of the country. I am wondering what will be in the APC manifesto for the 2023 elections. I just wonder.
Right now, there is a sublime sense of resignation that out of all the APC aspirants, Mr. Buhari is going to anoint someone as a consensus candidate to become the party’s presidential flag bearer in the 2023 elections. Those who believe this, refer to what happened when the national chairman of the party was arbitrarily appointed by Mr. Buhari. Consensus as a political attitude is an enemy of democracy and should be resisted with venom and vigour. Thunder should not strike again at the same spot in Nigeria’s political hemisphere. I have read the very offensive news that Goodluck Jonathan is considering joining the fray as APC’s presidential aspirant. I have also read in the media that his posters flood Abuja at the APC national secretariat. Some commentators believe that Jonathan is the anointed one and will emerge as APC’s consensus candidate. If Buhari means well for Nigeria, he would immediately distance himself from such speculations and allow a free, level playing field for a flag bearer to emerge. But the question is -does Buhari mean well for Nigeria? If indeed Buhari eventually anoints Jonathan and he emerges as the APC flag bearer, it will be an incontrovertible testimony that Buhari does not mean well for the country.
Ordinarily, Yemi Osinbajo would seamlessly emerge as the president of any country in the world. He has the intelligence, resoluteness, international exposure, and presidential carriage that Nigerians have never witnessed in a long time. He has an unquestionable, sound academic background and many other attributes that set him apart as the quintessential president. But Nigeria is not an ordinary country therefore Osinbajo’s road is laced with thorns and thistles. His association with a failed APC government for seven years is his biggest challenge. APC is Osinbajo’s albatross. If APC and Buhari believe that they can anoint anybody and force the person on Nigerians, then Nigerians should anoint a candidate and vote for him. Let there be a contest between the anointed one by Nigerians and the anointed one by APC and Buhari. Between Nigerians and APC who will win? Perhaps, APC’s arrogant posture of assurance to win the election next year is directly predicated on the deployment of state instrumentality of power for nefarious ends. The simple knowledge and awareness of the foregoing should provoke Nigerians to do better and react differently.
Anyone anointed by Buhari will expectedly go on to implement and sustain Buhari’s legacy and that will be tragic for Nigerians. A politically anointed person does not have a voice. The anointer will remain the defacto president while the incumbent president will be a puppet. A Buhari and APC anointed candidate will still show sympathy for terrorism and banditry. Such government will still support a terrorist government with millions of dollars just as Buhari donated $1,000,000 to the terrorist government in Afghanistan. If APC and Buhari anoint a candidate and he wins, the last seven years in Nigeria will be a caricature of what will happen in this country. APC and Buhari will never anoint someone with an independent mind. A savvy, urbane, intelligent person will not appeal to Buhari and APC. That is why I slightly believe the Goodluck Jonathan story. Will APC and Buhari anoint star boy Yemi Osinbajo? I don’t think so. Osinbajo cannot be manipulated. He is direct and independent-minded. In the politics of anointing, he loses out completely. Will Buhari anoint Bola Tinubu? The answer is a capital NO for obvious reasons.
Given APC and Buhari’s failures, Nigerians would want to give PDP a chance in the next elections. If PDP respects justice and fair play, if in the spirit of equity, they zone the presidential slot to the South-East, then Peter Obi will be the natural choice to emerge as the flag bearer. But there are also snares, man-made and natural, which dot Obi’s lanes on his way to becoming the president. I do not in any way discountenance the chances of other candidates from other parties, but the truth is PDP and APC have the war chest and political structure to determine who emerges Nigeria’s president next year. Should APC and Buhari anoint a candidate, Nigerians should bury the ghost of political anointing next year.
Promise Adiele PhD
Mountain Top University