Nigeria: Invocation for Election Victory - Whose Wish Deserves to Be Granted?

22 March 2019

It is common knowledge that, towards and during election season in Nigeria, many, if not all, politicians engage the services of some so-called marabouts and prayer warriors under the illusion that they can somehow manipulate circumstances in their favour to win an election.

This practice is, however, growing into a phenomenon in Kano and potentially northern Nigeria where contending political groups hold special invocation sessions in public, performing prayers, reciting the Qur'an and sometimes offering animal sacrifice, for the victory of their respective candidates.

However, with their mutually exclusive wishes, one wonders whose wish deserves to be granted. One also feels more curious considering the sheer inconsistency in pursuit of their respective wishes. Because while they and their respective candidates are apparently engaged in invocations for victory, on the one hand, their modus operandi of politicking is anything but godly, on the other.

Besides, as one looks more critically at this inconsistency, it becomes more and more obvious. After all, democracy as a political system is, in the first place, inherently devoid of moral values. Deceit, deception and corruption are its fundamental dynamics, which the mainstream political players perpetrate to succeed at the expense of one another. It's, as a matter of fact, an open secret that many of them go to the extent of turning to malaman tsibbu and other sorcerers under whose instructions they commit some polytheistic rituals and blasphemous practices, thereby effectively turning apostates.

Also, incitement and manipulation of public ethno-religious emotion, bribery and other forms of inducement in various disguises, are perpetrated by all in the game, in their struggle to outfox one another. Likewise, derogatory insinuations, insults, slander, and what have you, against one another are always essential ingredients in political campaign under democracy.

All political players, e.g. incumbents, winners, losers, their respective beneficiaries and aspiring beneficiaries are basically equally guilty in this regard; only that everyone operates within the limits of his influence and affluence, and also depending on the amount of his lust for power and the extent of his moral deficit.

Therefore, an election victory achieved by a typical politician under democracy is never an indication of Allah's endorsement of him. After all, except in some rare cases, the winner often wins thanks to his ability to outdo his contenders in such vices, while the loser losses due to his inability to outdo the winner in such immoralities.

Interestingly, over the decades, many so-called Islamists among Muslim politicians in many countries across the Muslim world have attempted to Islamize democracy in their respective countries; however, their attempts have always failed due to the inherent irreconcilable incompatibility between it and politics in Islamic perspective.

By the way, the foregoing never justifies shunning the system altogether anyway. Being the status quo imposed by circumstances, democracy remains a necessity, which has to be lived with, for the time being. Yet, as a short-term measure to achieve some reforms, efforts should be focused on revolutionizing the public attitude to enable them to recognize the sanctity of their individual and collective dignity, rights, obligations and priorities.

If sustained, this would enable them to imbibe principled criteria of measuring the qualities of candidates, which would automatically improve their voting motivation, and also enable them to grow too wise to take advantage of, or be taken for granted by any Tom, Dick and Harry feigning integrity and claiming competence. It will also enable them to grow too dignified to be approached with inducements to vote for any candidate; as it will also enable them to imbibe the culture of insistence on holding leaders to account, which will consequently keep the leaders under perpetual pressure to deliver.

Also, as a long-term strategy, the Ummah intelligentsia should embark on concerted efforts to come up with a substantive viable alternative political system that, unlike democracy, recognizes the sanctity of political leadership, hence regulates the process of appointing and removing leaders in light of moral standards and competence, without prejudice to the legitimate rights and aspirations of the general public, whose right to hold the leaders to account shall be fully guaranteed and upheld to ensure absolute transparency.

Anyway, for the time being, however, unless when a particular candidate is indisputably better than his contenders, making invocations for the election victory of a particular politician under these circumstances as highlighted herein is never wise; invocations should instead be for the victory of the relatively better among the contenders regardless of his partisan affiliation.

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