State and Society: A Case of an Unending Dialogue

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From towards the end of last year to the beginning of this year one would notice that my writings have focused on issues to do with Katsina. For the last two I wrote about education sector, I received a number of reactions from different people with diverse thoughts about them. Those from other states who of times past new media adviser to Masari, Maiwada Danmalam, would rather call Online-tourists, a term that best describes them, accused me of localizing issues; that most of what I discussed so far and reduced to only trouble with Katsina are issues as well affecting their respective states. Therefore, they cautioned in Kebbi State last week, whenever I am to write such I should make the focus to be Northern or even nationwide.

On the other hand are army of my fellow Katsina people, whose thoughts on the said writings differ, depending on how one interprets them. For Some, I am doing it because of my unconditional love for the state, and they are unconditionally right. Some think I am being hired by opposition to attack anything Masari. Well, for this, posterity will judge. while the last group which this piece is for entertain the thought that; because I harbour so much dislike for Masari, I can’t see his good intention of attempting to “restore” Katsina lost glory and thus slow down; and, that I should be patient and give the government enough time, like two years, before coming public with my feelings. They also thought I only look at the “bad sides” of the government and write about them forthwith.

Whatever they mean by “bad side” is not where the real issue is. What they fail to understand is the thin line that separates or holds together state and society, depending on the situation at hand. As I wrote somewhere in my article about El-rufai’s Zaria demolition “…it is the symbiotic relationship between the two parties—state and society, that brings the desired development. Collectively, not one doing it all alone, civilization is built. It was never built by either society without leadership nor was it ever achieved with leadership without the society. Not only the two need to come together but there has to be a smooth relationship connecting them. Between State and Society is a contract which terms each is obliged to respect; discharge its aspects of the agreement accordingly for development in the society to flourish– leading it all the way to establishing an enduring civilization. And to make sure the relationship is cordial, state carries the high percent of the responsibility having have control of the structure guiding the compass of the society. The relationship ensures justice and eliminates social injustice, the harbinger of crisis in any given society. But when the relationship is sour all you should expect is chaos not development. Forget about development in this kind of instance….”or to use the EH Carr’s analogy of interaction between past and present in history, between state and society is an unending dialogue. They have different stakes and see things from different perspectives hence the need for dialogue. There is nowhere this kind of analysis fits most than in our case here in Nigeria and more relevant, in our state Katsina, under democratic rule.

Whenever leaders are to make laws, decisions or policies through which only they can deliver dividends of democracy for which we voted them, there is always a certain thing that stands in their way. The thing lies between altruism and expediency. Let us remember that they are first and foremost politicians, therefore anything they would do, there must be, though not all the time, element of political expediency in it. A fact is, the political party upon which platform they rode to power has to feature in their considerations. Political associates and whoever was instrumental, a group or individual, in their coming to power, without whose help, a governor for example knew, being a governor would have been a distant dream, will always demand for compensation; not from the governor’s pocket for he has no such resources perhaps, but through policy executions. This is true especially if the governor is a first termer and has not so soon forgotten these people’s ability to see to his re-election in the forthcoming election.

There is the issue of corruption epidemic as a factor which is exacerbated these days by fear of poverty to catch up with public office holders after leaving office. We need not expatiate  this point because it is glaring if not from all the familiar previous gates from the first decade of the 21stcentury but from the recent #DasukiGate. Think of our instinct to always live larger than our life; a desire to live so an ostentatious life style we often cannot even afford. Looking at these factors even when the plans and talks are fine, implementation will constantly be a case, a migraine we seem not have discovered cure for yet. All these culminated to constitute a stumbling block for achieving good governance and this gap is what the poor’s cynicism meant to fill up– by consistent cry, condemnation, cynicism, constructive and oftentimes even destructive criticisms, leadership’s excessive personal desires are tamed.

For us the poor on the other hand; whenever there is going to be a change of leadership we tend to think that it’s yet uhuru and that life will forever change for the better; which is why expectations for the new leadership from the poor skyrocket higher at the beginning, stagnate in the middle, and in the end if there is no such dialogue, crash back to earth. This is born not out of nothing but they believe that the outgoing leadership was only unable to live up to expectations because of the above mentioned factors. So when they, the poor, now see the incumbent drifting into the old ways its only natural they react and fast become cynics.

For being a party to whatever process that brought the power that be into office, poor need nothing short of a better life which they bargained for with their intellect, energy, money and vote, and if the leadership is constrained by those factors hence could hardly live up to the expectations the need for a dialogue is only ultimately necessary, at the end of which a common ground is expected to be reached; a win-win kind of a situation where the leadership didn’t get away with all of it wishes and the poor have to compromise their unimaginable expectations. You won’t appreciate this dialogue until you ask yourself a counterfactual question: what it would have had been the case had the poor just kept quiet and let the government does as it so desires? Answer to this will make you appreciate the unending dialogue between state and society.

For this then it is only ironic to expect us to be patient for God knows how long with the government. We must ask questions and pretend as if the government is doing nothing having had in mind the already mentioned constraints. Meanwhile, to praise sing the governor isn’t our duty, if only this group knew. Some people; a whole media team is statutorily constituted and paid to do the job. A duty I think Masari’s newly appointed S.A New Media is doing with passion; changing the rules of engagement especially with us the Social Media Community. It is therefore the duty of this team to image wash the governor, not ours. For you to just ask us to thank the governor for doing what he was voted for is to mean we should consciously internally displace our thoughts, an option we won’t opt for.

For performing, a leadership shouldn’t expect a round of applause. That’s for history. Only history will do that because it has a peculiar way of measuring developments and who brought them. Same as we expect no a standing ovation for discharging our civil responsibly of enlighten ourselves and the public on state of affairs and keeping the government on its toes. For us, unlike the leaders, we are just paying the community back for “sending” us to school, for its moral moulding, for giving us a distinct identity and whatever that is US today and in the future.

Baba-Bala Katsina

[email protected]

Twitter Handle: @BabaBala5

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