By Rufai Oseni
It is inebriating, when I hear some words used in our public discourse, like the elite consensus and I ask who truly are the Nigerian elite? I have constantly inquired, what makes up the Nigerian elite class? Is it the rent seeking they benefited from at the expense of other hardworking Nigerians, just because of their political connections or the circumstances of their birth? Or the rabid corruption they perpetrated in areas where the norm ought to be service.
I have also thought about education. Maybe going to a Russell group school, or the high end Oxbridge or the Harvard management courses which top executives do or a mushroom university in Canada in the name of studying abroad.
Isn’t it shocking, that during elections we mention elite consensus, but we vote in leaders based on illogical parameters like last name. So what is this elite consensus thing we talk about? How has this elite consensus reduced the inflation rate or reduced the price of Garri in the market?
Chuka Okadigbo stated famously, “If you are emotionally attached to your tribe, religion or political leaning to the point that truth and justice become secondary considerations, your education and exposure is useless. If you cannot reason beyond petty sentiments, you are a liability.“
Do the so-called elite in Nigeria reason beyond petty sentiments?
I thought the elite consensus was supposed to bring about robust, introspective thinking to the polity, but the elite consensus doesn’t thrive beyond the rabid prism of bias, tribalism and religion.
One would have thought that the Nigerian elite with their exposure will rise beyond tribalism, religion and affiliation to objectively chart a course of development for Nigeria, but it is all hogwash, it is akin to believing that because you pay service charge in your highbrow slums of ikoyi everything is fine.
I think the problem is also about the overt expectations we have of our elite, when think because they speak “good English” they are intelligent. I must add speaking good English in Nigeria ln parlance is not a sign of intelligence. My grandmother of blessed memory never spoke good English, but she ran a business intelligently for over 60 years selling China wears in Dugbe. For good measure she was never in debt.
I think we must redefine this elite debate in Nigeria and truly ask with all the education, how have they made Nigeria better? We have had PhD holders and technocrats serve Nigeria, so why haven’t things changed in the country? why do we keep going round in circles?
When you hear some so-called elite speak in Nigeria, all you feel is nausea and despite this some people still make a case for elite consensus in politics. I dare ask who are the elite in Nigeria and what makes up the elite class? Could it be because they live in slums of Ikoyi and Victoria Island? Could it be education or “good English”? Or could it be family name? Pls tell me.
Rufai Oseni, firstname.lastname@example.org
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