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Dec 17, 2013
By: Omolere Omoetan

Nigeria: IBADAN CITY -

Progressivism by definition, is the political orientation of those who

favour progress towards better conditions in government and society. From

this definition, it follows that \"a progressive\" is one who strives for the

betterment of government and society irrespective of his or her political



Progressivism is a term that encompasses a wide spectrum of social

movements that include environmentalism, labour, agrarianism, anti-poverty,

peace, anti-racism, civil rights, women’s rights, animal rights and social

justice. Political ideologies such as anarchism, communism, socialism,

social democracy, and liberalism among others. It is therefore ridiculous

to infer or assume that political affiliation alone is what confers an

individual or group with the \"progressive\" tag as some would have us



The term \'progressive\' has become a word that has suffered much misuse in

Nigeria particularly as it relates to politics in the country so much so

that no matter how hard working, welfarist, people-oriented, selfless and

lovable a politician is within his or her political sphere, as long as they

are not members of a group of self-acclaimed \"progressives\" they are

considered otherwise. On the other hand, a politician can be as detestable

and corrupt as can be, yet his or her membership of these

\"Pseudo-progressive\" political group gives him or her halo of sainthood.

Only in Nigeria!


Unfortunately, a section of the media that have abdicated their primary

role as watchdog of the society to pursue filthy lucre has helped propagate

the errors of these \"419 Progressives\" whose only interest to progressivism

is to feather their nests.


Perhaps, there is nowhere this anomaly is more pronounced than in Oyo state

where Senator Isiak Ajimobi holds sway. The governor has brought untold

hardship upon the entire citizenry of his state through policies that could

only emanate from a leader who lacks compassion.


Education is at its lowest ebb, health services and agriculture are in a

comatose state, the morale of Civil Servants are down as salaries come in

late and the people are in a general mood of depression. If the previous

administrator of the state had chastised them with whips, the present one

is doing same with Scorpions.


Despite all of the above, Senator Ajimobi is branded a \"progressive\". Would

a true progressive provide water for flowers and lawns while his people

thirst ? What type of progressive would spend hundreds of millions of Naira

building motor parks while public schools are in dilapidated conditions ?


The \"Progressive\" in Senator Ajimobi has constrained him to the reconstruction of few roads in just a federal constituency in Ibadan municipality (North-west and South- west LGs). The much-celebrated over-one-billion-Naira state beautification project is limited to the Ring road in Ibadan.


In contrast, Dr Olusegun Mimiko of Ondo state who has positively affected

the lives of his people through quality and quantitative infrastructural

development in health, agriculture, education, public transportation and

general beautification of his state is not adjudged a progressive. Another

example: The Osun state governor, Mr. Rauf Aregbesola, is tagged a

\"progressive\" even though Osun state is largely underdeveloped. The

governor busies himself with such inanities as changing the name of his

state, creating an anthem, a new coat of arms and a flag. He also pursues

an educational agenda that has increased religious tension and may likely

necessitate a clash between the two major faiths in the state who have been

tolerant of each other hitherto. His government wastes valuable time

dwelling on grandiose ideologies and philosophies that cannot bring succor

to his suffering people. In spite of this, the Ogbeni is labeled a

\"Progressive\". Curiously, a governor Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom who has

turned his state into one of the most beautiful places in the country is

not regarded as a progressive just because he does not belong to a

particular group so-named. Is this not a misnomer ?


Our pseudo-progressives oversee governments that give considerable

attention to the needs of the environment at the detriment of its people.

From Lagos to Oyo, from Ekiti to Osun, the story is the same. Their

imaginary achievements are known by the propaganda the public is fed with

daily. The water taps are not running but the Flowers and lawns enjoy

state-of-the-art water supply. Is this progressivism? These pseudo

Progressives preach moral values and ethics that they cannot abide with.

They profess to be democrats but they do not believe in the tenets of

democracy. They are champions of rule of law only  when they get favorable

judgments from the judiciary and when its otherwise judiciary has been

compromised and no longer  hope of the common man.


No single group or association should lay claim to the appellation of \"Progressive\". Everyone who works for the promotion of good governance and a better society is a progressive irrespective of their political persuasion. These include members of all known political groups, NGOs, human rights activists etc.


Our run-of-the-mill democrats and self-styled progressives who, perhaps,

are only \"Progressively Proficient\" in increasing the suffering of the masses should desist from boring us with their \"progressivist\" mantra. We know the true progressives.



Omolere Omoetan is a Public commentator Resident in Awotan Ibadan.


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