Cabalocracy: Rethinking The Myth
By Taju Tijani
Lanky, well-lacquered, well-connected and stunning Mrs Dizeani Allison Madueke rumbled the House of Representatives with her mesmerising beauty. Like an oily princess of Abuja, she came with a retinue of courtiers as befitting a custodian of our oil wealth. There was a discernible, yet penetrating arrogance in the carriage and demeanour of DAM – Dizeani Allison Madueke. Whether a DAM can damn the million dollar question of the existence of a shadowy vampire class called cabal is everybody’s guess. Then the inevitable question popped up.
The Chairman of the committee investigating the actual subsidy on petroleum, diminutive but boyish Farouk Lawan damned and ruffled the oily feathers of our superbly confident Dizeani. “Hon. Minister, do we have a cabal and who are they?” Lawan asked sharply. There was no thunderous cheer but only hidden giggles all around the house. She raised her expansive eyeballs above the rim of her delicately perched gold-rimmed glasses. She scanned the floor of the house like a lone bald eagle. Lawan, in a no-nonsense damning mood kept his icy eyes on DAM – Diezani Allison Madueke. At that instance, whoever blinks loses!
Satisfied that none of the known but unknown vampire cabal was in the house, DAM gave a wilting answer. “Enmmm….as I have sworn on oath before this committee, I can assure the honourable chairman, Farouk Lawan that there had been manipulations in the oil sector,” Dizeani declared, looking unperturbed. She will not punch below the belt. She knew the rules. Since Dizeani will not let drop the expected enigmatic word: “there are cabals in the oil industry” her loyalty to the law of Omerta quickly dissolved in Lawan’s shift of consciousness. DAM has saved the cabal for another day. She will not force an eternal disharmony in their rank before the eye of the world.
Meanwhile, the nation’s hunger for a pitiless assault against the cabal remains a riveting script without any taker. Even President Goodluck Jonathan hovers between craven fear and complacent weakness in the hunt for the vampire cabal in and outside the polity. And if a central player like Dizeani will not bomb the system with lurid and ear tingling details of who the cabals are, can we then possibly go for broke and unravel the mystery? What is the definition of a cabal? According to my 21st century edition of Collins English dictionary and thesaurus, a cabal is defined as a small group of intriguers especially one formed for political purposes. Again, cabal is described as a secret plot; conspiracy and a clique.
By extension a group of powerful people can form a cabal through enlightened rationalism and with the express aim of protecting vested interests be it in politics, business, sport, military, media, education, transport and even the sex trade. Pardon me if I have gone hypercabalistic for your rational comprehension. That said, the distinctive feature of any group of cabal is the stigma of being perceived as covenanted enemies of the state. Ironically, what really fascinates the public about these gnomish creatures is their notoriety to remain invisible even to the bulging, bright eyeballs of Diezani.
If Dizeani Allison Madueke could not see them in the engine room of our democracy – House of Rep – pray, are we not chasing illusion by searching for cabals? Are we not all cabal-driven, cabal-loving and cabal-oriented people? Consider this: politicians will naturally form a cabal to gain and protect power at all cost. If need be they can sacrifice innocent lives to hang on to power. Look to Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and now Syria and you get the gist.
Chasing the politicians is the business cabal. In our critical anxiety to unmask the cabal we may want to suspect the Nigerian business class as favouring more scrutiny in view of their sharp practices. They will do anything to subvert the economy of their nation and hold us ransom through strangulating monopoly regardless of whether the nation atrophy like in the subsidy palaver. Now consider how the cabal behind our sport administration has destroyed our national team – Green Eagles – over the years. Then peep into the minds of a small group of intriguers – military cabal – who refashioned Nigeria after the civil war and went on to ravage her mercilessly.
Further afield are the intellectual cabal. They control the teaching materials offered to our kids in various campuses. They control the grading system and exercise the power to promote scholastic minds to professorial chairs. They decide on who to give and deny honorary degrees. They punish deviants and reward conformists. Pleasurably, they are the purveyors of sex for grade. Cabalism could also range outside of politics, business, military and education to embrace the media. The Nigerian Union of Journalists is a shameless cabal. Don’t they protect their own interests by massaging the bowler-hatted head of President Jonathan and powerful politicians? Are they not co-opted members of the elusive corrupting class?
Is the Newspapers Proprietors Association of Nigeria not a cabal forever protecting their own interests? Are the tone of their newspapers and magazines valiant or neutral on critical national issues? Are our digitalised journalists and writers still the questioning or acquiescing messengers? Is there anything resembling Sowore’s ‘Sahara Reporter’ among our media literati? For real, newspaper houses are now liberal institutions because of the unwritten rule that forbids a cabal to fight a cabal. Transport workers have demonstrated intelligent collectivism that seems in tune with the creed of cabalism. The National Union of Road Transport Workers – amalgamation of Area Boys cabal – have refused to ease commuters’ suffering even when the petroleum pump price was scaled down to 97 naira. We should also add that pimping is a muscular form of vampire cabalism. Large scale sex trade be it in USA, Europe, Africa, Latin America, Asia and Australia is not a warming democratic enterprise. A group of cabal in the mould of muscular and gun-wielding brutes protect and extract every penny from any wayward girl foolish enough to sign up to hoo-hah, hoo-hah industry.
It is about time we abandoned the extraordinary myth which reduces belongingness to a cabal to only politicians and their collaborating businessmen and women. We should defy this woolly thinking and begin to hunt for every absconding cabal from all areas of everyday life. The invisible cabal, those who instigated our economic ruination might be up your road if you look hard. In line with Diezani’s thinking, we have to force a rethink of our old stereotype of politicians as this nation’s vampire cabal.