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Doctrines & Morals
 
 
Civic Rights …

ON BONDING AND SEPARATION: A PSYCHODYNAMIC ROADMAP TO ELECTION 2019

AS ALMOST EVERYBODY is now fed up with the present administration, except ego massagers and chaos beneficiaries, a new language emerging from the present experience is PVC, permanent voters´ card. It is our weapon in the forthcoming election. The blogosphere, especially Facebook is saturated with such crusade urging everyone to go and get their own PVC. Many preachers are filled with fire and fury as if with the PVC, the dragon will surely be hurled down. The atmosphere is charged. Now, I have one advice to everyone drawn into this present hot current; heading to poll learning from antecedents. Campaigns are around the corner. Political sycophants are hawking their wares. Threats and intimidations are heightening. Then, many people will prove that they have short memories. There are many deciding forces at play whenever we go to the poll. Here today, I want to look at it from a psychoanalytical perspective of bonding and separation as a life project and as an anthropological basic constant. Growth, development and transformation are three ways of looking at the reality called change, the political mantra of the present government. We are humans and one of the things that characterize us is our personality. A person is an independent subject with the ability to enter into conscious relationship with others. This is called bonding. However, for there to be growth, every bonding must be followed by a separation. This is called homeostasis, organism journeying towards comfort, a kind of setting forth and pitching the tent anew. Its prenatal phase is a child in the womb who must escape the womb after a period of time and be thrown into a new sphere of existence. The womb is a place of protection for the child. Ordinarily, the child would like to remain in the womb forever. But the child outgrowing the size of the womb, the loss of amniotic fluid and other factors will surely expel him from this place of comfort. Hence, a child comes into the world crying. This loss is immediately compensated in the bosom of the mother. This attachment to the maternal bosom will soon be extended to other members of the family and from there to the society. Hence, we notice the movement of people away from the parents and family house may be because of school, job and even marriage as well as negative factors such as environmental hazard, war and famine. In all these, setting forth is necessary.

This dynamics of bonding and separation or setting forth is more than a physical phenomenon. It is something that permeates our existence. Bonding is necessary and at the same time should have a limit. Absolute bonding creates a dyadic relationship that inhibits growth and creates a traumatic milieu of abuse. There is thus, the need for the third party expressed in different languages as alternative, or a triadic relationship. This is the dynamism of bonding and separation, tent pitching and setting forth. Setting forth is usually a risky venture especially when one doesn´t know where he is going. But when it is of necessity it is surely a blessing no matter the gravity of the turbulence. Setting forth brings about the full realization of the self and helps one take responsible decisions in life. Whoever does not separate and set forth   remains stagnant and falls victim of abuse. The problem of too much bonding is that it leads to the loss of self and reduces the subject to a helpless object. Before then, it is because the alterity or difference between the two parties involved in a relationship is erased and the other person sees himself or herself as all things to the other. Hence, the loss of alterity or otherness leads to the loss of self. It becomes a relationship without boundary and creates a traumatic milieu of abuse with a Freudian polarity of victim and perpetrator. The victim puts his destiny in the hand of the “almighty” perpetrator who in turn toils with it without being perturbed. Hence, it is said that absolute power corrupts absolutely.

The above explained the ugly traumatic milieu that exists in almost all spheres of life, a worshipper of an uncompromising god, the wife of an abusive husband, the children of narrowminded parents who never believed that they are adults, a business man relying on a single supplier, an employee afraid of losing his job, a nation under the bossdom of cabals etc. In all these situations, the problem is more than the dyadic structure of relationship. Many factors come into play; prenatal and childhood ugly experiences, fear of change and uncertainties, unawareness of alternatives, inability to take one’s destiny in his hand, overdependence, short memory and short sightedness, addiction to immediacy, and inability to take a bold step out of the box. 

Back to Nigeria and the forthcoming election, we can see that the history of our national polity is marked by this bondage. We have been recycling leaders who have proved beyond doubt that they have nothing to offer. It is again a battle between PDP and APC. Then who are the PDP members and who are the APC members? Who are the two parties presenting to run for the presidency? We must open our eyes. A recent study on consciousness reveals existing in one mind a narrating self and an experiencing self. The experiencing self feels the torture and harshness or bliss of an event while a narrating self usually picks the peak of the event which most of the time is the end part of it. Our politicians understand this well and added to it, our short memory. At this delicate period in time, they are out to console and bribe us with sugarcoated tongues and Greek gifts. They are out to dull our minds from the harshness of the yesteryears. We must be very careful. It must be our conscious task to always bring the experiencing self and the narrating self together so as to make a holistic assessment. It is not only about the present regime. The previous regimes were also a failure. What deforms our judgement is the deception of the narrating self. We were unable to take serious, the past of the present president, because we were fed up with the previous ones. At this point in time, we seem to have started canonizing the immediate previous regime simply because the present regime is clueless and bloody. But I want to assure you fellow Nigerians, our salvation will come from neither of the two. Even the “Chief Scribe of the Nation” from Sango Ota has nothing to offer. We must therefore move out of the box.

The drama is so bad that we don´t actually have political parties with positive ideologies and genuinely committed members. What we have in Nigeria are springboards to political power with no lasting membership. One does not join a political party in Nigeria because he believes in the ideology but because he has something to gain from it. Hence politicians jump from one party to another. This is the dissociation of conscience from politics. The end effect is usually devastating. In our discernment, we must try to separate each candidate from his or her party because no party has a stable face in Nigeria.

I wish to remind my fellow Nigerians that obtaining the PVC is not enough. We must vote wisely and rightly. Every candidate must be thoroughly scanned and screened. Any candidate with a history of past leadership in Nigeria must be viewed with suspicion. His antecedents must be thoroughly assessed. This is not a time for oratorical gymnastics. This is a time for serious reflection. Use every avenue you have to discuss political candidates and not parties. At home, places of worship, at the pubs and workplaces, even inside the buses, let the mouth that utters the truth never keep quiet. We must break loose from this dyadic bondage. Let what we suffer now be a birth pang to a new Nigeria where politics must always go with conscience, and political ideology something close to a religious creed. May we not be deceived with empty promises and Greek gifts. May the blood of our brothers and sisters unjustly and unlawfully shed during this time never be in vain. May this their blood, mingle with the blood of the Lamb, that was slain so as to ransom us from political slavery. Study each candidate´s antecedents, evaluate his manifesto and weigh the pros and cons. If fear outweighs hope, banish him from the radar. We must stop recycling. Nigeria is filled with men of vision who can deliver but they are always out of the radar. We must set forth and fish them out. Even if a promising candidate with a moral heart emerges from an unpopular party, let us transcend party politics.  The narrating self must pay attention to the experiencing self so as to make a holistic judgement. Once more, heading to poll, learning from antecedents. Nigeria is at the threshold of destruction. We need synergy and leverage to save her from damnation. Together we journey to freedom.

 


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