ONE of the characteristics of politics in a democracy increasingly looking like “demonstration of craze,” is the utter lack of principle from the onset, or its abandonment: on the part of the party and politicians. Principle is the least expected from politics and politicians in a clime where ideology and morality have been jettisoned along with detailed manifestoes. One, at least, expects a given set of rules according to which the game must be played and faithfulness to those rules by all.
Unfortunately, here we are again in Nigeria where the least expected policy of integrity is abandoned by power mongering politicians. Their stock in trade is lack of scruple as they say “yeah” moments ago and “Nay” now, on the same issue, driven only by personal interest and ambition.
They go all the way – believing they can always eat their cakes and still have them! People who cannot be faithful to their own very words on record, how much else the collective rules agreed on, gentlemanly or explicitly written? All are to be manipulated as they dance forwards and backwards, talking from both sides of the mouth. Nothing is spared, not even the rules of the prophets as explicitly stated in the Holy books; everything is to be manipulated and translated in the light of self-interest at the risk of grave national consequences.
To understand the gravity of the situation and its negativity, simply go over the videos and utterances of all the major political elites during their public campaigns just only in the last 10 years! Compare the words spoken and promises made with the realities they delivered over the years, with the power entrusted them.
Today, suddenly, ethnic balance (not ethnicity) no longer matters; religious sensibilities (not religious extremism and bigotry) no longer matters. All you need to do is simply put the videos of their utterances in the public spaces they’ve occupied in rewind and you get to the section, not long ago, where they were aggressively championing same position denied today, and even insisting that Nigeria’s survival depends on it!
Politics and political parties should be founded on ideals that are lofty, attracting like-minded, visionary politicians, who come together to seek public service and governmental power on the basis of those clearly stated noble believes. Since the military turned Nigeria into a unitary state and killed true federalism; since the sweetness of an indolent life lived in opulence on account of monthly allocation from basically crude oil sales became the elitist craze; we have become hostages to a politics completely gone haywire, from party formation, internal party democracy, inter-party contests, electoral crime punishments, et al; anything and everything goes as big money comes into decisive play, in the pursuit of power for even bigger money and personal settlements of age long agenda.
Yes, change is the constant in life and what is okay today, for equity and fairness, may not be necessary again with time and growth. The simple question and test to which their inconsistency and lack of integrity can be subjected, however, is to put yesterday’s reality when they shouted “yeah” vehemently, by the side of today’s ethno and religious realities now that they are shouting “nay” like possessed mediums.
Nigeria’s transport vessel to the Promised Land is crash-landed in the wild jungle and Nigerians are lost in the land of trial, hardship and tribulations. It is a long way home, with political parties and political elites whose macabre stranglehold on the polity is suffocating. Nevertheless, every challenge presented by history to any people is presented along with the means and opportunities to overcome it. The people and the nation’s patriots simply need to rouse themselves from lethal slumber and do the needful for their salvation. Thinking messiahs will come from amongst those accountable for the miseries is inclining exactly as PLO Lumumba said: “We are the co-author of our own misfortunes… We elect hyenas to take care of our goats… and when the goats are consumed, we wonder why.”