WE have come to a time when politicians who are standing firm for a cause that is right and moral are becoming endangered species. Everywhere you go in Nigeria, all you see are politicians in gangs who no one can actually say what they and their party represent in the myriad of ideas begging for devotees and issues begging for solutions.
In a speech he delivered on the 12th of July 1945, General Dwight Eisenhower said, “If a political party does not have its foundation in the determination to advance a cause that is right and that is moral, then, it is not a political party; it is merely a conspiracy to seize power.” It looks like the destination that we have arrived at in today’s Nigeria. Ideology is long abandoned and even mere manifestoes, where there are any, are betrayed and forgotten to gather dusts on shelves.
A political party ought to articulate a clear position on the historical challenges confronted by a nation, suggesting specific strategies for overcoming them and propelling the nation to greatness and its people into prosperity. Whether those ideas are revolutionary, simply radical, progressive, or centrist or conservative, they are usually explicit and the politicians in every party remain faithful to them as tools for policy formulation whenever they get into government.
However, here we are in Nigeria today, with two major political parties that have the wherewithal to garner votes and put candidates in government at all levels – legislators and executives. What do these parties represent and where do they stand on the issues begging for solutions, which have plunged Nigeria into the very edge of the abyss? What are the parties’ positions on true federalism? How do we go about restructuring for a genuine Federal Republic of Nigeria? Silence!
We have a complex and agonising situation with security above all; then with energy, infrastructure, housing, health, education, jobs, food security, inflation, employment, and literarily every sector of socio-economy. What are the parties’ propositions for resolving the grave challenges? Silence!
All that the politicians in those parties want is power! Power to do what?
Nigeria is not totally bereft of a history with traditions in politics, and it is up to Nigerians to have a rethink as we enter another season of electioneering to put competing candidates of various political parties in government between now and first quarter of 2023. Nigeria used to have parties like Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN), National Party of Nigeria (NPN) and other parties in between those 2 extremes, like the Great Nigeria Peoples Party (GNPP) and others. We moved from there to the imposed Social Democratic Party (SDP) and National Republican Party (NRC) in the aborted 3rd Republic. Everyone knew what those parties represented and what to expect in terms of policies from their politicians should they get into government.
Today, we are in a paradise of renegade politicians who stand for nothing revealed and crisscross from one party to the other as easily as moving from the living room to the bedroom to such an extent and scope that it has engendered litigations capable of occasioning a constitutional crisis. The spirit of any constitution must take cognisance of the spirit of the speech of Eisenhower: political parties (and politicians in them) must stand for a clear and noble ideal or any ideal whatsoever for that matter! If so, people vote for parties on that basis. To harvest votes on the basis of the promises of representing an ideal and then get into government and move to another party is to renege on promises made to voters. What should be the consequences?
No consequence for political betrayals is what has turned us now into a renegades’ paradise with politics without definition or ideal; just a conspiracy to grab power for self and clique advancement. The solution lies in the hands of the people, despite the prevalence of disempowering ignorance and poverty. For the sake of their children’s tomorrow, the people must pause, rethink, summon strength to organise, and act sensibly with their votes ONLY for individuals with known positions and commitments (irrespective of parties, small or big, no matter the corrupt inducements): away from the parks of renegades seeking power only to represent not the people but selves and associates.