Nigeria is a nation full of potentialities but who lacks charismatic leaders capable of realizing its long-awaited transformations. And with her immense population and both abundant human and natural resources, she is surely a giant but unfortunately with wooden legs. Her cultural and religious diversities have also not been yet well exploited as her political elites are not interested in the well-being of the citizens. Her political institutions who should have been the guardians of the national welfare have been hijacked by selfish and greedy corrupt politicians. The youths and the rest of her citizens have been cowed to believe that they do not deserve the best that Nigeria can offer. And with the old folks that are eternally being recycled to steer her affairs, she might still need ages to be liberated from her slavery.
The period of primary elections should have been a very important moment in her political history, but it has always failed to realize its objectives. It is even one of those periods in Nigeria when political prostitution is at its climax. And so, the major political parties done with their primary elections, I deem it fit to cast a quick look at the present-day political situation of our nation. To do that, I will examine the place of political parties in our national life. I will concentrate my arguments on five points only.
1. Political Parties in Nigeria have no known ideology or stable political agenda
2. Political affiliations are individual interest based
3. Nigerian citizens can go extra miles to get rid of whomever they detest
4. When it comes to political choices, Nigerians condone mediocrity
5. Nigeria has strong men but very weak institutions
In countries like this, there is no known course that its policies can follow and here is a quick look at these points.
1. Political Parties in Nigeriahave no known ideology or stable political agenda
In many countries, political parties are seldom said to be democratic, republican, rights, left, socialists, populist, etc., but in Nigeria, they are this or that only in names and nothing more. Their agenda reflects nothing of a known ideology and the politicians do not even, in many cases know the ideology of their political party as their intention of migrating to a given political party is often motivated by their loss of position or inability to secure a running ticket in their previous ones.
Furthermore, most of the major political parties in Nigeria are the simple amalgamation of different opposing and ideologically incompatible political parties. For example, All Progressive Congress (APC) was formed from the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) – and a faction of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) which are all political parties with different and (mainly) incompatible political agenda. And the political party was formed two years prior to the election they won, with members who joined in the wake of their primary elections running the affairs of the party.
The People’s Democratic Party is not an exception as it just started twenty years ago with Atiku Abubakar of Social Democratic Party (SDP), Adamu Ciroma of National Party of Nigeria (NPN), Olusegun, etc., as the founding figures. And since its inceptions, politicians have been moving in and out of it on a daily basis. It’s actual presidential Candidate, Mr. Atiku Abubakar just like the actual president of the federation, Mr. Mohammed Buhari and the Nigerian Senate president, Mr. Bukola Saraki are among the most reckless political prostitutes Nigeria ever produced in our recent history. So, with this daily creation, changing and disappearance of political Parties, it is certain that political parties are neither ideology-based nor agenda-focused in Nigeria.
2. political affiliations are individual interestbased
Almost, all the notorious Nigerian politicians have once changed from one political party to the other. And even though we know that in serious democracies, affiliation to a political party is as strong as a religious belief, in Nigeria it is all about interest and gain. In democratic states as well as Republican states, families are attached to their political parties and configure themselves to their ideologies. In such states, a person’s political affiliation speaks a lot about his or her position vis-à-vis the national policies. In such societies, political prostitution is out of the question as the citizens are more interested in defending their respective political agenda than satisfying their individual selfish interests.
In Nigeria, on the contrary, every political affiliation is either business based or determined by selfish political interest. One can change camp for no other reason than to secure a political position or receive a monetary compensation.
3. Nigerian citizens can go extra milesto get rid of whomever they detest
Nigerians are peculiar people. We are capable of loving as well as hating whomever we are made to love or to hate. Our attachment to an individual is seldom not based on what we truly observe but on whatever we are made to observe. In recent years, political opinions have been shifting from one point to the other. People have been made to like or dislike one politician or the other based on their ethnic or religious origin. And in each of those cases, Nigerian politicians were responsible for manipulating the citizens to believe that anyone they (the politicians) detest should be detested by the citizens.
For example, in recent years, there has been a clamor that the Fulani is seriously into ethnic cleansing in Nigeria or that the Igbos are bent on dominating the nation. There was also the insinuation that the northern Muslims have the agenda of Islamizing Nigeria or that the Yoruba is bent on colonizing the nation. But in each case, it was not really the ethnic group that was intended but the particular person whose head Nigerian politician dislike.
In effect, since the inception of this present regime, there has been a clamor that Buhari and his Fulani brothers are killing the rest of Nigerians. And even though we cannot ignore the number of Nigerians who have been victims of this continuous clashes between the farmers and the cattle breeders in many parts of our nation, it is certain that politicians have exploited it for their individual benefits. However, what matters after the primary elections of the PDP and the APC is, how come Nigerians are jubilating at the nomination of a Northern Muslim to replace another northern Muslim? Why are we rejoicing over the nomination of a Fulani to replace a fellow Fulani? When has a single individual become the image of the whole tribe? Why is the Islamization of the whole nation been linked to a single Northern Muslim? The response should not be far-fetched because it is certain that any method can be applied to achieve our goal in Nigeria.
4. When It Comes to PoliticalChoices, Nigerians Condone Mediocrity
One of the things that have been the major complaint about the current Nigerian leadership is the age of our head of the state. As a matter of fact, Nigeria is one of the countries where old soldiers (intended both literarily and otherwise) decide what should take place in a society where the majority of the populations is very young.
It is also particular to Nigeria to choose a man who has spent all his life moving from one political party to the other; or who is among those who created the mess we are into, to replace another failed general for the simple reason that we need a change? When has an alternative become synonymous with a solution? If anyone wants to hear it, let me put it straight, Atiku Abubakar could be a very nice alternative to our current national leadership crisis but he is not in any way a solution to our trouble for you cannot solve a problem with the same system that created it.
5. Nigeria Has Strong Men but Very Weak Institutions
One of our hardships as a nation is the presence of men of great ambitions; strong politicians but a very weak institution. Nigeria has, from its independence, been under the siege of few political elites, religious leaders and retired army generals. She has known so many coup d’étatsthat it is the only thing that comes to mind when her political history is invoked.
Any nation where individual politicians are stronger than the government, corruption is the order of the day. This is why every effort to fight corruption in Nigeria has proven abortive because the people involved cannot be prosecuted by the institution that is invested with corruption fighting. For this reason, the only way out of our present political quagmire will be to get rid of all those who created these problems and then start to write a fresh political history of a new Nigeria. To be brief, Nigeria needs a shock therapy to restart its decayed institution.
Both the political parties and political elites have failed our nation woefully. They have all taken to their individual interests. And their tactical manhandling of our national policy has left the structural organization of political parties ineffective to transform the Nigerian society. The citizens also, have been so manipulated that they no longer see the depth of the decay of our national fabrics. At the point where we are, the only way out might be a mild sort of revolution that will phase out all the old and greedy politicians poisoning our national political arena.
Nigeria might need a young blood capable of applying a shock therapy necessary to restart our national structure and reinstate its organigrams at the right places.