Saturday 29th April, 2017
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A nation where politics is a curse

A nation where politics is a curse

A deep ambiguity lin­gers in the offi­cial character of our politicians. But this equivocalness is perhaps inherent in the very no­tion of chauvinist political culture. And it may just be, after all, that we have reached the climax or criti­cal juncture of our national history when our character as Nigerians will be inde­finable except in the con­tent of double entrendre, viz: I am ambiguous, there­fore, I am a Nigerian. Only those who appreciate how in the dialectical quicksand of history, natural blessings have all too often turned into national burdens, can understand the magnitude of the Nigerian condition. Even the ruling class’ claim to some decency in the conduct of public life has been abandoned, and mor­al decadence has become second nature.
Yet, anyone with even the slightest familiar­ity with the history of the country since independ­ence must wonder, and worry, that today, almost fifty-seven years after, those who looted the national treasury into their private pockets, those who pre­sided over the wrecking of our national economy, are walking our streets as free men and women and still wish to continue to domi­nate the political scene with impunity. Otherwise, why, for God’s sake must Gowon, Obasanjo, Shagari, Buhari, Babangida and Ab­dulsalami think that with­out them Nigeria cannot move forward? Why?
If these people who have had the privilege of ruling Nigeria as President and Heads of State respective­ly, should openly propa­gate a sectional interest, what makes them national statesmen? Where then shall we extrapolate the graph of our national trau­ma? To resolve the issue, we must interrogate a number of other ambiguities. The first unresolved question is apparently the definition of politics itself. If politics is undoubtedly the science of the equitable allocation of resources and it thrives on election which is the game of numbers, then we need to sit at a sovereign national conference to re-examine our collective un­derstanding of these time-worn concepts.
But politics has a far deeper philosophical and intellectual imputation than we can imagine. Had our so-called statesmen and political pundits emerged out of a patriotic fervor, the first thing they should have concerned themselves with, would have been the plight of the ordinary Ni­gerian. What they have done rather is the looting of the national patrimony into their individual stores. Whereas the poor are lan­guishing in abject poverty and gnashing of teeth, the rich are still fighting for more share of the national cake. In fact, there is none of these erstwhile rulers who does not own estates in at least four major cities in the world and yet Nige­ria has been declared the one of the poorest nations in the world. Our nation­al trajectories need to be questioned.
For instance, how pecu­liar is Nigeria? Can Nigeria run a vigorous economy and at the same time pay for grand national pro­jects, inefficient state cor­porations and a generous welfare state when even its youths on national assign­ment are not adequately compensation? How sta­ble is the polity and how pleasant are the tax payers? What is the level of Nige­ria’s infrastructural devel­opment? What actually is the rate of unemployment? Above all, what is the lit­eracy index of our country in the second decade of the 21st Century? How many of our politicians can pon­der on the above puzzles rather than craving for nar­row private interests? Who can understand our lead­ers’ metaphor and who will tame their hubris? When would these spent forces grow old and allow the youths to run the affairs of this country?
Here we are across the long trajectory of often vio­lent political degeneration or rousing hegemonic slo­gans and strident war cries of republics and dictator­ships and of presidents and eating Generals, the notion of politics has itself been oversimplified to include all sorts of jamborees and shameless after-dinner mentality. Nigeria has be­come a vast market of rest­less ethnic political ban­ners and smoking guns. How then do we empty our politics of the sentimental­ity of tribal petty bourgeoi­sies and their uncritical incestuous self-congrat­ulations over their stolen national wealth? Who can remind our politicians that it is necessary to recreate among the poor masses, the faith and enthusiasm that had been blunted by the interplay of interests, the race for privileges and disorganization of which our local tormentors had devoted themselves since 1966?
Had our politicians been conscious of their role as care-takers of the Nige­rian project, they would have prevented the masses, in the past 18 years from becoming disaffected, in­different and stagnant, remedied the skepticism that was slowly winning over the people as a result of their experience in the hands of Babaginda, Aba­cha, Obasanjo and now Buhari; in a word, to close off the road to despair and uncertainty that was the order of the day. But how can a group of politi­cal jobbers who promoted and carried out a widely but dubiously orchestrated propaganda aimed at jus­tifying the planned mo­nopolization of power by Babaginda on the floor of the national assembly, be seen to be doing other­wise? Our politicians were not in the least prepared to take responsibility for the leadership of the nation from the commandist clan. Consequently, they failed from the onset to define their basic and immediate tasks by analyzing the situ­ation on the ground based on the rules of the strictest objectivity.
However, the virtue of the current political devel­opment in the country is that Nigerians now know the difference between the game and the gain politi­cians. It has also made us to differentiate between the national and tribal or ethnic statesmen. Our mis­sion since 1960 has been a fruitless one, for it has led to no development in the political culture, to no uni­fying ideal for the nation and has generated no spark to kindle the fire of genu­ine progress and liberation. Almost fifty-seven years after flag independence, we are still a loose collection of ethnic enclaves. We can only boast of overabun­dance of hopelessness in the midst of hope and so much of political inepti­tude in a world of grow­ing political dexterity as though politics is a curse.
S.A.L.V.O
“It is incomprehensible that Jonathan who hails from South South that produces the oil sustain­ing Nigeria could not clean up Ogoni land pol­luted by oil. “
- Chief Fabian Okonkwo, South East Zonal Organis­ing Secretary of APC

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