The next elections are just a calendar away, and the chaos of our choices is already getting too loud, enough for even a stubborn optimist to admit to the cynicism of the larger citizens who have long predicted another case of our vulnerability to polarisations. Observing the ongoing political dramas, and interacting with fellow Nigerians from across different regions, parties, religions and ethnic groups, validate the fears of the cynics among. Such cynicism, I challenged, on reading a commentary on the evil that is democracy in Nigeria by the poet Khalid Imam, who expressed a view shared by many Nigerians, thus:
“Politics is amoral! Politicians always defecate on the mat of morality. Politics is but a war fought by politicians to satiate the greedy of the ogre they always worship. At whatever cost, what matters most in politics is the protection of present selfish interest and having an assured relevance in tomorrow’s political games. Nothing more, nothing less. Today, politics seems to be about self, for the self and the self alone. The dramatic defection of politicians from one party to the other is all motivated by selfish interest, not common interest of the majority. Democracy is insane as it always serves as a reliable vehicle for transportation of capitalism and godlessness to every clime. May God save the poor from the hands of his foes parading themselves as his leaders.” – Facebook (31/January/2014); 16:59).
With this mindset, I highlighted, how would we redeem the system? Isn’t this defeatist? Aren’t we all politicians in our own different ways? I think, this politics-is-a-dirty-game perception is the reason we’re still unable to rescue this country. Those politicians are humans, like us and, to assert my position, I referenced Hon. Abdullahi I. Mahuta of Katsina State House of Assembly, our mutual friend on Facebook and politician who has defied the logic he pandered to in his post, as an exemplary. Mahuta has shown us the merciful side of politics, and has paid a price as a victim of the game, for challenging flaws, as Minority Leader of the State Assembly, in budget allocations – that allocations to schools had not been redeemed as proposed in the budget, he declared. For this heroism, he earned a suspension. But that wasn’t what made the hobourable a hero; he champions an advocacy called “Ni ma nayarda” that challenges public office holders to have their children enrolled in public schools, and his own children are already in these under-funded schools.
Alright, I have to leave it here before our critics begin to demand for the colour of the new car I got from our Honourable, which is always the fate of anyone who praises the efforts of an outstanding politician. Why are we like this? Why must we be paid before we pursue a political cause? Why must we distance ourselves from the system we seek to redeem? When did politics become the rights of a select citizens? As long as we stay away, the ruins remain, and the boast of our number too remains an unrealisable theory.
You may think that the fresh memories of all we have witnessed and experienced, including the disappointing gusts of this government’s Fresh Air, since the wake of the fourth republic, may be hard lessons for us in this last year of a disastrous term, but our attitudes indicate otherwise. Our attitudes to the activities of the opposition parties and the stunts of candidates who have shown interests in the race to Aso Rock so far, assure me that we are still not a serious change agents, and for this baffling unreadiness to get it right this time, I ask: what do Nigerians want?
If we want to practise democracy, we’ve to be democratic. How do we expect credible leaders when all we do is criticising without taking part?And because we see one another in the same image, every praise of a presidential aspirant is seen as sponsored. If I write in favour of one, I’m bought. If I announce my support for General Babangida as President, I’ll be accused. If I announce my support for Governor Rochas as President, I’ll be accused. If I announce my support for Mallam Ribadu as President, I’ll be accused. If I announce my support for Governor Fashola as President, I’ll be accused. If I announce my support for Alhaji Atiku as President, I’ll be accused. All because we do not understand that the products of politics are our efforts and sacrifices, which explains why we undermine the power of our number and team works. Overseas, it’s patriotic to give your all in supporting an admired presidential candidate. Here, you mention “Buhari”, you’re an APC member or a northerner or a paid publicist!
So, dear countrymen, we have to change our methods of engagements. Politics is not as dirty as the fabric of the hypocrisy we show in boycotting the system. Yes “all politicians are thieves”, but I have not seen your poster, nothing to tell me you’re in the race. How can I vote for you, sir? Your absence, my most revered saint, means my vote is invalid. May God save us from us!