2019: A case for smaller parties
Unlike in the 70s, Nigeria boasts today plenty parties on its political landscape, each preaching its ideology, ideology which soon translates into survival of the fittest as the nation goes to the polls next year.
For the Nigerian masses set to vote, the quest for credible leadership has been their yearning since after Independence.
In this piece, I have used the word masses to refer to the common Nigerians as opposed to the rich Nigerian public office holders, for the former constitutes 80 percent of Nigeria’s population, and also the largest segment that votes party candidates into power.
However, the political price they have to pay has always been their leaders’ failure to meet their aspirations, and it is against this backdrop that I will provide a strong basis for why the masses should rule Nigeria in the next political dispensation.
The major problem affecting Nigeria, as the late Chinua Achebe had emphasized is “failure of leadership” and it is common today to see the citizens blaming successive administrations on insincerity and inability to fix Nigeria’s problems. Things aimed to improve lives do not reach the masses but the leaders.
There is a perennial story of worker’s strike, fuel scarcity and erratic power supply; there are corrupt public office holders who put their own interests and those of their families and cronies first; the nation’s refineries are comatose; workers’ and pensioners’ salaries and arrears massively owed by the government; corruption charges against eminent Nigerians are shelved; the masses, not the leaders, live in the worst of economic condition with recession closing its grip on their necks.
Wracked by the intensity of the present economic crises, Nigerians are calling for a new order. While many have suggested ways out of the Nigeria’s problems – e.g. a military comeback, installation of a female president, power shift among the geo-political zones, restructuring of Nigeria, electing a young president to rule Nigeria, etc.- I want all past and present Nigerian public office holders, both at the federal and state levels to quit and pave the way for a new set of people to rule.
My conviction is that if you have held a political appointment for four years, you should resign so that others (the masses) can take over. In my opinion, if four million political appointees rule for four years and another set takes over after each tenure and so on and so forth, government will definitely reach all Nigerians.
Whether the foregoing alternatives will help or not, they point toward one fact: Nigerians are tired of suffering and opt for a new set of sincere leaders from among the masses. Individuals’ appraisals of the foregoing views depend on their understanding of Nigerian politics and Nigeria, its peoples and motto.
The fact that Nigerian politics is built on greed, deceit, looting and corruption makes it quite different from the ways things are done in the US, UK, China or Philippine.
Rulers in the US do not contest political seats with the aim of looting the country’s treasure but to serve, protect, defend the citizens and improve the lots of the citizens nor do the citizens/masses go to the polls expecting grafts from party candidates.
It is, however, not the case that the US is totally free of corruption, at least the stable economy, the job opportunities, the ordered society and the array of jazzy skyscrapers associated with the country is a proof that the US has credible and responsible leaders.
Honest and patriotic Nigerians who have spent time in the US are urgently needed in Nigeria to bring their wealth of experience to bear on the Nigerian political system. One of them is Bukie Adetula who hails from Owo in Ondo state.
For Nigeria to move forward, we should have faith in God and some of the tiny parties existing at present. Experiences have shown that the dominant, ruling parties cannot fix Nigeria’s problems and it will be a dumb mistake if we listen to them again.
Since 1960, different governments have emerged with different slogans that have led Nigeria nowhere.
Although President Buhari should be scored high for his anti-corruption war (the EFCC never reveals what is being done with the recovered loots), the fly in the ointment of his administration is that many insincere people surround him.
The arrow that darted out of his regime is of course, a stinging one.
The President to be elected in 2019 must be a Nigerian (popular or obscure, poor or wealthy) who has never held a political office before but knows what Nigeria’s problems are and has solutions to them. His field at the university (a university degree should indeed not be a requirement) does not matter provided he is sincere and God-fearing.
It is worthy of note that defection from one party to another cannot solve Nigeria’s problems nor can the rhetoric of political slogans be allowed to influence the masses because politicians’ promises are hot air that only temporarily cools us off.
The new promise now is the restructuring ploy with which to win votes in 2019.
If names actually define the parties and philosophy that underscore them, Nigerians should pitch their tent with the ideology encapsulated in the following political parties existing in Nigeria: Masses Movement of Nigeria (MMN), Citizens Popular Party (CPP), Hope Democratic Party (HDP), National Conscience Party (NCP), People’s Salvation Party (PSP), Peoples Redemption Party (PRP), and finally, New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP).
As can be observed, these parties all have their uniqueness: they are ‘New’ parties making “Mass Movement”, ‘Salvaging’ and ‘Redeeming’ the lost ‘Hope’ of ‘Nigerian’ ‘Citizens’ while pricking the ‘Conscience’ of insincere Nigerian leaders.
• Aladesohun writes from the Department of English Studies, University of Port Harcourt.