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The landscape of Nigeria and party politics

By Chris Ebuetse
08 December 2017   |   4:19 am
The political happenings in the land of Nigeria may not be interesting to many for a number of reasons.

The political happenings in the land of Nigeria may not be interesting to many for a number of reasons. One of such reasons is the idea that politics as it is practiced in Nigeria lack substance and has no dept. To them the political landscape seems to be empty and nothing is being taught or learnt by party members and those who are not in politics.

In the olden days politicians imbibed the political dictums of their mentors and it was not out of place to see young and old wear the attitude of their political Godfathers. It was also a common practice for the people to belong to some schools of thought such as that of Aminu Kano whose life and politics was mainly for the talakawas in the north.

Many people especially in the western region followed the philosophy, political life and tenets of Chief Obafemi Awolowo. If my guess is correct we had people who were Awoist, many belonged to the school of Awoism.

We also had Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe, those who followed him talked of the Zikist movement and we also heard people say the man is Zikist in his speech. These revered leaders were sincere and steadfast in the pursuit of their ideologies. The political awareness was high in-spite of the very narrow means of communication then. The people were eager about politics and freely many including the youths joined the existing political parties because they could see politicians with potent desire to build the people and the nation.

The present realities steers us in the face sad enough Political parties are no longer interesting as they are presently being used as a vehicle to grab political power. Sad enough what follows after is that the medium through which power is attained is jettisoned.

The Nigeria politics is that of abandonment, use and dump, I have come across many counting loses, stories of how they worked their life out for a particular politician at the end no reward for their work. On the other hand I tell friends that follow politicians not to expect reward but to work with them to secure the future of the unborn generation.

I tell Nigeria to seek for political leaders of vision and purpose those with foresight of a hundred years to come. The people should seek for leaders that are highly creative and innovative those with great minds to transform the nation.

The democracy we practice is derived from the western political system which is quite alien to the fundamentals of our ways of life, cultural practices and tradition. This may just be one reason why politicians may continue to experience political summersault, failure in the system because the originators of democracy added their cultural values and tradition in politics and that practice takes government to the people.

One major ingredient of democracy is freedom, those who are in democracy must be free, it is only when a man is free he can build his environment and by extension the nation. Here in Nigeria rather than government being given to the people the elected officers take government from the people. Politicians in Nigeria love power and they govern and retain power, the practice of political dictatorship since 1999 has taken firm root and may be difficult for anybody to do something about it.

Dictatorship has been the real challenge in Nigeria politics, which the system has not been able to address. The damage of dictatorship to any political system is the disconnection between the people and the political parties. The songs are the same everywhere and the people no longer believe in the present day politicians.

I was involved in a political conversation with a friend and our trust is that if political parties must chart a new path it must be from their constitution and the kinds of character they elect into positions.

The PDP as they approach their convention must not shy away from solving their challenges headlong. Except they come to terms with this they may ignore a radical approach to solving their challenge of rising again as party members must not assume that the PDP is what it used to be.

I may advice that the PDP and APC should look at the Anambra State election and use it as a case study to enter their party conventions. The national chairman of the two political parties APC and the PDP are important for what the party would be in 2019. Both parties must produce strong and very dynamic national leaders and not leaders that would be docile and lacking initiatives.

The two political parties should aim at producing national chairmen that are dynamic, pragmatic, creative and having the capacity to engage the people. Why am I saying this? Times are changing and the politics of 2015 will not be the politics of 2019 because the people were interested in change at all cost in 2015 and their vote showed they got a change with APC in power. I could recollect the 2015 atmosphere was one that suggested change the peoples’ desire was that governance should be done differently and a change came for good.

For the national chairman of APC chief John Odigie Oyegun, it will go down the history of his life that in his time he produced a president. To be a national chairman and lead your party to victory is not a mean feat. History will be kind to the present APC chairman as a strong personality. Essentially the feat was possible due to tireless plotting and for the fact that the people did not need strong conviction, as they were thirsty to have a new experience.

But let me be frank with APC that the character they may need in their next convention should be totally different from the one that ushered in the present government. So, choosing a national chairman of the APC is as significant as creating a face for the flag bearer of the party. It may just be assumption if the APC continue to imagine that the party has performed and the party will be meeting the same electorate that gave them a blank cheque. The stake appears to be high and if the APC chose not to know this fact it can only get to know in 2019 through the response of the electorates.

The voters are becoming more informed and more sophisticated in their approach to issues and the feeling is that political parties must shift to politics of engagement. The party still have enough time to build on its scorecard and for me I am studding the body movement of the people and my take on 2019 is that it would be interesting.

As a political analyst the atmosphere is what I find difficult to decipher, as the year 2018 is important in the history of both parties and will be suicidal for me to assume that I can read the minds of the people for 2019. The politics of 2019 will not be predictable for now what should be important is how the people see governance at the moment.

The people I see today on our streets appear complacence, inactive on issues of politics and are struggling to run their homes and businesses. For the PDP and the APC the politics of engagement is what I think should be practiced in 2019 sad enough it will be a tough order for both parties.

The PDP should know that they are no longer on the high horse and the national chairman they need today is a man with guts. The PDP should understand that the man they will need should have tenacity to fight and take the party to a position of importance in the eye of the public. The PDP should understand that they are starting all over again if they must move forward they will need a strong personality as the national chairman and not the one that is slow and inactive. The PDP needs a strong voice a strong character at the moment if 2019 will have any relevance in the party.

The party members must swallow their interest and chose a contestant good enough to create a road for recovery for the party. In my view they should choose a personality that is vociferous and loud in action. They should choose a character that knows the political terrain very well. The party should choose a man with clout a bridge builder and not a regional political leader. Politics Is potent and its ingredients is the interaction with the people, politics is engaging the people and politics is listening to the people and one man that has walked his way through the ropes as seen from the eyes of many onlookers is Dr Raymond Dokpesi.

•Ebute is a political analyst and writer