By Abdussamad Dasuki
When I was in Grade 11 my teacher used to tell me that when he was my age, he and his mates were told by their own teachers, that they were going to be the leaders of tomorrow. Will we say that my generation is being deceived also by the chants of us being leaders of tomorrow? I guess that is left for us to ponder on.
Taking a close examination of the Nigerian political structure, it’s quite sad to notice how politicians have been recycled by the ‘‘political deceitful machine’’ that has been ruining Nigeria for years now, with no hope for fresh breeds with fresh blood to take us to the promised land, but the sad fact is that some of the ‘‘minute’’ ones we have, have been injected with the viral infection of ‘‘forget your integrity, abandon your dignity’’ and before you know it, they are absorbed into the ‘‘pot-bellied’’ association of thieves.
Nigerian politics is a dirty game with a poisonous stench: it’s like inhaling concentrated ammonia. This country is being ruled by a few men who call themselves ‘‘godfathers’’ because they feel they are the ones who call the shots in the country and when it looks like their ‘‘invisible powers’’ are being lessen by visibility they then to be chaotic thereby making politics a do or die affair. Politics is not about a few individuals but about people exercising power or influence in such a way that there is equitable allocation and management of limited resources, opportunities and privileges for the happiness, peace, security, good health and general prosperity of the people. We know that in Nigeria, the word ‘‘politics’’ has been misused and abused in a manner that this noble art and science now connotes everything that is evil with human relationship.
A politician in Nigerian lexicon, is perceived as someone who is dishonest, corrupt and of very low moral rating, because finding a good politician in Nigeria is like looking for a grain of rice in a sea of orange seeds. A study of the Holy Bible, informs any keen student that God takes leadership and governance of nations very seriously and if politics is about good governance of a country or area, then the quality of people involved in it should be highly essential. God calls leaders his avengers, sword-bearers and minsters. It is only reasonable that leaders must be on the side of nobility, ethics, empathy and sympathy. But let us ask ourselves this ‘‘how many of them are seriously on the path of nobility, ethics, empathy and sympathy?’’ Am like a cloud, weeping internally when I watch how a group of individuals cause mayhem in the country. We have yielded the ground for too long to pretenders and thugs. Yes, it is true that a few true politicians have slipped through the narrow cracks into public governance; yet they are too few to make the kind of difference our people need.
In less than five years Nigeria’s population shall exceed two hundred million, at the growth rate of three percent and if this growth is sustained or exceeded, the population shall exceed three hundred million in less than thirty years and exceed five hundred million before 2050. Don’t we need true politicians in the state and national assemblies, who are moved by statistics? Rather they are moved by greed for power and ill gotten wealth. It is sad, that the statistics of the number of Senators who ‘‘sleep’’ during sittings is staggering, although late Oyi, the icon of Okadigbo once made a defence for them, saying that ‘‘when you stay awake and hear the subjects of discussions, you will cry for the nation’’.
The figures are simply ‘‘magic’’ as regards to the number of Representatives who have contributed to any debate for or against stand, and the painful part is, they collect fat salaries and allowances over nothing while the masses who voted them into power are swimming if not drowning in poverty, hunger and diseases. What a shame! This not the time for fruitless prayers, without plans and relevant actions. God has given Nigerians a country to manage; some even doubt if we must remain together as one country but this is beside the point. I am talking of active involvement in managing our societies, no matter how small. We must be involved in the governance of our nation. It is time to re-educate ourselves about politics and to re-introduce it to the electorate the way it really is.
I can bet you that even Satan himself weeps at the wickedness of our Nigerian politicians. Some of them are so wicked, that they endanger the lives of our unemployed energetic youths, which of course is another ugly legacy of Nigerian politicians. These youths kill with impunity and they are being killed in defence of their candidates or officers. One thing I have been dreaming of, is the day an insane politician will ask me to be a thug, I will gladly accept free of charge but with an assurance that all of his or her children will make up ninety six point nine percent of the warriors. These people send their children to posh schools, from public treasury or looted resources. These same politicians are the drivers of our sinking Nigeria in the ocean of disaster and they are the evil advisers of digging holes on the floor of our ships that sail on high waters which has started sinking.
It was a sad moment for me when I had a discussion with my friends about politics and virtually all of them I was talking to swore that if they ventured into politics they would loot to the extent that the robes used by palm wine tappers to climb the tree in order to tap the palm wine, will not be tight enough to hold their sagging trousers. It’s so sad that many people who joined politics ended up losing their reputations or compromising their integrity or pulling out along the way. I am always sad when I come across stories like ‘‘A man jailed for stealing five hundred naira or imprisoned for stealing a bottle of groundnut’’ when reading the papers.
We have the bigger thieves who make laws against the smaller ones; it’s like the bigger the amount you steal, the safer you are and it’s painful because, instead of our prisons to be congested with political thieves some innocent people are suffering for crimes they did not commit, spending years still awaiting trial. The Nigerian politician today has turned Nigeria into a nation where its citizens fight from womb to tomb. In this nation the greatest asset for political adventure as it is, is failure, just fail and you are on your way to big time pie in the national cake.
Now coming to the issue that has been itching me since, is the APC and their quest for power in 2015. Frankly speaking, I had expected that immediately after registration, it would go on a massive membership drive to recruit ordinary Nigerians into the party and hoped party meetings would be holding at ward local government levels, so that input from the grassroots would inform the direction towards which the party evolves, but rather it has been focused in attracting the high and the mighty to join them in their enterprise of replacing the PDP in power.
The body language of the APC so far is that they are interested only in being a ‘‘catch all’’ party. Is the APC becoming the new PDP as more and more PDP leaders join it or is there still something different from the party? Because I believe that frying rotten eggs with fresh ones in the name of not making the rotten ones being thrown away because of wastage is nothing but mere stupidity. If the APC’s mandate is to give to the people what PDP did not give us, why are they recruiting the same people they criticised? Femi Falana lamented in his interview with Premium Times, that what is happening is simply ‘‘realignment politics’’ as those who have been excluded from ‘‘chopping’’ in PDP regroup in APC to chop.
This is the only explanation for the focus of the APC on recruiting those who have been ruling and ruining Nigeria, he argued and do you know what? I quite agree, because I believe that the real struggle within the APC will start when the question is posed-who ‘‘owns’’ the party in this state or zone? I guess that is when those who fail to capture positions of control leave and go in search for greener pastures because these politicians are hungry and greedy for power, that is why they could go any length to acquire it, that is why they come out and lie, promising Heaven and ‘‘forgetting’’ to deliver earth. Most of the lies they tell are too premature that even parents I guess who watch them on TV would beat their chest and say that ‘‘Even junior can lie better than that!’’.
But one thing the Nigerian politician, I would not say ‘‘forget’’ but ignores, is that the truth can be likened to a cassava stem, once it’s bent, it makes a loud cracking noise that everyone hears it. The wishy-washy way the Nigerian politician dances around important issues, while spinning them, have nothing to do with the betterment of the masses, but everything to do with personal aggrandizements. They make a lot of noise over nothing. For example, a politician built a road or has provided borehole water supply for a community with of course public funds for like fifty million naira, instead of them declaring the road open or the borehole water supply to start functioning they prefer to blow their ugly trumpets, bringing out money from the same public funds and buying laces for the women especially, just to commission the project, and at the end of the day it may cost about thirty million for the whole commissioning of the project. Would we say they have done well? These politicians are just deceiving their selves not Nigerians.
In conclusion am not practically saying all politicians are bad, there are many good ones out there of which I believe stand on their grounds. I pray that our Lord rehabilitate the bad Nigerian politicians, spiritually, politically and psychologically for the betterment of our dear nation and may He rescue our sinking nation from godfathers, criminal drivers and evil advisers, Amen!
— Hon Dasuki is a member of the Sokoto State House of Assembly
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