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Poorlitics: Antidote To Changing Political Narrative



The progressively monetized political process in Nigeria since the second republic has continued to worry political analysts. This development, they contend, have continued to hamper the emergence of a truly people-oriented leadership. In this connection, a practical but ideological based book “Poorlitics,” was written by Senator Bukar Abba Ibrahim to promote “Poorlitics” Ideology. OMONU NELSON dissects lines in “Poorlitics”

In the Nigerian political equation, one of the faultlines that has remained a constant source of contention is that, while the younger generations are accusing the older of gerontocracy, the older are accusing the younger of lacking experience.

Another question remains how Nigeria’s electoral system, which was heavily dependent on political party ideology and the idiosyncrasies of the leaders, as the basis for membership, has suddenly become a ‘money bag’ affair.

This anomaly, experts say, makes the recently enacted “Not Too Young To Run” Legislation, ‘dead on arrival’. This is because, since the aborted second republic, Nigeria’s electioneering process has become too expensive that, late Chief Alex Ekwueme raised his voice during the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), presidential primary election in Jos, in 1998.

Progressively, experts believe, politics has been placed beyond the reach of men of honest means. This development has caused Nigeria’s political enterprise its best brains and characters. It Is also, changing our political narrative in favour of:  ‘politics as a game,’ meant for men of dubious means and character.

The need for a pragmatic shift in paradigm has been so loud. Experts have argued that, except Nigeria’s political process is recalibrated from this worrisome path, the much anticipated ‘Dividend of Democracy’, that is, expectations of democracy will remain a mirage. They explained that, for as long as the political system remained madly monetized, the sector will remain in the hands of men of questionable means, whose political bargain is nothing different from their business deals.

This narrative, obviously, is one explanation for the pervasive corruption in the polity. Because, these men, who break banks to get to power, will obviously prioritize the recouping of their investment and profit before thinking of delivering on the promise of the dividend of democracy -good roads, water supply, electricity etc. 

Providing antidote to this ugly development is a herculean task, but realizable. One of the quickest ways to fix the political system is to learn from actors who rose to political stardom with little or no ‘deep pocket; because they choose the part of honour. Senator Bukar Abba Ibrahim epitomises this quality. As a political child of Mallam Aminu Kano, he embraced a life of service to the community.

In his book, “POORLITICS,” Senator Ibrahim expounded an ideology that will demobilize the regrettable culture of money politics, and enhance the confidence of younger generations in their own abilities, that, even, with little or no money, they can aspire to any position in the land.

On his motive for writing the book, “Poorlitics,” and his future course of action, Senator Ibrahim said: “I would dedicate my future years to teaching younger politicians how to use the Principles of Progressive Political Leadership, to become politicians that succeed, no matter how poor they are…”

The eight ‘Perspectives’ –keys, proffered in the book, “Poorlitics” are certainly the antidotes to solving the challenges of quasi leadership and money politics. In the first perspective, Senator Ibrahim, a three times governor and senator respectively, talked about the role of Education and the need to be deliberate, when choosing your friends and mentors in pursuit of political goals. He cited the examples of past Nigerian President, who confessed to ‘have no shoes,’ growing up but rose to the highest position in Nigeria.

The second key is to “Love Your People.” According to Ibrahim, “I became three times governor of Yobe State and senator because I persuaded my people through Love and hard work, to vote for me again and again, without rigging.” He revealed that he had only N20,000 in his bank account before contesting the governorship at the age, 42 in 1991. “It was the people I helped that provided the needed campaign funds.

Every part of the book, Poorlitics serves as a lesson for the younger generations. For instance, his first stint at the governorship, he faced strong political godfathers with branded vehicles and thugs. All Senator Ibrahim had for his campaign being his friends, their vehicles and the people. The godfathers tried to rig the election but the people defended their votes.

“I had no fear of losing, because my people knew I was one of them. “They knew I loved and cared for them, and they loved me back in return. “Most of our politicians lack the spirit of truth, giving and loving. So, they take and take!”

In the key number three, Senator Ibrahim advised youths to “Choose the path of honour,” bemoaning the current trend in our society, where lies are esteemed above the truth. He said:

“We cannot even trust the words from our highest offices above all others. My truth annoys, disarms, irritates, but it helps to clean the atmosphere of lies in our society.

“While others show off wealth as their badge of success, I show my truth as my badge of honour.”

The fourth key to the restoration of credible political processes, as prescribed by Senator Ibrahim, is taming your appetite, this is, incorruptibility. To prove his point, he spoke the flagrant truth that 99 per cent members of the Nigerian political class will rarely do: “As a governor of a state, without stealing a kobo, you can come out richer than Suleiman, that is, King Solomon. The gifts you get from social celebrations give you great wealth without abusing your office. So, I wonder why, some leader steal, even the little that should go to the people?”

The Poorlitics ideology as epitomised by Senator Ibrahim focuses on a shift from the traditional Nigerian Politics to a people oriented ideology, no bribe, no thugs, no corruption. 

The fifth key is Leadership and Corruption. Ibrahim identified Nigeria’s leadership recruiting processes as the breeding ground for corruption: “How we select our leaders fuels corruption.  Nigeria needs new approach to politics, which is seen by politicians and the people as too costly an investment.

“In our politics today, politicians put huge personal funds into publicity, bribes, security, thugs, rigging and violence. Upon their victory, politicians recover their investment with profit, and reward supporters, rather than give service to the people.”

The sixth key is Progressive Political Leadership. In Poorlitics, Senator Ibrahim expounded the politics of maximising service to the people. One complains that has riddled our politics, since the second republic is that, government policies seems to be disconnected from the people. “My story is a story of practical politics. “I call it Practical, Project-based, Progressive Political Leadership. “It means delivering value to the people, as a means to win their support and votes.

“When you indulge in practical projects through NGO or your personal resources, when you come to seek for political power, the people will fight for you. Your campaign will cost less. The people will thrift to fund your campaign. A practical example of direct service to the people is when a lawyer offers free legal services, doctors offering medical aid, skills acquisition and empowerment.”

The seventh step, which incidentally, is the title of the 408 page book, is POORLICTICS. A system of doing politics that allows a person to succeed by delivering services, projects and democratic dividends to the poor masses that make up the majority in any community.

“This book will teach you the skills of working for your people, so that, they will in turn work for you.  If you give your people what they need, they will give you the support you want.”

The last of the practical steps, recommended in Poorlitics is ‘A Progress Political Future.’ According to the book, Senator Ibrahim’s practice of Poorlitics was accidental because he observed and was mentored by great patriots. “I stumbled on the system Poorlitics and Progressive Political Leadership by accident. “I realised I was doing something that fewer politicians were doing, yet was practiced by our greatest progressive politicians: Nnamdi Azikiwe (Zik), Chief Obafemi Awolowo (Awo), Mall Aminu Kano,  Akanu Ibiam, Chief Odumegwu Ojukwu, Chief MKO Abiola, Olusola Saraki, Waziri Ibrahim, Joseph Tarkaa and Abubakar Rimi. They first gave to the people, and then the people rewarded them massively.”

The Poorlitics is long practiced in advance democracies, according to Ibrahim. “It is a form of politics already practiced in successful democracies, but adopted to our reality in Nigeria.”

The principles expounded in Poorlitics, Ibrahim said, guided him to political stardom. “The principles and methods in this book are based on my life, political experience and the observation of others, who practices it.”

The Poorlitics ideology is to be popularised around the country, to bring political redemption.   





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