Friday, October 29, 2010

Politics Without Manifestos Equals "Politrics"

If there is one thing we do in Nigeria,that riles me,it is our proclivity to either rewrite universally accepted laws,or to assume that these laws do not apply to us.We believe,erroneously,that we are, somehow,exempt from their given influence.

When we come late to events, we explain it away with the euphemism of African time! The last time I checked,time was still a universal concept! When we fail in spite of our unfair,and overwhelming qualification to succeed, we call it the Nigerian factor.What we ought to say,is that we were careless!

We are almost like some national Ogbanje,or Abiku,a  wicked, and vile,spirit child reputed by some cultures in Nigeria,to be destined to die in spite of whatever care,or love you give it.

It is a maddening frustration,and the most vexatious of griefs!

Why are we so? 

Another way we try to rewrite universal laws,is the call in some quarters for us to collapse all the political parties into two "major parties". People point to America,and the England,as examples. They forget that we are practicing a democratic system;a system founded on the plurality of free,unhindered,and unforced, choice.

The examples such advocates give are not even correct,these countries do not have two parties,they both have two major parties,or two and half,if you count the Liberal Democrats!

Where would the freedom of choice be,if we force Marxists into the same party,as dyed in the wool capitalists?

Babangida,when he sullied,and muddied,the Nigerian democratic spring, tried it when he was Head of State,and it did not succeed.

The latest idiocy to appear on the political horizon,is indeed truly a Quixotic apparition.It is politics without a declaration of intent. People are not talking about the manifestos of political parties,all they seem to be preoccupied with,is where the president would come from,his/her ethnic group,who zoned what to who,and all the other tomfoolery!

Are we truly serious people? We have turned the presidency of a nation stuttering,and wheezing, because of successive bad leadership,into a beauty contest,a charade of the charades!

No one is talking about what he/she would do when he becomes president,the parties are silent,some would say,but they said they would fight corruption? So? How does that translate into jobs,how do we increase Foreign Direct Investment,how do we fast track our infrastructural renewal? How?

If you have attended,or watched a typical Nigerian beauty contest,you would have observed that a lot of times,many of the girls on display,are what Americans call bimbos,beautiful girls without brains. And the similarity between them and many of the gladiators angling to occupy Aso Rock,is quite uncannily close.

Playing politics without manifestos, is like asking a waiter at a restaurant you have never patronized before,to bring you anything he likes: you have no expectation,you have no right to reject what is set before you,and you have no choice. It is like a human being without a soul!


Is this our gift to the world? Politics devoid of ideas,and ideals? Is this what we mean when we talk about our nascent,never maturing,democracy?

We have stumbled,and tottered, for fifty years to get to where we are now,and it is not a very good place,in fact,it is a horrid,and abominable, place!

If we are not to be sold a very red herring,we must demand from our parties,and their candidates,precise,and easily verifiable manifestos. We must not allow ambiguous, and nebulous,generalizations like,"we will construct roads,we will build schools,and fight corruption",those are normal things,that normal governments do everywhere!

We want to know,what type of roads are you going to construct,and why? Are you going to focus on roads in the rural areas to facilitate evacuation of agricultural produce for instance? Or,are you going to bring back the groundnut pyramids by moving Zimbabwean farmers to the North? These are the type of specifics we should hold them to,and they must have timelines that are verifiable?

Let us wake up.we must not allow our politicians to reinvent politics,it is a universal subject,and cannot be redefined by our politicians to cheat us as usual.

If we can do this,we would truly be laying the foundation for a truly great Nigeria. Not the hollow one we currently have,but a robust and savagely healthy nation! 


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