Dear Destiny Friends,
Politics is one is of the most interesting games in the world. It is a game that naturally should be played with love and understanding. However, one of the most controversial factors that is always at play in politics is interest. This is because everyone has something to gain if their candidates win in an election. That’s why you will see family members, close friends, and religious congregations having different opinions during elections.
To buttress the seriousness of vested interest, imagine where a man is contesting to be the President of a country and his wife’s biological brother is also contesting for the same position in a different party. Who do you think their wives will vote for? Well, I believe every rational woman will want their husband to win the election because that will afford them the position of being the first lady. That’s to tell you how politics and interest can be a game-changer in a family and life.
In social parlance, it’s been said that there are three people you can’t advise; a woman in love, a rich man, and a religious fellow. I beg to add a fourth line to it – a member of a political party.
You may be wondering how that plays out.
Political parties are normally driven by ideologies and it is this ideology that makes citizens join them. For instance, in the United States, Democrats believe in a liberal form of government that supports the citizens while the Republicans are conservatives who believe in downsizing the government. Furthermore, while Democrats advocate civil liberty and social equality with support for a mixed economy, the Republicans on the other hand support lower taxes, free-market capitalism, restrictions on immigration, increased military spending, gun rights, restrictions on abortion, deregulation, and restrictions on labor unions. Can you see why voters will find it hard to vote for another party, even if they will do so, it will be on a fundamental ground where they will put the country first as was seen during the Presidential election between Joe Biden and Donald Trump where Red and swing States turned Blue for Democrats.
Let’s bring the conversation back home to Nigeria. According to the Independent National Electoral Commission in Nigeria, there are 18 registered political parties in Nigeria, but in reality, only the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and All Progressive Party (APC) are the two main parties in Nigeria. The question we need to ask ourselves is if these political parties have ideological differences? The answer is no. APC and PDP are basically the same parties. That’s why a member of PDP can wake up today and join APC and at night he/she can join APC. Nigerians are yet to mature like other civilized climes where the principle of probity and accountability is of the highest standard.
To a reasonable extent, the principle at play in Nigeria is “stomach infrastructure” – a system where politicians have used poverty to weaponize the citizens to vote for them.
As the 2023 presidential election is fast approaching, Nigerians are concerned about who will lead the country. While some are clamoring for the South to produce the next president, other groups are clamoring for the North to produce the president, and this is where Nigerians have a say on what will happen. The electorates don’t seem to understand the power they have as electorates.
Please permit me to share a story I saw on Instagram last week – There were politicians eating on a table, which was resting on the back of electorates. The politicians were saying if only the electorate know that if they stand up the table will scatter meaning if only, they knew the power they have as electorates.
Politics is a game that Nigerian politicians have mastered by using tribalism and religion to divide the masses just for them to get what they want. What most gullible Nigerians don’t know is that leaders meet at the top while followers kill themselves. The interesting thing about Nigerians is that most times they don’t know those who love them. Most times they castigate those who are sent to help them and embrace their oppressors. This is why during elections; career politicians use bags of money to deceive them. Nigerians on their part are not ready for good governance, and that’s why they end up with the kind of rulers they get instead of leaders they deserve. Isn’t it true that every nation gets the kind of ruler/leader they deserve? That’s the sad state of Nigeria.
As we approach the next general election, I will strongly encourage Nigerians to rise to the call and demand a representative government where the politicians will be answerable to them. Most importantly, Nigerians ought to quit playing politics of interest just because they have friends, they should support meritocracy as opposed to mediocrity. If you dislike any politician, criticize constructively and with love, don’t hate another candidate who supports another candidate. We can always disagree to agree. Nigerians ought to note that what binds us together is more than what separates us. Nigerians have to force interested candidates running for election to a healthy debate and hear from them.
As citizens, we all have the power to ask our leaders questions and demand what is happening and why are acting the way they are acting. If you don’t ask, they may be tempted to leave the stage thinking they have done fairly well, not knowing they have done more harm than good. In a nutshell, they are disasters that sycophants have made them to understand they are the best things that have happened to Nigeria.
Why am I saying this, just a couple of days ago, the Minister of Justice was in New York to give a Public Lecture on corruption. I advertised the event on social media for interested persons to register and have an opportunity to ask the Minister hard questions, the event received poor response. The plan was for the public to register and have an opportunity to participate online if they can’t attend in person. But it’s quite unfortunate they prefer to reign insults on the Minster on social media when I posted the picture, I took with him. Some felt I was used for branding purposes and PR. Some felt I have received a fat check for the publicity, while others felt that was a bad PR for me because of the credible reputation I have built over time. Some were kind enough to offer me their advice privately. The truth of the matter is that all that is far from reality. I attended the event just like any other person interested in the development of our country.
The reason I am stressing this point is that we need to do more as Nigerians. We need to be more engaging and critical on political issues. I don’t see any reason some people will hate somebody and expect another person to hate the person. Do you know your enemy’s enemy can be your friend? I get the whole negative vibe against the Minster, I also share similar sentiments based on some of his utterances and conducts against the judiciary and how he has handled the affairs relating to his office. But what I don’t understand is the idea of people trying to nail a fellow citizen who took a picture with the Minster without doing any form of PR for him. I am wondering if everyone who took pictures with the Minster is an enemy of the state.
As I conclude this article, I urge all Nigerians home and abroad who are not happy with the way the country is moving to join the political train and be more engaging by either registering with a political party, contesting an election or becoming a stakeholder in the affairs relating to Nigeria as opposed to sitting on the fence or being on the internet using uncouth words to castigate those who are participating. A word they say is enough for the wise.
Henry Ukazu writes from New York. He’s a Human Capacity & mindset coach. He’s also a public speaker. He works with the New York City Department of Correction as the Legal Coordinator. He’s the author of the acclaimed book Design Your Destiny – Actualizing Your Birthright To Success and President of gloemi.com. He can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org