Jumping, jumping, jumping politicians!
I am jumping
What are you doing?
I am jumping
This is a common nursery rhyme which my child always recites especially when she is doing physical exercise taught her by her aunty. This is a song that innocent nursery children sing without the slightest thought that it has serious meaning to the Nigerian politician. Surely, some of the parents are politicians who, while making the jumping frolic, do not care the influence or impact it will have on their children and their immediate societies.
Our politicians, ranging from governors to local government chairmen and even ward councilors, seem to derive the greatest joy in accomplishing their hearts desires without recourse to public interest. Most of them seem to gloat at the masses' sufferings and especially when things go tough for the public. This is because it is only at tough times – the time of suffering which has unfortunately characterized our present condition – that the big men, the power brokers display their cards.
Those who have been keen observers of the Nigerian politicking will yield to the fact that a large number of the citizens who venture into politics are merely businesslike. Businessmen only target personal gains first before anything. No businessman will venture into any deal with the hope of losing. Many of the hardened or well-established ones would not go into any business when the interest is not fat and juicy. Again, some would do anything possible to ensure that no other competitor sprouts up.
It may be hard to disagree that up till now, no Nigerian politician, in the first place, joins politics with the utmost desire and sincerity of purpose. We have heard a lot of powerful political orators who have effected positive changes in the lives of Nigerians on the papers of newspapers, waves of radio and screens of television. They create the best manifestoes. They design the best policies on papers. They prick the masses to die for them on a course that is not theirs (the public). And at the end, as still it is in our context, they have their ways.
Events of recent have exposed our political class to be the highest group in term of disrespect for constituted norms, ethics and culture. Even when politics is regarded as a devil's game in some quarters, it still has norms and should be played with human faces. Our politicians should stop seeing themselves as masquerades who only show up occasionally. They should quit from the tendencies that they cannot be seen unless when they need the masses. When the masses need them – which is more often than the reverse – they are not available. They are not readily disposed to meet the public interest and that is why Nigerians have continued to suffer.
We believe that government has the power to change the conditions of the suffering Nigerians. Government is but a group of people – selected or elected – who have been granted the privilege to oversee the affairs of the people. The president and the entire presidency – all those governmental components that make up the government directly under the president – are part of the government. A senator, a member of the house of representatives, a minister, a chairman or director-general of parastatal and a head of government agency are all parts of government. It runs the same at the state level and partially same at the local government level.
So, government is a human being in this sense. It is therefore our friend, father, mother, son, daughter, relatives or kinsmen. These human beings who are occupying selective and elective positions are often referred to as politicians.
Do our politicians have conscience? This is an enigmatic question that can only be sincerely answered by individual politician. But the little this writer can observe is that it will be quite unfair to categorize all Nigerian politicians in one grade. They are in groups. A group is anti-human. They are the do-or-die type who would satisfy their heart desire at all cost. They can use arms against their fellow citizens to accomplish their selfish political goals. Reports are in the newspapers that arms are circulating in preparation for the general elections in 2011. What are arms used for?
There is a group that is human, but how little and weak it is in the Nigerian context. Members of this group can hardly overpower the first group because if they attempt, they are adjudged to be extremists and anti-government. They silently swim in the crest of stormy sea where sharks fight for territorial control. They see corruption walk even in their corridors yet, they have clean hands. Is it unarguable that there is a Nigerian politician with clean hands?
There is the chameleonic group. Members of this group are in two categories: those who try to change positively the system they find themselves but are frustrated out. They, in their continued effort to effect the desired change, seek other platform or way. The other category is made up of those who are selfish to the core. They can change colour overnight as far as the new environment or platform can allow them achieve their gain.
Here we explore the politicians who have been jumping from one party to the other for non-public gains. The governors of Bauchi and Zamfara States, Isa Yuguda and Aliyu Shinkafi who were elected into the government houses of Bauchi and Gasau under the political platform of All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) have jumped to the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). This makes me recall the great columnist Adamu Adamu who used to stand in defence of political norms and culture. Adamu used to be a good critic of political slavery, economic waste and inconsistency in policy formulation and implementation. One hardly comprehends why his Bauchi governor has not received much and harsh criticism.
Now, the former ANPP Senator and Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Bala Muhammad has formerly joined PDP in an event that was allegedly sponsored by the state governor. It is rumoured that Bala is aspiring to replace Yuguda under the platform of PDP.
Two losses for ANPP whose corn is de-germinating rather than germinating!
Senator Joe Igboke fought a life battle under the ANPP and shortly after he was sworn into the Senate, he jumped over to PDP. Former Senator Emordi who was unlawfully ushered into the hallowed chambers under the PDP has jumped to APGA, the party of the sitting governor, Peter Obi. Former Speaker, Bello Masari has recently abandoned PDP and has jumped to CPC where former Military Head of State, General Muhammadu Buhari, who has jumped from ANPP, is apparently going to be the presidential flag-bearer.
The funny part of this jumping exercise is that it has reached a stage where founders, owners and sole funders of their political parties have dumped these parties and jumped to other parties. Two examples are easily identifiable. One is the case of former vice president Atiku Abubakar who is jumping from Action Congress to PDP, his former party but where he is finding is difficult to reconcile with members. It is all Nigerian politics! The second is that of former governor of Abia State, Orji Uzor Kalu, who has abandoned his pet party PPA and jumped to PDP.
Governor Theodore A. Orji is one of the highest jumpers as he has succeeded to jump twice within less than sixty days from PPA to APGA to PDP, in a fierce war against his former boss, Orji Kalu over who controls Abia. And now that the two Orjis are back to PDP, what next?
The list of these high jumpers is continuous. There is indication that the nation has not witnessed a mass jumping. This will occur after primary elections of parties, led by the PDP.
However, at the end of this article, I would have declared the greatest jumper of the moment and thus the winner for now in this jumping competition. And the grand prize for the generally accepted victor in this contest should be failure at the polls. The electorate should unanimously vote for the winner's removal from seat if he or she is already seated and seek reelection. If not, then the masses should ensure that he or she does not sit on them because it is evident that they can hardly offer the masses anything.
So, I am hopeful that at the end of the day, my party United Nigeria (UN) will emerge triumphant without campaign or lobbying. Watch out!
Muhammad Ajah is a writer, author, advocate of humanity and good governance based in Abuja. E-mail [email protected]