Since our dynamic democracy began in 1999, one of the most visible features even the hardest critics of democracy as a system of government can admit is the presence of political socialization! According to Wikipedia, political socialization refers to a learning process by which norms and behaviors acceptable to a well running political system are transmitted from one generation to another. There is difference between political socialization and political culture. While political socialization is known, political culture is the traditional orientation and perception of citizens about politics or political activities in a country. Some persons have longed argued that the long stay of military in power is chiefly responsible for the travesty of democracy we have experienced in the past! Hence, the question is, how do we balance political culture with political socialization in the country? Another question I must ask is

why is it that, what was possible in the pre-independence Nigeria Is no longer possible in post-independence Nigeria? In the pre-independence Nigeria, some of the major political bottlenecks hindering our democratic journey today were absent! For example, in the Nigeria of today, it is a daydream for any one hoping to hold elective position outside his or her ancestral home or community, but in 1956, a Nigerian of Fulani extraction was elected as the first mayor of Enugu under the platform of the National Council of Nigerian Citizens (NCNC). The first tenure of Alhaji Umaru Altine as the mayor of Enugu Was successful, so, when he wanted re-election in 1958, ethnic politics began to rear its ugly heads, starting from his political party, the NCNC. When his party denied him the ticket to seek re-election, he moved to another party where he consolidated his grip on the party and adopted what many would call “ Obama Winning formula”. It will be recalled that, there

was a time when President Barack Obama was quoted as saying, he would rather be a one term president than become a two term mediocre. Obama made the statement when his political opponents were busy working to make him a one term president. Like the case of Obama, a political pressure group known as Udi-Nsukka-Agwu United Front (UNAUF)were busy working with the NCNC to frustrate the re-election of Alhaji Altineas the mayor of Enugu. Just the way Obama built a national coalition and broad-based appeals to win his re-election as president of the United States of America;Alhaji Altine built a broad-based coalition of non-indigenous Igbos who constituted over 50 percent of Enugu Population to get re-elected as mayor of Enugu in 1958. Similarly, Ibrahim Imam was another Nigerian who represented both his Yerwa Constituency of Borno in the then Northern Nigeria House of Assembly between 1951 to 1959, and also moved from his native constituency to get re-elected to the

same Northern Nigerian House of Assembly where he represented Tiv Constituency of the present day Benue State. It must also be understood that, Ibrahim Imam was never a Tiv man, but a Kanuri man, yet, he represented Tiv Constituency in the then Northern Nigeria House of Assembly.What made this practice possible in the past? Was it political culture or political socialization? The unique hospitality of Nigerians everywhere they are found is not in doubt! But, if the idea of promoting unity in diversity was possible in the past, why can't we replicate it and truly commit ourselves to similar practices today? When President Goodluck Jonathan was still the Deputy Governor of Bayelsa State, there was a statement he made, he said: “No one would like to be made a king in a tiny island”. Today, as destiny would have it, he is the president of a sovereign nation and the black most populous country in the world. This is the Nigerian spirit! What made us great as

a nation is neither the size of our landmass nor the great population of our people, but, it is our ability to give and take in the spirit of sportsmanship!Though passion may strain, but, as people committed to nation building, we must not allow it to affect the bond of our affections, because there is no any other place on the map, we can truly call our home outside Nigeria! Political socialization should not be turned upside down in our country; it should be a continuous process. For-far-too-long, we have dumped the great task of building Nigeria on the door steps of the media alone,but, while the media is busy setting the agenda, what have we been doing to positively complement the role of the media in the country? In communication, there is what we call Knowledge Gap Hypothesis (KGH), and it says, those who are closer to the media are more knowledgeable than those who are not! Some persons have had cause to blame the media for our cascading political culture,

but, I must put it to them that, instead of blaming the media, we should blame the spin doctors or opinion leaders, because,no media message gets to the people in the original way

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Articles by Edwin Uhara