GOVERNANCE AND POLITICKING WE NEED IN ELECTION YEAR
The politics of 2015 had relegated governance and service delivery to the background. The 2015 election is still a little less than two years away but that the political fireworks had already reached 'feverish pitch.' 'The nation is already caught in the political fireworks of 2015; and governance has taken the backstage because we have turned Nigeria into an election nation in perpetuity' Ekweremadu the Deputy Senate President said recent at an international experience sharing conference on Media and Elections, organized by the Nigeria Union of Journalists and international development partners under the auspices of the United Nations Development Programme, in Abuja. What kind of governance and politics do we need in an election year? The public should hold elected officials accountable for their campaign promises as soon as elections were over. Equally elected public officers should concentrate on delivering on their mandate instead of dwelling on permutations about the next election because 'only one good term deserves another.' Politicians were to be held responsible for overheating the polity; members of the public/electorates should also ask themselves if they had done enough to temper the political apprehension over the 2015 general election. Ekweremadu said, 'As agenda setters to chart the trajectory of national discuss to those key governance issues that affect the lives of the ordinary Nigerians, the media should not play into the hands of those bent on making political hostages out of the nation and her people. I urge members of the media to turn down the volume on the 2015 election. It is too loud, and it is unacceptable'. He appealed to the Nigerian media to assist in bringing to the barest minimum political tensions over the 2015 general elections by redirecting the attention of the political class to service delivery
Given that it is just about a year to the commencement of general elections in Nigeria, it is certainly not out of place that some form of politicking and campaigns, even if underground, should be on-going in the country presently. But the concern is at what cost should such maneuverings to capture, consolidate, claim or reclaim political territories and seats of power, be to the real essence of politics and governance, which is essentially about the security and welfare of the governed, as well as fast-tracking national development? Shortly after resuming from the Christmas and New Year break, the Senate President, David Mark, had observed that the nation's political office holders had abandoned governance for serious politicking ahead of 2015. He also accused his colleagues of overheating the polity and undermining governance. Said Mark: 'Across the nation, governance appears to have been sacrificed on the altar of desperate political maneuvers and feverish permutations aimed at outflanking one another ahead of the 2015 elections. Blinded by naked ambition, the political class has so painfully forgotten the lessons of our national history, and has once again allowed the collision of vaulting personal ambitions to overheat the polity and undermine governance. Coming at a time when our nation is still transiting amid tremendous strains and enormous social and economic challenges, the emphasis on primordial politics at the expense of governance is irresponsible; and even dangerous. I have said this several times and even at the risk of sounding like a broken record, let me once again caution against provocative utterances.' This seems a well delivered political homily. However, as good as the message would appear, the content and essence count little because virtually all the present generation of politicians have sinned and fallen short of what is expected of them as credible leaders. From Rivers State to Lagos, Ekiti, Sokoto, Borno, Oyo and Adamawa to Bayelsa, etc., the concern of politicians is how the 2015 elections will be won or how one party will displace its rival. Indeed, the shuttles of many leaders under the guise of commissioning one project or the other, marking public celebrations, celebrating interparty defections, forgotten traditional festivals or queer visits to traditional rulers, all highlight nothing but the desperate clamour for one form of endorsement or the other ahead of the crucial 2015 date.
Unfortunately, too, these events, some of which have thuggery and violence dogging them, are setting the tone of what the nation may witness in the run-up to the general elections. We are apprehensive of the accompanying insecurity of lives, diversion of public funds through frivolous contracts, projects, mobilization, celebrations and campaigns which usefulness are of no relevance to public interest or needs. It is also worrisome that civil servants, who ideally should be shielded from crude politics, flagrant display and demonstration of party affiliation, etc., are being dragged into the murky waters of politics. Of public knowledge is the fact that the corridors of power, including federal and state secretariats, are currently witnessing a heavy traffic of partisan praise-singers who are more interested in the 'next launching' or campaign trips with scant thoughts on the predicament of Nigerians in terms of security, welfare, infrastructure provisioning, unemployment and mass discontent since the dawn of civil rule in 1999. Presently, there appears no separation between government business and party or political activism. Remarkably, too, the reckless tea-party is not restricted to the executive arm of government. It is also on display at federal and state legislative chambers, where almost every bill tabled in public interest are bogged down by unnecessary political brinkmanship. Not only are many of the lawmakers absent from their chambers when they ought to be at work, a good number of them have no quality legislative contributions to their credit so far. Ours has been a country where elective office-seeking politicians insist on eating their cakes and having them back. In their desperation to get into office, they inundate the electorate with outlandish promises that are scarcely kept. Their political careers are better remembered for dashed hopes, insensitivity, extreme selfishness and the mockery of democracy dividends. However, the political gladiators of today should realize that the dehumanizing living condition the leadership has plunged Nigerians into notwithstanding, there is no better alternative path to remaining in power than rendering the required service to the people. The Nigerian electorate will not remain naive and gullible forever. (Source: 2015: As governance takes back seat - National Mirror By The Citizen). For governance to increase and politicking decrease, Nigerians must demand the political class cease from their desperation and get down to true governance and be accountable. It is unarguable that there is presently tension within the polity which is from the pernicious but pervasive politicking that has sent governance into abeyance since 2013. The first week of the New Year is hardly over, and blame-trading, bedlam, burnings and bombings have saturated the polity. The increasing intensity of this odious culture of political intemperance and impudence in the run-up to the 2015 elections will be a cost too great for the nation to bear. Unless the political elite is check-mated, â€' and that, firmly too, â€' what the coming tempest portends could be better real than imagined.
There is overwhelming anger in the polity that instead of settling down to the serious business of governance they were elected to, they have been intricately locked in an internecine conflict of unmitigated proportions for power, and more power! Citizens decry the politics of deception which is stoking the embers of mistrust and stultifying democratic transactions. Nigeria's nightmarish political and socio-economic indicators cannot afford any further plunge, especially as it relates to the crucial areas of poverty reduction, improved standard of living and good governance. Nigerians want to be spared the continuing agony of unresponsive and irresponsible politics. Our political elite must eschew bitterness and barbarity and begin to build and bind. The path of democratic consensus is determinedly paved with clean and robust politics, which is at once engaging and vivacious as it is constructive and productive. The end product is the creation and sustenance of a just, equitable and egalitarian society in which citizens live in liberty. Our politicians' predilection for 'do-or-die' politics, in which the struggle for power is to 'be all and end all', a virtual zero-sum game, has effectively circumscribed this desired ideal of all great nations. It is utterly regrettable that those elected into office in 2011, as soon as they were sworn-in, abandoned both the electorate and governance, and plunged with a ferocious zeal, into campaigning for the 2015 elections. It is a process that has seen limitless leveraging of state funds and resources, property, institutions, and governance real-time, to prosecute.
In virtually all states and at every level of politically-elected office holder, from the Federal Government to the Ward Councilor, governance has remained frozen. Citizens eagerly desirous of democratic dividends have only unremitting tension and flagrant violations of the sacrosanct terms of the social contract shoved in their face. Their past disappointments have led to present despondency. There is a serious erosion of social capital as governments at all levels can no longer be trusted. The suffocating atmosphere is certainly so because politicians have breached the INEC Guidelines and Electoral Act provisions on campaigns. President GoodLuck Jonathan, who as the prime leader should have shown the way, is culpable. Two years ago, his wife Dame Patience, had gone campaigning for him in every nook and cranny of the nation, brazenly soliciting support from traditional rulers and women groups. Monies were deployed to rallies in stadia across states capitals. This has percolated to the Ward level, and transmuted to insidious dimensions whereby all hue and stripe of supporters, shadowy groups, interest groups, etc, have emerged on both sides of the divide (protagonists and antagonists), and of both the governing and opposition parties. Unalloyed loyalty and uninhibited hatred for candidates, even of the same party, clash at every angle one looks. The daggers-drawn politics crescendo into outright factionalizations of parties, massive defections, questionable or rumoured endorsements, sabotage, creeping authoritarianism, rising impunity, alleged threats to life, and other heinous atrocities which have put the polity on tenterhooks.
The season of letter-writing by Obasanjo, Jonathan, Clarke, and innumerable others, and which ill-wind is still blowing, accentuates this tension. Neither are matters helped by incendiary statements by Asari Dokubo, Junaid Mohammed, and innumerable others. The opposition party APC finds it an eternal impossibility to utter any word with decorum and with even the slightest regard for the nation's Presidency. This is the height of impertinence in democratic politicking. It does not auger well both for the polity and the party that it could not sell itself as the government-in-waiting through any discernible, pragmatic programme offering which the citizens can use both to benchmark the underperforming Jonathan presidency and to adjudge its unique brand positioning. It has proven to be as vacuous in ideology as even the PDP it continually vituperates with unprintable words. It is a grand irony that it welcomed and tagged as 'Progressive Governors', defecting PDP governors it had erstwhile classified as failures. In all these, Nigerians see personal and selfish interest, and not public service. For governance to increase and politicking decrease, Nigerians must demand the political class cease from their desperation and get down to true governance and be accountable. Politicians must know that their sellabilty is hinged on proven performances. The INEC should waste no more time in calling for caution to arrest this impunity of politicking before take-off time. Civil society must ensure that the quality of democratic debate is raised and issues-based even as editorial caution must be exercised in political reportage (Source: Daily Independence editorial, Little governance, much politicking). I concur and so reproduce this view. What do you think? Our elected and appointed political leaders are not helping to govern well and provide democracy's dividends to the downtrodden. We the masses and electorates should rise not only to speak out but take definite actions that will make these politicians accountable and responsible in the coming elections without prejudice, tribal and religious sentiments. Enough is enough of politics of deception. You are blessed for life. Have question, you may call: 08033399821 or write: [email protected] Stay blessed.
Written By Dr. Lewis Akpogena