Rivers Rerun; Politics Without Principles
Rivers State-south south Nigeria, has been in the front burner in Nigeria's politics in recent weeks, the State, which is rich in tourism and hospitality, has as its slogan; “Treasure Base of the Nation.” This no doubt is a reflection of the abundant natural resources in the land. In the past weeks, the serenity of the state has come under captivity for political reasons. Rivers State has been in the fore front civil unrest. The political weather in the state has been overheated such that it has resulted to a state of social uncertainty. The rerun elections in the state have been greeted with so much desperation from the two major political parties in the state- The All Progressive Congress (APC) and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
These two parties have displayed an alarming degree of political puerility in their quest for political survival in the state. They have not hidden their hatred for civility and decorum as necessary ethos in electioneering but they have also remained grandiose in their glorification of the social sins of “politics without principle and knowledge without character.” Hence, both parties have remained committed to ensuring that peace is murdered in Rivers, they seek to ensure that sleep, sleeps no more in Rivers State until their electoral victories are confirmed. The manner in which both parties have been conducting their activities clearly shows the dearth of political civility in the body polity of Nigeria.
The activities of APC and PDP are a manifestation paucity of the business of political marketing in the field of politics. Politics no doubt is the struggle of power. Put differently, politics is the competition of who gets what, when, where and how. But the competition does not however encourage violence, to say the least anarchy and bloodshed. Mao, the Chinese strategist and thinker says “politics is war without blood.” This should be the philosophy of politicians, while canvassing for votes they must eschew anything that could result to bloodletting. Bloodletting and violence negate the mortality of politics; it destroys the foundation of politics. The vital ingredients upon which political structures are built include: freeness, fairness and transparency. However, when elections are accompanied with violence, these basic virtues of politics are rendered useless, because nothing becomes fair when people are killed for exchange of ambition. At such, the significance of civility in politics cannot be overstressed.
The activities of APC and PDP in the countdown to the re run elections are odious and repugnant to any sane society. Both parties have displayed to Nigeria and Nigerians that they parties whose end has come and who should have no business in the business of politicking. Their campaigns were full of calumny, blackmail and hate speeches. This no doubt has led to many deaths and has also made the state to suffer high degree of political tension. While the APC campaigns with negative propaganda, blackmail and misinformation of the public, the PDP seems to derive its strength from rhetoric of hate speeches. Although, some social commentators are quick to point out that PDP’s strategy is a survivalist strategy targeted to discourage electoral malpractices in the state. Some watchers even of the opinion that PDP is not really calling for violence but informing perpetrators of the electoral fraud the wages of electoral fraud, which the PDP says is dead. Be that as it may, no reason is cogent enough for anybody or group of persons to encourage violence.
There is no gainsaying therefore, that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has a critical role to play in the elections of today. They must not only display high sense of impartiality but should also endeavour to ensure that credibility and transparency are manifestly evident all through the different stages of the elections. INEC must rise up to the task of independency and estrange itself from the suspicions of seeming partiality. Again, the security forces must at this point be commended for maintaining peace in Rivers State to this time. We must also salute the bravery and determination of the security personnel who gave themselves as “offerings of Peace” in Rivers State during this electioneering. However, the security forces must no rest on their oasis to ensure that there is adequate peace us guarantee in Rivers all through and after the elections. The security operatives must also display high level of civility in their engagements with the people of the state. Furthermore, the armed forces must remain neutral and dispatch their duties with utmost sense of professionalism.
On the part of the citizens they must all realise that the foundation of all great societies are build on peace and tranquility. It is senseless for anyone to glory in violence. All citizens of this “Treasure Island” should treasure peace, thus, nobody should descend low to falling out of the Island of Peace into the ocean of violence. We must all realise that nobody’s ambition is worth our blood. In the same vein, politicians must desist from any unhealthy practice during and after the elections that would be inimical to the peace and development of the state. Electoral losers should endeavour to accept the outcome of the elections results where necessary or quickly sick legal means of redress if aggrieved by the outcome.
Written by Ominabo Wealth Dickson.