elites And Political Settlement
Today, I wish to bring to the mind of my readers to some few things that I have observed which may be of benefit to this administration. In as much as I am constrained by certain political propensities not to criticize this administration for now consequent upon the fact that it is a new government saddled with too many responsibilities, I’m not however restrained from speaking my mind and giving direction where and when necessary. I am one of the stalwart of the ruling party in Imo state; at the same time, I am representing a different inter-political constituency-Imo youths. Majority of them have called me to complain about the degree of marginalization against them in this administration. Few persons also called and appreciated the governor for remembering the youths in his various appointments.
As the mayor of Imo youths, a position that got the previous administration agitated, I have decided to ask some sensitive questions the answers to which shall consequently help in calming the minds of many. Even if I am in government, I shall always stand for the youths because they made me their spokesman before the 2015 general elections.
In political and sociological theory, the elite are a small group of powerful people who hold a disproportionate amount wealth, privilege, political power or skill in a society; they are more organized and can influence things for themselves and their children. In this context, the elites are our political fathers who have organized themselves to take over power either to enrich themselves and or their family members. In the case of Imo, they are back to add value to this administration. It’s a thing of joy that Imo elites are back to add value but in doing so they have also succeeded in replacing their positions with their children. This is because political positions run in their DNA.
The administration of Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha has brought back all those Senator Rochas Okorocha claimed to have retired in politics. Yes, they are back to either assist in contributing to rebuild Imo or rebuild their pockets. I respect a good number of them but I still have my reservations for some few.
When a leader acquires inward peace, the multitude of people around him shall find their salvation. But if the leader lacks peace of mind, the coarseness of everything he does is conspicuous through failure and unpatriotic proclivity.
All through the previous administration of Chief Okorocha, I was so much worried on how the youths of our noble state were negated and treated. Before I continue to express my worries, it is very imperative to accentuate here that we live in a political society that neglects the socio-economic cum political well being of their youths. Why do some of our leaders at federal, state and local levels want the youths to carry arms and engage in violence before any attention could be given to them?
It was Charles Kingsley who says, “Old men make wars – young men die in them.” This assertion is absolute owing to the fact that it is the youths that go to war while the old men who caused or created the war stay at home. In any battle field, you can never find any old man; not at all. Young men go to war while the old men sit at home and give direction. In our modern world, it appears the topsy-turvy has become the political case.
Obviously, in our great country the same old men who were at the corridor of political power since 1960 are the same people that are still in power till date. I make bold to ask, where are the strength of the society- the youths? They only remember the youths when there is need to demonstrate against one political enemy or the other. Chief Rochas will understand me better here because he used the youths to accomplish his motives while in office even recently in Imo he did same. How many of Imo youths could thank Chief Okorocha for making them stand well politically?
Why do our various governments find it very thorny to give the youths some political slot? Why do they find it difficult to share their political ticket (for State House of Assembly, Federal House of Representative, Senate and Governorship tickets) among the youths? If truly the youths are in the majority, they should at least have 40% political inputs on any decision that should concern them. Our fathers should not decide before consulting the youths.
Our old politicians should give way for the younger ones, they should advice and maybe direct because I know they have not lost their sense of direction. They should sit at home and watch how the youths will fight to better the economy and politics they have destroyed. Old age is golden, they should not resent growing old rather than resenting they should thank God for it because many have been denied the privilege.
In the words of Prof. Protus Nathan Uzorma, “Old age is a gift from God but maturity is born of experience and virtue measured by everyday conduct.” The point here is that both old and young are needed in building a strong political society. According to Lyman Bryson, “The error of youth is to believe intelligence is a substitute for experience, while the error of age is to believe that experience is a substitute for intelligence.” Intelligence and experience are necessary to destabilize our political inequality and disparity, when this is done then there will be need to stabilize and consolidate our political strength using the youths. This requires the effort of both old and young. Our old politicians should bring their good experience while the youths should be allowed to bring their intelligence for us to have political strength and maintain equilibrium. It is an abomination for our political fathers to think they could do it alone.
The old politicians should not think the youths are not wise enough to see all that they are doing to our future. Today, our old men could talk of the good old days but the youths of this era cannot talk of the good old days when we are old because it was destroyed by our fathers. What an abomination! If our old political fathers are matured as they claim, they should then reason with us-the youths and give us our own quota. It was Fred Smith who says that “maturity doesn’t come with age; it comes by acceptance of responsibility.” They should accept involving the youths in the political process and see it as a responsibility that will bring about transformation. It is our future that we are talking about here and we are all critical stakeholders.
In Igbo cosmology, there is respect for elders and parents themselves cherish their children so much that they give them beautiful names that show their values for children, such names are: Nwaka ego- a child is more precious than money, Nwajindu- a child sustains the life of parents, Nwabugo- a child of glory, to mention but a few. For the Igbo man, children are priceless possessions and no family will be happy without a child. Again, it is the duty and responsibility of any parent in Igbo society to pray that his child should be greater than himself.
If a true father prays and wishes his son or daughter to be greater than him, what is happening now in our political society is a profound topsy-turvy of our traditional values. The political class, the elites, has refused to give us ladder to climb as to be greater than them. Their philosophy is to create scarcity and lack among their children so that in any election period they will then open their hands with little money to empower the youths in order to be voted for. What an abomination! Are our fathers not watching us die as a result of what they put us into? Are our fathers not sending us to carry ballot boxes for them during election? Are they not the ones we are dying for from time to time during any election? Is it not an abomination for a father to watch his child die while he is still alive in Igbo land? Something must be done soon!
The above is not in line with our orientation and traditional norms. Some of these politicians have expired and do not have anything to contribute in the advancement of our society in line with the principles of social and political dynamism. The society is growing so fast and they have been caught up by the psychological philosophy of diminishing return which is natural politically. Some of them have taken their slot in 1960 took it again in 1970 continued in 1980. Some joined in 1980 to 1990 continued to 2000 and now still want to take it again in 2023, is it morally right? Our elites, where are your children – the youths? Why have you decided to punish them as if they are not part of the society?
The youths are at the receiving end of all good and bad political policies. Yes, in Imo state just eight years ago, many abominable things happened. Some of our elites were very quiet while few of them praised Chief Rochas and called him all manner of names. Some youths died and few were wounded for fighting the right course for Imo people.
Let me at this point emphasize that we the youths in Imo state are not against the elders and our political fathers, but what we are against is the fact that they have continued to neglect us and treat us the way people treat lawyers. Yes, humans only remember lawyers when they have problem. Our political fathers and leaders of today only remember us when there is need. They use us and dump us. Let us be part of the desired change.