Nigeria Needs Professionalized Politics.
Professionalized politics in Nigeria refers to the idea which seeks to ensure that those who provide political leadership to the country have positive passion to lead a people they truly love and have been trained in that regard. If we apply this simple idea on all
those who have led or are leading or are seeking to lead Nigeria, we may discover that many would have been classified as misfits; hence, the continued failure of political leadership in Nigeria since 1960.
For example: General Yakubu Gowon, he loves people and is well trained in the politics of the state, hence he may do well in democratic politics; General Muhammadu Buhari, he loves people but not formally trained in politics, so his performance may be average; Generals Olusegun Obasanjo and Ibrahim Babangida, were neither people-oriented nor trained political scientist, so they performed woefully and will continue to do so whenever they lead Nigeria. Poor performance goes for Atiku, Gusau, Bukola Saraki, Ribadu, Shekarau, Orji Kalu and Goodluck Jonathan because they belong to the OBJ and IBB group. Professor Pat Utomi is well trained in the political economy of the state, but I do not know to what extent he truly loves people given his core capitalist tendencies. Pastor Chris Okotie belongs to the Babangida group and the same result applies to him. Late Chief Awolowo makes a great difference: he loves people and was a talented and trained politician, this was why he greatly succeeded. Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe was well trained, but I doubt if he truly loves people. Sir Balewa was not well trained in the political economy of the state and I doubt if he truly loves people. Mallam Aminu Kano loves people and was well trained in the leadership of society, if he had been given a chance to lead Nigeria, he may have performed well. This simple analysis can go on and on, but it helps us to understand why Nigeria's political leadership has failed.
Poor political leadership has been a key issue in the underdevelopment of the country and as long as this trend continues, Nigeria may not get her social, political and economic developments right. In reflecting on this problem, one discovers that there is need for those who have the innate love to serve society and have become well trained thereon to be given the chance to lead the politics of the nation.
What is political talent? In the Creator's design, a man's assignment on earth is embedded in his talent or God-given ability and that talent is deposited in a man's spiritual being. Therefore every man has his own talent which may or may not be exactly the same as others'. It is the human talent that distinguishes one man from another. Talents are raw, hidden and undeveloped. They appear and become manifest in a person through excellent works done at times without much formal training on such works. The person bearing the talent will naturally have some unflinching passion for the talent-work. This is done almost intuitively. Talents cover all areas of human works, occupations, faculties and professions. A talent refers to that innate work-competence or flair where you have natural comparative ability to perform certain works better than any other person. Talents are human and environment sensitive and they are about specialization in works or occupations etc. Hence, we have some people who can clean things better than others; some people calculate things faster and more accurately than others; some people cook better than others; some people are far better in articulating complex issues than others; some people sing, act and dance better than others; some people love animals and birds while others do not; some people love to teach and they are better at it than others; some people are in intricate love for fashion and colours more than others; some people have the natural ability to convince people easily than others; we have good writers who may not be good readers and vice versa; some others are at their best in warfare; we have others who have great love and respect for human beings and they prefer to serve people than being served etc. The list is forever because God is infinitum. When a man is carrying out a work where he is talented, he is always happy no matter the circumstances and the work is done without expecting much reward, even though the result is hardly faulted as beautifully elegant.
Our interest here is in those who have great concern and respect for fellow humans and are ever ready to seek for genuine solutions to human problems. They will not rest until solutions are provided to reduce or stop human sufferings. They form organizations or write books/articles or join others in advocacy for the resolution of the problems. In faculties, we find them in political science, philosophy, history, economics, sociology and psychology studies. They could be regarded generally as students of society. They are political talents.
How do we professionalize politics in Nigeria? In other words, how do we ensure that politics in Nigeria is mainly practiced by political talents? How do we move them from students of society to doctors of society? First of all, we need to agree that this is what needs to be done. Secondly, we need to design a system of discovering such talents, developing and having them in politics. Thirdly, we need to institutionalize this process and sustain it. Once we have agreed that Nigerian political talents should mostly drive politics in the country, then we must have our educational system transformed to execute this agreement.
The discovering of talents should commence with the establishment of a Talent Development Unit at the primary, secondary and tertiary educational levels. This unit is mainly peopled with personnel who are experts in Guidance and Counseling and Talents Development skill specialties. They should design courses and programmes aimed at having an insight, discovering and growing talents at each level of educational pursuit. Heads of primary and secondary schools should work closely with special interest with such unit. The programme design should include the role of parents in this process. At the end of a child's primary education, we should have been able to have an insight into who the child is in terms of endowed abilities and work/play preferences. This will guide in determining which secondary school will be most suitable for the child. It is at the secondary school that the child's talents would have been well discovered and the child will be guided to choose University Matriculation Examination (UME) subjects related to his/her talent-course in the university. For example, if it is discovered that the child is people-oriented and has passion for resolving problems in the society, then such a child should study Political Science (the science that teaches you how to understand and lead society). While in the university, the child should fully engage in students politics as well as join a political party whose ideals are congruent with his/her views about society leadership.
After graduation, he/she is made to undergo full party political trainings and exposures that are expected to enrich his/her understanding and knowledge of politics. Such intra-party experiences should include team works, intellectual contributions, discussions and debates, attendance of seminars and workshops on national and international political, social and economic issues. These are some of the duties of the party to the new graduate member. Such graduate member should also be given further formal political trainings in well established specialized political-economy institutions. Such person should register and become a member of professional political associations within or outside their country of origin. This is the path to giving birth to a professional politician who has political talent: a graduate of Political Science or Economics or Sociology etc, a member of a political party and an associate member of recognized professional political association. When will this person seek elective political position in the country depends on the political party he belongs. It goes beyond his time-choice. The party needs to be sure that at this point, he/she has fully understood the core ideals of the party, truly believe in them, can defend them, is matured to handle socio-political challenges of society to the satisfaction of the party. Given the answers to these queries, the party will decide the level of political office where he/she can succeed. All these constitute professional politics.
Some advantages accrue to professionalization of politics in Nigeria. One of it is that it will allow round pegs in round holes. It will also usher in politics of ideologies, differences, dialectics, and discussions leading to tested solid social solutions. It will greatly assist Nigeria in reducing anti-social political behaviors like cultism in politics, use of tugs in politics, do-or-die politics, politics with bitterness, political assassinations, idealess politics, non-thinking politics, election posters without politics, lip-service-change politics, politics of the rule of thumb, political diabolism, greed politics etc. It will enhance the exposition and understanding of social problems and redirect focus on social solutions that are relevant. This will enhance true democratic culture and progress that will make way for matured meaningful politics. It will weed away political misfits from the political space and sanitize it such that political discipline will rule public behavior.
However few unworthy demerits exist. It will initially lead to a roforofo fight between political misfits and the new order. Some people may be politically, economically and socially redundant at the beginning and this, if not well taken care of, could lead to a breakdown in the social order of Nigeria.
Surely, a professionalized political regime in Nigeria has far more worthy advantages than its reverse, which is the case today. At this stage in the political underdevelopment of Nigeria, she needs most urgently, some level of political sanitization that can rid the country of political charlatans who neither loves the people of Nigeria nor are they trained students of politics; yet, they have hijacked the profession thereby causing it to remain underdeveloped. Their ultimate and cardinal interest remains their pockets, no more, no less. This has to change if we must have good political leadership in Nigeria. Let talented politicians who are professionally trained and are people-oriented lead politics in our country; and let other professionals play in their chosen areas of specialization.