Need For Higher Laws in Politics
Nigeria is on the march again. The last time I heard this campaign slogan was the June 12 Presidential elections. The April polls are close. Every and any political party is flagging-off; some are embarking on aggressive campaigns to solicit the votes of the electorate. Flag-bearers are also changing hands and those who are denied the ticket of the ruling People's Democratic Party, are forming emergency opposition parties, most of them ideologically vacuous. Politics not underpinned by ideologies is like religion without morality. According to Napoleon Bonaparte “there are two levers to set a man in motion, fear and self-interest”. In Nigeria, politics is basically influenced by self-interest-an indication that we need higher laws underpinning politics.
There is agreement among all world religions that God created the world by decree and established some immutable laws that govern the universe. While some of these laws have been revealed to mundane science, others are in the realm of the esoteric, perhaps obvious only to the initiate and adept. For example the law of gravity illustrates the common axiom that “what goes up must come down”. Another is the fusion of negative and positive charges to produce power as exemplifies in Michael Faraday's law of electricity.
There are numerous laws that are yet unknown to physical science. Such laws are often regarded as mystical, spiritual or metaphysical, but they play a great deal of role in governing mundane life and even life hereafter. Some of the past great spiritual masters and avatars taught these laws irrespective of the languages that were used as vehicles to convey it. The law of Karma was vividly illustrated in the parable of the sower – what a man soweth, that shall he reap. There is also the law of “thoughts attract desires and desires habits” and many such laws including “the creation by destruction theory” that is very popular and has huge patronage among the freemasons.
In the realm of politics, some of these laws had in the past provided sound ideological basis to underpin and even promote racism, supremacist tendencies and xenophobia. During the heydays of the Third Reich, the trio of Gobbles, Goering and Hitler conceived these higher laws to mean Germany supremacy which culminated in the annihilation of Jewry globally and the morbid phobia for the Kremlin as the brain–box of Bolshevism and proletarian internationalism.
Whether defined as the art and science of state craft or the struggle for power, politics is a higher calling governed by higher laws the breach of which could create reverberating negative consequences. In the same vein, politics is governed by some ethical norms and standards, the violation of which debases the noble discipline to an ignoble vocation. Plato's Republic tenaciously holds that leadership cannot be an all-comers game as those entrusted with leadership must be people who are enlightened like the philosopher Kings in Plato's idealistic Republic.
The higher laws in politics bear the semblance of God's immutable laws, which are universal, as they cannot be bottled-up or confined to a particular geography, climate, ideology or religious creed. One of the higher laws in politics is that “power must be freely given to the holders by the governed”. This is the central definition of democracy. It implies that those who want to lead must consult with the followers and seek their consent. The law abhors coercion as an instrument of acquiring power because any leader who subverts the will if the people or acquires powers by force ends up being forcefully removed from office or even killed. In Nigeria and Africa examples of such leaders are legion.
The second law in politics is that “leaders should be enlightened as to understand how to govern the people. This is a sharp contrast to what is obtainable in Nigeria and other developing countries where the enlightened segment of society is deliberately alienated by the zero-sum attitude of an “agberocratic class” wearing the toga of genuine democrats. Good governance can be likened to the art of piloting a ship. The Pilot must have a fair knowledge of geography to understand the compass; the direction of the wind, the concave and convex sides of the sea; and when the meandering tide is flowing or ebbing.
One potent natural law nobody can ignore is the law of balance which says “what goes around comes around”. Generally, human actions are governed by the law of balance in accordance with the apodictic law of “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. On the material plain, good governance hinges on service to the people.
A third higher law is largely associated with the world of entertainment industry. A good performer or actor leaves the stage at the peak of the ovation. When this is done the audience is more captivated by the rapturous applauses that ended the show than the hiccups and low points of the actor. In recognition of this principle, democracy places premium on short, specified tenures of offices for every role incumbent. Mandela could have made a life President of South Africa but he paved the way for Thabo Mbeki and now Jacob Zuma. Leaders who do not obey this law end up obliterating their legacy and lavishing the goodwill of their supporters. Hosni Mubarak just demonstrated that law, and the Mugabe's of our time will follow soon.
In Nigeria, most politicians in power do not even respect the other organs of government the legislature and the judiciary which are co-equal in a tripartite power structure. Whereas subversion of the people will through vote rigging has assumed tremendous sophistication, most office holders do not feel obliged to feel the pulse of the people. Therefore, leadership is detached from followership culminating in mutual suspicion and hatred. It was for this singular reason that most Nigerians are not comfortable with the present political system.
Nigeria is a fractional democracy where political institutions such as the electoral system are very weak. Political victories only thrive on the basis of exclusion and desecration of the ballot box. Poverty is exacerbated by the political class by primitive accumulation or the formulation of unpopular policies designed to promote elitism, alienation and class interest. In recent times, the Nigerian political class is the most ferocious in Africa in terms of manipulation and purloin. Nigeria witnessed a neo-imperial presidency in the past twelve years where governmental businesses are conducted with crass lawlessness and unbridled recklessness.
Political office holders in Nigeria see public office as a do or die struggle and that explains why even accredited electoral bodies can be corrupted by those eager to capture power by any means necessary. The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, boss knows that the nation has derailed from the Electoral Act. In most constituencies, those who never contested elections are the people having favoured by INEC. The impartial umpire may reduce the rigging index but the electoral adversities of the nation may die hard. As usual the April polls will still create a bumper harvest of cancellation and nullification of election results. How much the courts would come to the rescue of the system is dicey. For the first time the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and the President of the Appeal Court are in court. What is manifesting now is the harvest of corruption in the mainstream judiciary.
The highest of all the laws in politics is service to the people. Nigerian Political leaders are self serving. Rather than construct roads for the public, they buy jeeps that are high enough to wade through stagnant water during the wet season. They send their children to Ghana and other working States for further studies and embezzle the common wealth entrusted to them rather than improve the quality of education in Nigeria. Some of them in Government introduce “academic capitalism” as an explanation for systems failure in education. Whereas our big hospital are inadequately equipped, politicians find welcome excuses to travel abroad to treat ordinary ailments. Basic health and educational facilities are criminally absent while social security is not on the agenda of government. Nigerian has been in darkness for the past nine years and the present administration has not taken any decisive steps to restore power across the country. Government has not also demonstrated sufficient political will to tackle the Niger Delta Crisis because Amnesty alone is not enough.
Nigeria does not fit into any of the economic systems operating in the world be it monopoly capitalism of the West or the command economies of the East. For the past eight years we seem to be running a war economy with little or no opportunities for job creation, yet government uses the term empowerment as a convenient label to justify its numerous failed projects designed to enrich the few at the expense of the masses. Hitherto existing job opportunities are lost through the application of wrong macroeconomic policies cloaked in economic reforms. The huge unemployment index is what the nation is reaping from the incongruous relationship between the educational system and the economy.
Political campaigns are usually followed by gory tales of bomb blast, and this criminality seems to be looming large. While others are preparing a platform for a healthy Presidential debate, some are desecrating politics with impunity. Until Nigerian politicians learn to obey the higher, universal and ethical laws; they would be groping in self-imposed darkness, stagnation and underdevelopment. This attitude permeates all spheres of Nigerian life. The flagrant violation of these natural laws in politics is accountable for the lack of trust between leaders and the led. Collectively, we breach these higher laws to the peril and Nigeria can only be in the mire if we perpetuate this trend.