Saturday, April 20, 2024

 

Letter to Nigerian Politicians (1) – Dr. Muiz Banire SAN

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Dear Nigerian politician, it is difficult to wish you a happy new year as starting a year with the realization that the problems confronting the nation, Nigeria, are still with us could be demoralizing. Years in the past, when I had enthusiastically engaged a new cycle of days with the famous greeting of “Happy New Year!” virtually left me at the end with pessimistic conclusions of hopelessness, which came as a result of your acts and omissions. However, knowing that the challenges you have put before Nigerians are not surmounted by resigning to fate, I have decided to trudge on in the personal struggles to contribute my little voice to the making of a better Nigeria.

Thus, further to my intervention in making Nigeria work, last week, I have decided to engage via a series of letters addressed to the relevant sectors in the political process. Consider this not in the light of President Olusegun Obasanjo’s letters, often targeted at the driver, but that which speaks indirectly to our collective conscience. I say this because all those that I shall be addressing in the next few letters of mine are part and parcel of our society with influence in one form or the other from us.

The first of the series is the letter to Nigerian politicians, among whom you are, and which letter comes in the form of sermons and admonitions to you and your ilk, hoping that the message will touch your heart. Permit me to start by conceptually distinguishing between professional politicians and professionals in politics, which I believe is a good point to take off.

As you may know, participation in politics in Nigeria demands being a member of a political platform by virtue of our constitutional dictate. Without joining a political party, it is impossible for any aspirant to get into political office in Nigeria to realise his ambition, since independent candidature is alien to our Constitution. To this extent, you need to be a politician to contest. This does not imply, however, that you must be a politician to participate in the political process. You can exercise your franchise in the elections without necessarily joining a political party. However, if you want to influence the candidate of a political party or contest as said earlier, you certainly must become a politician. In the class of these politicians, however, are those who are into one vocation or the other and are just interested in the good governance of the country.

They have simply entered the race to positively impact the system. I used to belong to this type until I realized that, even so, I was keeping bad company and endangered. This class of people in the political arena are those we classify as professionals in politics as opposed those whose main and only vocation is active politicking, nurtured by survival instincts. These are the professional politicians without any alternative contact address. All that is to them is populating the political space from time to time under any circumstance. Without politics, they probably will commit suicide. It is the latter class that mainly constitutes the bane of our democracy. Historically, people of substance and high pedigree occupied the centre stage of politics in the past, as the political space was dominated by politicians who had what it took to move the nation forward. By this, I mean those who had other vocations and development background.

These days, however, all manner of jobless elements and criminals dominate the politics of the country. Current politicians are what the Yoruba refer to as Ojelu (looters) as opposed to Oselu (politicians). As I address this point, do not take offence but you can imagine where your acts and omissions have placed you in the divide, whether you are an Oselu or an Ojelu. The Ojelus thrive on thuggery, material politicking and manipulation of the electoral and judicial processes. They don’t believe in manifestos or any ideology. They lack programmes or policies they intend to prosecute, should they be availed the opportunity of serving the nation. As remarked above, a substantial number of them have no alternative contact address but live on politics. That explains their permanent desperation to be in any office at all times.

Due to their escapades, the country is what it is today, as they must amass wealth to the detriment of the masses, perpetuate poverty to dominate the conscience and consciousness of the people, and promote discord among the various peoples in the land in order prevent cohesion in the national consciousness of the masses. The Ojelus deceive themselves that all is well with their souls and try to convince the people that they are the best things to happen to humanity since the departure of Jesus Christ.

On the other hand are the Oselus, who know that the current situation of the country is devastating to national or individual development or progress. They cannot boast of the situation, certainly not proud of it. Unfortunately, among Nigerian politicians, the Oselus are not many within the class. There is huge deficit of this category of politicians in the political parties.

The laws, policies, attitudes and idiosyncrasies have made these noble individuals mere vegetables in the political terrain. We certainly need a change of attitude in all ways as we approach the political season in 2022 (as governorship election holds in some states) and 2023 for the general elections. In my view, the actual and real political year is 2022, not so much of the 2023 general election. It is against this background that I am compelled to initiate this year with this letter to the politicians. In this regard, I must give you (the politicians) the “Code of Hammurabi” as it pertains to politics or what you may call my “Code of Disqualification to Derelict Politicians.” Those who know that they cannot run their homes among your mates, much less any office, should, please, spare us further agonies of misgovernance. These are the people who have never done any business in their lives successfully. Ordinary pure water business they cannot do successfully. When asked what their profession is, they shamelessly enthuse “I am a politician.”

My friend, go and look for a job. You should not aspire to run our affairs. Those who do not understand the demands and requirements of good governance should not approach electoral contest. These are the clueless ones that search for appellations such as (dis)honorable, excellency (Disaster) to cover their inadequacies. Those whose morality is challenged must avoid vying for any political office as our values and morals are sufficiently debased already and do not need you to cremate same for us. Those whose mental stability is questionable must avoid contesting for any political position. Enough of erratic misconduct in our public affairs. Those with health challenges must spare us the gory macabre of the past where leaders govern from infirmaries only for their cronies to take our future and welfare for an open sesame to illicit wealth. Money-miss-road politicians must search for alternative vocations to engage in, rather than politics. Please, be guided to invest in other much needed ventures than politics.

The country is fatigued of political mercantilism. For those that are still bent on the contest, please, do not pollute further our political space with your ill-gotten wealth. In your interest and that of the nation, material politics must end. The time is ripe to eschew parochial politics.

Campaign on your strength and capabilities and not on undue sentiments and appeal to mere emotions. It is imperative that you, politicians must desist from using other people’s children as political thugs while your own children are ferried abroad to receive baccalaureates. More than ever before, politicians must embrace the fear of God in their conducts, remembering that only God empowers and no one else.

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