FEATURE ARTICLE

E O EkeThursday, August 28, 2014
eoeke@aol.com


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54 STATES OF NIGERIA
AND POLITICS OF SELF INTEREST, SUBTERFUGE AND BITTERNESS

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"The world is dangerous place to live, not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it" Albert Einstein.

very body has a reason for whatever they do. Patriotic people join political parties because they believe in some principles and values and are seeking opportunity to make others benefit from them. Many religious people claim they preach to people because they want them to be saved. Boko Haram is terrorising Nigeria because they want to establish an Islamic state. And most Nigerian politicians see politics not as a game of ideas and world views to make the country better, but as an arena to pursue their selfish interests, misappropriate common resources and seek expression for their primitive instincts.

Hence they move from one political party to another in search of opportunity to loot. Bereft of ideas and convictions, they offer no clear alternatives to the status quo and prefer to find good reason to join those who they must oppose to make the country better. They find it difficult to disagree, without being disagreeable and end up playing divisive politics of bitterness by exploiting ethnic and religious differences, with its attendant consequences for all.

The result is that in Nigeria, the political choice is not between good and better, but between bad and worse and the dilemma of the people is that they cannot figure out the bad.

At the moment, non of the political parties see the madness of the proposed 54 states for Nigeria by the national conference even though it will leave Nigeria with more states, more governors, and more state house of assemblies than the United States of America, making Nigeria even more the most expensive democracy in the world. This is pure insanity. No politician speaks out against the way governors donate state funds to their political parties. No one asks what happens to money people post with the police for bail and who is misappropriating it, and if it is ever returned to the people who post them.

No politician has spoken out against the destruction and emasculation of local government area in Nigeria and the the embezzlement of local government allocations and the destruction of the third tier of government. No one cares about the flagrant abuse of power by the executive and continued evolution of an autocratic and unaccountable executive, which has no regard for due process. No one seems to care that the Nigerian security forces continues to brutalise and torture suspects and engage in summary execution of suspects without trial.

Politics in a Nigeria so far, does not seem to be about, ideas, justice as fairness, human rights, world views and a particular way of solving a common problem, but a scheme to gain power to corruptly enrich one's self and family. It had been an attempt by one ethnic group to impose itself on all or one religious group to dominate the country. These are the issues that need to be sorted to give Nigeria a future.

So far, politicians have used power to make nonsense of the law, and do as they please, no matter what the law says. Nigerian politicians hold the people in contempt and find it difficult to argue their point of view, without insults and name calling and behave in ways and manner, no one, who truly depends on the approval of the people to win election would behave. They easily appeal to religion and ethnicity in matters where reason and evidence are required.

The recent sacking of all resident doctors in Nigeria is an example. I cannot imagine a president of America or Prime Minister of Britain facing an election, who will sack doctors who are the bedrock of Public Health care Service, when the people are aware that they themselves go abroad for their own health needs. Definitely, not in the middle of an epidemic.

In real politics politicians compete to present a better solution to the problems of the country and spend their time trying to convince all why their solution is better. In true politics, husband and wife can hold divergent opinions. Currently in Scotland, there are many families where members are in different camps. Recently I listened to an interview of a father and son who live together, but hold different opinion of the future of Scotland. While the father supports Scottish independence and said that he would vote for it, the son oppose it and said that he would vote against it. It was a very civil debate and both said that their political views do not affect their relationship. They are example of how to hold political views and positions.

Nigeria is the sad reality of what happens , when a people replace the rule of law with the rule of men and elevate beliefs, ethnicity, religion and traditions over and above reason , knowledge and civil values. One hears of people saying that they would disown their fathers if they join a particular political party and their fathers evoking ignorant cosmos dichotomous dualism to demonstrate that their position is based on magical thinking and premodial prejudices, in their bid to maintain their divisive politics of bitterness and hatred.

In such a world, Politicians' idea of justice as fairness get corrupted and they find good reasons to defend corruption and justify barbarity and war crimes. Such a society creates presidents who do not give a dam and governors who think only of what they can do for themselves with what belongs to all. What evolves is politics of intrigues, deception and bitterness.

We cannot continue like this. Something has to give in. Nigerians need a new partnership of equals based on rule of law and justice as fairness and a paradigm shift to save the country. None of the current political parties seems to have what it takes to save Nigeria. We are in the last days of Nigeria and do not seem to it. If we are not careful, very soon all males in Nigeria would be required to grow beards and all Women covered in black cloth, God forbid. The solution must come from you and I. The question is , are you ready to play your part to save Nigeria before it goes the way of Iraq? What can you and I do to save Nigeria?

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