Monday, 1 April 2013

VOTING IN 2015


Over the course of this young blog, I have refrained from making any politically inspired posts largely because the blog is dedicated to changing our mind set from the contrived notion that the government is largely to blame for most of our problems, a notion that has kept us from seeing our part in our individual or collective successes or failures thereby hindering personal development and responsibility (In Nigeria, next to the devil being blamed for shortcomings the government comes a close second). But recent happenings have fortuitously redirected my path.

Presently we are being bombarded by utterances from notable people that the next election in 2015, Nigerians should be ready to vote out the ruling People Democratic Party (PDP). This we are told will be the antidote to the present unfavourable political and arguably negative leadership situation we have found ourselves. To this end, what I will rather call a “conglomerate” of political parties christened All Progressive Congress (APC) has been formed with the aim of voting out the PDP. Personally, I do not agree with this position. I vehemently and unequivocally disagree with this line of argument being towed by a lot of people. The facts and past experiences at my disposal lead me in a different direction.

I will attempt to make my case here on. Political ideology in Nigeria is absent, and where it manages to exist, is too weak for it to be a consideration. To come to me with a position that a political party in Nigeria is so in tune with its ideology to the point of ruining the country is at best laughable. There is no political party that has been able to project a strong ideology enough to supress the reputation of notable members in that party; PDP: incumbent, ACN: Tinubu, CPC: Buhari and so on.  In my own opinion, our political parties do not operate on an ideological level, something that is unintentionally exhibited by the number of people that normally contest with the incumbent during primaries. The flag bearer should represent the party and not self, more often than not this is not the case.  If memory serves me well, I cannot remember any incumbent American president, going through the primaries within his party if he decides to run for office again.

In Nigeria, we mainly vote people not parties. Majority of the people that voted in the last election did not vote based on party affiliations, most of them voted for the person and not the party. Our political choices are mainly determined by ethnic considerations and religious affiliations. So strong is this that it has become a political strategy within the country.  For the electorate, political parties are more of economic considerations in terms of who can spend more cash to buy votes, than they are anything else.

As far as I am concerned, there is really no difference between these parties: Manned by career politicians whose relevance, and continuous “employment” is based on their ability to remain politically/economically relevant; having self-preservation and wealth creation as their primary concern, and growth within the system as secondary; with the people and their needs being more of a distraction from their original plans. With majority of the members of these parties cross carpeting to meet the aforementioned, why should choosing one party over another be the answer. All of them are virtually the same, na who rig pass dey win, even when there is no need for it.

The APC and PDP thingy is even more laughable when you realize that some of the APC “stalwarts”, are actually former PDP senior members that fell out with the PDP and left. Now they have come back with pronouncements of how bad the PDP is, while they did nothing but partake in the largess that was flowing then, and contribute to the hydra headedness of the party. Their new affiliation seems more like an axe to grind, than a redirection towards good governance.  If not why is the emphasis not on providing good and credible leadership? Should General Mohammed Buhari with all his “glowing attributes” be left lonely at the polling booths if he decides to stand under the umbrella? Should I sacrifice the best candidate on the altar of voting a party out of office?

My take is this. The issue is not voting out PDP, it is voting in the right person, one that will begin to erase the lines that divide us and foster unity. A person that will provide the structures needed to support the development the country so badly needs. A person that will see the simplicity of Nigerians, and see that we as a people do not need much to be happy; the average Nigerian just wants the basic things in life, the rest they are prepared to work hard to get. We are a hardworking people.

Nigerians want a true and functioning leader, not a successful political party, and until we start to focus on this, then we are not ready to change the past and as the saying goes, “you cannot expect a different result doing the same things over”.
God bless Nigeria.