It was James Bovard, a 65 years old American author and lecturer; one whose political philosophy and commentaries over time as a columnist are well known to abhor and repudiate waste, failures, corruption, cronyism and abuses of power in government, he’s also a columnist with USA Today, who made a most compelling quote which posits that “on The first step in saving our liberty is to realize how much we have already lost, how we lost it, and how we will continue to lose it unless fundamental political changes occur.”
Keeping faith with the axiomatic political philosophy, orientation and expectations of the quote above, the need for a holistic paradigm shift in political philosophy of the Nigerian youths becomes expedient, to say that the topic or heading of this piece derives it’s locus from the sound political philosophy of James Bovard, likewise complemented by the practical demonstration of the lacklustre leadership deeply entrenched in corruption and excessive waste that has become our albatross as a country is not totally out of place, hence the caption becomes most aptly situated.
When one or something is said to be on threshold it simply refer to the magnitude or intensity that must be exceeded for a certain reaction, phenomenon, result, or condition to occur or be manifested.
In giving to the simplified meaning of the term, indeed Nigeria is at the threshold of political evolution, reason being that the level of political consciousness unfolding and the attendant awareness therefrom is becoming audaciously conspicuous, not with the rank and file of the youth population becoming deeply involved more than ever before making it unprecedented as much as it’s overwhelming.
Agreed that the Nigerian political system is fraught with undeniable booby traps and configured to throw up the dredges of society as leaders and conform the true leaders to hangers on and mere apologists, hence you see the system where a semi-illiterate is president and a PhD holder or professors are helplessly compelled to deputize them, simply because the system can never throw up any refined gentleman to assume the highest level of leadership because it is not configured abinitio to recognize such characters, because doing so would be antithetical to the smooth running of the system as originally configured.
One may wish to interrogate further the rationale behind the situation where our worst usually assume leadership at the expense of our bests? With the exception of few happenstance effects wherein some that are considered sound minds are gifted the positions of responsibility, more so by elective process, it’s a known fact that the Nigerian political system favours the intellectually and integrity sapped than it does the intellectually cum integrity sound individuals in Nigeria.
It begs for further explanation, why those who are considered deficient in morals and other ethical standards or virtues forms the nucleus of the ruling class in Nigeria while those being looked up for direction by way of their trained minds are being bossed around by the misfits of society and configured by circumstances to look up to the deformed for direction and leadership, simply for the reason of being leaders foisted on the people by the jaundiced political system in place.
Invariably, those who ought to be seated at the learners corners are those seen at the teachers table piloting the affairs of states, while those who ought to man the teachers tables are those positioned at strategic positions to rig the misfits into offices. A country where situations such as above described is a daily occurrence would any right thinking person ask why the country is backward? Certainly not!
Assuming but not conceding that structure plays pivotal role in enthronement of leadership in a participatory democracy such as we have it today in Nigeria, even much more does the corrupt system choose those it can freely work with, such that the more unimpeachable or impeccable one is as an aspiring leader in Nigeria the more the political system abhors and repudiate them, going further to frustrate and finally demoralize them, thereby instilling apathy in them towards further offering themselves for service to fatherland, because they obviously can’t battle with the moneybags and the dredges of society who have totally lost the sense of sacredness and objectivity, those who believe that money is all there is to it and nothing more is needed, hence they throw caution to the wind and sap the system to acquire same irrespective of how many laws broken, because money rules in their world and nothing else matters, and the political system likewise accepts as a norm such permutations by so doing clearing the way for the misfits to continue to gain prominence.
Another disturbing aspect of leadership selection or systemic rot is the aspect of money politics. Intentionally the Nigeria political system is entirely monetized yet to favour them that the system is designed to protect, from beginning to finish. Agreed that political activities are usually capital intensive in every clime, but that of Nigeria is alarming, because the volume of money usually expended by aspiring politicians to gain access into elected positions is mind boggling, when viewed from the angle of the fact that elected public officers are expected to be above board when they get into power, when in actuality they broke banks to fund their various campaigns and other electioneering processes leading to their elections; to think that this huge monetary involvement in politics isn’t tailored towards disenfranchising good and upright people from vying for positions of responsibility and favours the misfits who themselves prides themselves with ill-gotten wealth, such that some moneybags who the chequered political system throws up to the positions of responsibility and leadership are those who the system ought to be abinitio tailored to stop, so as to sanitize the political augean table, unfortunately they are the ones calling the shots rather than being shot at, assuming the system works efficiently devoid of corruption.
Inarguably, the Nigerian political system is not only defective, it’s likewise deceptively engineered to serve the interest of the misfits in society as against the genuine interest of the supposed trained minds that ought to assume the position of leadership and responsibility for the betterment and common good of all. Most times when good men aspire through the skewed political system the system bends them over to the point that when they finally emerge they are as twice rotten and compromised than the evil ones, because for any object to be attracted to magnet it must have the substance of iron in it, it’s so because a magnet searches for irons of its kind, as it can’t possibly get attracted to objects without the substance of iron; like magnet like the skewed political system prevalent in our political structure in Nigeria.
Having stated the obvious as it relates to the political system that has become an embodiment of institutionalised corruption, even so the genuine efforts of some good political actors to challenge the hegemonic and hydra-headed monster of a political system in place cannot be totally wished away, especially now that the Nigerian youths are rising up to the challenge of trying to take back the power that ought to be residue in the people that’s now totally held strongly to by a few bourgeois, those who would never allow things to turn except it does to their favour and direction, even if unfavorable to the general public interest.
Shall we then continue in this quagmire or cesspool of unmitigated disaster of a political system that is daily strangulating positive growth and development of the country? I believe the answer is No. Then how do we get out of this unhealthy situation, there again the answer shouldn’t be mine alone to proffer, nevertheless, I’ll try by suggesting what I call a revolutionary change of the status quo in election participation and voting, for when this fails I foresee actual revolution in the nearest future, because this system in place now isn’t working and the people are getting more and more frustrated by the day and the resultant effects of bottled angers is evaporation.
Getting this right has everything to do with massive involvement of the Nigerian people in the electioneering processes, such participation should be total and pretty much devoid of pecuniary or undue expectations of gratification, because we are fighting for ourselves now not necessarily for politicians alone, as such expecting thank you from anyone for working for oneself is foolhardy; it should be seen more as a sacrifice to liberate the country from the strangulating grips of the ruling elite or bourgeoisie class who has over time held the positive growth of the country stunted by their selfish and primitive acquisition of ill-gotten wealth, sapping and siphoning away the common patrimony of the country.
Undeniably though, the tempo of participation of our youths in the electioneering processes as seen now, more so as regards to PVC enrollment is commendable, the enlightenment and solidarity to fully getting involved should be encouraged, and the youths themselves reminded that there is no better time for them to make the needed sacrifice and bold statement of redefining perspectives as it relates to sound leadership than now, the time to come out en masse to be counted, the compromised political system notwithstanding, the urgent need to circumvent the skewed political system and entrench one that’s propelled by the resilience of the Nigerian populace is anything but germane at this critical period of the history of Nigerian existence, we either get it right now or die trying, otherwise the country itself will be plunged into an avoidable catastrophe that wouldn’t augur well for anyone. We therefore have a date with history in the forthcoming election of 2023 to make a resounding success of the strength and power of the masses for the greater good. Aloha!
Ugochimereze Chinedu Asuzu is a social-political activist, human rights advocate and life coach. Writes from Owerri, Imo State.