The march to the next political dispensation is on and various political heavyweights have declared their political intentions, while others are seeking for another term in office. In a country of over 140 million people, the most populous black country in the world and the reference point for Africa in many world affairs, these politicians aspiring for public positions have displayed antics that have left our young people who genuinely dream to get into elective positions in future, disappointed and almost rudderless like sheep without shepherd.
Many of our politicians have continuously jumped from one political party to another, sometimes coming back to a former party they had earlier condemned after falling out with it; thus showing a lack of direction, political ideology or integrity. They have become like feathers, blown by the wind from one direction to another with only the purpose of clinching power by all means.
With a record of flawed elections and a situation where the electorate has lost its voice, it therefore seems that the best way to acquire political power in Nigeria is by hook or by crook.
Amongst the current political gladiators, we have a retired General who pioneered the affairs of Nigeria for eight years. These years witnessed the battering of Nigeria’s economy, unfulfilled political promises, annulment of the freest and fairest election in the history of Nigeria and the imposition of an interim Government on the country.
IBB stated earlier this year that the Nigerian youths are not well educated enough to take over the affairs of the nation. One wonders how he expects to garner the majority votes because Nigerian youths form a major part of the electorate. Perhaps, the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU strike which lingered for a long time when he was in power and the mass killing of many youths who stood up to say all was not well during the Structural Adjustment Programme, SAP riots in 1990 and June 12 impasse in 1993 shows that he has no regards for young Nigerians.
Only in the recent past, at a time that many believed that Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had performed below par and hoped for a formidable opposition, Atiku Abubakar, joined forces with other embittered but strong politicians to form the Action Congress which is now known as the Action Congress of Nigeria. Many Nigerians cheered. Atiku, who fell out of favour with the Obasanjo administration where he served as the Vice President, went ahead to contest for the presidency on the Action Congress party’s platform. Today, he has abandoned that party. He is back to the PDP seeking to be the party’s presidential flag bearer.
Chief Orji Uzor, after forming the Peoples Progressive Alliance(PPA) with like minds, proved himself to be a political force in South Eastern Nigeria after the party clinched Imo and Abia States in the 2007 polls. Today, he has decided to go back to the PDP. Earlier on, one of his protégés, Governor Ohakim of Imo State was heavily criticized by Uzor Kalu’s camp for defecting to PDP. Chief Theo Orji, the Abia State Governor’s case was more worrisome as his celebrated exit of the PPA for All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) was short lived as he later made a return to PDP in a space of 4 weeks!
There are cases of politicians who won elections while still in detention. Some were re-elected through questionable means even when the anti-corruption agencies had declared them corrupt and placed them under trial. Many of them run their offices like their personal empire, converting billions of naira that belong to the electorate to their personal use.
Never before in Nigeria’s political history has the youth shown the kind of interest that they are presently displaying in politics. The emergence of Barack Obama as the president of the United States of America sparked up a lot of political awareness in our young people. In various higher institutions, Student Union Government and departmental elections have continually attracted more interest and competition. The aspirant’s orations and manifestos improved tremendously as they inspired hope and greater consciousness among their colleagues who make up the electorate. But this cannot be said of the present crop of political leaders we have in our country Nigeria. Can they indeed, be worthy political mentors?
It is high time our references of the worthy politicians we have had should stop being our founding fathers. We need men in the mold of Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Alhaji Aminu Kano and Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa. These were men who played politics of ideology that was devoid of bitterness. They inspired hope in the populace and they delivered the dividends of democracy at a time Nigeria’s means of foreign exchange was agricultural products.
Our vibrant youths need some form of political apprenticeship before they fully venture into the polity as politicians. But it is worrisome that the older generation who are presently in power have overtime become very bad examples.
Nigeria’s youths are in dire need of political role models in positions of leadership. Where are they?
Image via Enough is Enough