A Dummy’s Guide to Nigeria’s Political Future

Musician 9ice is contesting for a seat in House of Representatives, representing the Ogbomoso North Constituency in the National Assembly. ” I want to leave music for politics. Next year January, I will be 35-years-old and I’m not praying to still be in music at that age,” he says. Photo Credit: BellaNaija.com

As we settled on a plastic table beside a see through glass in a Victoria Islandclass C restaurant, Bankole and I simultaneously sipped from our N200 per cup fresh juice, reminiscing on our good old university days, business opportunities, and Nigeria’s fast-changing political environment. We had had an academically nonchalant, fun-filled time in school, but now, our lives were taking shape, as our Nation’s.

Bankole had towed the entrepreneurial route, while I was busying myself with professional studies and working in the media. “In 20 years power would have changed hands completely,” he said, adding that some of the current crop of leaders will not even be at the helm of affairs in 2020. He also implied that by sticking to entrepreneurship he would have made enough money to rub shoulders with the new political elite.  But as I chewed on his words, preparing my argument, I was tugged back by the fact that he was concerned about himself only. Not Nigeria.  So instead of trying to explain to him why young Nigeria n entrepreneurs must care about the politics of brooms and umbrellas, (I’m of the opinion that a combination of entrepreneurs, technocrats and politicians working together build great nations), I thought I’d share my thoughts on Nigeria’s political future.

Are We Ready?

Few weeks the Facebook page of an ex-Student Union leader vying for a position in the House of Representatives piqued my attention.  “Tested and trusted…from XXX Student Union to House of Assembly,” his campaign slogan read. And as I thought whether or not he is the best candidate, I found answers from excerpts in Chude Jideonwu’s Are We the Turning Point Generation?

  1. Competence and capability are two different things. This guy might be capable in running university politics, but can he do it on a larger scale. Also, is he competent? What does he know about public administration?
  2. Candidates underestimate Nigeria’s problem; get into office, then become overwhelmed. The solution to Nigeria’s problem is as complex as her ethnic groups. But perhaps, this is a new Nigeria and he has solutions we so badly need. And,
  3. Of what character are those representing the youth agenda and what is the youth agenda considering diversity? Well, he did it in the university, but does that mean we give him a bigger platform?

’Change for the future is here. Let’s make it happen’

Lately, musicians, comedians, sons of politicians and all sorts of individuals with arguably questionable characters have joined the masquerade cult announcing political ambitions, submitting nomination forms and campaigning for votes.  Reading through an article which details member of defunct pop group Remedies Tony Tetuila’s intention to run in the forthcoming general elections in 2015, I couldn’t help but notice the tag line:’Change for the future is here. Let’s make it happen’. I also spared a thought for what kind of change he could possibly bring.  Having read several articles, and comments, condemning the ineptitude of the current crop of leaders, to think that future appears to be a cheap imitation of the past implies our generation is no better.

Another look at some candidates vying for public office in 2015 reveals a not so bright future – but that’s just my opinion.  From floundering musicians (9ice, Tony Tetuila, Kenny Saint Brown), actors (Kate Henshaw, Desmond Elliot), and comedians (Julius Agwu) to sons of the Ogunlewes, Obanikoros, Adeshinas and Co, I can only grimace at the thought of Nigeria’s political future, whose cast looks more a parade of desperate fortune-seekers than people passionate about identifying, formulating, implementing and evaluating domestic policies that will improve the lives of millions of Nigerians and move the country closer to realizing its potential.

Again, perhaps I’m wrong; this is a dummy’s recount and I’m just a boring student of public policy who doubts the possibility of a Nollywood actor doing an Arnold Schwarzenegger, or better.

One for the Money

Alas! There is hope. Not all are for money, convoys, and immunity.  I thought about profiling some of the new kids on the Nigeria’s political block, but that quickly faded as I imagined the divide it could cause – young Nigerians are quick to abandon reason for political, religious, ethnic and geographical stances, but even more quickly to abandon it for money. The present crop of so-called youth leaders will forever remain puppets of broom or umbrella godfathers.

Although it is almost always right to remain politically correct, these lots will never do anything to hurt their political relationships, even at the expense of the people who elected them.  So is there hope for a crop of young, people-focused political elite taking charge of the machinery of government? I doubt, as young Nigerians are already infected with the share-the-national-cake syndrome.

New Nigeria

Indeed, this is a new Nigeria brimming with bright stars like Gbenga Sesan, Toyosi Akerele, Tolu Ogunlesi, Chude Jideonwus etc. giving us a voice and reason to hope for a better Nigeria, but are we not due to reap the virtuous  fruits? One would think that if any of these young chaps are pushed forward, perhaps their individual success would influence domestic policy for good.

But after reading a report indicating that a “combination of various tactics and strategies” gave one Erhiatake, daughter of former Governor, Ibori, who is currently serving a jail term in a London prison over money laundering charges, the ticket for Ethiope West in the House of Assembly primaries in oil-rich Delta State, I dare say we would continue having individual success for a while as we are not ready to determine our own political future.  Till then, I guess the broom or umbrella machinery will continue to rule by proxy.

 
Source – http://xperspectives.wordpress.com/2014/12/08/a-dummys-guide-to-nigerias-political-future/