Politics as a tool for both destruction and re-building

Politicis is known as an activity associated or related with the running of government or an organization. Wikipedia defines it as the process of making decisions applying to all members of each group. More narrowly, it refers to achieving and exercising positions of governance — organized control over a human community, particularly a state.
I defined it as the way the affairs of a nation or an organization is being administered for the sole purpose of achieving a maximum result for the good of all. In a less developed clime like Africa, politics is seeing as a game, a dirty game that turns the custodians of power to be rapacious and wield the same State weapon to wage wars against perceived political antagonists and saboteurs. Politics is now taken as a self-help for financial gains and empowerment when the businesses and careers of those who administer it seem to be nosediving or having a decline in its fortune. It is an entity that absorbs people from whatever career and fields that form a Nation’s economy and GDP. There is no criteria whatsoever to be a politician.

Politics is now what most people venture into to save their financial face rather than what it is suppose to do – a tool for social re-engineering and restructuring. It is the game only the brave-hearted and the audacious can play, simmering their conscience to be less accommodating, fermenting their hearts to be hardened, their inner eyes closed to the cry of the impoverished. The extreme to which the gameplay has been taken has resulted in maiming, killing and obliterating and even rendering the opposition incommunicado if there is a perceived resistance to a certain law to be enacted, a law enacted to favour themselves and their cronies, not minding the popular opinion against it. My own society has suffered from more political misadventure and mishap than its ideal attendant benefit, the real purpose why it was birthed. Lives have been maimed, opposition silenced, people’s mandate stolen, people’s voices rendered inaudible, nonexistent infrastructure, heated polity, selfish aggrandizement, immature democracy (the number of years regardless), self-enrichment, a last resort to revive one’s dying career and fortune, less participation in politics by the people, and the buying of some gullible people’s mandate for another electioneering.

On the other hand, in fully developed clime, politics has been a tool for socioeconomic readjustment and reconfiguration. The dividend of democracy is felt on its citizenry and the only thing that causes political squabbles and unrest are probably absurdities like Donald Trump emerging as the President of the United States to the chagrin of the whole world, somersaulting the expectations of all in the emergence of the people’s choice. And the political impasse can continue for as long as it takes the people’s agitation to be assuaged.

There can be no governance without politics and politics will have no right of place without governance. The breath of good governance is the politics played the way it was designed. The intertwined nature of governance with politics makes it difficult to do away with politics. The developed clime is not excused from the rot in politics, they are not totally immunized against it, they are still immured in the fabrics of the appalling degree to which they drive their selfish interest to the forefront when the need arises. Take politics away and there will be no governance.
In Nigeria, politics is a career. It is undertaken only by the rich who were enriched by the largess of politics. It is played with suspense, intrigue, betrayal, loyalty-turned disloyalty, the discordant tunes being played out from the alliance formed are capable of ripping the nation apart, stripping it of her very tranquility rationalized by the coexistence of the people. Politicians are seen as deity gods who must be appeased by the pouring of praise libation before they carry out their constitutional duties and oversight functions. Our lawmakers, first of all politicians are not qualified for lawmaking and the nation is at the behest of political gamblers cum rascals.
They validate the definition of how political scientists succinctly put it; who gets what, when and how.

Policies are to be made without the interference of politics and the inference of a good policy making process.

Good policies guarantee a good nation building. Policies vis-à-vis politics is the ideal process of governance. It is devoid of tribal or ethnic sentiment and political allegiance. The socioeconomic impact it is capable of orchestrating should be the driving impulse rubbing off on the polity not incognito. A representative from all the political parties is needed in a roundtable decision-making to drive home a life-changing policy, not only one’s political loyalists who will never hold a dissenting and contrary opinion to their master’s for fear of being politically incarcerated.

1. God-fatherism. It is a lifeline for most budding and growing politicians if they must be politically relevant. Someone is calling it shot for them, christening them as their political godson, a title gladly taken up by anyone who wants to grow his or her political career. Disloyalty cuts the lifeline off and the journey towards political relevance is aborted. A political adviser or mentor is different from someone who dictates the pace. A godfather doesn’t hold the monopoly of how an ideal politics should be run, even though he holds it by the jugular. A loyal godson is put in the position of authority where he has a direct influence on the polity and does the bidding of the godfather at the expense of the right and qualified candidate. Nothing is achieved at the end of the day. A tussle breaks out in the process and the people suffer when governance is pegged at a standstill.

2. Lack of ideology. Most African countries have suffered from political gatecrashers. We have people in politics, in various positions of authority with no ideology and principle that they can hold themselves to. We have many politicians who stumbled on power and were caught unawares and unprepared, ill-prepared for power. We have those who were conferred with power and administer their portfolio haphazardly. A case in point is an erstwhile Nigeria President, Goodluck Jonathan who was conferred with power at the highest echelon but misused and abused the privilege. He is not an exclusive prime example but his readily comes to mind. Without an ideology, our ideas will be subject of scorn and derisive laughter.
3. Political hooliganism. Hooliganism is a tool used against a perceived political enemy. The unemployed youths are the people enlisted to carry out this dastardly act of oppression, killing, destruction and all the ills the society can cough out. A political enemy is an aberration to the brand of politics played in Africa, especially if the enemy stands in the way of a political appointment. The panacea most unseasoned and desperate politicians come up with is to snuff him out of existence. He doles out some cash to the cash-strapped and they get the job done. It brings to the fore what such person wants to attain power at all cost for. No nation grows like that.

4. People’s stolen mandate. No society makes progress if the people’s vote does not count at the ballot. In an average African setting in an election, snatching of ballot boxes and vote manipulation is a norm and no check and balances in place to checkmate the excesses of an African status quo. Votes are manipulated in favor of a preferred candidate, a proxy of action dictated from the top with the handwriting of godfathers written all over.
For Africa to develop, we must all shelve our selfish interest and work for the collective good of all.

Ideally, politics is a tool for social re-engineering and re-rebuilding. It is meant to correct all malaise and maladies in the society through a proper and routine enactment of laws. It is the administering of good governance to the people to make their socioeconomic life easy and stable.
Politics is a platform for service towards the people, not platform for self-service. It is all about service towards humanity which only a fraction of the whole populace of a nation have to serve. Not everybody will have the opportunity to go into politics and those who found themselves them either by hook or crook should count it as a privilege to serve the people. The resources at the government’s disposal should be judiciously used and harnessed to bring the dividend of good governance to the doorstep of the people.

Author: Olajide Oluwafemi