Tuesday Column By VICTORIA NGOZI IKEANO
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Why is it that whenever an election date is drawing near, we see our politicians exhibiting their shenanigans, intrigues, vile characteristics to undo one another, even for those that are in the same ‘family’, nay party? I am reminded that in politics there are no permanent friends or enemies, only permanent interests. Therein lay the problem. Any association of whatever kind in pursuit of a project or goal should be based on homogeneity with each member and every member carrying within them yearning for same objective, goal or interests. Above all any association whether big or small, consisting of countries or individuals, should have a high goal, objective, interest. That is to say, what they seek to achieve by coming together, working jointly, should be noble, pure and true. Only therein lies the sustainability of such organisations, whether a party, corporate organization or government. Otherwise, discord, dissensions would set in and with time, eventual collapse.
When our politicians say they have no permanent friends nor permanent enemies, it means they can pitch their tent with a conservative party today, a progressive party tomorrow and so on. And this is indeed the case with the way they jump ship, decamping in the manner they often change their boxers so to speak, embracing with full honours what they once vehemently denounced. From this we can deduce their inner worth generally. Because our politicians have ‘no permanent friends or permanent enemies’, our political parties are largely made up of heterogenous groups, whereby they breach the law of homogeneity. Being heterogenous, they will be pulling in different direction (each believing it is on the right path) rather than working in unision for same purpose/goal/interest. This lack of homogeneity in our political parties is the first breeding ground for the disease of mistrust with its concomitant effects of disputes, etc.
Let us now examine our politicians’ ‘permanent interests’. When you dig into it, what you see is self-interest, the pursuit of personal interests, the quest for personal advantages generally. This is the opposite of the ‘high’ goal of selflessness. That is, giving of oneself for the other, considering and doing only what is of benefit to the other, putting the other first and you last, which is the true service. In brief, enriching humanity. Without such a high goal, the pursuit of what is noble, pure and true, such associations, nay political parties lack ‘permanence’ sustainability and suffer eventual collapse as their fruits are false. In making such a low, selfish aim as acquisitiveness their major goal, our politicians bring in its wake other concomitant evils as conceit, slander, back biting, murder and so on and so forth. They have no qualms in employing foul means to achieve their purely materialistic ambitions, having no high values.
Thus, generally devoid of high, eternal values and not being a homogenous entity within, the wrangling in the Edo and Ondo political ‘family’ as with other instances in the past and in future, is not surprising to Knowing ones. In Edo state a former governor who reportedly stacked much to get the current occupant of Edo State’s number one political seat climb unto it is now at daggers drawn with his once ‘anointed’ ally. The incumbent governor alleges that his predecessor (who happened to be Chairman of the political party that brought him to power), was not giving him a breathing space nor allowing to make decisions of his own, that he wants him the governor to ‘share’ the states funds with his (the erstwhile chairman’s) acolytes. He thereafter proceeded to ‘regain’ his freedom and assert his ‘power’ by refusing to swear-in elected House of Assembly legislators that are said to be loyal to his predecessor and reportedly declaring this his erstwhile benefactor a persona non grata in his own state. What baffles me in this case is reports that some high-ranking political figures had tried to reconcile both personalities without success with each allegedly unwilling to shift ground. That is the average Nigerian politician for you. Bile.
Bitterness appear to rule their hearts. There are uncountable instances of these nationwide. Bitterness is anathema to love. And yet, love conquers all. In lacking love our politicians will continue to witness, distrust, discord and dissentions within their ranks. Typical of the average Nigerian politician, the Edo state governor unable to get the APC’s approval to participate in the primary election jumped ship to the rival PDP, winning and dining with those that used to ridicule the APC and by extension him as a member of that party then. On the other hand, a man who practically allegedly rained abuses on the erstwhile APC and its chairman then and on whom the chairman allegedly also similarly poured venom is now the APC’s gubernatorial flag bearer for Edo, having decamped from PDP back to APC. Conviction is the first test of a human being’s character. Where is any trace of conviction from these actions of our politicians which continue to repeat themselves nationwide, again and again?
In Ondo State the deputy governor has resigned his membership of the APC, the party on which he and the governor were jointly elected. He says, everyone knows the reason for this decision. Whatever it is, it is obvious that he and his boss, the governor, are not in harmony. As our politicians usually put it, they both most probable, have ‘irreconcilable differences”. Nonetheless, he maintains that he will not resign as deputy governor because he was elected deputy governor by the people. Therein lies an irony. If you cannot work in harmony with the governor or have ‘irreconcilable differences’ with him is it morally right for you to continue to stay under same roof as the person with whom you no longer gel, so to speak. To continue to do so would tantamount to pretense, nothing good can come out of pretense. That is a characteristic of the typical Nigerian politician. They are hardly genuine in their thoughts, words and actions, all of which are laced with pretense generally. The Ondo deputy governor should also resign from his position if he is a man of honour. For, it is obvious that with his rather odd position as a member of the opposition PDP, he is going to be rendered redundant. And with virtually nothing doing by way of official assignment, it is doubtful if he will still be reporting to the office. Yet, he will still be receiving full salaries. This is morally wrong. Under this circumstance, the governor will be pressurized to have him impeached in order to appoint someone with whom he can have some cordial working relationship. Mr. deputy governor need not wait for this to happen before honourably resigning therefrom.