2019: The Political Class And The Rest Of Us

July 26, 2017 Africa , Nigeria , Opinion , OPINION/NEWS , POLITICS

Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung/Flickr

 

By

Jerome-Mario Utomi

 

Working with the conventional calendar, 2019 may be seen to be miles away. But a peep into the calendar of an average Nigerian politician, and a feel of their body language tells a different story, and that is, that the year 2019 is not just around the corner. For most Nigerian politicians, 2019 is a year with history in and a year of elections, a year for another session of politicking when elections into various offices from the Presidency down to the State Houses of Assembly are billed to hold.

The Nigerian  political class knows that as in war that  “whoever arrives first and takes position is at ease while he that arrives late labours.” This is  evident in their early preparation coupled with the fact that seeking elective positions in Nigeria is a capital intensive project.

Parts of the early preparation may include the proliferation of political groups, political alignment and realignments, flag-off of people oriented but politically  motivated programs by our political office holders, among others.

The new entrants or the political novitiates are not left out in this 2019 electioneering fever as they now tend to be more on the ground, organizing one skill training programme or the other for their constituents. They are also now visibly involved in community development efforts in their locality.

But of all the strategies mentioned above, the newest way of making their intention to seek political positions in 2019 known is by championing and supporting issues of national interest. A very good example is the raging debate about desirability or otherwise of restructuring the nation’s current political arrangement. Both contenders and pretenders have been lending their voices. Not that they have the interest of the nation at heart but they are using it as a viable vehicle to advance their 2019 project.

Nigerians are strangers to political class posturing which could be best described as the ‘nobles’ who know how to ‘take care of their own and their own knows how to take care them’. They have from inception been united by one common denominator and that is the quest to gain and hold onto power. This, they dissipate energy to actualize. They are always proactive thereby forcing the electorate to be responsive. Above all, they are specialists, though in a negative way, in the incubation and implementation of sustainable political development. They are propelled by selfishness, pride, egotism and self-aggrandizement.

The above is not alien to anybody residing in this country. The most worrying aspect of this narrative is the graveyard silence and complacency on the part of the electorate. Election in every climb involves two parties; the electorates and those seeking to be elected. While those seeking to be elected are making frantic efforts crossing their T’s and dotting their I’s, the electorates who should play the agenda setting role are asking no questions.

We are not worried that most of our current crop of political players that specialized in political harlotry are lacing up their shoes coming with baskets full of promises. Just the way they did in the time past promised much but fulfilled none. If we as a people, especially the youths, can keep quiet at this point and allow these people to have their way, it shows that we have not learn any didactic lesson.

We are also not worried that the political parties that receive massive support but performed below average are once again equally bracing for another go at the political battle.

It is germane that we use this 2019 election as a defining watershed in the annals of this nation. We have to do this bearing in mind that our wrong decisions and choices in the past are affecting our present. We should also be mindful of the fact that our present is present in the future. So, whatever choice we make in 2019 will go a long way in shaping our political future as a nation.

The electorates should also realize that ‘the phenomenal world is a constant transformation, yet there are patterns within it. Holding to any single point loses the power of the larger pattern.’ In addition to this is the universal maxim that ‘blessed are those that are flexible for they can never be bent out of shape or relevance’.

From the above, it is time for the electorates to have the presence of mind to recognize that the electioneering period is theatrical in nature and as a result, to employ the plasticity of the actors.

They should, like the politicians, learn how to be ‘formless and spirit like’ in order to suit our ever dynamic political environment.

Very importantly also, it is time for us to depart the old order, voting this time for candidates that are credible and those that can represent our interests and turn every form of inducement down.

 

 

 

 

Jerome-Mario Utomi

Jerome-Mario is a Social Entrepreneur and an alumnus, School of media and communication, Pan Atlantic University, Lagos, Nigeria.

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