Visions For 2007 - Foot Prints F


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Visions For 2007 - Foot Prints For A Home Grown Multi-Party Democracy




Oluwagbemi Michael II




November 6, 2004


The next general election scheduled for 2007 have been generating heat in the polity of recent, rumors of impending candidates have been far flung and far fetched, but curiously to this writer the ideas that would dominate that election is yet to come up on the radar screen of analyst, rumor mongers – idlers as well as pretenders and worst still political juggernauts and pundits.


While politics of ideas is a thing of the past in my country – worse to fear is the impending swerve to the unknown in our political space. Everyday, we are becoming a one party state- PDP have dominated all levels of government and opposition parties now take their jobs as seriously as many take baba sala. Politicos of all persuasion see politics itself as party to which all outsiders regardless of political affiliation must be locked out, while they share the spoils of victory and the perks of office. Saddening to the point of consternation is to see the few wise politicians to play into the hands of never do wells and stick to the path of vain ideology elevating activism to the point of political persuasion.


Never should the Falanas and the Fawehinmis equate the murky world of politics to the trenches of activism. Much as they may suppose, while both might be used by good men to achieve one singular purpose i.e. to cause change, politics in itself is to gain power – and how you gain it is much less important than how you use it. Posterity remember tenures and deeds of government and is much less concerned on how much of a good campaign was mounted for any political office no matter how close you get to winning it. It is in this direction that for Nigeria to witness any meaningful political progress that would engender the growth and entrenchment of multiparty democracy in a country that is much in need of fresh ideas, there is need for urgent political realignment along novel lines that are ultimately dictated by the conditions that exists in our country today.


In previous dispensation, Nigerian politicians have been divided along vain ideological leaning with enormous ethnic undertones, much to the detriment of the common man the use of the progressive versus conservative label in Nigeria has been a failure. NPP conservative, AG/UPGA progressive; NPN conservative, UPN/NRP progressive; NRC conservative, SDP progressive. It appears it would infinitely inappropriate to use such term to describe a Nigerian politician as such as sophisticated as they may appear they have proved inadequate or fervently non-consequential in defining the political leaning and solidifying the political bases of politicians in our stratosphere for over four decades.


Like in every other case, both terms are borrowed from our Anglo-Saxon conquerors in much same manner as the Labor and Democratic Party of UK and the US might be described as liberal or progressive and the Conservative Party and Republican Party of the UK and US respectively can rightly be described as conservative , we have sought to describe burgeoning political associations with such term and have only achieved the fluidity that exists today, since such ideological leaning cannot suitably describe the homegrown system of government that we have been bequeathed by our forefathers. No Nigerian politician would like to be described as Liberal; neither would they like to be seen as conservative and as such non-progressive. Progressivism and welfarist tendencies is ingrained in our rudimentary chop-chop politics, while conservatism is in many ways synonymous with the cultural values we hold so dear that it escapes our politicians as soon as they get power.


As such, the raging question that need be tackled is simple. In 2007, along which lines can our nation be ideologically divided so that the electorates would be well served? Which candidates represents best within the pool of ‘rumored candidates’ the best hopes, fears as well as aspirations of these ideological leaning. It is these hard questions that this article would try to tackle.


For the purpose of argument, it can be decided that we shall assume only two possible ideological leanings, that while not diametrically opposed, would adequately achieve the purpose of national development given the opportunity to do so, and some check and balance from the opposing ideology without necessary destroying the fabric of the subsisting ideology (i.e. the ideology in control of political power at some point in time).


The lines along which this ideological divide has to originate from the discourse that currently dominate the polity and not some false idea of progressivism and/or conservatism. Given that the discourse of a welfarist state and its desirability or a state that gave its citizens unlimited freedom for free enterprise was what created the liberal/conservative divide of the West, it is impingent on brilliant political minds in our political stratosphere to come up with some general discourse on which a multi-ideological political construction can be built. It has already been given that we have not been able to duplicate the western ideas of liberalism and conservatism either in the moral, economic or socio-political construction of such and the effect it is going to have on our national policy in so much as to define the fabric of our nation’s morality.


There is need to therefore identify the dominant discourse in the polity that would be best suitable to be a defining line for ideological divides come 2007. It appears to this writer that ‘reforms’ appear to be the ideal ideological weeping boy for our burgeoning politics and politicians. Quite distinctly however, it is not the question of being pro or anti reformist that divides Nigeria, it is the manner in which any reforms should be approached that divides us. It is also the fact that we require reforms that unite us; as such we would be able to obtain a unifying yet ideological leaning political camp if our approaches to reforms form the benchmark in defining our ideological divide come 2007.


As the reform agenda being pursued by the Obasanjo administration is being pursued, many citizens have come out for or against the manner of implementation. One thing that is apparent is that while baba is well in favor of an all going economic reforms that has anti-corruption, free enterprise, deregulation and privatization as its cornerstone, he is virulently opposed to socio-political reforms that would see that our government is restructured, that would have down sizing of the bureaucracy, curtailment of the political class, devolution of power, emphasis of social programs like health and education as its cornerstone. This posture makes for a fertile ideological divide on which the political contest of 2007 can be built.


It is however imperative to mention that for this to be successful, the major political parties as constituted would need to be realigned. Politicians would have to do a distinct self analysis on which camp they belong to – those who put economic reform before any socio-political restructuring or the other way round. It is my belief, that Nigerians given the choice would be able to make a preferential choice at the polls, as opposed to all dress fits all politics that is being played today, that puts tribes and tongues above true and creative political programs.


The juice in this analysis that all readers must be looking forward to is the suggestive analysis on which person or candidate would best be an embodiment of these ideological divides that have been presented. It would be quite a vain political analysis to do this, but I am well watching out for the Atiku-Marwa match up. How about that?




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