A Requirement for Political Participants

Tosan Okotie

It's okay to joust over the point that, the average American inhales salubrious air and has better quality of live than the average Nigerian, hence the political atmosphere is much more acceptable in the United States of America (USA). Otherwise what else could be responsible for the disconnect in the practice of democracy and human common sense between Americans and Nigerians? We don't have to wait for 232 years after Independence before we introduce a requirement to improve our political system because we can copy and copy the right thing at the right time.

If our great grandparents could not reason like their counterparts in American at that time, it's understood. But these days, the world had since been a global village, therefore we all have access to the same information, so why the disparity? The reality is that Americans had synchronized their political base from the onset, and since then, they had made modifications to suit themselves. The problem with Nigeria is that, the nation has no base at all, and therefore there is nothing to modify. A sordid example is the recent Mallam Nuhu Ribadu saga which is reprehensible. The actors think that, they are punishing Ribadu. Unknown to them, they are ridiculing institutions in Nigeria in a reckless manner in the name of vendetta. At least, it's now on record that a DCP Police officer graduated from NIPSS which is against the policy of the institute. Secondly, in any administrative hierarchy, the Presidency supersedes all other institutions. What we have witnessed now is that, what the Presidency conferred on Ribadu has been dismantled by a mere commission called Police Service commission (PSC) If at the age of General Obasanjo (OBJ) and his advisers, none of them had the common sense to think that, they would have asked the PSC to rubber stamp their decision at that time, then any one is correct to ask the question, how did these caliber of Nigerians got to leadership positions? Ribadu, cannot be exonerated from this mess because as a Police officer, he ought to have known and reminded his bosses to get the PSC to endorse his promotion at that time. Secondly, in the opinion of this writer, his performance at EFCC did not meet expectations because instances abound of his double standard investigations when he had the wrong notion that his destiny was in the hands of OBJ, instead of his creator, Almighty God. All these portray the incompetence of the leadership in Nigeria. However, we would not dwell on that now but to return to the topic of the day.

The nation has too many tribulations. Widespread hunger among the masses is a set-back to the nation's revolutionize political process. Nevertheless, it's time for Nigerians to know that wasted time is one resource that cannot be recycle ‘cause it's not renewable. Once it's gone, it's gone forever. On the other hand, Nigerians must use wisely any penny from oil sales because other parts of the globe are making frantic efforts to diversify from oil being their major source of energy. Rather than waste billions of naira on foreign trips to study American politics when the nation's infrastructure is in shambles, the video clips can be watched in Nigeria and the billions saved. It didn't take months for President-Elect Barack Obama, of the United States to pick committed professional who are known to large section of American society as people with infallible characters that would move America forward under the present economic recession. As such, it shouldn't take occupiers of Aso Rock anytime to get persons to implement hunger-saving monetary policy that would boast agriculture and elevate hunger. It's common knowledge that agriculture requires long term advances which the banks are not doing to the detriment of the environment in which they operate. The ultimate is to vociferously disseminate quality ideas that can rejuvenate Nigerians. It's repugnant that with the huge revenue accruing to Nigeria, Nigerians are economically the poorest on this planet. Is there any country on this planet with natural resources Nigeria has and a large portion of her citizens are as poor as most Nigerians? (Total revenue per head versus rate of poverty or any ratio suitable to evaluate total revenue and total starving/poor population).

The expectation of the masses is for the leaders to bring their esoteric skills to bear in moving the country forward. Instead of this, what is popular among the politicians is to use their rabid tongues to plot the death of their political opponents. At this point no one expects any one leader to be an epitome of knowledge, but not a neophyte as well after years of tertiary education. The leaders must be oblivious to truths and avert historical denudation & cultural degradation. After the recent Supreme Court judgment in favor of President Yar'Adua, the stage is now set for the president to finalize his electoral reformation. An improvement to the nation's electoral process would be for INEC to ensure that all political contestants are compulsorily made to watch the video clips of America's 2008 election primaries/presidential campaigns for at least 4 hours. This should be the most important requirement for any political participant. The politicians need to be educated so as to reduce political assassination which has become standard practice in Nigeria. The video clips/documentary being recommended show that few persons that could not control their lips and personal emotions from both Senators' Obama/Clinton campaign teams were shown the way out during the primaries. That in itself sent message of sanity to supporters who would otherwise could have become wild. More interestingly, was when Senator McCain, Republican presidential hopeful debunked false accusation on Senator Obama, from a female Caucasian during the campaign. Decorum demands that the minds of the politicians in Nigeria are properly educated. Thus, what you see in a movie is different from what you read in any learning process.

If the Nigerian political participants would make it loud and clear in a terse statement to their campaign managers, that they want a clean campaign, then that would be a panacea to the political process in Nigeria. Thus, the zealot ones would have no option than to repudiate violence. Because the campaign managers are docile to their nominee, who controls their daily bread, these guys must certainly run a scrupulous campaign unlike present day campaign that is run with rancor. The propensity of INEC to set the nation's foot on her electoral reform is to get Nigeria's Embassies across the United States to collate these video clips/documentary from CNN and make a master copy that will run for at least 4 hours for the political leaders to watch. To further carry the campaign to the door-steps of every one, this writer expects the churches/mosques to base most of their sermons/teachings on the scripture which taught us in the book of Corinthians, that "Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize?" These politicians occupy the front rows in their places of worship, so to support this modification from INEC in a manner that it would permeate the society, preachers in all religious groups should consistently echo this message to their congregations. For God's sake, Nigerians cannot afford to continue to live like barbaric people in this jet-age. The inadequate knowledge and narrow mindedness of the leaders is a ruin to the masses.

The essence of sports is to produce a winner. Politics is not different from sports; there can only be a leader at a time. If this rudimentary matter is clearly understood by Nigerians, then the politicians' grit would be found in their espouse(s). Those seeking local and State political offices should watch this video show at their state capitals while those for federal offices should watch this in Abuja. The certificate of compliance which must be a requirement for political registration must be signed by a senior representative of the first 3 major political parties in that area and an official of INEC. This means that the day of this educative movie, these representatives must be in attendance. Several days within a given period should be published to watch this show so that the participants have the option of whatever day best fits their calendar.

It's a concern to many Nigerians and the International community that Nigeria is like a student who ought to be at a level to appreciate the concept of quadratic equation, but unfortunately, does not even know the values of 2 plus 3 equal 5 at this time. There must be a drastic re-orientation of the people and the above recommendation would be one of the cures to the political deficiencies. 

Tosan Okotie lives in Texas, USA.

December 27, 2008