The Upper Crust

Our Politics: People should not fret


With Uche Nnadozie

I don’t know why people fret or complain when our politicians moving from one party to the other. It’s stale, there is honestly nothing wrong with it. Politics is a game. In a game you have to deploy strategies, make plans and hope to win somehow. It doesn’t matter the time the goal is scored in a football game even if it is the last kick of the ball that gets into the net, they will not restart the match simply so that the losing team can find a way to score. It is a 90 minutes sport, I mean football. There are occasions where it extends to extra time and even penalty kicks. It is the same for other sports, they have their rules.
In politics, there are rules too. So long as you follow the rules, even if it is the last minute of the end of submission of nomination forms, you are still on the side of the law. If you meet the time set by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, you will contest the general election and if you win, you win. Nobody will begrudge you that you are a defector. Nobody will withhold your win on the basis of last minute submission of nomination form. Also, politics is about interest. People should quit being too emotional. Well, I can understand. It is difficult to divorce emotion from human beings. Ok, folks should be less emotional by applying some logic.
Politicians themselves have outgrown emotions in very many ways. That is why they win. You have to put aside emotion, use your brain to figure out your interests, factor in your plans and go for the position you wish you can win, all things being equal. That is why politicians measure their capacity against what’s on offer. I can’t jump up today in spite of whatever I think I know and say I want to be president of Nigeria for example. It is not because I do not have something to offer or that I can’t hold my own, but the truth, logically is that I can’t win based on my own efforts alone. I need to sit down to craft a message. Oh, well, I need to bring people together first. With these people, we need to develop the kind of message we wish to use to woo people in my party; before we even create messages for the larger Nigerian populace.
Another thing is that with my people, we need to figure out the best platform to run on. What’s the political party? In Nigeria, we think less of what the party’s programme is. We look at the kind of people in the party, the spread of the party and how possible it will be to get major stakeholders in the party to buy into my candidature. Please, I am not saying all the parties are the same. No! The parties are not the same. The difference with parties in better developed political cultures is that they have come a long way as such folks have been able to narrow their interests and personal cultures against political ideologies. In our case, we see parties as election winning machines first before we think about ideologies. The ideologies are there, but we focus on winning elections, and to me that is the reality. And there is nothing wrong with it.
Those who form breast pocket parties are folks who do not want to engage. They feel they know it all and think that the bigger parties will corrupt their ideas. Well it will seem they will die with those ideas. You need to engage to win. You need to plan and strategise. You can’t plan to win in a 10 meter pond when Nigeria is an ocean filled with sharks, crocodiles, hippos, etc.  You don’t win election based on your personal ideologies alone. You must sell it, and the nation must buy it. In fact, small parties can win small elections. Why not concentrate on that. Why should a Sowore not concentrate on a House of Assembly or Reps seat instead of wasting his time and resources on a presidential run that he will lose anyway? Why isn’t Moghalu running for senate instead of thinking that what he’s currently doing will earn him Aso Rock?
Thinking that things are bad isn’t bad, but what is bad is thinking that jumping into a political run in an unstructured society like ours and speaking English is enough to win. You make it look like every other person in the bigger parties know very little. The bigger parties have some of the smartest folks around. Don’t get it twisted. Think deeper. Looking at some of the activities in our political space in the last several weeks, observers will usually think that the world is coming to an end. They abuse politicians who cross from one party to the other calling them all manner of names.  No, don’t bother yourselves. Politicians will always move if they want to win elections. If you are in a hole, will you not want to climb out, especially if offered a rope or ladder?
Logically not all defectors will achieve their aims. Don’t cry for them. That is life. That’s why it’s a game. They knew that there can never be a stalemate in this game. Like in football, a winner must emerge. Politicians typically go into another electioneering mode for the next prize maybe in four years time. They may deceive you to keep crying for the loss of today, but their eyes are already fixed for the next election. As Nigerians, that’s the attitude we should encourage.
Four years isn’t a long time in the life of a country. It’s nearly four years again since the last election in Nigeria. As INEC has declared the field open, let the deftest win.

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