Part of my ‘getaway technique’ of coping with the myriad of Nigeria’s problems is to have healthy conversations with a few friends who share genuine passion about the state of affairs in the country. It is my opportunity to vent and shed off the burden of frustration that I live with every day as a citizen. Last week, I had a very healthy conversation with a bosom friend who is a popular face on Nigeria television and in the social media space. The discussion touched on a few ‘going on’ at the moment, more critically on the new chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Adams Oshiomhole. Inevitably, it delved into a conversation about the response and genuineness of our leaders to pivotal issues affecting ‘we the people.’ My friend put it nicely when he said:
‘The vast majority that constitute the political class have no care in the world for the suffering masses of Nigeria. I agree that you cannot change the system (to a considerable degree) unless you are inside, but, the APC today; in its composition & operation (which is reminiscent of its half-brother PDP) , does not hold any hope whatsoever for the common man. Our political system is set up to advance the selfish interest of a minority (who perpetuate themselves in power as a result of their control over the apparatus & apparatchik of state). They supplant popular interest by destroying the institutions that engender human capital development & in place; reward the people with pittance. Hunger is a powerful tool to whip us in line & keep us subjugated. I know some 'big' people in PDP & APC. You don't need to engage them in a robust conversation to know that to them: everything is politics & in politics, it's about interest. Sadly, it's their selfish interest. Greedy politicians don’t fall from the sky. They are all products of a defective system. Ours is made worse by what appears to be a helpless, apolitical & hopeless citizenry. For example, the World Health Organization (WHO) makes provisions for free distribution of insecticide treated nets to families in Sub Saharan Africa. Yet, some of our politicians collect them, then go ahead to monetize the process of distribution & stash their pockets with grants donated by donor agencies. Sadly, these political class control economic & political power. Only time will tell if we'll break free from the mental bondage which they have enthroned through ethnic & religious politics.’
As you’d imagined, it was a earful for me by the time we were done with our conversation. While running the risk of sounding like a broken record, it is true that we have our differences as people but the political class exploit and magnify those differences for their selfish interests. Their stock in trade have always been ethnic and religious sentiments. Without mincing words, politicians are the primary problem with Nigeria.
The next time you think of sticking your neck on the line for a politician, have a rethink. They have succeeded in coning the uneducated minds and have even done a fine job on some of the literate ones. The key is to be politically aware and always stand in the place of reason. We must demand accountability from our political class and be ready to call them out when we need to, irrespective of allegiance. Political loyalty is absolute gibberish in the context of the larger good. The future of this country is far more important than loyalty for any politician.