APC: Redefining Nigerian Politics By Idris Evuti
Politics in human is natural, but being driven by passion and interest. However it entails different meaning to different people and societies, respectively. Politics has been used worldwide as a means to an end, and vice-versa. In essence, politics is about power and authority. And central to power and authority is the legitimacy to control and distribute resources. Hence personality clash, ethno-religious crisis and class antagonism becomes inevitable. Sadly in Nigeria politics is largely seen as an assemblage of the cons, a comfort zone for the morally bankrupt and a mysterious fertile ground where you reap what you never sow.
For those who see politics as a game: the rules are changing. While those who call it a venture; the market forces of ‘demand and supply’ are becoming more visible. Not longer business as usual. Historical records on Nigerian politics, suggest that the politics of the Second republic seems the most interesting. But, I bet, from the foregoing current political events, possibly this phase of the fourth republic will be more interesting than that of the second republic. Because of the way and manner the political parties and politicians are “fiercely” bracing up against the 2015 general elections.
The registration of the All Progressive Party (APC) last year, by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is fast changing the scripts in the Nigerian political theatre. APC is giving new meaning to politics in Nigeria! The party (APC) has since its emergence taken-up its responsibilities, as the leading opposition. Equally, the party has also challenged the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), to wake-up to its responsibilities, as the ruling party.
Recent events of the opposition: specifically that of the APC signifies a breakaway from the traditional politics of opposition in Nigeria. Where opposition political parties only surface prior to elections and then disappear immediately after elections. Put differently, opposition parties are now consciously assuming their roles in the society. They are waking up from their slumber.
For example the directives by the APC to its members in the National Assembly to block all executive proposals, including the 2014 budget, is to a larger extent healthy for our democracy. This is because the opposition are not supposed to only occupy the backseats, and be mere spectators. They are also required to act beyond criticism, by taking decisive and proactive measures in contributing towards bettering the lots of the citizens. The face-off between the governor of Rivers state and the state’s former commissioner of police was capable of triggering instability. Not only in Rivers state, but the nation at large. God forbid. But with the intervention of the APC, through the directives it gave its members in the National Assembly. Now the citizens of Rivers state have known relative peace.
Again in last year, Nigerians are witness to the commendable example shown by the APC governors, when they visited the crisis prone states of Borno and Yobe in the North-east. Their visit no doubt prompted the presidency to follow suit. This is the beauty of a competitive democracy.
In an ideal democracy, the opposition serves as the ‘watch-dog’ of the society. But, lo and behold, when the APC took-up the challenge of breaking the jinx of weak politics of opposition; some people, who by their actions, are anti-democracy, but, disguising in “democratic” clothes, used all sorts of unwholesome labels against the APC.
A true democracy goes beyond elections and voting – periodically. The presence and activities of the opposition parties, among other factors; put democracies to test. Since politics is a game of means and approaches, then democracy should be a system with alternatives.
As much as I am an advocate of a ‘competitive democracy’; I detest the habit of incessant carpet-crossing of most of our politicians. The names of the former Vice-President, Atiku Abubakar and Sokoto state Governor, Attahiru Bafarawa respectively, are almost synonymous to defection. The duo have served as bad examples, especially to the younger generation (youth), in terms of politics of ideology and integrity.
Party members are responsible for the kind of parties they have. No matter the lofty ideas, and manifestoes on which political parties are built upon. The underlining factors for having strong political parties are: the extents to which party members adhere to party constitution and other democratic principles. While on the other hand the ability of the party to enshrine fairness and equity among party members, and ensure internal democracy.
Another effect of incessant defections on Nigeria’s democracy is that: candidates in elections are often seeing as different entities from their various political parties. This is because the populace have lost confidence in the credibility of the various political parties. What you often hear from the Nigerian electorates is ‘I don’t support any political party, I only support candidates’. Largely because most of the political parties in Nigeria are ‘same wine in different bottles’. As argued by Jude Ilo, in his article: the tragedy of defections and valueless politics in Nigeria, the only difference between the APC and PDP is their nomenclature.
The citizens of Nigeria have voted along ethnic, religious and sectional lines in the past elections. But with the coming of APC; Nigeria is indeed headed for the better. In the near future, political parties will be compelled to deliver dividends of democracy. Because performance will be the most reliable, means of winning the hearts and minds, of the electorates.
Idris Evuti tweets on :@idrisevuti
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