Jonathan’s Homily on Politics as a Profession By Nasiru Suwaid
When I first heard of the news or to put it more appropriately, the speech given at the Post National, Pilgrimage to Jerusalem Thanksgiving Services, especially the self contradicting part on politics, the first thought that crossed my mind, was that my president must have been possessed by the devil, to have blurted out those self indicting statement, while still standing on top of a pulpit and here my accusatory reference to the famed representative grace of satanic evil, does preclude and did not include the devilish global campaigns of calumny mounted against the president, for signing the law that banned homosexual acts, activities, relationships and marriages in Nigeria,. Which is that in doing this, he is merely following in the tradition of the fundamental characteristic trait of democracy and what every other sensible politician does to protect personal interest, being that whenever any matter eliciting the passion of the public arise, smart leaders know they must always side with the popular majority. Indeed, as it is often said, you cannot do what the Holy Scripture says is good and be bad within the realm of protecting humanity.
However, what really caught my attention on the preachments at the holy mass, was the attempt to definitively explain politics, most especially, the classification of politics as an art and a profession, which like any other vocational calling, having a standardized body of rules, regulation and a code of professional ethics, that must have fallen to abuse by its practitioners, to warrant such admonishing advice for a return to the path of sanity. But, this assertion is distinctly different from what everyone knows as a fact, which is that every vocation, craft, art and occupation, for it to be qualify and be accepted as a profession, must have been learnt in some sort of schooling system or apprenticeship scheme, that always ends with a certificate earned or tutor’s recommendations of passing the grade on the learning student. Of course, this does not question the fact that internship and interns are embedded in political of offices and to politicians. Though, it is purely to learn the art of governance, as an after schooling leadership training, to learn the rights, requirements and responsibilities of occupying a public office.
What is even more mystifying about the presidential statement in the holy house is the comparative comparison, between politics as a profession and the internationally certified fields of nursing and teaching, where he did an analysis, on why the three professions of nursing, teaching and politics are falling into disrepute, that it is because people with ‘wicked hearts and unforgiving spirits’ are predominant within the ranks of the occupations. The question to be necessarily asked is whether any data was provided to prove the claim. Unfortunately, the statement was delivered without any proof, forcing any dispassionate analyst and listener to only speculate and even go personal, by falling into an impromptu psycho analysis of the primal motive behind the statement and the unconscious mind which created such digressive ill feeling towards nurses and teachers. The most probable conclusion and projection is that the president, like most of us, has had a bad experience with a nurse, either due to one of those un-forgetful moments of a painful injection administered by an unsmiling lady in white or encountered one of their usual snotty attitudes of harassing patients.
For the academicians, it is easy to situate the reasons for the adaptation of such a position and form a likely conclusion on why the president will lay such a weighty charge on the teachers. As of all the trade unions in Nigeria, none has caused as much headache to the Nigerian government, as the membership of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, who have been having running battles with the administration since its inception and with a record of causing the longest presidential negotiation talks in history, yet even that did not cause a prompt call up of the strike, that it had to take weeks for them to return to the classroom. Of course, any negative statement by the president against Nigerian politicians is quite understandable, especially in this period of internal stripe and open disagreements within the People’s Democratic Party, where a powerful segment of the party, as represented by the governors are fighting the president tooth and nail, on who controls the anointing path to the next election and whom is eligible to continue or get elevated to the presidency in 2015.
One thing that I found most propound in the unscripted performance is the open admittance that most of those who are into politics are not supposed to be there, simply because they found themselves in leadership vocation, due to lack of having any other thing to do. Meaning, politics or being a politician is not an undertaking of choice, just like any of those trades that pay meager compensatory returns, when at least in this country, politicians receive the highest salaries in the land, collect the most outrageous allowances, endowed with best perks of public office and engage in monumental acts of corrupt enrichment. Thus, rather than being a kind of a personal sacrifice that was chosen as a last resort, politics is the aspiration of choice for most Nigerians.
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