In Nigeria, party coverage becomes an essential tool to rise into political prominence. You may have to become an APC man in order to be a Nigerian president. It seems there is a conspiracy theory around it. Why should it be so? What are the criteria for accepting a person in a society? Is it not the educational qualifications, how he/she is perceived in the city or village and his/ her political pedigree? Is it not by his past performance and delivery? Does party affiliation automatically qualify one in all ramifications? Social acceptance is the most qualified criterion. How he dazzles and communicates with his people. Is it the party or society that justifies him? The party you belong is what exonerates you today. The party itself should device a means for accepting persons into their party memberships and project them into political prominence.
The parties are on the watch out as well as the society. This was highlighted through Governor Umahi’s cross-carpeting from the PDP to APC and asking other Governors to join in order to be protected politically. Political parties shouldn’t just take anyone into their folds because they want to swell their political number. In Nigeria It is not PDP nor APC, but the publicized parties that speak from both sides of their mouths with sugar-coated speeches can become a visible target for those eyeing high offices. Political parties should not forget that democracy is precious and fragile but should know how to select who will head their people democratically and not drop them half way when political wolves come or at their own interest Democracy is hanging in Nigeria.
Some feel it has not yet arrived. If it has arrived, they are aping democracy. This is why things are falling apart today in Nigerian politics. It is not party politics but democracy. A party man who pays loyalty to his party does not understand the intricacies of democracy. He is only there for their party. Lack of democratic values can push him to a situation where he can alienate himself in his party and become no useful to the party and the party can disown him. These happen in Nigerian politics today. You fight for your party and when your fight is devoid of democratic values, you are betrayed by party members and treated like an outcast. We witness it in Nigerian politics of today. Those who are not ripe to participate in politics are always caught in the political web.
You need to be strong in order to enter into a party and not to be attracted to their political nuances and gimmicks otherwise you pay the price dearly. Many people who understand democracy and the power of the people they are serving are accused by their party member for not being a “party man”. For them to be a party man, they must lavish public resources on their parties and members and neglect the people that voted them in. It is a political folly to listen to political gimmicks from a party that sees itself as a political saviour of Nigeria. If you don’t join that party, you will never achieve your political goal in life. If you don’t join such party, you can’t be an Igbo president. You fail to know that to be a president, you must look presidential and have all it takes to be a president not your party packaging and panel beating you to be a president as it has happened many a time in Nigerian politics and we bear the brunt.
We seem to have the impression that the criteria that qualify zoning the presidency is changing now. There is a full stop now. It is not as usual. There are many speculations about who will be the next president in Nigeria. We hear many opinions on that. Some who have already known the zone of the next presidency are also showing interest in being the next president. We hear some truthful people from the north saying that the next should be Igbo presidency. Now is the political game time. Should the Igbos not take what is due to them now or should they allow polarization and rationalization distort the truth? Even the Igbos themselves are having some hitches among themselves. These hitches arose from their political roots and beliefs that “Igbo enweghi Eze” (The Igbos have no King) The Society is changing and old ideas are giving way to changes.
The Igbos can choose their own candidate to represent them at the centre as they are choosing Governors in their states to represent them. With regards to qualifications, the Igbos are not running short of qualified candidates with political pedigree. In this case, Mamman Daura who brought up the “competence theory” to favour the North on the ground that zoning should no longer be followed but any zone can present a candidate as long as the person is competent and qualified should understand that the Eastern Zone has many competent candidates for the presidency and should not be robbed of their zoning advantage. His idea of competence is more of a hypothesis and not a theory. It doesn’t require legal luminaries or “Babalawo” to know whose turn it is to produce a Nigerian President. It is crystal clear that it falls on the Igbos.
There should be no politics about it. In this case, democracy and justice decides what should be not Nigerians equivocating and dancing around the truth. We are expecting in Nigeria that whatever will be, will be. Nigeria should look at American politics. Americans believe strongly in democracy but Trump tried to scuttle it but could not succeed with his conspiracy theories. They saw how largely they voted for Biden because they trust in democracy. Anything outside democracy is balderdash. That was why Trump had hitches in his “America first”. He tried to brainwash his adherents and created what is indigenous to native Americans hence white Supremacist became his political gimmick and other racial slurs. With all these, he never succeeded. Once Americans believe in something, they will achieve it but it is not so in Nigeria.
That is why we are marching on one spot using democracy to cover our pitfalls while kleptocracy in fully in force in Nigerian politics which delayed our political destiny. It is not enough for us to celebrate America’s lifting of the Visa ban on our country but believing in ourselves and working assiduously to confront what makes us not to be great in our country. It is not enough to be the giant of Africa in words with nothing to show for it. We should work hard to make our country one that should be emulated and people would love to visit. There is a price to be paid to become a great nation. This is what all Nigerians should aspire to not our politicians jumping from one party to another for selfish political gains without asking what they can do for Nigeria to be a great nation. Nigeria should wake up from her political slumber and compete with the world and not being at the receiving end.
• Very Rev. Msgr. Livinus Ukah is a Catholic Priest, an Author of many books and a Social Justice and Peace Advocate.