Thursday, 31 August 2017

Political Disaster: Tale Of Do-Or-Die Politics In Nigeria By Terfa Naswem

Politics so they say is a dirty game. But such games in politics could be dirty or not depending on so many prevailing factors. Political indices have portrayed the significance of politics and how politics can alter so much of whom we are and what we are as well. But there is no one who is not at least passive when it comes to politics. There are active and passive politics which has given rise to active and passive politicians as well.

Anyone who says they have no interest in politics or does not play any part in politics is not saying the truth. Everybody on planet earth whether consciously or unconsciously participate in politics either through “receptive political language” or “expressive political language”. We may have intra-personal or inter-personal political communication. People argue with others about the political systems of Nigeria and other countries. Some may not physically engage in any argument with others on political issues, but might internally have certain feelings on the dimension certain political affairs should be done or should have been done. People may approve or disapprove of certain leaders which is still an act of politics. Some may not physically make their approval or disapproval of such leaders but would internally know whose side they are on.

Passive politics does not require the rigorous brainstorming, consultations, seeking requited favours, looking for political party platform to contest elections, seeking financial clout to sponsor campaigns and other electioneering activities as active politics might require, especially when one intends to contest for any elective post.

The moment one takes the decision of contesting for any elective post, they have chosen a part where a lot of sacrifices will have to be made, so many toes will be stepped on and reciprocation of support and favours will be taken into cognizance.  In most cases, as Nigerian politics and many parts of the world are, political godfathers are sorted for political and in some cases financial support to be solicited in which such support and favours are later bankrolled.

Political disaster is not far-fetched when the politics of do-or-die takes the central stage of political affairs. In Nigeria, do-or-die politics is not something new. Do-or-die politics as the name implies has taken many lives not just in Nigeria but in others countries where it is practiced.

Chief Olusegun Obasanjo when he was the President of Nigeria (May 1999-May2007) made treasonable utterances and actions: “2007 election is a do-or-die affair. It is either PDP or nothing”. These statements, particularly the last one have deeper meanings. The “do-or-die affair” is a dictum of a hardened armed robber who would rather die if it would be impossible for him to rob and get away with it.

There was a politician in Rivers State who exhibited the “do-or-die” spirit to win the 2003 election in his ward. This is what he said: “I have already told my people that if they do not see me back on the election day, they should search for me in only two places. Let their first place of call be the Police Station. If I wouldn’t be seen in the Police Station, they would certainly find me in the mortuary”.

The do-or-die politician lives by his words. He either wins at all cost or is prepared to die rather than see his opponent win an election.

Obasanjo’s treasonable utterance in the wake of 2007 Presidential election was: “It is either PDP or nothing”. “Nothing” definitely refers to no government: PDP was the ruling party. And where PDP fails to rule, there would be no civilian government. That is the implication of “It is either PDP or nothing”. This utterance was a clever way of telling the military to take over if PDP fails to retain itself in power.

The manner Obasanjo executed his privatization and, or monetization in respect of National Assembly Quarters and other government buildings made one to believe that he had the military as an alternative government should PDP fail to succeed itself.

What is the point of selling off National Assembly Quarters as if the Legislative Arm of Government has been scrapped? The flimsy reason for the sale was that the Federal Government was spending too much money to maintain the Quarters. Even if that would be bought whole sale, one would expect the FG to either hand over the maintenance to National Housing Authority (NHA) as a self sustaining parastatal.

The whole action was ridiculous. For no sooner had the NA Quarters been sold off than the Federal Government earmarked about N50 billion to build new NA Quarters. Furthermore, when the 2007 National Assembly was inaugurated, each Senator was paid about N37 million for accommodation while each member of the House of Representatives was given N26 million for accommodation. Incidentally, the billions paid members of the National Assembly for their accommodation was far in excess of what was realized when their Quarters were sold.

Could it be said that Obasanjo wasn’t aware of the implications? He was. Rather he decided to destroy Nigeria because the country and the people were “commodities” to be treated as he deemed fit. After all, he was the head of a Barbarocratic government where the leader is all in all, issuing out commands to be obeyed sharply.

In a colony of lunatics, sanity is an abnormality. “Do-or-die” politics flourishes in states or situations where the majority of citizens are politically insane. The few who are sane are swallowed by the majority who are insane. The Ekiti re-run governorship election was what Nigerians and the international community saw because the politically insane met equal resistance when they contested with the sane who know their right from left. The Ekitis are the enlightened State which would not be easily intimidated by the “Do-or-die” politicians.

Anytime the Military comes back to occupy the corridors of power in Nigeria, former president Babangida and those who supported or worked for the annulment of June 12th election should be rounded up and tried by the law for aborting democratic governance. In the same vein, former President Olusegun Obasanjo with all the apostles and active participants of “do-or-die” politics in Nigeria should be equally rounded up and tried by the law for uprooting the tree of democracy and contaminating the politicio-socio-economic soil and atmosphere with toxic politics known as “DO-OR-DIE AFFAIR” leading to the dead end of democratic governance in Nigeria.

If “to be most strong is right” as warned by Rossou, then the apostles of do-or-die politics lack moral rectitude to condemn armed robbers, militants, kidnappers, assassins, Boko Haram, the National Assembly, Federal Government and military coups in Nigeria or elsewhere in the universe.

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