Difference between a politician and a statesman

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By Denrele Animashaun

“Look at the orators in our republics; as long as they are poor, both state and people can only praise their uprightness; but once they are fattened on the public funds, they conceive a hatred for justice, plan intrigues against the people and attack the democracy.”– Aristophanes

The Nigerian politician is indeed a unique breed, they break the mould hence it is unique breed.  For  field work analysis, I  do   believe they should  be clearly  labelled with a picture of  before  and  after attaining  the  elevated  position in  the  government  and  in  any  public domain.

Hindsight is  a  good  thing, it  would  have  helped  to  see  what  happens  to  them: they row fat, with   rosy  cheeks, expanding  girth, and slow gait. We should consider not fattening this breed for their good.  They grow  so  large  physically  and  psychologically tha they  become  so   deluded they   rave  in  self-importance  and  grandiosity.

A  word of caution to  all those  responsible for  their unhealthy  political  appointment, they get worse, they make broken promises, in fact they  never mean what they say, they  do not know  how, it  is  the pathology of  their ailment .To woo the citizens they offer sound bites and may give away a day’s meal, a small bag of rice  for your loyalty.

File photo: President Goodluck Jonathan with US Secretary of State, Mrs. Hilaryclinton During the Visit.

File photo: President Goodluck Jonathan with US Secretary of State, Mrs. Hilary Clinton during the latter’s visit to Aso Rock

Really do  not  indulge  them, it  is   really  unhealthy for their  wellbeing as any strip of  conscience they have left, they  trade for an  ostentatious  lifestyle. They are like a magpie gathering other peoples’ properties, wealth and quality of life. They grow grotesquely  huge  on their  greed and  on other peoples’ misery  while they play  first  families  and lord of the manor. With their over inflated egos, they develop a contagious bad taste   for gaucheness.

Their transformation  is  only ever complete  when they  rewrite  their  past;  no, they were never  poor, in fact they  had  this  much wealth prior to  taking office. They often    protest and swear that they have  always being  civic minded,  they  took  office  solely to  serve  the  people  and  not  the other  way  round.

I   really   do  apologise   for those  good politicians   who  are  doing  their  utmost best  to  change  this image, but  the  90% of  the  politicians  are  giving the 10%  good politicians a  bad  name.

Hilary  Clinton famously said that the difference  between  a  politician  and  a  statesman  man is ; “the   politician  thinks  only  in  terms  of  one  election  but  the  statesman, a  generation”..

For  the  sake  of  the  health of  our  politicians  do not feed  them. If  they cannot perform  they  should not  be  rewarded after all they are working. Stop indulging them and do give them access to the money jar. We  all  do  them a favour if we   refuse   to  give away  our   civic  rights and  not  vote  them in.

That is excessive pay.

“The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.”— Franklin D. Roosevelt

In  Kenya, President Kibaki has  got a fight on  his hands as  the  country’s  lawmakers  awarded themselves an  inflated retirement package  they  called  a ” send-off” package. So, why is   this   news worthy? This   move is a change from what we expect from our sub Saharan lawmakers.

Mr Kabaki,an  82  year  old  seasoned politician  has nothing to prove as this is his last time in  office; he was a former  teacher and son of a  peasant. As  you know, someone once claimed to  be shoeless and  poor to  ram  home  the fact  that he is one of  “us”.

I digress, the move  was  a last  ditch  attempt   to   curb   the  parliamentarians of an  audacious  abuse of  office  and  their  wanton  greed to hold  on  to the last vestiges  of  power.  I  mean,  not  like  they asked  for heaven  and earth, did they? Well, they asked  for  a lot this  included a diplomatic passport, access to VIP lounge in any Kenyan  airport and, for good  measure, they want a   police guard and  for  a right final send  off, they  requested a state funeral!

They did not forget the president, nor the vice president and the prime minister did they sign them up for similar package. The   Kenyan’s salaries and remuneration Commission said it was unconstitutional for legislators to set their own pay under the constitution the country adopted in 2010.

The Salaries Commission, through its chair, Sarah Serem has expressed its opposition to both Bills. The  Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Kenya chairman, Patrick Mtange, said the commission should be strengthened to enable it insulate tax payers from MPs excesses.  Excesses? Yes, it is declared that it was highly inappropriate for the lawmakers to award itself so much.Of course they have not compared notes with their Nigerian counterparts.

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