By Sunny Ikhioya
For there to be peace and order in the society, the collective do subsume their individual freedom under one body that will provide for the overall interest. It started centuries ago through customs, traditions and enthronement of divine kingship. Overtime it has taken several modes and forms, the latest of which is democratic ruler ship. This is a process where who gets to rule is determined by the absolute majority of the people. It is tritely referred to as ‘the government of the people, for the people and by the people.’
Not everyone agrees on a common path to governance. That is why we have ideological groupings like the communists/socialists who believe in collective sharing as against the capitalist/conservatives who believe that you benefit according to your input. We have the welfarist/labour/democrats who are, sort of, in the middle of the divide and believe in the dignity of labour and a portion to all of mankind.
Parties are formed along these divides and come rain or sunshine, people stick to the ideology of the party; they stay put, whether they win elections or not. Yet, they meet regularly, plan and strategise on how to win over the people and when the people are dissatisfied with the status quo, they try the party in the waiting, that is when upsets are recorded.
In the US the republicans have just routed the democrats in the November elections for national assembly membership. When they lost the presidential election of 2012, they did not sulk or jump ship; those who participated and lost congratulated the winners and then went back to strategise. Today, the Republicans are back in control; that is the beauty of democracy.
It is over 15 years now that the present civilian dispensation took off, with much expectations and yearnings after the serial blunders of various military regimes. Fifteen years is a long time in the life span of an individual and even of a nation. For most professions, 10 years experience qualifies you to the top level.
After 15 years, our political structure is still floundering. The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, is the party in government and anything that affects the PDP invariably affects the government and by extension, all of us. That is why I fear for the PDP and for all of us.
The PDP sets the standard of politics in Nigeria and with the standard they have set, every other party is copying from them. People come together without a common purpose, ideology and dream for the country; it is an all comers affair, that is the way of PDP and the All progreseeives Congress, APC, has caught the bug.
Ideally, every party must have a stand or say in all aspect of governance; in some places, they call it ‘shadow government’; the focus is picking holes, howbeit objectively, at the activities of government, without rocking the boat, bringing out the weaknesses of government and offering a better alternative.
Today, because of the way that we have managed our politics, the country has become more divided along ethnic, regional and religious lines, as against, ideology and party manifesto. There are no democratic structures along ideology and party line from the grass roots to the top; that is why there is confusion anytime an election year is around the corner.
After 15 years, this should not be the case with Nigeria; because of the confusion created by politicians, a major crisis- Boko Haram- that everyone is supposed to view at from one prism, has been blown out of proportion by the activities of our politicians and today, everyone is running helter skelter, the politicians having not learnt any lesson.
I fear for the PDP because after so many years in government, it has been unable to set up proper democratic structures for smooth transition and propagation of the party’s ideology.
I fear for the PDP because, looking around now, I cannot find the youths of yesterday who are supposed to be leaders of today. All that I see are septuagenerians and octogenerians dictating the pace of the party. Whereas, in other parts of the world they have handed over the baton to the younger generations.
I look around PDP and I see dissatisfaction with the status quo: in Rivers, Bayelsa, Delta, Oyo, Kwara and many other states. Why is this rumour that the First Lady has interest in who becomes governor in some of these states? What concerns the First Lady with the politics of these states? If the party has been well structured and institutionalised, such rumours will not crop up.
In a democracy, it is the people that decides. Why will the collective of PDP members not subject themselves to the common will of the people? Why must there be imposition? Why should state governors be dictating on who takes over from them? Is that how democracy is practised? Why should party structures be left in the hands of state governors? Why should senators and members of the House of Reps not subject themselves to the democratic will of the people? Why should they be given automatic tickets? Are they not supposed to render account of their stewardship to the people? Why must there be imposition of candidates based on directives from the top? Why is everybody afraid of playing clean politics?
The whys are many but the correct answers to them will determine the future stability of the nation’s politics. The people in positions of authority must not think for themselves alone, they should remember tomorrow.