Dear Nigerian politician,
It is difficult to wish you a happy new year as starting a year with the realization that the problems confronting the nation, Nigeria, are still with us could be demoralizing.
As you may know, participation in politics in Nigeria demands being a member of a political platform by virtue of our constitutional dictate. Without joining a political party, it is impossible for any aspirant to get into political office in Nigeria to realise his ambition, since independent candidature is alien to our Constitution. To this extent, you need to be a politician to contest. This does not imply, however, that you must be a politician to participate in the political process. You can exercise your franchise in the elections without necessarily joining a political party.
However, if you want to influence the candidate of a political party or contest as said earlier, you certainly must become a politician. In the class of these politicians, however, are those who are into one vocation or the other and are just interested in the good governance of the country. These days, current politicians are what the Yoruba refer to as Ojelu (looters) as opposed to Oselu (politicians). As I address this point, do not take offence but you can imagine where your acts and omissions have placed you in the divide, whether you are an Oselu or an Ojelu. The Ojelus thrive on thuggery, material politicking and manipulation of the electoral and judicial processes. They don’t believe in manifestos or any ideology. They lack programmes or policies they intend to prosecute, should they be availed the opportunity of serving the nation.
Due to their escapades, the country is what it is today, as they must amass wealth to the detriment of the masses, perpetuate poverty to dominate the conscience and consciousness of the people, and promote discord among the various peoples in the land in order prevent cohesion in the national consciousness of the masses.
On the other hand are the Oselus, who know that the current situation of the country is devastating to national or individual development or progress. They cannot boast of the situation, certainly not proud of it. Unfortunately, among Nigerian politicians, the Oselus are not many within the class. There is huge deficit of this category of politicians in the political parties.
The laws, policies, attitudes and idiosyncrasies have made these noble individuals mere vegetables in the political terrain. We certainly need a change of attitude in all ways as we approach the political season in 2022 (as governorship election holds in some states) and 2023 for the general elections. In my view, the actual and real political year is 2022, not so much of the 2023 general election. Those who know that they cannot run their homes among your mates, much less any office, should, please, spare us further agonies of misgovernance. These are the people who have never done any business in their lives successfully. Ordinary pure water business they cannot do successfully. When asked what their profession is, they shamelessly enthuse “I am a politician.”
My friend, go and look for a job. You should not aspire to run our affairs. Those who do not understand the demands and requirements of good governance should not approach electoral contest. These are the clueless ones that search for appellations such as (dis)honourable, excellency (Disaster) to cover their inadequacies. Those whose morality is challenged must avoid vying for any political office as our values and morals are sufficiently debased already and do not need you to cremate same for us. Those whose mental stability is questionable must avoid contesting for any political position. Enough of erratic misconduct in our public affairs. Those with health challenges must spare us the gory macabre of the past where leaders govern from infirmaries only for their cronies to take our future and welfare for an open sesame to illicit wealth. Money-miss-road politicians must search for alternative vocations to engage in, rather than politics. Please, be guided to invest in other much-needed ventures than politics.
The country is fatigued of political mercantilism. For those that are still bent on the contest, please, do not pollute further our political space with your ill-gotten wealth. In your interest and that of the nation, material politics must end. The time is ripe to eschew parochial politics. Campaign on your strength and capabilities and not on undue sentiments and appeal to mere emotions. It is imperative that you, politicians must desist from using other people’s children as political thugs while your own children are ferried abroad to receive baccalaureates. More than ever before, politicians must embrace the fear of God in their conducts, remembering that only God empowers and no one else.
Dr. Banire is a Senior Advocate of Nigeria.