Unbundling Voodoo Politics

The inspiration of this piece came from my article published by Daily Trust newspaper on 23rd August, 2013, about eight years ago. This piece shares the same title but differs in details as well as analysis.

I first hearkened the phrase “Voodoo Politics” from Professor Wole Soyinka in 1993, when he loathed the entire system of Nigerian politics.

Politics, as they say, is about one’s conviction, one’s ideology and one’s decision on whom to associate with based on certain principles and ideologies.

Politicians would tell you that there are no permanent friends or enemies in politics but only permanent interests.

 A month is like a life time in politics, let alone a year. Politics is a game of winner takes – all, and some play their politics without any morality and forgiveness. There are just too many intervening variables in life that no one knows how they will play out. Certainly, time will tell.

I sat down quietly, meditating on the Nigerian political atmosphere and the kind of people we have around our political circle in my country today. When one considers the majority of Nigerian politicians, especially those that played some roles in the past or those that are visibly playing a role in the direction of our government from 1999 to date (twenty one years of uninterrupted democracy) in Nigeria, one realizes that they have overstayed in the corridors of power way past any safe expiry date.

We are filled with disappointment, embarrassment and despondency at the middling incoherence of the political class. We are appalled at the lack of competence, self- confidence, courage, doggedness, principle and integrity in the characters of those who hold sway in our country today; indeed, we are worried about lack of leadership ideals in those who claim they lead us.

With the names of governors that have served for one term during the military rule and also served for two terms since 1999 and subsequently served as ministers returned as ambassadors; waiting impatiently for possible federal appointment, some want to be president, one begins to wonder and ruminate whether in a country of over 200 million only these selected people have that technical know-how and capacity to serve the nation at different levels.

The thing is, with these people around our political system — it is almost unthinkable that they will solve our basic problems or bring Nigeria out of the woods. Impact, they are not anywhere near-near in capacity of delivering Nigeria out of its present predicaments. They nurse their egos and self-consciousness that give them the belief that this country cannot develop without them.

Today, we are suffering from the effects of insecurity, corruption, nepotism, egocentrism and sectarian crisis.

But a politician in Nigeria would confidently tell people that he has something to offer. A politician once told me that he joined politics because he was propelled to serve people. We have been polarized politically and ideologically.

Ben Carson once said, “We have been conditioned to think that only politicians can solve our problems. But at some point, maybe we will wake-up and recognize that it was the politicians who created our problems.”

The political party structure that we are operating today gives the politicians comfort zone. It is suffice to say that our political parties are not operating normal political system. Indeed, our political parties are nothing but clubs — a social clubs where people get position or remain in power through relationship to other people not on the basis of merit.

Our politicians consider political appointment as a substitute for dispute or a kind of settlement for loosing an election. They see it as an opportunity to deceive or shun prosecution. This is exactly what the former chairman of APC, Adams Oshiomhole said, “once you have joined APC, all your sins are forgiven.” Today, many politicians have joined APC in order to avoid prosecution. Some are pardoned and some ended up in the prison.

The lingering APC crisis started in when president Buhari backed the present governor of Ondo state against Jagaban’s anointed candidate. Since then, the crisis snowballed and took away the former chairman of the party who sided with Buhari.The crisis much later carnaged and threw Adams Oshiomhole out who sided with Jagaban.

Mr. Buhari, the less compromising figure and Mr. Jagaban are the soul, the spirit and the building blocks of APC. This party is just a coalition of various interests that came together to form a political party for the purpose of occupying political power.

It is suffice to say that APC was never a political party in a classic sense of the word. This is to say that with those objectives achieved and the other side looks forward to getting similar support in 2023 – it is certain that the current crisis would come to the front.

Ruling parties in Africa are always desperate to retain power. They will not mind using any method, however ignoble, to retain power at all costs. The question is, can we afford this kind of political system?

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In Nigeria, we have a cancerous situation, you fight one problem – get rid of the  PDP after sixteen-year and another problem grows with APC after five-year.

We must critically examine our political system in order to comprehend with the emerging realities. We need dignity and integrity in our politics.

We must prefict, anticipate and prepare for the changes in our country’s desire not continue to respond to changes forced upon us by the so called politicians.

We need change our politics different from this politics of vilification. The politics of purpose and identity offer us a platform to re-think, re-straregize and re-focus.

The world is changing and developing – we must take advantage of these changes for our own good!

A public affairs analyst from Kano

[email protected]

08036433199(text only)

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