The Nigerian Political Model: A Persona Yet to be Made.

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I am a Nigerians. And like so many other Nigerians, I constantly profess to be proud of my country. Even though sometimes, I have to scratch deep on the rough surface to find something on which to hinge this unequivocal profession of patriotism upon.

As a matter of fact, what opines themselves in the realm of my musings are often the chaotic states of our socio-political and economic history. I have traveled to a more advanced country of the world. And like a folk in the Plato’s Allegory of the Cave who was able to step out of the abysmal obscurity into the wider horizon of universal knowledge, I have been able to see several weaknesses which Nigeria is yet to emancipate herself from.

This beautiful country, this great nation, this golden plume of African pride has continued to be an unsolved riddle in the minds of millions of her citizens. Obviously, development is retrogressive, not progressive. And this retrogression of movement plunges a nation of people to the hopeless bottom which the rest of the world called ‘backward nation’ or third world nation. I cringe when people refer to my country as backward. But in the absence of beyond-the-reasonable-doubt of these nomenclatural expressions, one is forced to be realistic—that my country though great, is backward.

Nigeria, as the artificial creation of the British Empire is yet to take a concrete being. In a more philosophical or rather metaphysical concept, ‘being’ is the first principle of existence. A thing has to be before any other attribute is attached to it. For instance, a tree has to be (exist) before it is huge or tall or its leaves could be green. Someone has to be (exist) firstly before a name is attributed to him/her or before he/she could be said to be white, black, tall or short. Without going much further into the abstract philosophical concepts, I would like to affirm that ever since the creation of Nigeria, she has never taken a concrete existential form. She has remained on the level of artificiality owing to the mechanics of its British creation.

The sequence of events in the history of the country indicates that the different ethnic groups within the geographical enclave are yet to merge harmoniously as one nation governed under one law and one government. Tribalism and its nepotic affiliations is the very divisive catalyst that tend to dissolve the essence of the country into absolute nihility. A people who do not see themselves as having one common purpose can never maintain a functional common government. To borrow an idea from the Americans, the Nigerian ‘union has not been perfected’. What union am I talking about here? It is the union of ethnic amalgamation. The Nigerian unity is still schizophrenic.  Owing to this, there has never been any meaningful progress since she gained her independence. Tribalism is more appealing to so many than nationalism. And that is why any progressive initiatives quickly disappear into ethnic and selfish camps.

Biafra attempted to secede. And as many would think, she is guilty of orchestrated ethno-chauvinistic attempt for the destruction of the entity called Nigeria. But, in my own opinion, other ethnic nations, in as much as they dance alongside religious, tribal and cultural camps, to the detriment of the existence of Nigeria as a geographical sovereign entity is as guilty as Biafra was when she nursed to idea to break of.

Well, the problem with Nigeria’s lack of apparent vision for both her citizens and her future is based on its lack of unison within her diversity. It does not mean that Nigeria has to maintain a homogeneous socio-cultural and ethnic philosophy. What it means is that Nigeria is yet to lean to value and respect her diversity in a healthy way that would promote collective growth. The diverse religious, cultural, ethnic and ideological heritages ought to come to a point where mutual understanding becomes the case. There should not be an attempt to ‘superiorize’ or ‘inferiorize’ a one-way point of view within a nation as diversified as Nigeria is. Thus multi-culturalism and pluralism should be the catchphrase of those who lead other in Nigeria.

There is an apparent reason why Nigeria has not gained a true federalism spirit since its independence. There is the issue of lack of a very strong leader. I mean a leader not a ruler. With due respect to those who had contributed chips by holding political offices both in the past and in the present, I wish to say that most of the people who have been at the helm of affair in Nigeria political annals are weak—weak in the sense of lack of surgical precise nationalistic spirit. I am not a fan of the military dictator of Nigeria. But everyone knows that every dictator, even though they claim to be brave and strong is actually a cowards whose cruel actions emanates from deep-seated fear of the unknown enemies.

Nigeria today, just as in the past, is in search of a strong political persona or model. The inception of strong political characters into the steering of national affairs is what is needed to bring the desired dream that the country is looking for. In the true sense of political ideologists and strategists, Nigeria has none. Those who mastermind the way the country is run are bereft of good characters, insight and strong leadership personalities. They are also drowned deep into the dirty swamp of partisanship in is different facets. They did not go into politics because they have socio-economic or political philosophy with which to use and revolutionalize the plights of the ordinary citizens. They simply went into politics because it was seemingly the only gateway to economic oasis, pointless social status and vain inflammation of primitive sense of self-respect.

How many Nigerian politicians even read and understand the bases of the Nigerian constitution? How many of them are strong thinkers, philosophers and political ideologists? How many even understand the rudiments of politics and economy especially within the new global configuration. How many of them operate within a defined vision and dream? Many are semi-illiterate, timid and dreamless. Thus they lack the basic conceptual grasp and analysis of the constitution of the human society, economy and government.

Sometimes it awakens a sense of jealousy in me to see how functional the most advanced societies are. And as a Nigerian patriot, I often wish my country too would be as developed as the others around the globe. Sometimes I would also wish my beloved country, Nigeria, would be as fast developing as the South East Asia. But a proper reality check reveals the obvious—the country has humongous problems of leadership weaknesses.

As far as the political arena is concerned, there is yet to emerge a savior. And so the people will still live in glooms and confusion. But has Nigeria no one to step up and tackle the bull by the horn? Well, there are so many disciplined, well intentioned, well informed, well studied and folks with strong leadership personas. The problem is that the good do not want to marsh themselves into politics especially the kind obtained in Nigeria. So many of these well groomed Nigerian people have taken refuge in the Diaspora, and even those who did not flee are laid-back to go into politics. As a result, gangs of political ruffians patrol the arena with no apparent vision to move the country forward.

As a Nigerian, I have searched for a role model in the political dais of the country and finding none. It is so depressing. None that is so brilliant and inspiring. There is none who is a strong thinker and political philosopher. The only models I was able to locate in the Nigeria political achieve are the gone-by legends and nationalists— the likes of Awolowo and Zik and all the breads of those periods. They were dreamers and politicians in the pragmatics sense. They were well read. Thus they were intellectuals. They understand socio-political and economic issues confronting the people and they advanced initiatives to handling them.

 Sometimes I dream of a strong non-tribalistic figure emerging in the present Nigerian politics. He would be vision oriented, a nationalist, strong-wiled, highly innovative, an intellectual, non-corruptible, practical, non-authoritarian, who values liberty and freedom, maintains a progressive bilateral international alliance, highly opinionated and respected around the world, transparent, a strategizer, very judicious in coordinating the citizens to respect the rule of law and order, proactive in alleviating the people’s predicaments, and a dreamer of a kind. It is only such a leader who would be able to co-ordinate the macerating state of the Nigerian nation into a comprehensive whole and functioning component.

Such leader would be ‘a man of the people’. He is not bound by tribal and religious chauvinism. Thus he would be able to challenge and defeat the numerous vicious sub-structures mitigating against meaningful progress or development. Of course, such a strong willed leader will sure to accrue enemy from the power that be. But because he stands for the common and voiceless people (who are the majority and who love him) and fights for a right cause, he would succeed against the divisive and unjust structures and odds.

Any leader that should emerge as great in Nigeria would be one who would able to speak convincingly to the moral reasons of the heterogeneous ethnic groups in a more inclusive way. This is because; the Nigerian unity is very shaky based on the fact that lots of ethnic nations that composed it feel completely alienated. So the new Nigerian leader is the one that is unbiased, fair, sensitive, practical and open to reasonable counsel.

Until such a ‘Man of the People’ emerges out of the rubble of the present political confusion, Nigeria would still be a crippled nation and the mockery of the world in this 21st century. The point is not how the cat would be belled but who is courageous enough to stand up for the task and bear the risk of a great Nigeria leader who not only united the country in a more existential way but initiated a period of rapid growth and development of the country.


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