In our dear Nigeria, there is not much of a difference with regards to politicians and their disappointments.
“In Mexico, an air conditioner is called a politician because it makes a lot of noise but doesn’t work very well.” This quote by British historian Len Deighton, always leaves me laughing every time I see it. A lot of Nigerians can definitely relate to that quote, both on the part of the politicians and of course with the heat and humidity, on the part of noisy air conditioners too.
But I do not think that quote is enough to describe Nigerian politicians. They are more like commercial sex workers here. They owe their loyalty to no one; not even to their pride or private parts. They sleep with any and every one who pays the highest and is most likely to give them instant results; regardless of whether the sex is good or not. Once one customer has stopped paying, they move on instantly to the next lucrative customer.
Politicians around the world hardly have great reputations.
There is a general consensus that they usually do everything to get elected and then get into office, only to forget all their promises. Even the universally loved President Obama, is going through his own trying times, with Americans wondering what has happened to all his promises of utopia.
President Nelson Mandela was probably one of the most sought after presidents by his people. The day he got elected, South Africans believed everything would suddenly turn to gold since the chosen one had finally taken his rightful place. But his 5 years in office, though mostly corruption and drama free, was hardly the best years for South Africa. A lot of blacks remained unemployed and poverty did not seem to get reduced for the most part. But even as most South Africans were disappointed, their love for the ‘Mandela persona’ as against the ‘President Mandela’ was enough for them to still embrace the elder statesman.
In our dear Nigeria, there is not much of a difference with regards to politicians and their disappointments. If there were any at all, it would be that politicians get elected into office without necessarily telling us what they want to do for us in the first place. Worse is that all the parties are equally poor and offer no options for Nigerians to pick and choose from.
For some reason, all the political parties seem to like to implode at the same time. Just as the PDP is going through its leadership crisis, the ANPP is engaged in a public blame game between its Chairman and Governors. At the same time, the founder of the PPA is at loggerheads with his elected party members. Not to be left behind, the ACN is constantly accused of being undemocratic, gradually becoming the poster boy for the imposition of candidates. All these while the young CPC and supposedly progressive APGA are forever factionalized.
But the issue I find the most disturbing, which for me also sadly mirrors the reason why the politicians never feel like they owe their allegiance to Nigerians, is their penchant for jumping ship at will. I do not understand what this political party hopping is all about. Even prostitutes who change partners at will, do so in the dead of night and pretend to be decent in the daytime when every one is watching. The public whoring by Nigerian politicians is on a totally different level.
People have no shame and see no reason why they should not be with the winning party at every point in time. While politicians in other climes may have a policy of loyalty to a party or to the citizens, the motor with Nigerian politicians is to be where they will most likely get their pockets lined.
The cycle is funny. First of all, every one wants to be a PDP member. They go and try it out. Then they lose elections or get cheated and stifled by the many godfathers there. They then run away either to form their own party or to join one of the other established parties; who of course are the same as PDP only with a different name. They spend about 2 or 3 years there, berating the ruling PDP and talking about how corrupt a party it is and how they intend to change things for the better in their new parties. Then elections start approaching again and they look at their parties and realize that winning any meaningful elections with these glorified parties would only be a pipe dream. So they organize a rally again and get welcomed back into the PDP with their even weirder followers and talk about how they want to come back and restart a romance with their first love. But once the elections are done again and they get sidelined, we all know what happens…
Come down to the state level and just change the PDP’s name to whatever party is in charge there, and you have the exact same scenario playing out. Every former PDP member is now in the ACN in Edo State. Same way they have all joined the CPC in Nasarawa State. Go to Imo State now and you’d think no other party but APGA exists. It’s a shameless cycle.
Politics based on ideology obviously doesn’t exist here. In advanced democracies, you cannot be a conservative thinker today leaning far to the right only to jump ship the next day and declare yourself a liberal with a sudden leftist ideology, just because you want to suit your political ambition.
Ultimately, Nigerian voters are the ones who need to wake up.
As long as we continue to condone political prostitution, it will continue to thrive. When we do not ask questions of these politicians who see nothing wrong with changing parties more times than our First Lady changes outfits, then we have no right to complain.
Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.