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By Enenim Ubon
Nigeria’s return to democracy in 1999 came with a lot of expectations from the citizens who believed things would change and they will have a better experience of governance at all levels and also enjoy the ‘dividends of democracy’. Fourteen years after,things haven’t changed much especially in the aspect of infrastructure & general attitude of some government officials towards the governed(some act as emperors that ought to be worshiped at all times). It would be stating the obvious to say that some states in Nigeria have been rather unfortunate in the last fourteen years to have State Chief Executives who have been permanently ‘sleeping and snoring’ on duty irrespective of their political parties.
Over the years and most recently there has been an agitation from certain quarters, (also from youths on various social media platforms) for change (culminating in the merger of various political parties to form the APC, with the major aim of ‘sweeping’ the PDP away in the next general election for under-performance). While all this is a welcome development, it is rather sad that ‘change’ has been blindly tied to party names. This brings up the questions, Is PDP,APC or any other political party Nigeria’s problem? My candid answer is NO. The responses to this question by different persons maybe due to various sentiments(religious,cultural and political affiliations). I’ll attempt to further explain why I believe Nigeria’s problem is beyond a particular party with the following reasons:
a) An organization remains just a name without members. It is then safe to say that the character/activities of the members of an organization go a long way in defining what the organization stands for. Nigerians will still repeat the mistakes of previous years in 2015 if we are so carried away with the ‘PDP must go’ and ‘APC must come’ theory that we fail to look at the pedigree and antecedents of candidates of the various parties, simply because he/she is no longer of the PDP or APC.
b) The movement of persons from one party to another does not in anyway blot out the wrongs of such a person or group of persons. In the end we’ll get to realize that the character of the individual has not changed in any way,rendering his/her defection useless. After all since politics of ideology is no longer played here, cross carpeting is most times for nothing but personal reasons/interest that will in no way change the lives of the governed for good.
c) We have seen governors,senators,HOR,HOR and even local government chairmen perform well in office irrespective of their political party affiliation, while others are busy crying & screaming about how their parties have stopped them from performing their duties and improving the lives of their people.
We have seen instances where people keep moving from one party to another yet they have not been able to touch the lives of their people in anyway. Isn’t that a clear indication that performance as an elected official is not party determined but based on the individuals ability to do ‘great & outstanding’ things for his/her people. A man or woman with a dictators mind set will move to a party for democrats and will still be found doing the things he’s been conditioned and used to. “A goat will always remain a goat despite associating with lions.”
In 2014 I expect to see Nigerians discuss issues based on the facts and possibly antecedents of individuals rather than a myopic party,religious or ethnic sentiments based on hatred for a particular party,tribe or religion. This blind hatred will only lead to the same mistakes the electorates have always made since 1999.
APC,PDP or any other party is NOT Nigeria’s problem, the individuals therein are. We should “look(well) before we leap” and avoid taking sides blindly.
Enenim Ubon is a Biochemist; Creative Writer; Researcher, with particular interest in socio-economic and socio-political issues. Also, a resource person in Peace, Conflict studies and Leadership. Engage @enenimubon on twitter