OF INTELLECTUALS ON A POLITICAL ADVENTURE

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The ancient Greek philosopher, Aristotle could not have had his observation more valid or his judgment more accurate and pragmatic when he said that “Man is by nature a political animal”. In the long and chequered history of human’s existence, politics has played a cherishable role in the progress of diverse societies as well as an ignorable role in the destruction of some other; depending greatly on how the game is played and by who. With the advent of democracy, politics became a concept for all seasons. But what in itself is politics without the people? This is an idea that is absolutely inconceivable not to utterly say unpragmatic. This is because politics is only politics because, the people are not just merely involved, they are major stakeholder, especially in a democratic society. Although the hoi polloi generally are important decision makers in what becomes the prospects of a society, those who they appoint, select or elect into different positions to lead them are surely a cardinal factors in the accomplishment of their craving. This is the ultimate reason why leadership positions are essential and too important to be left in the hands of just the politicians, the real grounds why the people must cardinally and logically be effectively involved to decide those who wears the crown.

But who are those perfectly fitting for political positions? In sheer reality, an elementary answer cannot do justice to this demanding question, this is purely because the journey of politics is not only unending but also because there are no perfect constant pegs for the ever-dynamic and oft-changing hole of same. As I like to believe, those who are fit for a particular political position are only aptly determined by the nature, circumstances and the issues bothering the political space at that time. Being a successful politician in a political tenure does not suggest same in another. Although experience is quintessential in politics, it cannot totally fill-in for the fundamental requirements that comes with the dynamics of societal needs. Governance changes, people changes, society changes, politics changes, so also are its needs and requirements. Why it might be that at a particular patch in a nation’s history, the only elixir to their brobdinagian problems might lay in conservative principles and approach; being governed by a radical will do no good to such society.

Maybe by some means, the needs of the society are a crucial determinant in who is best fit for a political position. Regardless of the resolution that there can be no unchangeable characteristics that can perfectly identify who is best fit for a political position, one basic hallmark remains essential and indispensable, a political leaders must necessarily be a visionary and a thinker; someone who is not a sucker for mediocrity and who is sometimes a dissenter from the usual norms or approach. Any leader who therefore is impoverished of this hallowed attributes will inescapably veer the society into a fatal doldrums.

Realism has validly and unerringly established that the African political stage has been largely flooded by leaders who are indigent of this essential hallmark. In recent times, this set of persons have gloomingly and grimly steered the political fortunes of their countries towards retrogression and degeneration. Of such manifestations are those who are quick to embezzle public funds, descend the economy into the dungeons of destruction via needless borrowing from different local and international financial institutions, indifferent about the plight and predicament of the people, political intimidation and attack on opponents and the unyielding populace, breach of citizen’s fundamental human right coupled with suffering, oppression and subjugation among innumerable others happenings that radiates hopelessness and despondency for the African continent.

Joseph de Maistre, the French Philosopher of the reactionary counter revolutionary school once observed that “Toute nation a le government qu’elle merite” simply meaning “every nation gets the government it deserves”. Why many of his followers have been quick to accept this observation as truistic, the burning question is whether this observation is verifiable of Africa politics? This will necessarily include examining whether these Leaders that swarm the political scene are truly a reflection of the African people? In truth, the nature of the African people with specific regards to their intellectualism and forward thinking ability is nothing requiring of further corroborations or justifications, the fact loudly speak for itselves. Apparently, the hoi polloi who made up the African fabric are neither mental weaklings nor suckers for unprogressive thinking. They are evidently great achievers in various climes of the world. Although despite these mega-accomplishments, their various countries are still wallowing in retrogression while some are gradually slipped into irredeemable deterioration by political jobbers. In all honesty, this bag of guilt cannot be heaped on them. They are a set of people who have been constrained by the dog’s life in their various countries where there are no jobs, no qualitative education, no progress driven policies, nothing to hold on to as hope for a better tomorrow, this reality has pushed them off to diverse foreign land in search of greener and lush pastures.

Although politics and intellectualism are different kettle of fish, any successful political leader must possess the former. In recent times, there have been inept attempts by those who can be considered intellectuals to shoulder the responsibility of political leadership in Nigeria especially in their desire for the office of the presidency. While this ordinary ought to be commendable, the defect bedeviling these ambitions has thwarted any hope of success. Whilst this set of person profess as one of their basic mantra and manifesto the progress of the country; bandying around promises of economic resuscitation, employment creation, educational advancement, poverty palliation among many others which are although commonplace for political promises, there actions have whispers insincerity and non-commitment to this profession. Whilst there voyage into the political stage ought to ordinarily beam hope of progress for the common man in Nigeria, it sure appears that nothing of such is at sight. Howbeit the issue of godfatherism remains very much a force to defeat in any African politics, the sterile strategy employed by these intellectuals who are on a mission to save the society and emancipate the land is the real tragedy.

While it is not news to many (if any) as to the poverty of political ideology on the African political scene, it becomes an anti-climax when those who ought to champion its course are in a battle against its existence. For these intellectuals who are on a journey to save the Nigeria people and extendedly the Africa continent from the old school politicians, it becomes highly disappointing when rather than jointly unite to dethrone what is unproductive governance; they are at war against one another. For political pragmatist like me who believed that only a mentally enriched and visionary individual can deliver the country as well as Africa to its promise land, the manifestation of this resolution is not by any way in sight. This realism rather than expresses optimism, for the masses, radiates in its stead hopelessness. In what is political slapstick, these individuals are disorganized and disunited against one another while evangelizing their political ambitions under different strengthless and unpromising political parties. In reality, it sure won’t be long before what they are up against defeats them and their lassitude eclipses their good intentions. When those who ought to be progressive and intellectual in their approach to politics employ a strategy that is nothing but dead on arrival, anything political restitution is still far from realizable on the African continent.

As a reality check, how can a political aspirant succeed in a country with a brobdinagian population like Nigeria just by impotent social and media campaigns and “advertisement”. This is nothing but a dead duck for any political ambition in an ambience like Nigeria. Maybe to presume they are ignorant of this, grassroots politics is not just essential for such a political ambience like Nigeria, it is fundamental and foundational. Anyone who therefore attempts to solely bank his political evangelization wholly on technological platforms must either be fantasizing a political success or hoodwinking if not making a mockery of the plight of the people. How can they possibly think they will succeed just by communicating to the few rich and the middle class in the cities and urban centers? How can they pragmatically attain this magnificent grail merely premised on the usual politicking the Nigeria people are used to. Political triumph just like any other success journey demands the distinctive mark or coherence and originality. While I need not utterly restate what Einstein has unambiguously said about those who do the same thing continuously over and over again while expecting a different result, I furthermore think given their exposure, they ought not to be a slave to what they ordinarily ought to lord over.

Although I have strongly rehashed and innumerably expressed that only the Nigerian people can save the country from the manifold doom that currently bedevils its political and national life via shouldering the responsibility of resisting any form of unproductive governance, although not and never by violence, but by rising against such affront on their progress and promotion. From another similar viewpoint I morally believe that these intellectuals also owe the society the duty of ensuring its greatness. If they are therefore not doing that which is expected of them to realistically achieve this, they are either a façade of what they claim to represent or they are just in the political scene to add insult to the injury of the people. Howbeit, I am no believer in a messiah saving the Nigeria as well as African politics from this these cold hands of retrogression and stagnancy, but I also believe in the concept that whatsoever offers hope for the redemption and restoration of the people should be held on to and taken a crack at. Who knows maybe one day, this hope might transform this land of the affliction to the land of affection. Even with this, the Nigeria people must efficaciously work hard to deliver the country to progress; they must not and never depend on messianic promises and personalities for such. But achieving this is sure no child’s play, it is something that strongly requires commitment, dedication, determination and the shatter proof spirit to be emerge a conqueror.

Back to basics. It was Enoch Powell, the British politician, who once predicted that “All political lives unless they are cut off in the midstream at a happy junction end in failure, because that is the nature of politics and of human affairs”. Although I cannot decide for these intellectuals what they choose to make out of their political career, deep observation of current realism reveals an approach that is evidently barren in productivity. Although I evidently lack the jurisdiction to address the merits or otherwise of this political ambitions by this group of persons, I personally believe that anything worth doing is what doing well. I rest my case.

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