I believe there is a clear difference between the politics played in Africa and what applies in the Western, Asian or other developed nations of the world. The politics and the politicians who drive them are distinctively unique and different from what applies in Africa. An effort to examine them will prove that the reasons for the failings of African politicians are not far-fetched, neither has it been hidden anyway. We know or knew these men and women and their history or their days of little beginnings.
However, when the time comes to run for office we endeavour to rebrand them or repackage them as change agents and messiahs that was never a part of their DNAs as young adults. A wise man said that “Just as the night shows the morning, so also the childhood shows the man”. People change and mature and change priorities but the real nature of a conman never leaves them.
Politics is a sacred duty and politicians who drive the processes should not be any different from that. In fact, politics which is largely seen as corrupt needs people who are found worthy; in character and integrity to sanitize the system and make it something to be proud of. Nigeria has had a history of having people who clearly have no good history to be given the opportunity to lead us and manage our commonwealth. The process and those who bring them forward know that these men of questionable character will be good to do their bidding and bidding alone.
There are no rebranding efforts of a man who is fully grown and over 4 decades old that can make much difference. You can afford to make him look good with the cameras, HD videos and campaign teasers but you cannot change the man or the heart of the man. Nigerians queue behind people that we refuse to ask questions about their history or where they are coming from. We hardly question their source of wealth and as one sitting Senator said: “why should you question a man’s source of wealth when he becomes rich when he was poor did you question the source of their poverty.” Clearly, these are words to brainwash those who don’t see behind the curtain of events that take place in our society.
Integrity, probity, values, accountability are built over the years; they don’t fall on a man in one day or four years before he decides to run for office. A man that thinks that as a young man he should not be accountable to the wife or any known authority is one to be scared of. You don’t rebrand such a person and thrust power on him because he has gone to study and found ways to say things to entice you. Oratory no longer counts as a measure of integrity or good works or being worthy to lead others. Facial expression and the passion of speech can go a long way to decide what goes in the heart of such a person but if we allow cosmetics oratory that comes from the lips or the head and give a man of flawed history power, we are doomed to suffer the consequences.
Power corrupts because the person whom it is thrust on like the politicians did not build capacity to understand that life is all about being accountable, rules, laws, regulations and that no one should be left to live or lead like the mad dog. Laws were made because without them everyone runs the risk of running wild. They are made because they are for the collective good of all but when politicians who feel these laws don’t apply to them, then no amount of rebranding can change a man who is corrupt from within.
This is a lesson for Nigerians and the citizens regarding the leaders we put at every level of our society, polity and institutions from the Presidency down to the people at the Local Government Areas. A man that comes out to run for office needs to have their history of business or public service or whatever endeavour he was engaged scrutinized. People who grew up with him and can share unbiased truths about them need to be contacted so we can know who this person is before giving him the opportunity to harness our commonwealth.
History will always be a good learning reference. A certain governor ascended office on the wave of a free education advocate and today his legacy is not in education but will be in the hoisting of statues that are irrelevant while citizens/indigenes of his state suffer from unpaid salaries, pensions, no industries, jobs and the education worse off than when he came into office. To him, he is doing something worthy that will be remembered by his state citizens and indigenes, Nigeria and Africa but his infamy has just begun and his political career is ended. Rochas Anayo Okorocha is a philanthropist whose wealth and source of his giving people hardly know about but he went into office with that goodwill and today as he plans to exit office as governor of Imo state, he feels he can do as he likes. Truth be told, he has no legacy of sustainable projects or programs, no direct impact on education, poverty alleviation or wealth creation but of disappointments among other state executives.
He will leave office disgraced and eventually into extinction and annihilation from the politics of Nigeria and Imo State. He will have no say in the politics of his LGA. No legacy, no contribution and if need be he will need to be probed for corruption, misappropriation of funds, abuse of office and state funds.