Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Could Nigeria produce a young politician that is inspiring and innovative? Would such a person, man or woman, eventually have a chance at running the country from within the gated walls of Aso Rock - the seat of Nigerian presidential power?

This is a question that I have been wrestling with for some time now. And, apparently, a lot of other people are pondering this issue, as well. Former US Ambassador to Nigeria, Walter C. Carrington, recently concluded that Obama could never have emerged as a Presidential candidate in Nigeria. Carrington explained that politics in Nigeria is not controlled by the people, but instead by powerful godfathers who determine which individuals could rise through the ranks to eventually run for and become Nigerian president.  In fact, Carrington's description of the Nigerian political power process was akin to a basic description of a Mafia operation. He said,

"[m]any ... parties perform like our big city machines used in places like Boston , Chicago and New York . The days of corrupt machines are mostly gone."
But, apparently, those days are not long gone in Nigeria and what does that spell for the future of Nigerian 'democracy'? If the democratic system cannot produce and protect those with ideas that go against the status quo and the incumbents, then when will Nigerians truly become determinants in their own future? If veritable opposition parties cannot exist without having accusations of treason leveled against them by the party in power, then what assurance is there for those outside of mainstream politics that their ideas can have a place in Nigeria's political town hall?

Granted, 2007 was the first time that one non-military ruler passed power to another non-military leader in Nigeria's history. So, yes, one could argue that Nigeria is still 'adjusting' to democracy. But, how slowly will Nigeria 'adjust'? Will the rest of the world, and particularly the developed nations Yar'Adua and Nigerians so desperately want to catch up with (re: Vision 2020) continue to leave us in the dust? If Nigeria does not become a place where original and innovative thought is at least acknowledged, without being attributed to the devil or demonized for being 'un-Nigerian' (whatever that means), then true democracy will continue to be nothing but a drunken and unattainable dream. And the possibility that our very own 'Obamas', whoever and wherever they are, will never have an opportunity to share their insight and ideas is quite disappointing.

However, that is just my inclination on these matters. I hope to know yours.

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Saheed said...

I may be attacked for saying this, but the role of religion needs to be significantly diminsihed in Nigerian politics and culture so that we can move forward.

Jennifer A. said...

Looking at the current affairs of the Country, it will be many many many years from now before a type of Obama can arise in Nigeria.

But being the optimistic person I strive to be, yes, there can be such a person...and he or she is already born.

Anonymous said...

"Former American Ambassador to Nigeria, Walter C. Carrington, has said Senators Barack Obama and John McCain could not have emerged as presidential candidates in Nigeria." is such sad and great deficiency. We have so many Obamas and McCains but sadly the older boys club is still to powerful. And as Carrington put it, those old corrupt days are almost done but not completely gone in the US. In Nigeria, it seemed as if we are still in the 70s. Playing catch up is difficult but doable. Who is ready for a revolution?

Remi, United Kingdom said...

Yes it is possible, but I don't think for a while yet. "The house needs to be swept clean and de-junked before new flooring and furniture can be laid down" Some things (not all) things needs to be changed. But then again, I believe that even in our affliction, Nigeria can still progress and be prosperous, but it will have to take a special and God appointed person to do that! sigh...

Unknown said...

I dream of RIBADU 2011!

Femi B said...

Saheed hit the nail on one of the many heads. Separation of church/traditions and state. And also, independent media in Nigeria is not really independent. i mean people behinds need to be really exposed and criticized no matter what.This might sound radical but eliminate all those 50 and above from the government ok maybe 55 and above by any means necessary...Jerry Rawlings did it..ok im kidding oh. I dont wish anyones daddy or mummy dead.
One more thing build more prisons,law courts, pump money into the legal system.... more seasoned lawyers..judges... law enforcement officers...let THEM MAKE EVERYONE ACCOUNTABLE FOR THEIR ACTIONS. wherever there is law and order...development prevails at all levels. The "obamas" would come out or be naturally created

pinkyandbrain said...

Really,What Diference Would Our Comments Make Not That We Should Stop Caring For Our Beloved Country Since We Got Relatives Back Home Experiences All These Hiccups Afterall We're All Going Back,But Frankily Even The Light At The End Looks Like A China-Made Illumination From Afar.
We All Know Our First Generation Leaders(Politicians) laid The Platform/Template For The Corrupt Practices...Many Of Coz Have Been Scape-Goat Only A few With Their Well Developed Maradonian Skills Get Away With Their Recklessness With Our National Treasury And Insult To Our Intelligence.

Anonymous said...

Ausome comments @FemiB Saheed hit the nail on one of the many heads. Separation of church/traditions and state. And also, independent media in Nigeria is not really independent. i mean people behinds need to be really exposed and criticized no matter what. but on reading the Sun Online news below, see how you, Saheed & I are up against.
Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Marvel Akpoyibo, has been receiving applause for the rare feat of bringing down the rate of heinous crime in Lagos State.

Akpoyibo had told a large congregation at the weekend that the secret of his success in policing the state is God.
“When I came to Lagos State, the first thing I did was to hand over the security and policing of the state to God. And since then, God has taken control,” he said.

Acknowledging the calmness in the state under Akpoyibo politician, businessman and chairman of Novena Majesty Furniture, Prince Sunny Aku commended the top cop cum Barrister-at-law for stemming the tide of insecurity in the state.
While noting that insecurity cannot be totally wiped out in metropolis like Lagos, he said Lagos has witnessed a new lease of life under Akpoyibo.

“The kind of daredevilness and impunity that was displayed before when robbers literally held Lagos hostage has abated,” he said.
On his part, a traditional ruler from Abia State, His Royal Highness, Emmanuel Chiabonefu, the Avo I of Avolu Osisioma, Ngwa Local Government Authority linked Akpoyibo’s success in Lagos to the presence of divine supernatural power.

The royal father said he was impressed with the security situation he met during a recent visit to Lagos State while stating that he was moved by the police boss testimony last Sunday.
According to the Italy based monarch, “his effectiveness in crime bursting is because he has brought godliness into police work. With God, we can do anything,” he said.

Similarly, Alhaji Inuwa Muhammed, Lagos based industrialist and chief executive officer (CEO) of Jofana Ventures expressed satisfaction that Akpoyibo is a God fearing man, a trait which he brought to bear on his professional duties.
“I commended Akpoyibo for his courage. It is good to know that he is a man of God.”

I hope dear S does not mind me reposting that news here, I wanted to show the full picture of ignorance of all concerned in that news. cheers

wellsbaba said...

we all know nigeria politics is controlled,determined,masterminded,forcasted,whic other word by some interconnected sets of ooligarchy and thats my major problem....ow do we kill dis hydra headed dragon??? e.gif u kill obasonjo(im jst sayin ooo b4 dey say i want2assasinate him there is still babangida to contest with

durano lawayan a.k.a. brad spit said...

Hi Solomonsydelle,

The way you describe it, what Nigeria has is a Democracy in Form, not Substance. And no matter what number of years pass by, it will never catch up for as long as the substance is restricted by the form.

You are wishing for an Obama, a savior who inspires and innovates? Under the present set up, before he even gets to that point of being a contender, he would have already been tarnished and jaded in the process of getting there - by a system operated with unbridled corruption and oriented towards narrow self-interest.

Carrington is not being very truthful. The political party bosses determine who should be their candidate, and work in the background throughout the primaries, influencing the party base whom to support. The elected President can exercise some independence in minor instances, but in reality, all critical decisions are referred to the National Security Council, the real governing body of America. Any President who deviates or defies is eliminated - either through assassination, or removal through resignation, or prevented from getting a second term. Look closely at their political history. The military/industrial complex that Eisenhower warned about is well placed and deeply entrenched. These are the makers of politicians and military men who supply the armaments, chemicals, medicines, food, and energy... globally, and who pursue their interests through American Foreign Policy that protects "American" (read: industrialists) interest under the guise of freedom and all the noble Democratic ideals.

That's why I fear for our idol, because if Obama wins and he reverts to his original direction, he may be assassinated.

Going back to Nigeria, it is up to Nigerians to be militant to change their political, social, cultural and economic status so that an "Obama" can emerge stain free. It cannot be done by armchair patriots nor wishful thinking alone, but by involvement and participation. It cannot be done by one person, but by an entire nation who are determined to create a just and humane society. It cannot come overnight under a pleasant moon and joyful camaraderie, but by a tedious process that invokes and applies all that is noble and altruistic under a period of sacrifice.

If and when the Nigerian "Obama" comes and succeeds in taking the reins of power, he has to be assisted and supported, even guided - by the same people and those that they have inculcated such values with - who paved the way for him to get there. He should know he owes the nation to serve them well.

Nigerians have the intellect, the vision, and the desire to create such a nation under such a democracy. What Nigerians have to enhance is courage and bravery. Courage is an emotion, bravery its application. These go hand in hand.

Parodying the line in the movie "Field of Dreams"... If you build it, he will come! :-) --Durano, done!

[G@ttoGiallo] said...

You know Sol, I came to Paris in 1970 from a north-Italy industrial town - you're a curious gal and so am I. Now look at the political situation in Italy... what do you think ? We just can't progress until gang-guys like Berlusco are freely voted as leaders BY THE PEOPLE. Every country has its very peculiar problems. Keep on, maybe one day...

TheAfroBeat said...

If he's from the north, it's possible...Jk!

I'm with Durano, it has to start from the people, one by one, as our government/democracy isn't going to encourage such values in the near future. I do however think it starts with one, and grows from there.

Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

Hey you.. :-)

A fascinating question: Is an Obama possible? I'd say, yes. However, would a consistency be maintained if in power? Well, by their fruits ye shall know them.. :-)

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