The Coquettish Politics
By Jerome-Mario Utomi
Coquettes, according to Robert Green, the author of; The 48 Laws of Power, are experts at arousing desire through a provocative appearance or an alluring attitude. Their strength lies in their ability to trap people emotionally, and to keep their victims in their clutches long after that titillation of desire. This is the skill that puts them in the ranks of the most effective seducers.
All of the tactics of the coquettes, he submitted, have been adapted by political leaders to make the public fall in love. While exciting the masses, these leaders remain inwardly detached, which keeps them in control.
Without a doubt, this, in my views, is not new theory, concepts or frameworks. It is a habit of mind and modes of thinking that politicians acquire through practice to help their creative power and improve their winning strategies. However, what made such practice newsy in Nigeria lies in overt factors that helps it thrive.
Fundamental is the masses non-recognition that ‘timidity has no place in the realm of power’. The second stems from the first and nourished by the people’s lack of understanding that ‘the man who creates the law makes an indispensable contribution to the nation’s greatness. But the man who questions power makes a contribution just as indispensable as the person that creates the law-especially when the questioning is disinterested. For it is in questioning the nation determines whether we use power or it uses us’.
To shed more light on this piece, Nigeria is a vast country with vast problems that disrupt its progress. Such challenges includes but not limited to; bad leadership, corruption, insecurity, unemployment, and lack of energy.
Yet, in the face of all these challenges, politicians- who are the real architects of the nation’s real and imagined woes find it easy returning to their position via electoral victories despite the masses persistent and sustained complaint before the election about below average performance on the part of the public office holder.
Let’s turn to more concrete regrets of such politics.
At some points, Nigeria as a country once delivered food to many countries of the world suffering from extreme poverty and hunger; Nigeria once took front line position in conflict resolution in foreign countries. But today, we are riddled by ethnicity, nepotism; tribalism and religious sentiments. We have suddenly allowed our dreams to draw away as the nation is presently counted as the poverty capital of the world. And no one is asking questions.
Such development in the estimation of politicians are of less importance for discussion because they have fractured our nation’s geography into polarized ‘ethnosyncrasies’ and idiosyncrasies, all of which have led to agitations of different sorts and capacities. These have disjointed the amalgams of the country and made the nation that was once called ‘The Giant of Africa’ now be referred to by friends and foes as a ‘wobbling tripod.
While I sympathize with Nigerians for this sloppy development, it is important to underline that ‘when leaders are not held accountable for serious mistakes, they and their successors are more likely to repeat those mistakes’. So, the growing chaos and violence in the country should not have come as a total surprise.
In a similar coquettish style, “youths are the leaders of tomorrow’’ has become a form of a mantra in this clime- sermon by our leaders that we can describe as a gospel without the truth. They preach this without taking pragmatic steps to develop or design strategies that will help it see the light of the day. It has become an concise tales that revolve round a particular plot construed around the electioneering campaign, with the sole aim of achieving electoral victory.
In most cases, it becomes more of a slogan or ant tomorrow” till the next electioneering campaign. And the cycle goes on and on. This has been the grim fate and burden which successive generation of Nigerian youths has grappled with since 1960.
It becomes even more disheartening when one sees these youths relegated to the background in the scheme of political and socioeconomic affairs of their nation, perform and celebrated at the global stage.
Today, in each of these cases, there are also reasons for concern this time around that what we are experiencing may no longer be the first half of a reoccurring circle, but rather, the beginning of something new and different.
As noted in a recent report; Nigerians must ask why is it that a nation with best military is now unable to combat terrorism, armed robbery, kidnapping, cyber crimes and several other insecurities in the country. How did our currency of 0.68 naira for one dollar crashed to N420 and even N500 at some point? How did we become the corruption hub of the world? Why are our leaders only serving their personal interest rather than national interest? Why do they refuse to live up to the true meaning of the public offices delivered to them by their constituencies? Why are they always the first to neglect the rule of law?
Within the context, the answer lies in the fundamental recognition that here is a country laced with leadership system devoid of accountability, transparency and accuracy. And before a real solution can be proffered, we need as a nation to find and understand the sources of the national problems without losing sight of the real and lasting meaning wrapped in the lesson.
Take youth’s unemployment challenge as another example. It is globally acknowledged that for a nation to move forward both politically and socio-economically, the leaders must demonstrate esteem for talents, actively encouraging able men, and honoring those who excel in their profession. In addition there is the need to encourage their citizens so they can go peaceably about their business, whether it is trade, agriculture or any other human occupation. But this is not so on our political shores.
What the above tells us as a country is that as a nation, we are poor not because of our geographical location or due to absence of mineral/natural resources but because our leaders fail to take decisions that engineer prosperity. And we cannot solve our socio-economic challenges with the same thinking we used when we created it’.
To explain; if the government has done anything substantial in this direction, Nigerians will not have to look very far to see the impact. And my concern is not what the federal government intends to do or is capable of doing. Rather, my apprehension is about what they are presently doing, and if it’s in the best interest of the Nigerians.
Aside from the fact that youth unemployment has put us in a position of appearing before the world as a people that lacks a plan for their future leaders, the situation impels the watching world to conclude that the government is unmindful that youth unemployment comes with challenges that cut across regions, religions, and tribes. Of which such has in the past led to the proliferation of ethnic militia as well as restiveness across the country.
Finally, the truth is that our leaders may be ‘winning political positions’ but their inability to turn these victories into better lives for the youths through job creation and other social programmes is beginning to generate questions about their integrity.
Jerome-Mario Utomi([email protected]), is a Lagos-based Media Consultant