A major part of any democracy or maybe one of the most important organs is the existence of political parties in any country. Modern democracies have evolved to the point where the major parties have long-standing principles that guide them and their members made to understand this. An evident part of these parties is their stance on various issues; whether economic, fiscal, or monetary policies. In America for instance, democrats are known and differentiated from republicans by what values they propagate and such have in place for over two centuries.
Nigeria as a country at independence did what was expected by the formation of political parties; the Northern Peoples Congress, Action Group, National Council of Nigeria and Cameroons. These parties reflected and canvassed for the good of regional and tribal groups with Hausa, Yoruba, and Igbo being the major. This has created a situation where political leaders have to favor tribal and sectional interests at the expense of national good and benefits. People preferred visiting their constituencies and become lords and demigods rather than being national leaders or continental ones.
This has been the case since after independence up until 1999. We grew to be conscious of our diversity to the point of hurting ourselves by encouraging things like mediocrity, nepotism, and double-standards.
We started a new journey in 1999 and today the situation has changed from sectional parties to sectional and vested interests despite being party men and leaders in the same boat.
At the run-up to the 2015 elections, a particular party was known to push for true federalism while the party in power was worried about an abuse of it by governors and council chairpersons. Today the party that was canvassing for true federalism is in power and after almost 2 years, nothing has been said about it even when that seems to be at the root of our problem in this country. That says a lot about our democracies and the organs of partisanship. We are not ready to be partisan based on real issues, taking sides for us is all about benefits and other selfish motives; why then should we keep being stagnated by this?
In an event for youth, I heard a party faithful say that Nigeria does not care about issues but rather people are in need of basic needs; education, food, shelter, health, roads, hospitals and more. Even though this was said to justify his party’s social programs for the vulnerable, I have come to agree with that. A larger chunk of the Nigeria populace are in need of basic social amenities, some can’t even get a daily meal, why then should they be bothered about federalism issues. Those who are issuing secession threats like Biafra and the Niger Delta are doing so because of the suffering they are going through; I don’t know if many of them are aware of the structure that is obviously creating such marginalization they are alleging.
Our leaders and I mean all of them, in business and politics and otherwise need to put away differences of party nomenclature and give people economic power. The recession that the nation is going through has no respect for a party, tribe, religion, sex, groups or any shade of our diversity. Walls that are not needed must be broken down for bridges of cooperation, coexistence, sharing of ideas, cohesion and collective nation building.
How can you explain the fact that senators and house of representative members fight and kill each other for constituency projects? If we are to initiate true federalism that will be a problem of states governors and their state legislators; but here we are having people leaving their job of federal lawmaking to meddle in projects that never get delivered. Nigeria has more sectional and tribal leaders than national leaders; we lack leaders who are cosmopolitan in nature and their influence. Unfortunately, those are the people we need the most seeing the cracks that now exist in our diversity.
Partisanship does so many things to a Nigerian politician or a supporter on the streets or social media;
- It makes people lose their sense of reasoning, understanding and good analysis of issues regarding one’s country.
- People betray their conscience simply because they have to pitch a tent with a party and also do all they can to defend whatever they stand for no matter how ignoble they maybe.
- People start trying to justify the unjustifiable in the name of partisanship.
- Sane men start losing their sanity, start getting angry over nothing, howl and vibrate unnecessarily.
- It leads to the compromise of personal, social and corporate integrity at all times.
- It makes people leave what matters (the real issues) and start focusing on lightweight issues that hold no value or substance.
- Partisanship has a way of eating deeply and negatively into the value systems of a society.