By Clement Uwayah
The third force represents those parties who have not tasted power, especially at the national level. They are the small political parties whose popularity and possibility of ascension to political office always seem impossible. They are mostly those with best brains and intentions but lack the financial muscle to be truly competitive during elections.
The fact that Nigeria has been dwarfed by leadership incompetencies is one that is undeniable. Successive government regimes have been very consistent with a near absolute failure in governance. This is not limited to civilian regimes, but also the lots with the then military regimes who history even beckons on as the arrowheads of institutionalized corruption. On the side of the civilian regimes, we have graduated from bad to ugly, and now the insane and unthinkable. So much recklessness and impunity have stirred us in the face and unfortunately has become the order of the day. The level of insanity with respect to leprous acts of monetary inducements and outright erosion of political decency is so much that one can only wonder if we are in a regime that came on a change mantra. These are unarguably acts with grave consequences on the nation’s expected growth and development.
The history of our political leadership ascension is one that has been bereft of credibility in leadership choices, especially since our return back to democratic governance in 1999. No doubt, the elections that produced Olusegun Obasanjo was a hurried one for the settlement of the Yoruba tribe whose son, Chief M. K. O. Abiola was shortchanged unjustly. While that of 2007 may pass as being fair, it nontheless was also a reflection of who was thrown up for the eventual general elections. Beyond that, successive elections have been mere charades with the highest bidder or whoever Godfathers’ endorsees always being thrown up from the
so called two major political parties. This has continued and now at fever peak level. The money rains during ‘meet the delegates tour’ and eventual party primaries speaks volumes of the level of decadence we have reached.
There must be a correlation between the money expended in pursuing political office and the inclination to steal from public purse. It all seems like the people involved are setting traps, in which case those with bigger baits sure knows what they are to expect. How do we come to terms with the fact that aspirants to political offices get so comfortable buying delegates with such humongous amounts running into billions, that can solve contemporary issues without thievery intentions? What justification is there to warrant what has been playing out with our public office holders who want to remain in power at all cost viz a viz their stewardship? Yet, would it be the ones who had collected money to enthrone such ones that can question them? More worrisome is the inactions of the nation’s anti-graft agencies in the face of such clear economic and financial crimes of criminal inducements. From where are these monies gotten, if it is not from public fund? And, how come only those in power or those that were in power are the ones brandishing them?
Certainly, the pattern of emergence of candidates does not and would never give room for the crowning of responsible and reputable leaders. The situation only depicts the fact that political offices have become avenues for amassing and squandering public funds. Current state governors and past ones who also piled up so much wealth display their squandering natures. State funds running into billions that could go for meaningful developmental projects end up in the pockets of party delegates. Definitely, anyone that has the mindset of buying delegates sure has plans to do injustice to public funds. Party primaries are outright shows of might. Unfortunately, might is not and may never be right. This is where it should be applauded that not all the political office seekers were in that mould of inducing delegates with money.
The time has therefore come for the much talked about paradigm shift in our political leadership choices. For how long shall we remain a country of paradoxes, where uncertainty remains our only certainty? In the wake of the persistent horrible governance by the dominant political parties, a third force becomes inevitable to dislodge the old and non performing ones and pave the way for a purposeful people’s oriented leadership and government. In all honesty, the two major political parties have clearly shown that the growth and advancement of the country is not attainable under any of their watch. Interestingly but shamefully, the faithfuls that are at each end are all political prostitutes without any defined principles. Little wonder that those who become disgruntled run to the other side and vice versa. As it is today, the two dominant parties in Nigeria – APC and PDP are led by men who took flight from the other. What difference can be expected from any of them? Definitely, only a third force with clear cut ideas can take Nigeria out of the woods.
The third force represents those parties who have not tasted power, especially at the national level. They are the small political parties whose popularity and possibility of ascension to political office always seem impossible. They are mostly those with best brains and intentions but lack the financial muscle to be truly competitive during elections. They are mostly of the progressives whose yearnings are to change the leadership and governance narratives. Their spread is almost not nationalistic but the character and content of the drivers are unequivocally better than those of the bigger parties. They are not political entrepreneurs that seek office for self enrichments. Their dispositions to expenditures pitches them as ones that are not only prudent but frugal. Their mindsets and proclivities are futuristic and not immediate. They represent the brand of people who Nigeria needs to exit her from the present horrible state of continuous decline in growth and worsening standard of living. They represent the brand whose time for take over has come. Yes, they are the third force that is truly needed to bring about a new political, social and economic order by which the hydra headed insecurity and other social vices would suffer a natural defeat.
To bring about the third force, it is expedient that personalities rather than parties be the prime consideration. There can’t be a good party without good people operating therefrom. Once someone is seeing or perceived trustworthy in character and proves to be fiscally responsible and reputable, then such ones must be identified and their parties followed and empowered. And, since in reality it may portend a great challenge for such individual parties, there should be some alignments and coalitions to achieve such feats. This was exactly what the now ruling party did to emerge. Truly, the inevitability of diligent attentions towards our political leadership choices is one that has become sacrosanct. This is because further delays from rescuing Nigeria from the hands of the present leaders and those tested and untrusted lining up to take over would certainly spell doom for everyone. The nation has bled profusely and still bleeding from all manners of inglorious and atrocious acts. Only a third force comprising of people with strict abhorrence to the present order could change our narratives. The Nigerian masses who have suffered so much on account of horrible governance needs to take the bull by the horn and dethrone the unfits from holding sway.
While the personality at the centre of the political parties by way of their presidential candidates and invariably the party leader on ascension could have doused the present craze, it has however been impossible to empower such ones. This is why the one that is the rave of the moment in the build up to the 2023 general elections, Peter Obi and his now landing place, the Labour Party would need to be empowered. Other smaller parties with equally good candidates must understand the power of alliances and close ranks in the ultimate quest to rescue Nigeria. Nothing forecloses the halting of the ambitions of some of the aspirants from other parties towards ensuring a total victory for them all in alliance and Nigeria in general. The 2023 general elections remains an opportune time to deal, heal and seal our destiny in the right direction. We move!!!
Clement Uwayah, a Public Analyst writes from Delta State