There are a lot of sides in the 2011 general elections, less than half a year away. One side and the seemingly most interesting part of the drama expected prior to the national event is the coming up, laying to rest and alignment of many more political parties as well as the baselessness of so many of them. I stand firm to be challenged that more than half the number of the registered political parties neither have any practically achievable vision and mission, nor do they expect any patronage from the citizens order than the share expected from the national (public) cake through the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in the name of subvention.
To be frank to my compatriots, if there were to be held any national examination where questions about the political parties in Nigeria would feature prominently, many Nigerians will conveniently fail. It will not be because the students may not be intelligent enough. Rather, their failure will be much more linked to the disinterestedness a lot of citizens have developed in our political parties. Some of the parties have never recorded any victory even in the wards from where the engineers of the parties hail.
How many of the parties did not have a presidential or gubernatorial candidate! Some of them have no recognizable offices in other states except in those of the owners who employ the services of their living homes and family members. In Abuja and the major state capitals, shops and business centers can comfortably accommodate a party. Yet, such parties apparently have nothing to offer the society. In my village or ward, the presence of only five parties can clearly be ascertained. So it is in hundreds of villages across the nation.
With this development that political parties can just be registered on the grounds that they met certain loose conditions, it may quite be reasonable that INEC enforce the registration of 774 political parties for the forthcoming elections. If this is done, I bet that it will be a tough contest that will neither produce a winner nor close the large political gaps we all suffer. The party could equally be pruned down to only thirty-seven, so that each state and the Federal Capital Territory can gloat of one.
But before then, I wish to invite every Nigerian citizen to a political party which I have craved for so long to register. It is a solid party that is overwhelmingly backed by Nigerians of like-minds. This party cannot really be for every person, at least not for those who merely claim to be Nigerians. It is for people like Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, Sir Ahmad Bello, Alhaji Tafawa Balewa, Chief Obafemi Awolowo and a few others. It is a party that does not require registration with the INEC. And, for now, I cannot register it with any professional company, agency or government functionary.
The name of my party is United Nigeria (UN). I sincerely invite all Nigerians to this party and insist that the best agency to handle its registration, work out its vision and mission is the hearts of the compatriots. I want to register it only in the hearts of the truly Nigerians and especially at the doorsteps of the young and the wise patriots.
This party will transcend any period and overpower any politician who wishes otherwise the implication of the great identity. I am very sure that I am not alone with this feeling. There is the strong belief in me that a lot of fellow Nigerians share this passion.
However, because the new constitution which has just visited state houses of assembly seems not to recognize independent candidacy, I may consider visiting the Prof. Attahiru Jega’s led Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to parley with it on how best to go about the whole thing. And if I am convinced to undergo the processes of registering the party, there should be no fee attached to all conditions required. There should be no clause that any money would be given to the party to share to some Nigerians to stage irrelevant films in our fields and streets.
The reason for this is that true Nigerians do not need to be convinced that UN is the best ideology that would make things work properly in Nigeria. It is it that will bring about the change we all clamour for. But many have proved glaring deceits in different clothes of faithlessness in their acclaimed faiths, unpatriotism to our fatherland, incivism in their dealings and indirection to their underlings. Unless the other side of unity is upturned, Nigeria will continue to drag her feet to development until Nigerians agree to work together as one people.
There is so much deceit in the polity. There is so much deceit in the tradition. There is so much deceit in our presumed unity in diversity. Either because there is monopoly in the polity or just because Nigerians have lost interest, there seems to be dwindling attitude towards working together as a nation.
Therefore, I think the problem is not in the number of political parties our politicians can parade. I think the problem is not in the number of Nigerians who have been lobbied into a political platform. It is not in the attitude displayed by some crowded faces. It is not in the stereotyped cacophonies we are often waylaid with only when elections draw nearer. It can be attributed to the penchant individualism.
I think it is because Adamu, Femi and Emeka have failed to agree. They had nearly agreed before now when Azikiwe, Bello, Balewa and Awolowo lived. And that is why Britain unwillingly withdrew its physical claws, and left the nation to contend with its unseen hands of dreaded colonialism. But how long shall we realize this bitter truth and act accordingly?
Our past heroes belonged to parties but they were not greedy. Their parties had the symbols of UN. They maintained the norms of patriotism, attached themselves to the people and promoted peace. They were less power-hungry. But today, some politicians have registered several political platforms to train hungry thugs, angry youths, frustrated bourgeois and naïve strategists. Hatred, rancor, wickedness and unabated unpratriotism are being bred in the hearts of bigots. They have been staged to see politics as the only means of survival.
That is why there is a lot of political prostitutions in the country. One begins to wonder why only few aspects of prostitution are being fought with alacrity and agility in this country. There is prostitution in the banking sector. There is prostitution in the civil service. Also, there is prostitution in our traditions. Even in our family lives, there are indices of this unholy trend in the society. Therefore, in our collective efforts to repair this country, it is not the prostitutes on the streets of Abuja, Lagos or Port Harcourt who are the problem. The political prostitutes are the bane of our integration, unity and development.
Some of our politicians do anything, even against divine injunctions and their own consciences, to achieve anything they desire. They let loose their claws on the innocent; they gnash at the weak populace; they usurp power that is not theirs; they use their positions to oppress and they betray the trust on them. They shunt parities at will for their own selfish gains.
Since 1999, some of these politicians have associated themselves directly or indirectly with half a score party. They have more than one registered political party. 2011 should be an eye opener for all of us. With the reviewed constitution coming on board, it is hoped that the forthcoming elections will witness tremendous change from the past amidst political parties, many of which are merely floating.
Muhammad Ajah is a writer, author, advocate of humanity and good governance based in Abuja. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org