ANOMALOUS POLITICAL SYSTEM IN NIGERIA: A WAY FORWARD
For anyone who resides or who has lived within this geographical, enclave and independent political entity called “Nigeria”, this appellation rings a bell, and raises different notional reservations. A broad phenomenological-descriptive analysis of the issues surrounding this country would see coming to the fore several unnerving characterizations that has left it perpetually effete and almost moribund, that one hardly sees any light at the tunnel that beckons or elicits any hope for survival within a naïve expectant patriot.
These issues are painted in a picture of structural violence that ranges from ethnic-religious-ideological antagonism, economic dilapidation, cultural struggle (shock), education crisis, infrastructural decay, social unrest, political anomalies amongst others. For some, it seems that the root of these problems find their basis on the last enumerated on this list or at least its correction is the first step in our salvific mission towards the restoration of national peace, normalcy, equilibrium, serenity, and conviviality that is conducive for development.
The talk of political anomalies that have bedevilled the country has for generations been recurrent in national debates, indeed it is one of the most over flogged issues, and for some, the greatest disturbing issue. The menace has manifested itself in different guises. It is seen in political conflicts, electoral malversations, post-truth politics, neo-political terrorism, (a systematic use of terror, force, and fear inducement mechanics in politics to acquire power), political apathy, political manipulation of the polity, and all these culminating in bad governance which forecloses national development.
For the sake of giving a thematic this write-up shall begin by elucidating the two concepts: Politics and Anomaly. From here it shall then proceed to the thrust of the matter, exposing and thematically marshalling its arguments. Considering the issue being addressed, this presentation shall adopt an analytic, descriptive and prescriptive approach. Considering the approach to be employed, it recognises two ways of approaching Nigeria’s myriad of problems namely:
- The proximal approach, and
- • Original/foundational approach.
- The proximal approach looks at the proximate or immediate causes of the country’s problems like the economic recession, weak political institutions, terrorism, fiscal corruption, incompetent governance etc. On the other hand, the original/foundational approach goes to the origin of the country to seek out the primary and foundational causes of the country’s problems which are located at the root and formative stages of the country’s development. The later approach is what this presentation shall adopt.
- 2.0 Elucidation of Concepts: The two concepts in review are politics and anomaly. First, it is pertinent to begin with politics.
- The word/term politics is a derivative of two Greek words polis – city or state and techne – art. Both giving us a common meaning; The art or science of the state. Here the state is seen as a maze of intricately woven system of diverse structures, institutions, bodies, agencies and persons which requires the expertise and ingenuity of an adroit technocrat through whose intellectual dexterity and acquaintance with state theatrics can deftly and tactfully manage the matrix involved in the state. Politics therefore involves the complex life of the people in the state, the activities, programmes etc. The second concept in review which is anomaly or anomalous has its origin in the Greek word anomalos, literally meaning uneven from a – homalos even, from homas – same (not same).
- 3.0 Background to Nigeria’s Political Problem: The modern – day Nigeria has been the site of numerous kingdoms and tribal states for over millennia. The modern state Nigeria is a politically independent territory that was arbitrarily drawn up by the British, during the British colonial rule beginning in the 19th century, by the merging of the Southern Nigeria protectorate and Northern Nigeria protectorate in 1914. The British set up administrative and legal structures whilst practicing indirect rule through traditional chiefdoms. Nigeria formally became an independent federation in 1960. It is viewed as a multinational state; as it is made up by over 500 ethnic nationalities.
- Prior to the British colonial rule, these different nations that formed Nigeria existed independently, without any political interference, they developed politically, socially, culturally and economically in their natural pace but with the advent of the British rule, they arbitrarily drew up artificial territories forcing people/nations that are ideologically, culturally, religiously, historically and even more unfortunately identically apart and incompatible forcing an unsolicited and unceremonious marriage between people of dissenting views and wills.
- Adding to the problem of Nigeria being an abrupt British creation is even the more troubling fact that its founding fathers and fore-most occupants lacked faith in it. And this was the genesis of the political apocalypse that was to engulf the country. With the unexpected and unhappy end of the British colonial in Nigeria, the British left sowing a political seed of discord in Nigeria’s formative political system. A seed that encouraged and deluded the North into seeing themselves as predestined and divinely ordained hegemonic rightful rulers of the enclave while conceiving the south, especially the south east as their slaves and opportunist manipulators that should not be given a breathing space to decide the political fate of the nation. The south saw their selves as short-changed in the political arrangement of the country and the north as unworthy usurpers of the country’s leadership and politics. This early rancour and feud formed as it where the political foundation of the country and so one could clearly observe that the founding values and vision of Nigeria were erroneous, and ill-motived there was no sense of direction for the country, no national purpose and that it was a British tool of economic amassment and display of British political power and strength in the world politics.
- This lack of national purpose and political vision turned the country into a playground for political jobbers and a wonder land for thieves. Thus political conflict was at the background of the Nigerian – Biafran War and this political and ideological acrimony was the vicious vice that cemented and crusted the country’s political foundation. Falsehood and lies were used to decorate its foundation. It is however true that no country or nation that is built on falsehood and acrimony will ever hope for genuine development characterised by a stable, upright and responsible political system.
- 4.0 The Political Systemisation and Structurisation in Nigeria:
- A system is basically understood to mean a set of interacting or independent component parts forming a complex or intricate whole. In politics, a system is a prevailing political or social order in contradistinction to a structure which is the way a system is built, arranged or organized, the object or system so organized. It is a complex system considered from the point of view of the whole rather than a single part, e.g. the structure of a political system. Systems are more basic than structures, structures actually explain systems.
- In Nigeria, the political crisis bedevilling her democracy and national development is actually rooted in the systemic-structuring of the country’s politics and governance. This means that the political crisis or anomalies that are found in the framework of the country’s componential – elements, have their roots in the general network of structures that make-up the country’s political practices which are basically faulty from the onset. The vision, values, principles, procedures, processes, methods, techniques and goals that underpinned the systemic formation of the country’s general political framework were displaced and ill-formed right from the beginning. It was built on falsehood, misplaced values, selfishness, unpatriotic spirit, national distrust. Thus, when a political structure is faulty it can be easily fixed as far as the system is well formed but when the system is malformed, irrespective of how the body is structured the contraption would remain anomalous.
- During the first and second republic of Nigeria’s democracy, following the political distrust that was at the base of the independence, the different key political actors formed parties along ethnic – religious lines. And this no matter how well intentioned was the beginning of the country’s political failure. Again, the present federal democratic system being practiced in the country since after the civil war has contributed to her greatest undoing, for a country made up of people, ideologically, culturally, ethnically, religiously and identically apart who do not share a common purpose, vision, interest and value achieving a collective national development is clearly unattainable, and unrealisable. And so, practising a system of government where power is overwhelmingly concentrated in the centre with one region clinging to the power as their “birthright”, does not guarantee political safety, freedom and conviviality.
- Apropos of the present federal democratic system, it is an economic system that does not allow individual states or regions to harness their natural economic potentials but rather encumbers them with the restrictive and stifling laws of the hegemonic federal might. The bottom-line is that the present political systematization and structurisation in Nigeria is faulty, has always been faulty and will remain faulty if not redressed from the root.
7.0 A Way Forward: In the introductory part of this write-up, two approaches were outlined as remedies to the political anomaly in Nigeria. They are namely, the proximal approach and the original/foundational approach. In tendering a solution to the Nigerian problem, two questions have to be asked. First is, what approach are we to use? Is it the proximal approach or the original/foundational approach? Secondly, a basic question on methodology has to be asked. And the question is what best methods or procedures should be hired in solving it or what best way can these anomalies be solved? Is it a political solution, a spiritual solution, a psychological/rational solution, an economic solution, or an identity solution?
With regard to the first question which borders on approach, I would say that both the proximal and foundational approaches would have to be employed, but with the latter coming first. This means that we have to first solve the underlying issues in the country’s political construction before looking at the present issues bedevilling it which are nothing but inevitable aftermaths of the foundational issues. In the original/foundational approach, what is needed is to reconstruct, resystemise and restructure our political framework. In a country of diverse culture, ethnicity, religion and ideologies historic incidences have shown that where there is no consensus agreement between the different makeup parties. to co-exist fostering a common vision would be unattainable if the different nations are not allowed to individually decide their fate, and progress in their natural pace and according to their God given values. The centre is too powerful and is reining in the individual regions that have the capacity to develop and harness their selves, some parts are short-changed and others are limited by federal might. The respective regions should be left alone to practice their politics in the way they know best. And this is not just a call for fiscal federalism, but for a confederate state, it is only within such political framework/systemic-structure can the individual regions that make up the entity Nigeria genuinely witness development. If this fails to happen then regional secession is inevitable, it is only a matter of time and mass political consciousness which is speedily growing among some of the region.
With regard to the second question, it would not be out of place, overambitious or unrealisable to say all of the above solutions, that is ranging from the political, psychological, economic and even spiritual solutions. This is because the problem of Nigeria cuts across all these areas or aspects.
Politically, Nigeria is not “all right”, as it is evidenced in our political practices where we seem not to get anything politically right. From mere election to the intricacies of governance, everything seems in disarray. Psychologically most Nigerians are not quite stable, a recent report this year has it that more than 68% percent of Nigerians are psychologically unstable and this is evidenced in our public behaviour, people find it hard to patiently queue up in a line to receive a public service, people rush and drag taxis, customer service in businesses is abysmally annoying, noise pollution is outrageous, the streets are filled with dirt and squalor as people dispose trash unhealthily and construct buildings indiscriminately without plans, politicians and public office holders loot and embezzle funds irrationally to the tune of unnecessary billions that are way too much for a few individuals to consume. These are evident signs that point to the need for psychological help. Nigeria equally needs an economic solution, even if for nothing, it is still grappling with an economic recession. And for the identity crisis bedevilling the country, what is needed is an identity solution. Winning back a national identity that would instil a genuine national spirit and consciousness in the citizens is pivotal to solving the political anomalies in the country. Anomalous political misconceptions like ethnic-religious based politics, politics of wealth amassment, post-truth politics, politics of wealth creation, Neo-political terrorism etc. can. be solved if the people of Nigeria share a common purpose, vision, values and identity. These shared values are what will help us see the country Nigeria as our own and to view the politics as a rational game through which the state is organised and made better.
In conclusion, it is pertinent to note that the two approaches (proximal and foundational) coupled with the employment of all the possible solutions if truly employed can easily nip the political anomalies in Nigeria on the bud. Without these, the dream for a better Nigeria will continue to be a far cry until the different people come together in a true negotiating platform devoid of pre-conditions and intimidation to reconsider their terms of co-existence, recreate a country of their own and call it by their name, a name that reflects their common purpose and ownership. Without these windows of solutions proffered in this write up, in my opinion, am afraid the present British invention called Nigeria is only a potentially defunct state.
By: Chukwu Augustus U.
(N/B: This is a reduced version of the article, for the full version where most issues and concepts are exposed in detail please visit the Penlord website @ https://penlords.blospot.co)