One of the negative activities of politicians, which have over time negatively affected our political development, is the do-or-die attitude. During party primary, politicians are seen to always jettison spirit of decorum, decency and sportsmanship to pursue inordinate quest to occupy political posts, as if nothing more matter thereafter.
It has been discovered that politicians so ferociously engage themselves because occupying such offices turn out to be their only source of livelihood. And survival instincts push them to engage their opponents so terribly and so ferociously, including playing dirty and doing the absurd.
It is this quest to pursue a blind course to set up the ‘stomach infrastructure’ that leads to thuggery and other absurdities in our political space. Also it has been discovered that due to the fact that because ethical considerations take the back seat, the end always justified the means. If therefore, the antecedents of politicians, or ethical or moral issues, do not matter any longer, it is no wonder then that politicians go to ridiculous extent, including killing, kidnapping, arson, blackmail, and carry out all forms of absurdities simply to secure as little as political party ticket and then move further to grab the real political laurel at the intra and inter party contest, respectively.
The resultant consequences have been these unbridled Gestapo attitude of politicians, unparalleled compromise of electoral umpires, and a gradual descent to anarchy which is gradually building a culture of terror and impunity in the entire political space.
Since politicians and political actors so shamelessly struggle to outsmart one another in manipulating the electoral processes, the electorates have been at the receiving end. No wonder then acts of impunity, embezzlement, orchestrated manipulation of processes in the offices and agencies, as well as unheard-of mischief, now bestride our political space like sword of Damocles. At every turn when parties conduct political primaries, mayhem had always been unleashed on the members of the political party in question. This gangster attitude is carried over to the entire electorate during the general election, with disastrous consequences.
From atmosphere of candour and equanimity that pervaded the First Republic politics, things have negatively turned around so terribly that nobody believes that any politician can secure party nomination or get elected through a popular mandate. The belief is that only politicians with greater capacity to manipulate party primary eventually win elections. Even with the introduction of electronic accreditation and voting processes, the malaise is not on any path to abate. Complaints arising from the conduct of recent local government elections, are clear pointers to how terrible the situation have been.
When political actors seem unperturbed about the rot in the political space, the resultant consequences have precipitated anarchy and unparalleled crimes. And it is the entrenchment of do-or-die attitude in the polity that exacerbated all these.
It is therefore imperative that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), security agencies and political parties join hands to exterminate this monster before the polity is completely engulfed and destroyed. The nation’s judiciary on its part, should wake up and asset itself as the unbiased umpire.
A situation where electoral petitions linger almost endlessly, or where unscrupulous judges continue to grant ex-parte orders, or unscrupulous lawyers manipulate the legal processes, should be halted forthwith and defaulters face appropriate punishment. The consequence of not tacking this hydra-headed monster had led people to resort to self-help which unfortunately, have worsened the level of gangsterism in the polity.
There should be entrenched in the nation’s Electoral Act, stiff punishment for party officials and electoral umpires who compromise their offices. It has become expedient that party officials should watch their conduct during party primary to stem needless complaints. It should henceforth become the norm to conduct free, fair and transparent party primary in order to ward off internal strife and disenchantment within the political space. It is the inability to conducted free, fair and credible primary that bring about prevalent decamping of politicians being witnessed recently.
Although Nigerian political parties lack clear ideology, the recourse to decamp are propelled mainly by the unbridled attitude of party officials charged with the responsibility to conduct party primary.
The time for both the INEC and political parties to stem the malaise is now. Allowing a rape of our democratic order leads to disastrous consequences and it should be the exception rather than the norm.
Already, the political space is gradually heating up and it is not in the interest of the electorate to be dragged into needless political cataclysm by these seemingly shameless political actors.