By Ogu Bundu Nwadike
It is normal in politics, at least the Nigerian specie, for an aspirant to enjoy the aura of the office he dreams of occupying long before he ends up waking from his nightmare, and returning to true life reality that he is not what he had been reveling on. For instance, it is common to see politicians aspiring to be councilors, local government chairmen, members of the state house of assembly, members of the federal House of Representatives, senators, being addressed upfront as councilor, able chair, honourable, and distinguished, his excellency, our governor, our president and all sorts of titles long before the elections proper.
Recently, a new title has been added to top all of the previous titles for political aspirants. It is the title of “incoming”. Nowadays, all aspirants for various elective political positions are greeted as “incoming”. Now, it does not matter the number of aspiring for a single post. All are “incoming” as far as their supporters are concerned. But one thing that is incontrovertible is that after all said and done only one aspirant or candidate will be coming in as the winner and occupier of the post. That too is part of democracy in which with the plethora of freedoms, particularly freedom of speech, empowers everybody to have their say!
Be that as it may, the title of “incoming” ascribed to all manner of political office aspirant may be doing more harm than good to democracy. It is underscored that politics in Nigeria is shrouded in falsehood and deceptions by many unscrupulous politicians and political activists. Politicians telling lies to electorate and masses has become the abnormal norm for political parties and politicians, their members and supporters. It is not in the character of politics to peddle fallacies in the name of politics. Politics is designed to be a channel for electing people that will organize and administer the political, social and economic life of the society and it members. Liars and their lies drag the good name and positive purpose of politics in the mud. It smacks of falsehood and deception for a mere loquacious and grandiloquent boaster to be hailed as “incoming”.
Is it not unfortunate that politicians even with the knowledge of their low capacity profile still lure and entice their supporters to be addressing them as “incoming”? If not for the stubbornly proud and arrogant politicians and their equally gullible supporters, politics is not a game of chance. Politics is not a ‘try your luck’ gamble. Politics is a very serious endeavor reserved for only the serious-minded leaders that possess the requisite capacity, antecedence and pedigree. Just as it is with the eye that the egg that will hatch as a cock is identified so is a qualified politician is known by his history. There is ideally no room for emergency politicians at any level of elective politics and politicking. To qualify for elective politics, a citizen must have a reasonable history of experience as active practicing politician.
Take this possible scenario for instance, a puppet politician that had no personal electoral pedigree was aided by his more versed and better positioned political benefactor to win election into the senate and barely two and half years after in the senate, he declares to run for governor against his benefactor for ulterior motives. I interviewed a number of people whether it will be politically, morally and ethically right for the upstart senator with just two and half years’ experience in the senate to be addressed as “incoming governor” . The predominant response I received was that it was incongruent with tacit adopted experiential pedigree for such a senator to be dignified as “incoming governor”. And so it is because in political experience quotient he falls in the lower rig of requisite qualifications to play in the governor contestants’ league. He still requires some years of well-structured tutelage in politics before he can present himself as a governorship candidate. To that extent his tantalizing title of “incoming” is, as Shakespeare would have it, like a giant robe on a dwarfish thief.
Yet, since there is no part of the law of the land that prohibits anybody from aspiring for anything and answering anything, everybody is entitled to whatever he or she deems fit. This piece is not against people aspiring to whatever they wish to aspire to. Rather, I am bothered by the salient cogs some of these emergency aspirants constitute to the wheel of real political aspiration. No doubt democracy is about people, politicians and choices. There must be wannabes. There must be pretenders. There must be contenders. And ultimately amid a multitude of “incoming” aspirants only one will come into the office. As theey say the more the merrier. A close check will confirm that their sycophant supporters “oti mkpus” must be hailing them as “incoming”.
Nwadike is a political commentator