“When a good man is on the throne, the people will rejoice”, so says the holy book. Conversely, when bad people are on the throne, the people will wail, they will gnash their teeth and they will cry. There will be hunger in the land, there will be killings everywhere, there will be kidnappings here and there, there will be frustrations written on the faces of the people, and many people will be taking their own lives, etc.
Many Nigerians are today not finding things easy. They are complaining of various economic difficulties. There is high cost of goods and services. There is no money, no fuel, and there are no jobs for the unemployed, no salaries for civil servants and no pensions and gratuities for the retirees.
Reflecting on these difficulties, a former President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and Archbishop of Abuja Ecclelectial Province of the Catholic Church, John Cardinal Onaiyekan, advised Nigerians to “stop complaining and get involved in politics because that is a serious task that will salvage the nation and give the youths hope for the future”.
Speaking in a homily at the opening plenary of a four-day annual conference of Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria, Cardinal Onaiyekan said that politics should “not be left for miserable people seeking a way out of poverty, or for selfish individuals desperate to manipulate the system in their favour”.
According to him, “politics is for altruistic men and women with talent, conviction and desire to contribute to making our nation a better home for all”.
This is an excellent homily. What Cardinal Onaiyekan therefore wants are men and woman of integrity, men and women who will devote their time and resources to the service of their people, who will sacrifice themselves for their people, who will shepherd them, and who will provide for their various needs and services.
When these men and women are in power, the people will rejoice, because they will be economic prosperity, they will be peace, there will be spiritual upliftment, and everybody will be happy with each other.
This is an ideal situation. But such a situation is not obtainable in Nigeria today. It is a chimera, a phantasy, something not realisable, or does not exist. Such altrustic men and women also do not exist in Nigeria, or if they exist, they hardly succeed in politics.
This was what drove Plato away from politics. Plato was looking for an ideal systems in Athens of his day, but got himself entangled with its political establishments. He was disappointed with what he saw and experienced. This made him to lose interest in politics. In his frustration, Plato declared that society will never know peace until philosophers become kings or until rulers in the state through some divine ordinance take to the true pursuit of philosophy.
Therefore, to succeed in politics in Nigeria, you must behave like Nigerian politicians. You must be ruthless, you must be mean, you must learn how to speak between the two sides of your mouth, how to say one thing and do another.
Politics in Nigeria is a very big business. It is a lucrative investment. It is no altruism. If you invest heavily, you will endeavour to reap bountiful, but if you invest sparingly, you will reap sparingly. People invest in politics because they want to make it. Once they are elected, they will abandon those who helped them to the office and begin to make laws and design economic policies that will suit them.
Many Nigerian politicians kill themselves in order to get to whatever political positions they desire. They will recruit and train thugs that will maim and kill, on their behalf, any political opponent that may stand on their way. They have no principle or political ideology and that is why they prostitute from one political party to the other.
As such, many of those elected to serve their people in Nigeria have often abandoned them, taking care only of themselves and their interests. In the end, the people will continue to suffer and to groan and to complain about the various economic difficulties, unemployment, non-payment of salaries and various forms of criminality.
If therefore you are to be on the side of strong moral discipline which Cardinal John Onaiyekan had advocated, you will never succeed in politics in Nigeria. This is because you will not to be involved in their corruption, you will not be involved in their intrigues, you will not be involved in their horses tradings, and you will not be involved in their double talks.