By Prof R. A. Ipinyomi, University of Ilorin, Nigeria
In practice politicians are supposed to be their people’s representatives. They are not supposed to own personal special interests, they are not supposed to be lobbyists. They are also not supposed to bring in some foreign ideologies without the people they represent. This is why we think that Nigeria is yet to have true politicians. What we have everywhere in the country is a collection of “self interest people” who are pursuing their own independent personal agendas.
For example, the alleged crisis brewing within APC versus some of its leaders like the former governors of Edo and Lagos States can be a reference point of our claim that the politicians in Nigeria are shorter men and women than their colleagues in India, Europe or America. Let us assume for the sake of the argument that Asiwaju Bola Tinubu played a major role in the formation and electioneering of APC, particularly between him and Buhari. That is excellent pure politics. However to think that after that all your wishes must be granted is no longer politics because you would have lost the control of the organization by the asking for even the least favour. Leaders don’t have personal individual favourites, personal requests or agendas. They simply saddle the horse and demand that it should deliver. You don’t over saddle a horse and complaining it is not running fast enough.
There is a big difference between politics and intrigues. People here seem to be leaving politicking and preferring to be living in the realms of intrigues, self aggrandising and deceitfulness. Therefore the so called “success” of Nigerian “politicians” is dependent on the level of our ignorance and poverty. The more informed we become about each of them the less we are vulnerable to their intrigues.
There ought not have been any significant disconnection between the people and their politicians. In fact politicians can be men and women that are pure in heart, thirsty of the yearnings of their people, and be people friendly. This is the only way heroes can arise and genuine leadership emerging. We want our politicians to be several meters taller than the general public and not the oppressors of the people, as they currently seem to be.