Harold Lasswell (1936) defines politics as “Who Gets What, When, and How”. Those in political power decide who gets what from their particular human polity.
In democratic countries, elections decide who gets to be in power and thus decide who gets what from their particular human polity.
There will be a presidential election in Nigeria on March 28, 2015. What is the purpose of that election? It is to decide who forms the central government (there is an April 11, 2015 election to decide who forms state and local governments).
Whoever forms the national government, given the implicit unitary nature of Nigeria’s government has control over the resources of the entire country; the person and cronies would decide who gets what part of the country’s revenues or as is most likely the case in Nigeria who gets to steal the major part of the country’s wealth.
If you win the election you get a lordly share of the national cake; if you lose the election you are left out in the cold and do not get much or do not have the opportunity to steal to your heart’s content.
In Nigeria losers become poor and starve whereas winners loot billions of dollars and become wealthy overnight.
Given this reality, Nigerians array themselves between the two main political factions, the PDP and the APC; each political gang doing what it has to do to win and get a fair amount of the loot. The election is an opportunity to decide who loots Nigeria the most.
However, you do not have to be in politics to participate in the looting of the country; from outside the political arena you can do your own looting as nonpolitical actors, say, by being in the financial industry and parastatal sectors.
In the USA white political factions, the Republican Party and the Democratic Party fight for control of the various levels of government; whichever one is in temporary control of the federal and a majority of state and local governments decide how the country’s resources are allocated.
Black folks are, by and large, not relevant part of the two political factions that vie to control the finances of the USA; they are left on the sidelines. That is the way the cookie crumbles in the United States of America; those in government take most of the country’s wealth and those outside the government are given crumbs to keep them quiet.
Black Americans, the losers in American politics are expected to be docile and endure their dreadful fate; indeed, if they act out the white leaders of the US government use their power of coercion to clamp them into jails and prisons.
One is not being cynical; one is merely being realistic; one knows that this sort of political behavior has been going on from the beginning of human history, certainly in past empires, such as Sumer, Egypt, Persia, Greece, Rome and Europe.
This behavior is called real politics. You do not cry over it; you join the fray and get your fair share of the booty. Or, you drop out of political battles and make a living from other ways.
Idealistic wishes that life be fair and condemnation of what political actors do would not change the situation one bit. If in doubt then point to a human polity where things are fair and just (what is justice, anyway)?
In the context of Nigeria’s current elections, Nigeria’s so-called Internet commentators say what serves the political party they identify with and, hopefully, the party throws some bread crumbs to them.
If you are politically naïve you state your empty opinions and they will not make any difference on who gets to rule Nigeria and who gets to loot Nigeria.
If you are realistic you say: let the show continues; let the looting continue unabated, what do you care?
One would think that the various political parties in Nigeria actually have agendas that they want to accomplish for Nigeria. One would think that as a developing country these political parties would have plans to build roads, bridges and schools and provide their people with clean water and electricity and industrialize the country. No, their major concern is to capture the government and have access to the oil resources that the country has and divide them up among their selves or loot them.
Nigerian politicians behave like street gangs; they are not different from the street gangs of south Chicago or south central Los Angeles or Harlem, New York or North-East Washington DC. What we have in Nigeria are sets of criminals trying to get control of the government and rob the country down.
If you do not think that this is what these folks are fighting for during this election cycle and for some reasons imagine that they have desire to help the people you may be forgiven for your childish idealism. You just have to learn how to be a Nigerian, how to be a people that have taken stealing to a whole new level. Nigerians brain dead president, Goodluck Jonathan says that stealing is not corruption!
Welcome to the macabre world of Nigerian politics and while at it have fun; take time to marvel at what these people have become: pure animals in the guise of human beings! These people have not improved much on their ancestors who only a few decades ago were roaming around their world and capturing their people and selling them as slaves to Arabs and Europeans. We are yet to learn if these people can stop selling their people, exploiting their people and work for their people’s welfare.
Come to think of it; the clueless one actually has some sort of logic; he is not entirely brain dead. Why? The money that the various governments in Nigeria use in running their governance comes from the oil industry. Revenue generated from what nature gave Nigeria, oil, pays for the governance of Nigeria. The people seldom pay taxes, so when politicians steal from the national treasury they are actually not stealing from the people; they are taking from what nature gave freely to the country. In a manner of speaking, therefore, the politicians are not stealing from the people; the Aso Rock commander in thief is not altogether wrong when he said that stealing is not corruption! The man figures that he and his colleagues in crime are stealing from nature, not from Nigerians! If so why should they see themselves as criminals in need of punishment by the law? They do not feel guilt or remorse from robbing the country down. You cannot beat these folk’s logic, can you?
Ozodi Osuji Ph.D
Dr. Osuji specializes on management and leadership.
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