By Joseph Edgar….
Let us talk about how the lack of positional play in Nigeria’s nascent politics is the bane of our political maturity. Our players, with their shifting allegiances, make cohesive political processes almost impossible to implement in the first place and confuses the electorate.
Recently, at the very vibrant Whats App Political forum – DUKE SUMMIT that I promote and which draws membership from the Intelligentsia, professionals and the very high echelon of politics including media and the rest, the issue of positional play came to the fore.
A very vocal and influential member of the grouping was thrown up for his penchant of shifting positions as the wind blows. In his defense, he talked about the essence of objectivity, a middle of the road positioning aimed at reducing tension and allowing for a balanced play.
This did not sit down well with a cross section of the grouping, this writer inclusive, as we stated very clearly the imperative to have a baseline positioning and from there one can start looking at issues from the foundational positioning.
So, for example on the economy, if your foundational positioning is rightist then you will be founded on free enterprise, free flow of ideas and worship on the alter of demand and supply and private ownership of property but if your positioning was leftist then you would want a big government, centrist control of the economy and a huge welfarist system.
And, when the debate is on TSA, for example, one will know exactly where you would be arguing from. Similarly, when the talk is on the reduction of customs duties or increase in taxes for big corporates one can easily predict the positioning of a player. But when your beliefs are not anchored on any strong foundational play, you begin to oscillate from issue to issue while positioning to be a ‘man of the people’ and not belonging to any school.
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This is the exact folly of our politics, the bane of our underdevelopment and the crises within. Our politicians jump ship at the drop of hat driven by selfish and mundane interest and not anchored on any ideology or vision but by the dictates of their stomach. That is why you see a National Assembly with the ruling party having the majority yet analysts can not say for certain where the government will stand on say education because the Senator will vote as it concerns their tommy. Simple.
Big politicians jump from one party to the other, not caring about the foundational positioning or ideologies of the party. They move in with their followers pitching their ability to deliver ‘millions’ of votes usually through rigging and other such violent tendencies and never considering ideology or vision.
So, when I see my colleague jumping from one position to the other with the personalities on each side of the debate being the main fulcrum you begin to see very graphically what is happening at the very big arena that is the Nigerian political foray and the confusion it begets.
Our presidential candidate for the rightist leaning Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is a true example of this. His party hopping tendencies have been well documented. Moving from rightist to leftist and back to rightist and hobnobbing with the centre left and picking a running mate whose tendencies are more to the left even though a major actor in the economy you begin to see the confusion.
So, he pushes for big government through strong welfarist position and on the other side of the mouth he is talking about reduced tariffs, opening up of the economy to foreign Investments. Luckily the hapless electorates are not even listening but counting the miserly cash that are put in loaves of bread as inducement for their votes.
How else do you explain a leftist leaning Vice President expecting to win elections at his VGC residence simply because they are neighbors, if not for his lack of understanding of the politics of positional play. VGC being the core of capitalist free-thinking capitalist who have not gained anything from the leftist leaning programs of the government, especially the TSA, controls, tax policies will NEVER vote for a continuation. The VP suffered a personal brown nosing simply because he lacked the clear understanding of this issue.
The moment we fall back to the issue of positional play with actors sitting on their fences as the basis of their foundation in politics, then we just might begin to clear out the clutter that remains the bane of our self actualization as a people.