It is generally accepted that politics is only a means towards an end – promotion of the public good. The world over therefore, politics tends to end almost immediately after elections to give room for governance. In like manner, politics and political campaigns resume only at agreed times, usually nearing the end of the mandate of those elected; the reason being that those elected need to be allowed to govern effectively freed from the distractions of politics and political campaigns.
In Nigeria however, where politics appear to be an end in itself, politicians are so restless and impatient that they start to plan and prepare for the next election immediately after the preceding one. The end result is that there is little or no time left for real and effective governance. Every policy decision and choice therefore is made from a political lens and calculated to give advantage at the next elections. This has made political competition in Nigeria and in most parts of Africa merely a struggle for the control of the levers of power and for the sharing of the spoils of power. The main and overriding purpose – the promotion of societal welfare and the public good – is intentionally or unintentionally relegated to the background. It is no surprise therefore that our society and politics have remained underdeveloped and backward and the living conditions of the majority of our people are some of the worst in the world.
Now the All Progressive Congress (APC) made so many lofty promises and promised so ‘change’ before being voted into power. Naturally, the party should be concerned that it is yet to fulfil its campaign promises to the people and should use the remaining time it has wisely in pushing for effective reforms and policies that will help it fulfil those promises. But no, it is more concerned about the politics of 2019 and who occupies what office. This is very disappointing.
Since the president went on medical vacation, there has been serious political horse-trading and permutations on who will occupy what office in case the president becomes incapacitated that has undermined governance. After the president returned in much improved health, we expected that such politics end and attention is focused on pressing governance issues. But no, the president’s return only worsened matters with politicians no longer content on playing those politics outside the public eye and going public with their games. So fouled is the atmosphere now that governance is almost impossible and the whistle has been sounded for the politics of 2019 – over 17 or 18 months before the elections.
We need to remind the presidency, the political parties and Nigerians that this is unacceptable in a civilised society. As the Holy Writ rightly puts it “There is a time for everything”; a time for political campaigns and time for governance. Embarking on political campaigns and politics at a time of governance is so wrong and antithetical to the public good for which the claim to be in politics to promote.
We call on the APC and the President to use every means within their reach to put a stop to the politics and political campaigns currently going on. If not, the reputation of both the party and the president would be severely damaged and they will signal to Nigerians that they do not have the wherewithal for governance.