…..politics is about interest,they are bad negotiators on Muslim Muslim ticket
An important question that is worth pondering is this: What is the essence of Politics? Politics is first and foremost said to be the way people living in groups make decisions. It is about making agreements amongst people so that they can live together and share common values and interests in groups such as tribes,cities or countries. It has also to do with activities associated with the governance of a country or an area. Its also about power grabbing within an organization and also the improvements in the statuses of the players. But the real essence of Politics is for the Control of Resources. These are some of the issues that have necessitated this write up.
What are the Interests of the Northern Christians/ Minorities in the present equation? It is a pertinent question that is seeking a critical answer. In my opinion,as a student of Nigerian Political History, I am beginning feel that the Northern Christians/Minorities have lost focus and lacks strategies to even set up an agenda for its Political Interests and to prosecute same. May God rest his soul, the emancipator and the middle belt icon, late Chief Solomon Daushep Lar of blessed memory, was a Political leader of the stock that understood the ropes of the game, and had the interest of this group at heart. Chief Solomon Lar was politically strategic and that was why he remained relevant till his demise. The Northern Christians/Minorities are now in dire need of selfless political leadership; leadership direction to project a Political Agenda that will set and propagate its overall Common Interest. They political leaders should be more strategic in value placement rather than being sentimental in their decision making processes. Politics is a game of Interest, not Sentiments! Politics is about Resource Control/Sharing, negotiations, horse tradings ,lobbying, alignments, dialogues etc. The aim is to advance a Collective Common Interests. Sentiments won’t give you the leverage in the political equation to make gains from government patronage.
In Nigeria, more than 90 percent of persons that are seen as being successful are through government patronage. The moment you do not benefit from this,you remain poor and vulnerable and you would not be able to achieve anything tangible in the political space in terms of political relevance, configuration and alignment.
Why is it that there is not a single Northern Christian/ Minority that contested in the recent Presidential primaries of the major political parties? Or is that they lack persons who have the capacity and competence to aspire ? I don’t think so, I believe they are well endowed with persons of capacity, competence, integrity and character to aspire to any political office in the Land.
Northern Christians, unlike their southern brethren assume that being overtly religious is enough to open every door for them. While the southern Christians, like the Northern Muslims uses religion as a tool to create and solidify their places in the scheme of things, be it business, academics or politics. The Northern Christians/Minorities most of the times feels entitled to things he did not worked/laboured for in the political set up. Even when making their choices of leaders, the Northern Christians/Minorities do not choose from their best stock to represent them. To buttress my point on this opinion is the decimal development you can see within the states governed by Christians since the inception of this democracy from 1999, unlike the states governed by Northern Muslims. Prime examples are Plateau Taraba and Benue States. Can they be compared to Bauchi or even Borno that has been ravaged by insurgency overtime? The Northern Christians/Minorities have remained inconsequential in the scheme of National discuss and Political relevance because of the docile and lack of focused leadership of its Political leaders.
While the Northern Muslims uses the same political offices to empower their people and selves economically, the Northern Christians / Minorities use it only for their selfish interest and personal self aggrandisement and therefore do not empower their own economically. This group should have a rethink on their attitudes in holding of such political offices, so as to use such opportunities whenever such situations availed itself for the benefit of their people, zone and country at large.
The Northern Muslim/Majority will always use such positions to empower their people, by getting the plump jobs (employments), contracts, projects and so on for their people to advance their common good and not just use such opportunities to enrich only their self.
Most of those who have held Political leadership positions amongst the Northern Christians/Minorities have not been able to project a succession plan that will propagate the development and upliftment of the younger generation to become relevant in the schemes of political, economic ,governance, business and so on. This has caused this group to face the worst consequences in the scheme of things, and the now sell the narrative of being marginalized. They never thought of developing their future generation when in positions by empowering them in businesses, creating opportunities for them to study relevant courses abroad, inject them into relevant government agencies as done by their Northern Muslim counterparts. For example, Rabiu Kwankwaso, the former Executive Governor of Kano state sent thousands of its young stars abroad to study and become Pilots,Aeronautic Engineers, Medical professionals, Technologists and so on. What has any governor in Benue or Plateau states done in this regard since 1999 to date? And we want to blame it on marginalization.
If Kano state
can send thousands of its citizens to study abroad, Plateau, Taraba and Benue should be able to send a hundred each. Most of the Northern Christians/Minorities who have held Political offices like Ministers, Director Generals, Executive Secretaries of various Parastatals,Boards and other Federal Government agencies, they never used such positions to develop their people. Forte oil, Oando, Conoil are oil companies supported by some westerners who were in government. Shema Oil, A.A Rano, Shafa oil and so on are supported by Northern Muslims in government. The Northern Christians/Minorities who have held Political offices will claim they have not held positions in the Oil and 1Gas sectors. But amongst the ones they held, who did they support to become a construction magnet or even a t1qransportation business heavyweight? Will you also blame it on the Northern marginalization?
Northern Christians/Minorities should see politics as a game of football where the coach would always play his best 11 so as to win a match. They should also see it as a game where you dialogue,negotiate,lobby, horse trade, align with your position of strength to achieve your political goals and interest.
The Igbos in Nigeria, though the most grounded in terms of business savviness in the Nigerian state also have some similar political flaws like the Christian Minorities in the north. The present day Igbos have also failed to properly set up an agenda of their Political Interest in this project called Nigeria; properly align with other sections of the country to negotiate and agree on how to actualise their quest for the presidency. They must try to make every section of the country comfortable with them politically,by naturally flowing than being isolated , the must not put their eggs in one basket, this will therefore make it easier for them to achieve the Presidency. So also the Northern Christians/Minorities must change in this regard and align with foes in all parts and sections of the country not minding the tribe and religion to negotiate their Political 0Interests.
The Northern Christians/Minorities still look up to these their selfish leaders for political direction. Persons who never mentored any credible political leader from within their groups, should not therefore be considered to forge a direction for the block, If they intend to be relevant in the next political dispensation. Such leaders don’t have the knack to unearth good political mentees, and that’s why they end up bringing forth persons who lack political cloud and capacity, competence,integrity and leadership abilities and therefore smearing their names further as visionless patriarchs. They seek political advicies from persons who are also politically handicapped because of their selfish political interests and not the collective common interests of the group (Northern Christians/Minorities).
As earlier said above the wealthy persons in Nigeria got their wealth through government patronage. Therefore, so long as Northern Christians/Minorities don’t change their ways of playing politics, and set a new strategy that will propagate a political collective common interest, they will remain wailers till thy kingdom come.
Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe’s type of politics was the best the Igbos ever had. In the first republic, Zik’s political party, NCNC, entered into an alliance with the NPC and they formed the government at the centre. The great Zik became Governor General and later President. Also in the secondd republic, the Great Zik”s political party, the NPP entered into another alliance to form a coalition government with the then NPN and the coalition got the Igbos very sensitive and very lucrative positions in that government like the positions of Vice President and that of Speaker of the House of Representatives. This was largely as a result of Zik’s politics of inclusion and coalition. This is the way to play politics so as to gain from the spoils of government for the collective interest of your people.
As I earlier mentioned, Politics is about Interest and specifically resource control,in politics Interest comes first before any other consideration. There is this saying that there are no permanent friends but permanent Interest in politics. You will see politicians, who are staunch enemies yesterday, but best of friends today. The reason for this is the protection and propagation of their Interests. For instance, in Kano State recently, former Governors Kwankwoso and Shekaru never saw eye to eye, but today because of common interest now they are not just friends but political allies.
Let me tell you a story that happened in real life. Sometimes in 2008, i went to visit my Late Uncle, Senator Ibrahim Nasiru Mantu, may God rest his soul, at his residence in Abuja.When I got in, I was told he was at the dinning room so i went straight to the dinning room to meet him. To my greatest surprise, when I opened the door, lo and behold, Senator Mantu and Chief Joshua Dariye were wining and dinning together.I stood at the door in shocked for some seconds and Sen Mantu laughed and said Dukdam, are you shocked seeing us together? Come in and eat,then I will give you a lecture on politics. He now told me in politics what matters most is Interest. You can be great enemies but the day you have a common Interest you become friends and this is what you are seeing now. If you know the political tussle between the two of them before 2007 elections you can best imagine my shock seeing them dinning and wining together.
From that day on, my views changed on these politicians. I decided I will never take sides and fight for any politician’s cause again and it is not worth the while. So many lost their lives, properties, livelihoods etc during the political tussle for political dominance by these two . And see them today clinking together as if nothing ever happened. That is politics! No permanent friend but permanent Interest. So the Northern Christians/Minorities should take note and restratigize so as to benefit from the political equation in 2023 .
Commissioner of Police Joseph Deshi Gomwalk of blessed memories way of governance should be the kind of model any Northern Christians/Minorities should use anytime they find themselves holding political offices. During his time as Military Governor of the then Benue Plateau, it was his policy to empower indigenous companies owned by persons from the state so as empower them economically. Do you know that Plateau State secretariat was built by a company owned by an indigene, Dr Alex Fom of blessed memories. The likes of the Tilley Gyado, the Washiks, Angbazos, Gabriel C.Wuyep,Bala Jatau,SD Shemu were amongst a few of the indigenes who he empowered by giving their companies contracts to build schools, hospitals, roads, housing estates and so on. These are still the most visible infrastructures you still see standing in Plateau, Benue, Nassarawa and Southern Taraba ie the Teachers colleges you have in Jos, Amper, Garkawa, Lafia, Wukari, Makurdi, Keffi and so on. The government quarters on Bauchi road and also the University quarters on Bauchi road too,the Apollo Crescent Senior government quarters, the Court Quarters like the ones you have on Dogon Dutse and government quarters in most local governments in the state were built by indigenes. He created many institutions like the Produce and Commodity Board, the University of Jos ,the Nigerian Standard Newspaper so as to emancipate his people. Which of these so called leaders does this today? We should have a rethink and not just be blind followers and people who will always end up as complainers (wailers) as this new generation will call it.
I had earlier submitted that politics is about negotiations, dialogue and horse trading.
I have heard some leaders of this group saying to their followers lets waste our votes, can this statement be a strategic one in politics?No would be my answer. This could result to reinforcing the Muslim-Muslim Ticket they are running away from. Won’t it be better to negotiate for what you want from a lesser devil ( you may have to excuse my language) than lose out to the Devil himself? My question is this, let the Northern Christians/Minorities think about this properly before rushing into a wrong decision that will end up being a Political Disaster to it . Thank you for reading and let’s keep the conversation going.
Written by Dukdam J. Gonji