by Samuel Akinnuga
The notion that politics is a dirty game is one we could safely say dates as early as the maturing stages of our political evolution. In demystifying this widely misconstrued assertion, I cannot agree more with the words of a political sage that the comparison of politics to a game is a ‘felicitous one’. It should be known that any game at all in so far as it is not a game of chance is a good game. That submission, therefore, lends politics the status of a good game; that is of course if one still holds onto that opinion that it is one. Being no different from other games, it has got players and they are the politicians or so they all themselves.
Politics should be generally seen as an art of science of management of public affairs, or so they simply put it. These affairs which in modern day have gone beyond just merely maintaining law and order are to ensure the welfare and happiness of the generality of the people. So, where the dirt in the game come from?
Politicians ideally are to be men and women of impeccable character and proven competence. Again, ideally, these qualities are supposed to be examined in the full glare of public limelight and are to be found worthy enough to earn the politicians the public trust of the people. These days it seems like everyone is just another politician.
The ‘dirty’ misconception
In the bid to earn this trust, politicians or should I say politicians in Nigeria are in the habit of employing methods such as ‘abusing, vituperating, attacking, taunting as well other extreme methods which could be violent to detract their political opponents both in private and public spaces. With the knowledge of this, it would not unfair to understand why the popular dubbing ‘dirty’ has held sway for a long time because they (the people) mean so in a matter of speaking of the way the game is played and not the game itself.
The object of this writing is not to give the politicians a pat on the back but rather to say the truth the way it is: they have failed and have failed very well.
The political set-up of this country is an amalgam of public-spirited and self-seeking politicians. The alarming truth is not just in the presence of both as that should be expected but in the sprinkling presence of the former and an over-abundance of the latter.
The politics we see
Truth be told: politics is not dirty, and it can be played the clean the right if only the players on the political field would conform to the rules of the game which cut across universal standards of decency and ethics. The politics in Nigeria has clearly given room for an increase in the majority of the politicians are who are to be best described as desperate, spoilt, venal, mendacious, callous and self-seeking.
Politics in Nigeria has become a lot of things but truly ensuring the welfare and happiness of the people is not one of them. This same politicians ‘romance’ with the people to get them voted in public office; to give them power to determine their collective fortunes. This is one favour that soon turns out to be an instrument to bring upon misery and bigger misery upon the masses of the people. The privilege to ‘serve’ the people becomes an opportunity to shield themselves from harsh economic realities and social buffetings while in the process they continue to free themselves and further enslave the people.
All these are enough to discourage well-meaning Nigerians from believing in the country and its potentialities but I, as with many others like me remained unfazed because we find encouragement in the fact that the masses of the people are fast developing the ability to differentiate ‘gold from lead and real metal from dross’. It is becoming more obvious that the masses of the people are fed up and tired of this political merry-go-rounding that has led us nowhere and are getting more prepared for tough action against these politicians whose hobbies are among other things the misuse and abuse of power, trickery, fraud and callous neglect of the poor and down-trodden.
We shall overcome.
May God bless Nigeria!
Op–ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija
Samuel Akinnuga writes from Lagos, Nigeria