PHOBIA FOR ELECTORAL DEFEAT AND THE NEED FOR BEHAVIOURAL SWITCH BY NIGERIAN POLITICIANS.

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Stratospheric success at all spheres of national concern is what the Nigeria populace seek at this critical moment of political reformation that the 2019 election seems to be a deciding factor.

Naturally, humans have phobia for failure, but the undiluted truth remains that failure is part of human existence, thus better described as inevitable. This assertion can be buttressed with a few brainy quotes:
*success is not final, failure is not fatal; it is courage to continue that counts–Wiston Churchill.
*success is the result of imperfection, hardwork, learning from failure, loyalty and persistence… Collins Powell.
*Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm –Winston Churchill.

The above simply connote that success cannot be divorced from failure, as such it is not an anomaly losing an election. Nigeria politicians consider losing an election a social insipid which is a sign of ideological blockage.

Taking a cruise into the Nigerian political history, in conformity with the subject matter, unravels the fact that phobia for electoral defeat is the rationale behind the power drunk ambition exhibited by African politicians and their strong appetite to play politics as a “Do or Die ” game. This is further characterised by the inability to exercise the spirit of sportsmanship that requires embracing election results in good fate.

Africa is a continent where power handover amidst obvious incompetencies is viewed from the prism of political sacrilege. This precipitates the transition of malnourished governance style from one generation to another; a political culture where an incumbent cannot concede defeat , not even under duress over displeasure expressed by the populace.

For instance, in developed societies where the wellbeing of the citizenry is the premium, issues of resignation from political offices even on the ground of average performances, is perceived an honourable strategy to socioeconomic and political prosperity rather than an ignominious move as translated in black nations like Libya, Liberia and with particular reference to Nigeria.

Affirming the above assertion, brings to mind the resignation of the one time U.S president Richard Nixon for his role in the 1974 Watergate scandal and the Japan’s Prime Minister Naotokan after the Fukushima nuclear tragedy. Its a common practice in Africa that tyrants never let go power even when such leaders lack the required administrative capacity and grassroot followership. Archetypal of such is the case of Gaddafi of Libya, Samuel Doe of Liberia, Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe amidst a non exhaustive list. This leaves an indelible footprint, the unflinching need to consistently glue to power for decades despite public disdain over anaemic leadership pattern. This further validates the reason why impeachment moves mostly enter a stalemate in the Nigeria scenario.

The political turmoil that emanate from vengeful and immigration politics (party mobility) and all forms of mindless hedonism, is an evidence of the Nigerian politicians wanting to perpetually and tenaciously hold unto power. This defines the political style to be a must win affair and the governance house as a “Power Dynasty”.

A forensic analysis into the history of off-cycle elections in Nigeria , is a revealer that lack of circumspect displayed by politicians in terms of power acquisition and retainment is embedded in the cause and not the effect.

The fundamental cause of the phobia for electoral defeat is built on the premise that political offices have been politically architecture to be too attractive. The attractiveness is adjudged from the perspective of the juicy packages in terms of robust allowances that accompany political appointments. The most disturbing is the constitutional provision for pension for top notch political office holders whose allowances can carter for 10th generation unborn.

A contributory factor also is the exotic gifting I.e the brown envelope or money change hand politics. The severance package for pensioned politicians backed by the constitution, seem so ridiculous and deepens the quest to gain access to power at all cost.

Another perturbing issue is the exorbitant cost of obtaining the expression of interest/nomination forms. How does one explain the jumbo sum of #45million naira for nomination form for the seat of a Governor. Its so whooping to the extent that an incumbent president claimed not to possess the financial wherewithal to afford a nomination form, thus relied on the sponsorship of other stakeholders. With this development one begins to wonder how a grassroot politician can survive such a flamboyant escapade.

Also notable as a causal agent is the robust cost of running campaigns which amounts to nothing less than a fortune. Political subservience born from sponsorship of aspirants by Godfathers is a daunting cause of electoral disturbances. It has become a tradition for incumbents or aspirants to deliver their states for the sustainability of their party initiatives. A shortfall of this is soliciting for trouble, as such politicians are meant to suffer relegation of being placed in an inconsequential stance in their party affairs. This predicament is better described in the words of Robert Green, a Seasoned psychologist and master of strategy in the U.S as the masculine, elitists and repressive pursuit and a dangerous nonsense.

No doubt such whooping cost of servicing election and politics in general leads to sponsorship from Godfathers, responsible for political genuflections, loan securing from commercial banks, capable of plunging such banks into a state of distress, following heavy debts issued to such politicians with high interest bearing .

Considering the heavy debt hanging on the neck of such politicians, no sane politician would want to lose an election with the supposed potency to give them access to the power and financial house that can guarantee clearing their financial indebtedness.

Flexing financial muscle is seen as an election winning strategy. The conversion of public coffer into private fiefdom by incumbents for electioneering purposes, is also an offshoot from the fear of not wanting to lose out in an election. Election is now a game of the highest bidder, as the electioneering pattern has become the money induced one.
The current move by the INEC Chairman prof. Mahmood Yakubu calling for the INEC to monitor party finances through the use of tracking device further affirms the above point.

The act of political gangsterism, where politicians equip their acclaimed party faithfuls to form an armoury of thuggery Generals for the purpose of elimination of opponents, electorate intimidation are all functions of desperation by the Nigerian politicians to gain power either by hook or crook. This is sure a heightened state of anti-social behavioural gap.

Indeed, no volume of words and analysis can explain away the imperfection of successive politicians in this regard. Glaringly, such attitudinal and ideological default cannot be distanced from the unflinching desire to acquire and retain power at all cost , thus political goons forbid being defeated in any form of electoral contest.

The highlighted factors above account for the level of security decrepitude the nation is bedeviled with. Typified of this striking point, is the menace of political thuggery, snatching of ballot boxes and all forms of political conspirational actions, where issues of national concern such as the Boko Haram and Herdsmen plaque have been politicised to frustrate and stereotype political oppositions. This is considered the zenith of desecration of national security.

The disturbances born from this trend has become devastating that when a politician losses an election, he interprets it to mean election rigging. Rather than accept defeat in good fate and exercise the spirit of sportsmanship as required by law, or seek redress in a court of law, violence and other forms of political persecutions are resorted to as a reciprocity for a perceived bruised ego and access denial to the national treasury.

It is worth stating emphatically that resilience is a prerequisite in playing clean politics. Losing out in an election today is no impediment to future victory. After all President Muhammadu Buhari contested and won on the 4th attempt. This should be the watch word of any sane or rational politician.

With the 2019 election fast approaching, anarchy has seized the moment, deduced from blood buster campaigns contents where political pyromaniacs and Suffocators are prepared to set the polity ablaze , using envenoming speeches and vulgarian attitude to exhibit their penchant for violence.

The extent of non verbal hygiene in their speeches and body language is epitomised in the indiscriminate use of braggart commentaries which is on the increase and can be adjudged from the few threats captured below:
“I had rather die than lose the 2019election”
“We are ready to be taken to the graveyard tomorrow and if he knows his mother and father born him well he should….. and it’s fight to finish”
“The APC in Rivers state challenge Governor….. to continue with the illegal militia training and go ahead to arm them. We will also train our own security. We promise we will not be at the complaining end again”.

The above are pointers to the fact that politicians have become militicians as described in the words of the former INEC boss Prof. Attaihiru Jega, as encoded in a paper titled ” Challenges and Prospects of Sustainable Credible elections in Nigeria”.

The question craving for needful answer at this juncture, is why do Nigeria politicians have phobia for losing elections, knowing fully well that at every tier of governance, only a leader is expected to emerge a winner amidst the long list of aspirants?. Why don’t Nigeria politicians harbour in their minds that politics is a game where you either win or lose?. The spirit of sportsmanship as exhibited by former president Goodluck Jonathan for conceding defeat in the 2015 election should be a role model to the many contestants warming up for the 2019 election. National interest is expected to be placed above egocentric and unscrupulous political ambitions.

Surmounting the x-rayed precipitating factors anchored on non acceptance of electoral defeat requires basically the reduction in the cost of nomination forms for aspirants to guarantee affordability, with little fear of indebtedness and abort the fear of how do I pay back my debts if I lose out of the election?.

Secondly, the enactment of enabling laws to discipline vulgarian politicians who specialise in the use of propaganda becomes vital at this point in time.
Obviously the immunity clause in the constitution allows for all forms of political rascality and recklessness for incumbents contesting elections. This is also an issue that requires constitutional correctness.

There is also the need to slash allowances of political office holders to make such offices less attractive. Nigeria is one of the countries in the world that allocate whooping sums to political office holders as allowances but with one of the appalling minimum wage for her workers.

Constitutional amendments in the area of severance package at the expiration of tenure of political office holders is considered indispensable at this point. Pension ought to be for those who have meritoriously served in various capacities. How many politicians have meritoriously served to deserve a pension ?.

The resuscitation of the Nigeria’s decadent predicament and attainment of a paragon of rationality, calls for an alignment with the proposed open sesame as horoscope above. This is geared towards causing a behavioural switch (attitudinal change) in the line of reasoning of politicians /aspirants (ideological transformation) and also to necessitate a positive influence in their acceptability of election outcomes. This will in no small measure instigate an humongous boost in a distraught polity portrayed as a shark infested water.

Losing an election doesn’t signify failure. Sometimes by losing a battle, you find a new way to win the war…Donald Trump.
Politics is not a dirty game as speculated, rather politicians who play politics of bitterness portray it as filthy.

The line of advocacy is a call for Nigerian politicians to turn a new leaf in order to engineer a revamped electoral system with their conduct in preparation for the 2019 election as a litmus test. This will also help disappoint and seal the lips of acclaimed International watchdogs who take advantage of the porous polity to make their secession/national divide prediction, which Nigerians with a sense of patriotism wish it assumes a menopausal state.

 

 

 

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