By Austen AKHAGBEME:
One of the earliest definitions of a political party I knew as a secondary school student was that of Edmund Burke, the eighteenth-century British philosopher and scholar. He defined political parties as the body of men united to promote, by their joint endeavour, the national interest based on a particular principle on which they all agreed.
The above definition, no matter how ” elementary” it is today, presupposes the importance and uniqueness of an agreed principle or ideology that is pivotally driving the union.
But in Nigeria today, political parties have become a mere political nest for politicians to roost while aggregating selfish plans based on primordial justification. Edmund Burke’s idea of a principled union or ideological congregation has become the exception rather than the rule.
Little wonder that the recently concluded party conventions of the two major political parties in Nigeria, APC and the PDP was a display of reckless poaching by both parties as we witnessed a lot of former PDP battle commanders becoming APC chieftains and vice-versa.
This was made possible by the inorganic nature of party formation and metamorphosis in our clime. Here, parties are not and never driven by a known and acceptable ideology but by mere sloganeering, masquerading as a party manifesto aimed aimlessly at assuring the masses of a change or a breath of fresh air.
Because the parties lack ideology, they are, therefore, borderless and fluid such that they have become the gathering of strange bedfellows and pretenders. This is the reason why a politician who lost a ticket to contest for a particular position in an election in one party can easily jump to another in search of the same ticket without a pricking conscience.
Our democracy has truly become the victim as such democratic structures, as important as political parties, becomes a mere vehicle for political mobility by political elites and their cronies.
The overall result of all these is the lack of governance, elite hypocrisy, heartless bureaucracy, greed and avarice which recently has culminated in insecurity pervading our land. If the parties do not have ideologies, how can the nation have a national philosophy? We truly still have a long way to go in Nigeria. We sure do.
- Austen AKHAGBEME is a Columnist with Blank NEWS Online