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IDEOLOGY AND THE NIGERIAN POLITICAL ELITE




By: Egbuna Amuta 

Before the decline of the communist or extreme socialist ideologies since the mid 1980s, the world was enmeshed in global bi-polarity and Cold War between the Communist and Capitalist Worlds. The two rival groups were then led by the White House, in United States of America, USA and Kremlin, in the defunct Union of Soviet Socialist Republic, USSR. Both antagonistic countries were commonly referred to as Super Powers.
However, before the systematic collapse of communism and fall of the Berlin wall in Germany, there were other liberal or less hardline ideological inclinations in other parts of the world. They included Democratic Socialism, Welfarism and other variants of democracy practiced even in the Capitalist dominated Western World. In fact these liberal or moderate ideologies were synthesis of capitalism and communism aimed at protecting fundamental interests of the working class against oppression of the bourgeoisie or the ruling class. The introduction of some communist or socialist values into capitalism by governments in the Western world was also to curtail restiveness of the ordinary people. 
A clear difference between Communism and other democratic systems of government is that while  the former is necessarily one-party dictatorship and totalitarian, the later  gives room for party pluralism or multi-party system and political tolerance.
For instance, the United States and Britain otherwise known as the United Kingdom, have many political parties with two major ones which are either conservative or liberal in orientation. In the United States, the Democratic Party is liberal while the Republicans are conservative just as the Labour Party and the Tories are in Britain respectively.
Indeed, this arrangement is replicated in many European countries and other parts of the developed world. Except in China and North Korea, where communism has persisted to a certain degree, even Russia which used to be the original home base of communism after the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917, has to some extent today moderated the hardline ideology by allowing regulated free market economy to thrive in their domains. 
Politicians in the First and Second World more often than not, belong to political parties because of their ideological convictions and principles, and not necessarily for pecuniary reasons. Unfortunately this is not the case in Nigeria, nay Africa and many other Third World Nations in the Asian Continent and many developing countries in the American hemisphere. 
In Nigeria, virtually all politicians nowadays, do not have ideological beliefs. They are rather more concerned with acquisition of raw power for its own sake and self aggrandizement instead of the national or collective interests and welfare of the masses in whose trust they hold their offices. Little wonder they defect easily from one party to another without moral scruples. Even though it is more pronounced in the present Repubic, cross carpeting from one political party to another actually started in the defunct Western region of Nigeria before the country's independence in 1960.
The then Action Group party led by late Chief Obafemi Awolowo, triggered it off when it played ethnicity card to cajole parliamentarians in the region who were elected on the platform of the National Council of Nigerian Citizens, NCNC of late Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe to defect to the Action Group. Since then cross carpeting has unfortunately become the norm in our country, especially in the present Fourth Republic. That notwithstanding, Nigerian politicians of the  previous Republics were significantly ideologically inclined whether they were in the defunct NCNC, AG, NPC and NEPU of the First Republic, the NPP, UPN, NPN, PRP and GNPP of the Second Republic or the military created SDP and NRC of the aborted Third Republic. 
In this Fourth Republic, there is absolutely no ideological difference amongst the ninety one registered  political parties in the country. This explains why politicians defect shamelessly from one party to another. Regrettably, this new  phenomenon is seriously undermining the interests of the electorate and impinging negatively on the moral and spiritual values of the Nigerian society. It also encourages corruption in the country as we are witnessing nowadays whereby it is apparent that the lever of investigations into corruption allegations against certain politicians are lowered by the government as soon as such suspects jump ship from their party into the ruling party. This, to say the least, is despicable and abhorrent to all decent minds throughout the world. It is unheard of that members of either the conservative or labour/democratic parties in the Western world defect easily from one to the other. This is because they are mean of principles and ideological convictions.
In order to curtail this anomaly in Nigeria it is the opinion of many political pundits that the National Assembly should make haste to introduce and pass a Bill with stringent conditions to make it very difficult for politicians to cross carpet from one party to another. This patriotic measure would ultimately help to sanitize the country's political system#

EGBUNA AMUTA, a Political Analyst, writes from Onitsha. 
Saturday, September 8, 2018.

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