Editorial

Politicians

Somebody was telling me that politicians will not be allowed to produce the next governor of Imo state. He said the ‘non-political sector’ will.
I told him that will be desirable, but I don’t know how it will be possible. I don’t know how he came to that blanket condemnation of politicians and calling for their total rejection. We had not enough time for him to tell me why all politicians should be bundled out of society that way. But politicians are in politics because they want to be in-charge of human affairs, a position in which they can take over the wealth and resources of the people and convert them into their own. They do that with impunity the way bandits behave. I thought deeper about politicians and politics.
The politician wants to lead you. When he gets in as your leader, he decides he will be a ruler.  You call him governor. Call him president, legislator or something in the appointive or elective political positions. In those positions he is supposed to be a servant. But you’re simply deceiving yourself thinking so. He knows he is a ruler, a monarch, a master, an emperor. You are his bloody servant. That’s what he regards you as, like it or not. You swear him to an oath of office. You think you are cleaver. But he drafted the oath. Nowhere in it did he say he will serve. What he wrote is about allegiance and loyalty, which mean nothing. He knows politics means gwa m ozo, mee ozo. He plays accordingly. What you think he does for you is not what he is doing. He will never do that. Even if he swore to be a servant, he will be master. Some of them say they are ‘servant leaders’! Nobody can be servant and leader at the same time.
This is a tale you tell a fool. A servant is an underdog. You can’t be an under dog and an upper dog as well. Tell the person who talks of a servant leader that he is talking nonsense. You either serve or you lead. These are roles diametrically opposed to each other. One is above the other. The leader is above the servant. They are never equals. Neither will the leader ever serve the servant. The leader sends the servant to an errand. It is never the other way round. All the leader can do for a servant is to treat him/her well and respect his/her feelings. That doesn’t mean the servant will not do the odd, dirty jobs if you like, things the leader will not do under any circumstance. They cannot swap duties or change positions. What are we talking about!
The politician is twisted. He can’t go with you all the way. You will see the stuff he is made of when he sees something of interest while walking along with you. The way he will drop you in pursuit of that interest will shock you. It doesn’t matter if it is something inconsequential.
A relation I respected so much when he was alive put it this way. If you are waiting at the roadside with a woman to catch a lift, he said, and you get a space in a car first, leave her and go. Why? She will be there before you get there. This is the way to deal with a politician, if at all you will have anything to do with one. You don’t blame the woman for that. It is her endowment that gives her that advantage. A politician’s is his betrayal. You don’t  on him/her. You do so at your peril. A politician is the type who will mobilize kinsmenus to resist when oppression from the government is so much. In the night he will sneak over to the same government people and accept gratification and reveal the plan to them. Politicians are night crawlers. That’s when they are most active and do their havoc. The police would come the next day, make arrests and crush the resistance which he instigated. The politician is home and dry. He has played one side against the other. That is his stock-in-trade.
The politicians’ selflessness and public spirit is what is always in doubt, even when they claim those qualities on the rooftops. They do deceive one another also, as a way of life. That is what makes them dangerous, and people dread them like plague, and it’s probably why my friend wants them neutralized during the choice of a new governor for Imo state. He thinks they must not be allowed to contest, let alone win the election and become governor. He said they have let the state and its people down for too long, there is nothing for them in the coming new dispensation. I wait to see how this will be done.
Once a politician, always a politician: They think they will not live if they get out of politics. Indeed they make a lot of money from it. It is like a mysterious cult where money is shared in unbelievable amounts. If you are outside it, you are outside it. If you are in, you are in. If you are in and you don’t behave like one, you will not be really welcome. You will not benefit from the spoils.
Politicians are like fish in water. Water is where fishes live, their habitat.  Politics is the habitat for politicians. The way fishes cannot live outside water is the way politicians cannot live outside politics; and oceans and rivers must have fish in them.
Assuming a person is drafted to be the governor against his will, he is automatically a politician. He is automatically in politics. He is now a fish in water. Water is his home. Nobody can raise fish outside water. So will no politician thrive outside politics. No governor will. Politics is jumping from party to party, like butterflies following nectar. They are shameless about it. There is nothing like shame in politics. If there is chop-chop they must go there.
I think that what make leaders good are the laws in place that would guide their conduct. If the laws are there, they must be enforced with ruthlessness. The laws must be stringent. It must be stated that the governor must do what the people want. Where the people don’t want western education, let them have it. Where they want western education give it to them. What you think they need is irrelevant. Give them Biafra if that is what they want. The ego of the political leader must not be in the way of pursuing the fulfillment and happiness of the people. That way only, can peace, progress, development, security and happiness be guaranteed. This is also the way to unity, if we can construe it to mean cooperation, friendliness, mutual respect, love, freedom and such virtues. These are all democracy is about. Without this a governor looks vicious and cruel. Not only that, hateful. The personal interest of the governor must not be allowed to supersede the collective interest of the people. When the two clash, the people must have their say and their way. There must be a provision in the law that prevents the governor overriding the people’s will, their choices and their wishes. The law should make it possible to take out that governor with ease and replace him in the middle of term with one who will do what the people want. The good governor is the one who will do what the people want. The governor should fear us, not we fearing him. The moment the governor feels he is the best thing that happened to us, he should be chalked out, because there are so many good people waiting to try their hands on the job, who need to be given the chance to govern too. A governor like any employee who is not humble about his position and respectful to those who hired him must lose the job. He must give chance and the owners of the job take back their job from him.
The unwanted bad politician is the one whose wishes will always prevail. We create such tyrants by the limitless powers we give them. We should be able to stop a governor in his tracks. If we were to be doing this, the present dislocation and devastation in Imo state would have long been behind us. We must call the people we call politicians to order and strictly regulate their conduct. Else they will lead or serve us all out of existence, while feeding fat on our common patrimony, and taking all our property and inheritance over to themselves. We have never seen this sort of behavior and attitude that is so arrogant to be insulting before.

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