POLITICS IN NIGERIA & THE PROSPECT OF OUR NASCENT DEMOCRACY.
I was talking to an audience during the 2018 CATECHETICAL WEEK and I asked them five questions. One of them was “how can those who call politics dirty game be crying when dirty people are playing it”. Presentation like this establishes that the Church wants her lay faithful to take back their responsibility which they have myopically abandoned to the wrong hands and began to blame the air.
The Church is saying as you prayer against Nigeria in distress, you can as well get Nigeria out of distress and Corruption when you get involved in Nation building and rehabilitation – Politics.
No matter how far you have gone on the wrong path, there is only one way to remedy your error, turn back – Japanese Saying.
*POLITICS IN NIGERIA:
What we have is government against the people, without the people but for the people. It is really dirty and bloody at present. Our political literature is colouration of
*Ethnic and Religious Clashes.
*Absence of Political State or Institutions
*Loss of core values
These have lasted this far because of what we have been conditioned to accept as Politics or what we brand as Politics but these are not what Politics is.
The word Politics emanates from a Greek word POLIS meaning Community, City or State. Politics is therefore the management of the POLIS. It is an intelligent regulation of life in the City, rational management of human rationality. The concept of politics was born by great thinkers like Aristotle and Plato in their efforts to fashion an IDEAL Society for human beings to live in.
Aristotle’s quote “Man is by nature a POLITICAL animal has broader implications. The literal meaning states Animal that lives in the Forest; animals controlled by their emotions, mood or appetite. Human beings who are satisfied when their pleasure is met. No, Man has gone beyond that!
Man is also RELATIVE animal. This implies that he lives in the city relating and bearing with others. His joy is renewed as he makes friends and companion in the home and in the neighbourhood.
Man is also a SOCIAL animal because he can think of the common good and bring about a common interest. In other words, man engages in the act of governing fellow human beings and that is why we are called HIGHER ANIMALS. In summary, man is a Political, Relational and Social animal at the same time.
According to Collins Dictionary, Politics are actions and activities concerned with achieving and using Power in a Country or Society. The special act of getting people into governance is called Politics. In the words of Martin Buber while he was pointing out a way to remind us of Aristotle, he said, human beings is dialogical in character; “I am able to recognise myself when I recognise you”.
As Christians, we can not love God without loving our neighbour. It follows that you must first relate with GOD in human being before you encounter the DIVINE GOD, 1John 4:20. As Stephen R. Covey would say “when all you want is human body and you really don’t want their mind, heart or spirit, you reduce a person to a thing”. Perhaps this is why His Excellency Bola Ahmed Tinubu told His Eminence Olubunmi Cardinal Anthony Okojie that ” Catholics have conscience” while he was sourcing for a deputy Gubernatorial Candidate from Catholic Church.
Driven by the task embedded in the Our Lord’s Prayer namely ” THY KINGDOM COME ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN ” the church see her lay faithful as the tool and mould for an ideal Society. It is a divine mandate to create for a Community of Peace, Equity and Prosperity. To this end we are challenged to go extra mile in the words of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger who invites us to know
*The Culture of the people.
*The Language of the people.
*The Religious Sense of the people.
*How Develop strong Apostolic faith.
*THE PROSPECT OF OUR NASCENT DEMOCRACY;
Though Democracy is still young in this part of the world, we have recorded a lot of changes in our Political development. Beyond these great achievements, there are many fallow and arid land of our National Life that we need to develop and improve. Every citizen have a responsibility not only to himself but for others to bring corrupt practices and violence to a nearest minimum.
Today, the challenge before us as lay Catholics is the phobia and apathy for political engagement. The field of politics is part and parcel of the Earth the Lord has entrusted to us human beings for proper management, it will be dereliction of duty if we fail to participate. Our people need new alternatives and now is the time to begin to plant new seeds. Marion Zimmer once said “flower and seed are only the beginning. In the seed lies the life and future”. What we sow is what we will reap. The promise of God is sure, the present moment may be full of uncertainty, it may all be dark around us, but there will always be Light at the end of the Tunnel. Some Political activities may be bad, some Politicians may be bad and corrupt, but People must be involved in it to sanctify it and give us the real face of politics. Sitting on the fence is identifying with the oppressors.
If good people shy away from politics for fear of being hurt, being killed or being corrupt, the miscreants will continue to be elected, make laws and rule us. Politics is not the art of the possible rather it consists in choosing between the disastrous and the unpalatable – John Kenneth Galbraith. The truth is that politics is war without blood as war is politics with blood. As a commitment that we need an ideal society safe for everyone, good and virtuous men and women must enter the game with our Gospel Values. There may not be an enabling democratic disposition except we have stakeholders who understands the rule of law emerging for democratic environment.
To this end, I challenge all lay faithful to engage in an Apostolic Thinking using your territory map (Parish) as a take off point in bringing the world into a Nest; dreaming about souls. These we shall achieve through these dimensions;
- Lay faithful deepening themselves in teachings of the the church as a way of being in the world and not of this contemporary world.
- Reorienting Lay faithful on the concept of politics and the goals of democracy.
- Sensitizing the lay faithful on citizen engagement.
- encourage, discover, support and sponsorship of Catholics who are scientifically credible for political aspirations.
- There should be ongoing lay Leadership training and mentoring with the view of preparing them for Public Trust.
Dr. Joe Abah once tweeted “if you don’t kill and scratch while Mosquitoes bite, soon Vultures may arrive with the intention that this body is helpless and have come to feed on the carcass”. At this point, we ought to be tired of dinosaur leadership; politics of managing ineptitude in midst of abundant human, material and natural resources. Let us go and strengthen our Basic Christian Community and our lay organizations, and by that, we will have a harvest of Captains of Industry, Union Leaders, Representatives of Market Affiliations, heads of Board and Community leaders.
The account of Psalm 127 is a proof that until a Man arises from a HOUSE built by God there are chances that God may not watch the CITY and the security of the children may not be guaranteed at the GATE. In the same vein, when the righteous is on the throne the people rejoice.
“When a soul is lost, nothing is safe” Archbishop Fulton Sheen.