Let me make one thing clear from the outset: I hold the view that politicians all over the world are not exactly dependable people. That gist about politics being a game of permanent interests is as true in Nigeria as it is true in the United States or any other country. Although politicians elsewhere may be a bit more ethical, they are of the same cut and make when it comes to their survival, we should just learn to l live with that.

Having said that, however, there are some traits that I find largely peculiar to the Naija politician (even as I agree that those tendencies are part of our democratic evolution), we must however, keep talking about these issues so our politicians do not even assume that they are smarter than every one of us as we look forward to the moment when there would be ethical conduct among them.

I present some of the traits that I have noticed in our politicians.  Please come with me.

The “I’ll eat my cake and have it” group: Ask the Speaker of the House of Representative, Rt Hon Aminu Tambuwal to tell you how life is on this side of town. Tambuwal was elected on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to represent the Kebbe/Tambuwal Federal Constituency of Sokoto State in the House of Representatives in 2011. Although that would be his third time in the house, powers in the PDP did not support his bid for the leadership of the house.  But the opposition parties worked with rebellious PDP elements and that gave Tambuwal victory over two other opponents.

Since then, Tambuwal has literarily been run by the opposition.  Juicy chairmanship positions were given to members of the opposition while the lower legislature has been a consistent barrier to a lot of moves by the PDP ld federal government. You would sometimes wonder if the PDP actually has the majority in the lower legislative chambers.

Over the past few years, Tambuwal has increasingly dissociated himself from the PDP. He would not attend party events and shuns national programmes where his presence as the number four citizen of the country should be important.  He has also not passed over any opportunity to castigate the federal government.

One would, therefore, have expected that the Honourable Speaker would leave the PDP as soon as he got an opportunity. That opportunity finally came when five state governors elected on the platform of the PDP defected to the APC last November. But for where? Oga would not move one inch in spite of the fact that Sokoto State Governor, Aliyu Wamakko whom he followed to the PDP, in the first instance, left the party. Since then, Tambuwal has behaved like a lady dating two men.

While his heart has remained with the APC, the expediency of retaining his high office has kept him in the PDP. Yet he sees himself as the poster boy for principled politics in Nigeria even as he eats from two strange plates. He is the typical example of those who must eat their cake and have it. He is much unlike the former Speaker of the Kano State House of Assembly, Alhaji Gambo Sallau who resigned his office in the wake of the defection of Governor Kwankwaso and most members of the house to the APC. Sallu wanted to remain in the PDP and left office! Thank goodness, Nigeria is still blessed with a few of those.

The “I must always be relevant/can’t wait another day” group: This possibly represents the biggest number of politicians in the country. They give the impression that they have no life outside politics and that is something that I find difficult to fathom.  How does anyone make politics his only means of livelihood?

The curious thing is most of those in this group would have held political positions for years, flown all over the world at the expense of tax payers and taken medical excursions and other personal indulgences on our bill.

Then they leave office and a pharaoh who did not know Joseph comes to the throne stopping their dance in the sun. They are sad and fill our tired ears with noise of their deprivations.  True, some of them are legitimately cheated out of what belongs to them but rather than wait to fight some other day, engage in some other beneficial endeavours in the interim, they insist on immediate gratification by bringing untold mudslinging and ‘fight to finish’ into the polity.  When they see that no one is listening, they jump ship and start dancing Azonto with the men who called them thief and murderer just yesterday.

Since they have joined their enemies of yesterday, they believe their sins have been atoned for by changing parties. All things are now new! Or maybe they just assumed that Nigerians are too dumb to remember that these were men they told us to avoid like a plague.

But that is not where it stops. Sometimes they get into the new party and when the dividends do not come as early as they anticipated they are back to their “vomit” in a jiffy- the same party they left just yesterday, all because some personal expectations are not met on schedule!  Here we have the likes of former Governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola, former Governor Segun Oni, Chief Tom Ikimi, Mr. Femi Fani Kayode and a host of others.

Have any of our politicians thought of asking Tony Blair why he didn’t dump the Labour Party after his face-off with Gordon Brown forced him out of office… To be continued

About The Author

Osigweh Lilian Oluchi is a graduate of the University of Lagos where she obtained a B.A (Hons) in English, Masters in Public and International affairs (MPIA). Currently works with 1stnews as a Database Manager / Writer. [email protected]

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