A Self Reflection for Nigeria’s Political Losers

By | 9th May 2015

Observing the recently concluded general elections in the United Kingdom ‘#GE2015’ has been very enlightening indeed. From the articulate debates to the comprehensive yet detailed post mortem conducted by the BBC at the conclusion of the election, the entire electoral process has been well run. But what has captivated me most is the conduct of the loosing politicians and party chieftains. The concession speeches given by the loosing candidates and the wisdom demonstrated by them to promptly step down as party chieftains, in order to pave way for fresher ideas that would galvanise and rejuvenate their party is commendable; and what Nigeria’s political class should watch and emulate.

That’s not to take away from our elections ‘#NigeriaDecides2015’, for we showed that the nation is, at the very least, heading in the right direction. Nonetheless, there is still room for massive improvement in all aspects of our polity.

If you juxtapose the reaction of Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg, the party chieftains of Labour and Liberal Democrats respectively, in the immediate aftermath of #GE2015 with that of the Peoples Democratic Party National Chairman, Alhaji Adamu Mu’azu in ‘#NigeriaDecides2015’, you will soon come to realise that the road to the Nigerian Eldorado is very distant. At the conclusion of #GE2015, the two men resigned immediately because of their parties’ woeful performance at the polls. There was no bickering in the tabloids, no lawsuits in the courts, there was just a self-reflection that they had failed to achieve their mandate and thus must step down. This is the defacto in civilised environs.

As a losing party chieftain, you cannot expect that you will still command the respect and confidence of your subordinates after an election defeat, especially in politics, where the opposition is constantly in search for a chink in your armour to use against you. Although slightly left field, it was for somewhat similar reasons that Femi Fani-Kayode’s (FFK) presence as the PDP’s Election Campaign spokesman backfired. Forget FFK’s gross miscalculation with his hate inspired attacks at the All Progressive Congress (APC) and its candidate, General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd), all the APC needed to do was paint FFK as a defeated politician who would sing the praises of those that feed him. Once that was done, the general public, me included, could not take FFK as a serious individual, but instead as a political prostitute. Therefore, he should have stepped down from his position as campaign spokesman, better still, he should never have assumed the position in the first place. What jibe was he expecting from the opposition?

In the case of Alhaji Mu’azu, here is a party chieftain that could not even deliver his home state of Bauchi during ‘#NigeriaDecides2015’. At least the aforementioned British party leaders, won their constituency. But the magnitude of the PDP’s defeat in Bauchi State – 8% to APC’s 91% – is enough ammunition for the APC to silence an Alhaji Mu’azu led PDP party in any debate. Granted he came in as chieftain into a political party that was already a ticking time bomb, notwithstanding he knew the mandate at hand and lost. So why persist as chieftain? Why set your party up for failure even before the dust has settled on this defeat? Selfish ambitions perhaps!

Moreover, like Albert Einstein stated, insanity is doing the same thing over and over, and expecting a different result. For this reason alone, the PDP should search for new leadership and directives ahead of 2019. For the nation needs a strong opposition to ensure that the ruling party is always kept in check.

Is it not time that the defeated political leaders in #NigeriaDecides2015 cast a glance at their counterparts in other environs and think critically of their positions while asking themselves logical questions? Do they think that they can command respect from, and inspire confidence in their peers or subordinates? Is their decision to persist as leaders, for the best interest of their party or constituency?

While I do not think that every leader should quit the job after a loss, I do think that the loss needs to be reviewed in the context of the goals and objectives that were set out for the party before the election, and their performance evaluated on the basis of those targets. Where their performance does not measure up, the noble thing to do is to step aside and let new leadership pave the way forward. After all, it’s about the big picture for the party isn’t it?

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