Monday, March 27, 2006

Nigerian Politics: Starting from the Bottom- the Local Government Areas

Check this out:

A "Nigerian-born British Policeman, Chukwudum Ikeazor, has thrown his hat into the ring, and declared his intention to run for next year's Presidential election in his country of birth...Although not affiliated to any political party as at now, the former Mobile Policeman and law graduate is hoping that any party or group that is 'genuinely seeking to lead Nigerians out of the present and endemic quagmire of misrule, mismanagement and corruption, will quickly sign him on.'"-- This is an excerpt from Tunde Oyedoyin's article in the Sunday edition of the [Nigerian] Guardian.

There are many Nigerians like Mr Ikeazor. Rather than seeing Mr Ikeazor's move as a mere publicity stunt- even if there is overwhelming evidence that it is- I see it as one of the anomalies of the Nigerian psyche: we all want to start from the top of the leader. Even when we can hardly crawl, we want to not climb the ladder but sit at the very top!

Nigeria has lost many sound-minds to this anomaly. The last presidential elections featured some of the best minds in the country: Olu Falae, Gani Fawehinmi and Kris Okotie to mention a few.

Some in the race could have won the gubernatorial elections in their states and many- the senatorial or the local government chairman seats. Many would have found the last option particularly quite distasteful and very belittling. However, the truth is that the local government areas present excellent opportunities for those passionate to serve and effect paradigm shifts in the nation. But it's often the most ignored because it's the least attractive!

Any serious neophytic politician worth his salt and genuinely ready to serve can't ignored the grassroots, in fact he or she must be willing to start from one of the low-laying rungs on the political leader.

Politics is serving the public, so if the form of government closest to the public are the local governments why are they being shunned? I'm sure Mr Chukwudum Ikeazor would make a good chairman of his local government area. What do you think?