By Douglas Waserite Dodiyi-Manuel

At this time in our political history, it is important for us to be led by the right values, and build our strategy around such values.

Over the years, we have set in motion, a political philosophy that solves a short-term problem with a long-term solution which is in actuality, a long-term consequence of irrationality: such that in 2015, the PDP succumbed to the delusion that only Chief Wike can win election, and so they gave him the ticket at the expense of the next Eight Years. For the short-term aim of “capacity to win election”, the PDP willingly surrendered Eight Years at the expense of institutions such as the RSSDA, Songhai Farms, etc,. They gave up Educational policies including oversees scholarship, students’ bursary, etc,. They defrayed Health policy of Free Medicare, amongst others, because they imbibed the delusion that only Wike could win election. At that time, nobody was sensible enough to ask what Wike would do with the power of a governor.

They in self-deception scrambled policy directional documents for him, yet today nobody can ascertain the degree of compliance with that document, if it’s even close by.

Is there a better story to tell of the Local Government?

As at today, the Local Government is simply a jocular institution in the context of governance. We’ve gotten it totally wrong. If we appraise the so-called projects being peddled by the State (flyover that don’t fit into any urban development plan to which anybody may relate) and Local governments (the modernization of shrines, and “projects” that don’t fit into any basic or comprehensive developmental framework) against the opportunity cost thereof, most intelligent, informed and rational persons will be unanimously opined that this trend cannot be allowed to continue. We have wasted enough of our time, and certainly so as a generation.

If you look at the National sphere of party politics, the consideration is on the proven competence of a hopeful. Hence for the supporters of the Minister of Transportation, our confidence is on the fact of his revolutionary policy implementation that has tremendously transformed the transportation industry socially, economically and infrastructurally. In fact, we make bold to assert with pride that Rt Hon Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi is a historic and momentous Minister of Transportation in Nigeria.

However, at the State level, we always allow ourselves to contemplate irrational considerations such as had led to the emergence of Wike, while the Local Government is erroneously not even taken seriously in the calculation of national development.

For the legislature at nearly every level, they’re politically consolatory to the corresponding executive offices without the faintest consideration of the importance of informed legislative contributions in national and regional development.

Let’s be honest, can such approach to politics bring about development in the actual sense of it?

What the heck is popularity?

In politics, we basically have three relativities:

1. Folk Popularity: this is the popularity that is based on a person’s degree of social integration with a people. For instance, if Burna Boy were to contest for an elective office, a shunk of his votes will be harvested from his fan base.

Another example is MKO Abiola. His popularity was based on his sustained philanthropy and sports activities. Through philanthropy and sports, he long became a folk hero before his political adventure.

2. Induced Popularity: this is popularity due to stomach infrastructure. As a matter of fact, this is a fundamental problem in our politics today. This describes the feigned philanthropy that today goes with politics. A situation where someone says he wants to run for Senate, and in course of the electioneering campaign, such a “politician” never talks about policies, regulations, imperatives and derivatives of informed foreign policies, regional and international economic and diplomatic relations, etc. Rather, such a person induces popularity through alms giving, and that is fast assuming the acknowledgement of empowerment: you give N50k each to 100 persons, and then you’re hailed as an empowerment machine. Which society does that?

However, these activities are the trappings and indicators of political seriousness and acceptability in the present day Rivers State. Now, we can’t talk about nipping it on the board anymore, because the menace is beyond the board: it has become an intrinsic political feature in our society.

When you hear people talk about on a reachable candidate for governor, it is an emphasis on personal connection outside actual administration, which is a further reference of induced popularity.

3. Informed Popularity: a quick and recent example is the general acceptance that in the spectrum of political candidacy in Anambra, Charles Soludo stood out, as he was simply defined by competence. And it is a fundamental basis of his popularity.

When Tonye Cole emerged in 2019, the general electoral population in Rivers State and beyond were emphatic on the quality of his candidacy, bothering on actual governance. He represented relief from rubbish. People generally knew that with Tonye Cole, industrial revolution, functional civil service and entrepreneurs mentorship and development were rational expectations. People were antipative of a system that would work. There is no doubt that he is fundamentally armed with informed popularity, and that blurs the touted deficit in the politics of inducements. Before now, he could easily benefit from immense folk popularity, being born into a family of illustrious and prime pedigree.

Tonye has always insisted that in the society, we must know what we’re doing.

With Tonye Princewill, the population of electorate have noted the depths of his sociological understanding of the State’s dynamics and his capacity to give leadership to the youth. He has always been representative of the turning curve to a changed narrative, and has always enjoyed an informed support base.

The recent activities of Dakuku Peterside reveals that he is in the advent of redefining himself as one with administrative understanding and capacity, as his arguments are increasingly on topical issues, leaving out the person of the governor, and rather focusing on the crux of governance, armed with an impressive federal outing in NIMASA. It is obvious that he has joined the league of intelligentsia, cultivating his portion in the farm of informed popularity.

Go to Abia State and determine the administrative and social dividends of Gov Okezie Ikpeazu’s induced popularity.

Go to Kaduna and appraise the starling legislative achievements of Senator Ubah Sani. A man sworn to legislature.

One thing the electorate of our society don’t seem to understand is that in representation, legislation and oversight, the legislator’s work is foundational and punctuative in nature. It is not an easy function for the common-man to appraise, but those persuaded by the actual essence of political administration. It can only be a knowledge-based appraisal.

As a person, more so as a politician, I’ve always insisted on the knowledge-based politics that put square pegs in square holes, the contestation of ideas, and the political drive, decision and campaign that is simply emphatic of public policy and contemporary indicators of good governance.

This is a clarion call for every adult in our society to work towards imbibing the competence of making right, informed and rational political decision.


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