By Francis Ogbimi
NIGERIA has over 50 political groups. How can anyone say that Nigeria needs political parties? Yes, Nigeria needs political parties. This article was written to show why the current political groups in Nigeria are not political but political machines and conspiracies that do not represent the ideals, aspirations and hopes of Nigerians. The article was also written to show how Nigeria can achieve rapid economic development and quickly form political parties.
President Dwight Eisenhower (1956) of the United States said on the question of the political party that a political party deserves only the approval of the American because it embodies the ideals, aspirations and hopes of the Americans. If it is less, then it is just a conspiracy to seize power.
About 20 years later, Daniel Boorstin (1973), American historian who rethought the political party question, said that a political party is organized for a purpose greater than its own survival; a political machine exists for its own sake, its main purpose being survival. I agree with President Eisenhower and Boorstin.
Political groups in Nigeria do not represent the ideals, aspirations and hopes of Nigerians; they exist only for their members. Local, state, and federal politicians come into government to get rich overnight.
Nigerian political machines and conspiracies trick foreigners into deceiving the ignorant people and adopting programs that, while having beautiful names and acronyms, do not promote growth and development. Nobody but the politicians and their experts know what the programs and beautiful acronyms are supposed to do.
Nigerian politicians never had development programs because they only increased poverty and national debt in Nigeria.
The political machines in Nigeria claim to work for the good of Nigerians and to promote education, build roads and bridges, develop agriculture. In practice, they are doing incoherent things that do not encourage growth and development.
The development process of a nation can be compared to a journey. When Nigerian politicians make their lavish trips to Europe, America and Asia, they inquire beforehand how they will get to their destination. This is how it should be in the development process.
If the political groups were to represent the ideals, aspirations, and aspirations of Nigerians, they would have been interested in finding out how nations develop like the technologically advanced nations did. That would allow Nigeria to avoid the mistakes of older societies.
Our decades of curiosity-driven research have shown that there are basically two types of nations in the world today. They are: 1) the industrialists and wealthy found in Europe, America, and some parts of Asia, and 2) the non-industrialized and poor found in Africa, Latin America, and some parts of Asia.
The industrialized and rich nations that manufacture myriad products today were poor agrarian nations for 2000-3000 years like the African nations of today before they reached industrialization. The main goal of Nigeria should be the pursuit of industrialization. Unfortunately, Nigerian politicians did not pursue industrialization.
Nigeria gained political independence from Great Britain in 1960, around 61 years ago. The geographic area that is now called Nigeria was colonized in the period of about 100 years, 1850-1960.
The parliamentary system of government in Britain has evolved with kings over thousands of years. It was the first modern industrial revolution, IR, which took place between 1770 and 1850 and changed economic, social and political life in Britain. The Labor Party was founded in 1906, over 50 years after the IR emerged.
The United States of America began as farm settlements / colonies for British businessmen and the government in 1606. By 1775 there were 13 colonies in the area now occupied by the United States of America.
The colonies revolted against the British Crown in 1775 and fought and won the War of Independence from 1775-1783. The war confederation organized a convention in 1787 to draft the federal constitution (Bartlett et al., 1969).
The American presidential system and its constitution came into effect in 1789; they belong to people who have lived together for over 400 years; the constitution is about 230 years old. The Americans recognized that their presidential system was less accountable to the people than the British parliamentary system (Hall, 1971).
A nation’s political journey rarely ripens and brings quick relief. It is the economic journey that brings about rapid transformation; it is the one that a wise person should focus on. It is the acquisition of scientific and technological skills that make a nation great, not the mere adoption of a great nation’s constitution.
Wealth, weapons and ammunition are products of scientific and technological skills. The Latin American nations adopted the American Presidential Constitution over 200 years ago, but they still have no clear direction in the development process.
The British parliamentary and American presidential systems are too advanced for Nigerians; Nigeria needs a simple federal government and a good economic program that would easily change Nigeria economically and politically.
The relationship between the economic and political spheres of a nation can be compared to that between the kettle and the water on the coal boiler on the one hand and the burnt coal in the coal pot on the other.
It is the heat generated by the coal boiler (the state of the economy) that determines the temperature of the water in the boiler (the political sphere). No economic growth; no political growth, no democracy.
The big economic program Nigeria needs is to mobilize all Nigerians to learn (education, training, employment and research). This proposal is based on our research, which has shown that learning is the most important foundation for sustainable economic growth and industrialization, SEGI.
The more people mobilize to learn, the sooner a nation will reach industrialization. Japan mobilized all of its citizens in 1886-1905 and reached industrialization. China mobilized all of its citizens to learn in 1949 and reached industrialization in the early 1980s.
In terms of political change, Nigeria needs a more humble federal government than the American presidential system. The six geopolitical zones should be made additional levels of federation / learning. Our cities / villages also need attention.
The learning level city / mayor / association level should also be put into operation. Six national vice-presidents should be elected, one from each geopolitical zone. Each of them will take turns to lead the federal government for two years.
The federal / central level election, a municipal election, should be based on personality rather than party basis for the time being. This is intended to reduce the speed, waste and distractions of political activities for the time being.
This also follows from the fact that there are no more political parties in Nigeria today. Elections and offices at the lower levels of the federal government should follow accordingly. The well-defined economic activities and simple political environment will readily create a strong economic foundation for our nation. The restrained political activities should easily create the basis for political parties.
Prof. Ogbimi, a business analyst and author, wrote via [email protected]