Serving Overseer, the Citadel Global Community Church (CGCC) and Convener, Save Nigeria Group (SNG), Tunde Bakare, has warned Nigerians to reject presidential candidates who believe it is their turn to rule, shun debates, forge identities, slander and eliminate opponents.
During his state of the nation broadcast in his church in Lagos, yesterday, Bakare said there was good and bad politics and that the aim of bad politics is to secure power at all costs, pointing out that even when promises of good governance are present in the manifestos of the practitioners of bad politics, such promises were merely a smokescreen to conceal their true motivations.
He enumerated the types of bad politics which he said included politics of entitlement, elimination, intimidation, slander, betrayal and exploitation.
“Avoid those who practice politics of entitlement: This is the “emi lo kan” type of politics that insists on one’s turn even if circumstances do not align. Politics of entitlement also manifests as perennial candidacy, not with the intent to serve, but to gratify long-term personal ambitions. It could also manifest as insistence on a given political office as a reward for what one considers a lifetime of sacrifice to the nation.
“Politicians with a sense of entitlement evade political debates and do not consider it imperative to communicate with the electorate. Entitlement politics will breed an imperial presidency that is distant from the people and has no sense of responsibility or accountability to the people. Such imperial governance will slide towards dictatorship and will be intolerant of dissent. Entitlement politicians set low performance benchmarks for themselves when they secure power and are content with projecting molehills as mountains of achievement.
“Divisive politics is adopted by politicians who capitalise on the polarisation in our polity to achieve their political ambitions. Rather than seek to build a bridge, such politicians use ethnic, regional, religious, partisan, generational and class divisions to build dams between the people in order to appease political support bases.
“The agents of divisive politics do not hesitate to throw equitable representation and inclusion out the window because politics is a game of numbers to them, while a sense of inclusion is secondary. They do not take a stand on issues of nationhood when they sense that taking a stand could infuriate their extremist support bases.
“Avoid those who practice politics of deception as the purveyors of this kind of politics thrive on false premises, including forged identities, contrived statistics, deliberate misinformation, propaganda. The governance implication of the politics of deception is a lack of accountability and transparency, as well as a legacy of failed promises, because deceptive means cannot bring about a credible end.
“If you have ever wondered why some political leaders have their countries, regions or states in the palm of their hands as though such territories were their private estates and the people their zombie subjects, then welcome to the workings of the politics of manipulation.
“Politicians must realise that you don’t rise by destroying others. The politics of slander will produce mafia-type rulers who lack decency and who can go to any length, including Watergate type of extremes, to dig out dirt on opponents. Such politics can breed incivility in governance as well as stall development.
“Nigerians should avoid those who use violence and scare tactics to undermine opposition and disenfranchise voters. The result of such politics is voter apathy and the avoidance of the political landscape by competent and credible candidates, especially women. Such politics will produce leaders that lack legitimacy and who have no genuine sense of accountability to the people,” he said.
On the other hand, Bakare said ‘good politics’ is pragmatic and will never compromise on principles and values. He explained that it does not avoid reality but rather confronts it.
“Politicians who practice good politics talk to the people they intend to govern; by communicating, they allay fears, restore hope, and assure the citizenry. They are open to interrogation and they do not avoid debates or evade difficult questions.
“Good politics focuses on salient issues of development rather than resorting to slander, character assassination or mudslinging. It is data-guided: The practitioners of good politics build their campaign promises on evidence. They are not unduly sceptical of data but they endeavour to use statistics and qualitative data accurately.
“Good politics gives a sense of belonging to historically excluded or vulnerable groups, including women, young people, the elderly, and persons living with disabilities. It builds bridges across divisive lines and unites people towards a common cause of national greatness. The practitioners of good politics esteem nationhood above ethnic, religious, partisan and other sentiments.”
He said to bridge the gap between politics and governance, we must press the eject button on the bastions of bad politics.