Top 6 Reasons Why Nigerian Politics Is A Dirty Game

JEROME MICHAEL EBRUPHIYO Friday, November 26, 2021 Politics



This article will provide information on the top 6 reasons why Nigerian politics is a dirty game and also provide answers to question with regards to Nigerian Politics in General.

Brief History of Nigeria and Politics

The Federation of Nigeria was granted full independence on 1 October 1960 under a constitution that provided for a parliamentary government and a substantial measure of self-government for the country's three regions. From 1959 to 1960, Jaja Wachuku was the First Nigerian Speaker of the Nigerian Parliament, also called the "House of Representatives." Jaja Wachuku replaced Sir Frederick Metcalfe of Britain. Notably, as First Speaker of the House, Jaja Wachuku received Nigeria's Instrument of Independence, also known as Freedom Charter, on 1 October 1960, from Princess Alexandra of Kent, the Queen's representative at the Nigerian independence ceremonies. Queen Elizabeth II was monarch of Nigeria and head of state, and Nigeria was a member of the British Commonwealth of Nations. The Federal government was given exclusive powers in defence, foreign relations, and commercial and fiscal policy. The monarch of Nigeria was still head of state but legislative power was vested in a bicameral parliament, executive power in a prime minister and cabinet, and judicial authority in a Federal Supreme Court. Political parties, however, tended to reflect the makeup of the three main ethnic groups. The Nigerian People's Congress (NPC) represented conservative, Muslim, largely Hausa and Fulani interests that dominated the Northern Region. The northern region of the country, consisting of three-quarters of the land area and more than half the population of Nigeria. Thus the North dominated the federation government from the beginning of independence. In the 1959 elections held in preparation for independence, the NPC captured 134 seats in the 312-seat parliament. Capturing 89 seats in the federal parliament was the second-largest party in the newly independent country the National Council of Nigerian Citizens (NCNC). The NCNC represented the interests of the Igbo- and Christian-dominated people of the Eastern Region of Nigeria. and the Action Group (AG) was a left-leaning party that represented the interests of the Yoruba people in the West. In the 1959 elections, the AG obtained 73 seats. The first post-independence national government was formed by a conservative alliance of the NCNC and the NPC. Upon independence, it was widely expected that Ahmadu Bello the Sardauna of Sokoto, the undisputed strong man in Nigeria who controlled the North, would become Prime Minister of the new Federation Government. However, Bello chose to remain as premier of the North and as party boss of the NPC, selected Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, a Hausa, to become Nigeria's first Prime Minister. The Yoruba-dominated AG became the opposition under its charismatic leader Chief Obafemi Awolowo. However, in 1962, a faction arose within the AG under the leadership of Ladoke Akintola who had been selected as premier of the West. The Akintola faction argued that the Yoruba peoples were losing their pre-eminent position in business in Nigeria to people of the Igbo tribe because the Igbo-dominated NCNC was part of the governing coalition and the AG was not. The federal government Prime Minister, Balewa agreed with the Akintola faction and sought to have the AG join the government. The party leadership under Awolowo disagreed and replaced Akintola as premier of the West with one of their own supporters. However, when the Western Region parliament met to approve this change, Akintola supporters in the parliament started a riot in the chambers of the parliament. Fighting between the members broke out. Chairs were thrown and one member grabbed the parliamentary Mace and wielded it like a weapon to attack the Speaker and other members. Eventually, the police with tear gas were required to quell the riot. In subsequent attempts to reconvene the Western parliament, similar disturbances broke out. Unrest continued in the West and contributed to the Western Region's reputation for, violence, anarchy and rigged elections. Federal Government Prime Minister Balewa declared martial law in the Western Region and arrested Awolowo and other members of his faction charged them with treason. Akintola was appointed to head a coalition government in the Western Region. Thus, the AG was reduced to an opposition role in their own stronghold. The history of Nigeria can be traced to settlers trading across the middle East and Africa as early as 1100 BC. Numerous ancient African civilizations settled in the region that is known today as Nigeria, such as the Kingdom of Nri, the Benin Empire, and the Oyo Empire. Islam reached Nigeria through the Bornu Empire between (1068 AD) and Hausa States around (1385 AD) during the 11th century, while Christianity came to Nigeria in the 15th century through Augustinian and Capuchin monks from Portugal. The Songhai Empire also occupied part of the region. From the 15th century, European slave traders arrived in the region to purchase enslaved Africans as part of the Atlantic slave trade, which started in the region of modern-day Nigeria; the first Nigerian port used by European slave traders was Badagry, a coastal harbour. Local merchants provided them with slaves, escalating conflicts among the ethnic groups in the region and disrupting older trade patterns through the Trans-Saharan route. Lagos was occupied by British forces in 1851 and formally annexed by Britain in the year 1865. Nigeria became a British protectorate in 1901. The period of British rule lasted until 1960, when an independence movement led to the country being granted independence. Nigeria first became a republic in 1963, but succumbed to military rule three years later, after a bloody coup d'état. A separatist movement later formed the Republic of Biafra in 1967, leading to the three-year Nigerian Civil War. Nigeria became a republic again after a new constitution was written in 1979. However, the republic was short-lived, as the military seized power again in 1983 and later ruled for ten years. A new republic was planned to be established in 1993, but was aborted by General Sani Abacha. Abacha died in 1998 and a fourth republic was later established the following year, which ended three decades of intermittent military rule.

The Emergence of Democracy in Nigeria

The emergence of democracy in Nigeria on May 1999 ended 16 years of consecutive military rule. Olusegun Obasanjo inherited a country suffering economic stagnation and the deterioration of most democratic institutions. Obasanjo, a former general, was admired for his stand against the Abacha dictatorship, his record of returning the federal government to civilian rule in 1979, and his claim to represent all Nigerians regardless of religion. The new President took over a country that faced many problems, including a dysfunctional bureaucracy, collapsed infrastructure, and a military that wanted a reward for returning quietly to the barracks. The President moved quickly and retired hundreds of military officers holding political positions, established a blue-ribbon panel to investigate human rights violations, released scores of persons held without charge, and rescinded numerous questionable licenses and contracts left by the previous regimes. The government also moved to recover millions of dollars in funds secreted to overseas accounts. Most civil society leaders and Nigerians witnessed marked improvements in human rights and freedom of the press under Obasanjo. As Nigeria works out representational democracy, conflicts persist between the Executive and Legislative branches over appropriations and other proposed legislation. A sign of federalism has been the growing visibility of state governors and the inherent friction between Abuja and the state capitals over resource allocation. Communal violence has plagued the Obasanjo government since its inception. In May 1999 violence erupted in Kaduna State over the succession of an Emir resulting in more than 100 deaths. In November 1999, the army destroyed the town of Odi, Bayelsa State and killed scores of civilians in retaliation for the murder of 12 policemen by a local gang. In Kaduna in February–May 2000 over 1,000 people died in rioting over the introduction of criminal Shar'ia in the State. Hundreds of ethnic Hausa were killed in reprisal attacks in south-eastern Nigeria. In September 2001, over 2,000 people were killed in inter-religious rioting in Jos. In October 2001, hundreds were killed and thousands displaced in communal violence that spread across the states of Benue, Taraba, and Nasarawa. On 1 October 2001 Obasanjo announced the formation of a National Security Commission to address the issue of communal violence. Obasanjo was reelected in 2003. The new president faces the daunting task of rebuilding a petroleum-based economy, whose revenues have been squandered through corruption and mismanagement. Additionally, the Obasanjo administration must defuse longstanding ethnic and religious tensions if it hopes to build a foundation for economic growth and political stability. Currently, there is conflict in the Niger Delta over the environmental destruction caused by oil drilling and the ongoing poverty in the oil-rich region. A further major problem created by the oil industry is the drilling of pipelines by the local population in an attempt to drain off the petroleum for personal use or as a source of income. This often leads to major explosions and high death tolls. Particularly notable disasters in this area have been:
  • October 1998, Jesse, 1100 deaths
  • July 2000, Jesse, 250 deaths
  • September 2004, near Lagos, 60 deaths
  • May 2006, Ilado, approx. 150–200 deaths
Two militants of an unknown faction shot and killed Ustaz Ja'afar Adam, a northern Muslim religious leader and Kano State official, along with one of his disciples in a mosque in Kano during dawn prayers on 13 April 2007. Obasanjo had recently stated on national radio that he would "deal firmly" with election fraud and violence advocated by "highly placed individuals." His comments were interpreted by some analysts as a warning to his Vice President and 2007 presidential candidate Atiku Abubakar. In the 2007 general election, Umaru Yar'Adua and Goodluck Jonathan, both of the People's Democratic Party, were elected President and Vice President, respectively. The election was marred by electoral fraud, and denounced by other candidates and international observers.

Why Nigerian Politics is a Dirty Game

  • High-Profile Political Assassinations
  • For many Nigerians, names like Harry Marshal, Chuba Okadigbo, Funsho Williams, Bola Ige, and many other victims of political killings will forever remain in their memory. These men were gruesomely murdered in cold blood because “powers that be” considered them a major political threat, hence, the need to eliminate them before. Based on these politically motivated killings they consider Nigerian politics a dirty game.
  • Fetish Practices
  • It is rather worrisome that Nigerian politicians who are devout Muslims and Christians could go to deities to swear as a proof of unwavering loyalty to a benefactor or as a tool to eliminate his/her perceived enemies. It is not enough to talk about these things as secrets as we have seen them play out right in public glare in the past. Christian politicians in the quest to acquire political positions or win elections go before a deity to swear and meet native doctors to prepare one charms. Many Nigerians therefore consider Nigerian politics a dirty game because of these fetish practices inherent in the game. For instance, we saw such event play out when a former governor of Anambra State swore allegiance to his benefactor before a seemingly deadly deity. Some politicians secretly make human sacrifices as instructed by native doctors because they want to win an election. This is outrageous and alarming! For these ungodly acts, many Nigerians think Nigerian politics is a dirty game.
  • Lies and Deceits
  • In Nigerian politics, it is often seen where many political leaders tell unbelievable lies to win people’s votes. Many pundits will not blame politicians anyway because, for them, that is the best way to win people’s confidence and votes. For example, we have seen a situation where a Nigerian politician promises to make one Naira equal to one Dollar in the wake of dwindling crude oil prices (which is the main stay of Nigeria’s economy). This explains why over the years, Nigerian politicians are often considered most pathological liars ever known in human history. Some politicians often turn around to deny their campaign promises claiming they were either quoted out of context or misrepresented. These lies and deceits explain why many Nigerians think Nigerian politics is a dirty game.
  • Character Assassination
  • Nigerian politicians employ all possible evil means to win elections including destroying the good reputations of their opponents and plotting evil intrigues against him or her. In the quest to win, they use unprintable words against their opponents especially when it is perceived that the opponent is a major threat. And in the long run when the electorates discover that such stories are lies, they will no longer trust the liar. Surprisingly though, these Nigerian politicians have little or no regards for their reputation. This is one of the reasons why many Nigerians say Nigerian politics is a dirty game.
  • Ballot Box Snatching and Thuggery
  • It has become normal in many parts of Nigeria for ballot boxes to be snatched by rented thugs, taken to unknown locations and stuffed with fake ballot papers in favour of a particular candidate. Before the introduction of card readers in the elections and outright cancellation of polling units (PUs) with any violence, this was the order of the day. Politicians were paying huge amount of money to thugs to snatch these boxes and stuff them at a secret location in their favour. So, for many Nigerians who believe in fairness and allowing the wishes of the people to prevail, they consider such acts condemnable, hence this is why many Nigerians believe Nigerian politics is a dirty game.
  • Corruption
  • The insatiable nature of man has led him to ruining people’s trust and confidence it took him years to build. Nigerians hardly associate politicians with good qualities. For example, it is often seen for a humble man to vie for an elective position, and when he wins, he becomes powerful. He will start breaking traffic rules, misappropriating public funds (meant for the betterment of the people), becomes inaccessible by cutting off all links to the electorates, lose touch with reality, start enacting anti-people policies, etc. Corruption is the bane of Nigeria development. This is because billions of dollars budgeted for projects which will better the lives of ordinary Nigerians are siphoned into private pockets and nobody asks questions. And sadly, some of the politicians can’t be indicted and prosecuted by anti-grant agencies because they are covered by immunity clause. The win-at-all-cost attitude of many Nigerian politicians has not really helped the situation either.

    Way Forward on the Nigerian Politics

    To change this trend, Nigerian democratic system must be remodelled in a way that we have government of national unity. This way, when a politician wins, he will be compelled by law to absorb some members of the opposition in his cabinet. By so doing, the “winner takes all attitude” which leads to lies, killings, character assassination, and other despicable measures taken to win elections will be curtailed. Nigerian politicians need value reorientation to help them understand what they are in politics to serve the people and not themselves. Also, they need to be made to understand that power belongs to the people: electorates. This explains why democracy is defined as government of the people, by the people and for the people. The challenges devilling Nigerian politics have made many enthusiasts call for bloody revolution while some parts of the country are threatening to secede. But the truth must always be told, Nigeria politics is a dirty game and we really need to clean it up.

    Is Politics a Dirty Game?

    Politics is not a dirty game, but the players have made it dirty because there are no stringent rules guiding how it will be played. Having observed this, Nigerian government must build institutes that will train politicians in leadership, honesty, morals, ethics, values, reputation reorientation and other key qualities needed in leaders. Nigerian democracy is evolving and it is believed to be in its trial stages when compared to how democracy has developed and become embedded in countries like US, UK, France, etc. Hence, the name “nascent.” To buttress this, before now, we used to see a situation where politicians were murdered mysteriously when their opponents think they may lose the race to them. But now this is no longer the case as the game is gradually becoming cleaner.

    What is the History of Politics?

    Political history is the narrative and survey of political events, ideas, movements, organs of government, voters, parties and leaders. Political history studies the organization and operation of power in large societies.

    What is the Real History of Nigeria?

    The history of Nigeria can be traced to settlers trading across the middle East and Africa as early as 1100 BC. Numerous ancient African civilizations settled in the region that is known today as Nigeria, such as the Kingdom of Nri, the Benin Empire, and the Oyo Empire.

    What was the Original name of Nigeria?

    What was its name before Nigeria? The former name for Nigeria was the Royal Niger Company Territories. It does not sound like a country name at all! The name Nigeria was replaced and preserved up until today.

    Who Wrote History of Politics?

    A History of Political Theory is a book by George Holland Sabine on the history of political thought from Ancient Greece to fascism and Nazism in the 1930s

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