Believers in God acknowledge and propagate that with God all things are possible. But politicians claim and strive to prove, that nothing is impossible in politics. It is widely believed that God created all things: the heavens, the earth, man, everything perfectly well, for the good and enjoyment of man in holiness. But man plays politics for the dominion and solace it provides, in preference to the divine grace and eternal life in God. So, man created politics as a process to attain power, presumably, equal to that which only God can and should exercise.
Democratic process is said to be the most civilized way to acquire earthly dominion and so, it has been fashioned to entail electoral contests and suffrage, fraught as it is with human imperfections of impunity, imposition, inequity and inequality. And Nigeria has this form of democratic process. For which reason or purpose, elections have so far been conducted at (regular and irregular) intervals, at the national level and across the states.
At the national level, it was only in 2015 since 1999, that the presidential election was devoid of the usual acrimonies, rancorous and protracted litigation, on the outcome, invariably decided by the apex court. In the more than 150 governorship elections since 1999, less than fifteen of the results were not disputed. The disputed cases have resulted to colossal waste of resources, retardation of development and truncated mandates that have spilled over constitutional tenures. As for the National and State Assembly elections, many constituencies have been denied or deprived of their representatives. Nevertheless, impunity and imposition remain amok for corruption to thrive in all facets of national life.
Political leaders at the federal level allegedly manipulate the electoral process and interfere, to influence results. Lo and behold, the federal government appoints the national electoral umpire. Alas, the operators of the civilized electoral process are yet to be trusted enough to make unbiased and objective appointments! Subsequently, at the State level, the State electoral umpire is appointed by the State government and the appointment is not apparently without ulterior motive. Therefore, local government elections have never been conducted better than the general elections as it stands to reason that what is sauce to one dominion inevitably gratifies another dominion, no matter the size. Even as the governors personify the dominions and the State Assemblies are renowned rubber stamps. Insofar as, it has become the norm for gratification in Ghana Must Go Bags to veil or quell the clamour and yearning for oversight, accountability and probity.
Consequent upon the glaring laxities, Transition Caretaker Committees(TCCs) as legitimized by the State Assemblies, have been in vogue, to circumvent local government elections, if the ruling party is not sure of 99% victory or conquest over opposition parties. Of course, the TCC is carefully constituted with the enabling bill for an act to foster good governance. Inevitably so, with the appointments of malleable or trusted allies, to ensure that the next governorship election is won, results announced as landslide victory, for citizens’ kingdom on earth. In all the states, the story has been the same. There has been no seamless transition from one elected local government council to another. At best, the tenure of a TCC has been at least 3months.
However, the trend looks headed for a change with local government reforms expected through the current constitutional amendments in the works at the National Assembly. It is a reform touted to inevitably lead to the outlawing of the superfluous State Independent Electoral Commissions (SIECs), rightly or wrongly referred to, as State Dependent Electoral Commissions (SDECs). And it is perhaps the fear on the heels of the expected reform that informed the decision in some states to have a semblance of seamless transition from elected to elected local councils. Otherwise, it is a bold step, a trail blazing one, not entirely bereft of strength and confidence. Undeniably so because if an incumbent state governor, who can easily muster and deploy the requisite wherewithal or arsenal for electoral contest/conquest; who is a veteran that has, by and large, seen it all, notwithstanding the apparently formidable opposition, steps forward to test his political strength, preparatory to his reelection bid, it can be conjectured that his confidence is not misplaced. Neither are his priorities! Even though another name for a politician is incurable optimist. And politics they say, is the art of making the impossible possible and the possible impossible – Politics, the Art of the Possible.
Yet, in such states, opposition reeks of formidability and unmatchable strength, derived from the horde and gale of defections of political heavy weights to its fold and sometimes in addition to the rich parental care from the center. Yes, if it could be done somewhere, especially at the federal level, it can be replicated elsewhere at state/local levels! But, where has it happened, at the LG level, that opposition parties won even one or more chairmanship elections and up to 5% of all the councillorship slots in any state? Where does this infectious confidence come from? Is it a misplaced confidence?
It is true that political heavy weights usually defect to their parties with their followers. But it is not only the heavy weights and such followers that constitute the electorate; as it is also a fact that only those whose names are in the voters’ register and are available for successful accreditation that can vote. Therefore, many factors work against opposition parties during local government elections and the grand masters of the game are quite abreast with this point. Be that as it many, to the politician, anything can happen and 24 hours is a long time. For which reason, confidence in self and in the process does not wane and is never felt to be misplaced. That is the spirit. It is the attitude of politicians generally.
To the political aspirants and candidates, the question of over confidence does not arise as all is fair in the quest for power. Whatever the processes, obstacles on the way, the zeal and the general strength and character of the quest are the means which justify the end or objective. The end or objective, of course, being the power, wielding which, and one is next to God and one can even play God.
All told, is it not a fallacy that all things are possible in politics as it is only with God that all things are possible? God is not a politician. So the confidence of man in politics for dominion is misplaced. Especially when and if man’s political inclination is based on the equation that is tantamount to equality to God.