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Evolution on political activism

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By Polycarp Onwubiko

IT IS exhilarating to observe that Anambra State at 31 has witnessed what can be described as an ‘evolution’ in political perception and activism going by the significant changes in the orientation and perception on how political actors go about politicking. What is obtainable now can be described as ‘politics of principle’ in contrast with the “politics of do or die, winner takes all, and political exclusion”.

  Political scientists had variously described politics as “art of the possible, who gets what and how, the art or science concerned of political affairs”.

In the last 31 years in both old and new Anambra State, politics was misconstrued whereby the raison detre of determining how to optimally harness the human and  material resources to meet the needs and aspirations of the governed was thwarted. In its crudest orientation and form, the political activities that relate to mobilisation of people, especially the electorate towards influencing the actions and policies of government and getting and keeping power in all the levels of government were crudely organised for self-serving ends.

  When the country gained political sovereignty in 1960, the founding fathers of Nigeria democracy laid faulty foundation of electoral manipulation by falsifying the electoral register, mobilised political thugs who snatch ballot box and went to designated places where ballot boxes are stuffed with votes preparatory to getting the election rigged.

  During the election campaign, there was spewing of hate speech against the members of opposing political parties with a view to tarnishing their image and reputation. The political campaign was not issue-based but verged on mudslinging and throwing of brickbats. The disheartening and frightful implications of the untoward state of affairs led to shortchanging the masses whose deep yearnings and aspirations for improved standard of living went unrealised.

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  Election manipulation and crude politicking led to people who are populist-oriented to be sidelined while those who were self-centred and focused on satiating their pockets had access to the levers of power and enthrone financial malfeasance without according accountability and transparency a place in the management of human and material resources.

The abhorrent state of affairs retarded sustainable socioeconomic growth and development. Now the situation has changed significantly beginning from issue-based pragmatic election manifesto and civilised election campaign where throwing of brickbats and devious exploits of political thugs have become a thing of the past.

Thanks to the progressive level of education and public enlightenment on political activities. Majority of the electorate have gained a measure of political knowledge and enlightenment with the result that they snob politicians who indulge in those reprehensible activities to hoodwink the electorate.   More importantly, there is a measure of socioeconomic welfare with the result that food items earlier deployed by politicians to sway the electorate is no longer a bait or attractive to the electorates.

  In the new Anambra State, electorates have devised ingenious ways to hoodwink politicians with bags of money to compromise the integrity of the voters. They subtly approach the ‘money bags’ and get the money but vote according to their consciences. Thus the consequences of movement from crude to enlightened way of politics in Anambra State is that the masses have succeeded in enthroning people they believe will apply the public resources to make significant changes in the socioeconomic living. For instance and in spite of the daring, vicious, and dastardly acts of brigandage of the supposed unknown gunmen during the 2021 governorship election, the people trooped out enmasse and voted Professor Charles Chukwuma Soludo as the Governor of Anambra State. The choice of Soludo has paid off with his giant stride in all sectors of governance.     

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