By James Patrick
Let me start here, by clearly explaining what politics and governance are, before we delve into dissection how the these two concepts are so intertwined that even the so called intellectuals would sometimes replace one for the other. At the surface both politics and governance appear to be the same concept, but when we look deeper, we would realise that both of them are two different things entirely. As a student of African Politics, I have come to the conclusion that this is one of the biggest challenges the African electorates are facing when it comes to choosing who and who not to lead them. The electorates in their uninformed mind think playing politics is the same thing as good governance. The electorates put politics in same shoe with governance and assume that both of them should be the same, since the same individuals are in charge of both. This is a fallacy. This is a big porky from the pit of hell. Thia is a misinformation and a mis-education that should quickly be corrected.
politics is the activities of the politicos jostling to clinch unto power for the purpose of ruling or having influence over the major decisions that could affect the lives of the citizens in a society. Politics can also be conceptualize as the legitimate scuffles in a miasma, between two or more political parties whose sole aim or ambition is to do everything possible ( both legal and illegal), to attain political power in a society through the ballot box. On the other hand, governance is the way and manner those who already have power use it to control, influence and make policies for the people they rule. Governance is the activities of those in power to control the lives of the people by formulating new laws, providing welfare packages, intervention, building infrastructure, creating opportunities for the citizens to thrive socio economically, anything and everything that would make life better for those who elected the politicos into power, most especially, the vulnerable once in the society. We can also say that governance is the positive and far reaching impact of government in the daily lives of the governed in the society. In a nut shell, politics focuses only on election – on winning the nest election. Governance focuses on impacting the present generation while at the same time, put necessary machinery in place so that the nest generation would have less conundrum to confront with.
Going by the two definitions of the two different concepts, we may not be totally wrong if we say that politics is a game (sometimes a dirty games at that) while governance is a serious business. Politics is for the politicians and their allies, while governance is for the masses. Most times, politics only benefits the politicians and their associates, while governance is for the benefit of all the people including the pauper begging for arms on the street.
In a sane society where things are functioning well, they move from politics into governance immediately the elections are over. Once the politicians have been given the political mandate to rule by the majority of the people living in the society, both the electorate and the Elected switched from politics into ensuring that they enact laws that would lead to the transformation of the lives of those who brought them into power. This is the point Nigerians always get it all wrong. This is the point we misfire as a people in terms of the way and manner we run our affairs in this country. We don’t move from politics into governance – we play politics through out the four year tenure of a duly elected public servants. We make policies not for the good of the people, but base on political considerations. Politics now becomes the deciding factor, directing the Nigerian state on what and what not to do.
It is so amazing that our style of politics here in Nigeria has done more harm than good to the ordinary people of Nigeria. We in Nigeria are more into politics than governance. We play politics so cleverly but play down on governance which is more crucial to our existence. Rather than good governance becoming the arbiter for all the policies we chunk out, all our policies are geared toward politics. This is why we continue to make a mockery of ourselves. This is why we continue to remain perpetually backward among the committee of nations. We are more serious with politics than we are with governance in this country. We take time to organize our politics so well, while at the same time, we disorganize governance. The reason is not far fetched, politics only favors the political elites and the political gladiators in our society, while good governance is for the betterment of the people. This is why, rather than prioritizing governance, those in power prioritize politics because it helps to shift the people’s minds from what matters most into frivolities ( religion, tribalism, ethnicity, language differences etc). This is a big trick by the political elite to shift our minds from what’s importance to things that would lead us no where as a people. By the time we exert all our effort, energy and scares resources in unnecessary politicking, we would never have the time to think and demand good governance from them. We will be so engrossed with politics all through out the four years tenure of an elected official, so much so that we get to much exhausted or excited that we forget to demand from them what’s paramount to us as a people.
Just take a look at all the hullabaloo going on in the country presently. From the ondo state Governor asking the herdsmen to vacate the forest, the Sunday Igboho and the Sariki fulani drama in Oyo state, to Uromi and Bayalsa state women protesting on the street of Edo and Bayalsa State respectively, down to the flooding of the Campaign posters of Governor Yaya Bello all over the streets of key Northern states, You would catch a glimpse of what I have been saying all along. All you see is a preparation to the election coming up in 2023. The most unfortunate part of all these is that, we just conducted election in 2019. We have not been feeling the impact of those we elected into office in any way whatsoever, since they assumed office. Now, the politicians, rather than enacting good policies that would ameliorate the suffering of poor Nigerians they have already started planning strategies on how to win the 2023 election. It’s such a Pity that if we continue to play politics in this way and manner, we may end up not going anywhere as a Nation. Yes! I totally agree with you that politicians need to win election, but it is pertinent to note that winning election is not the end in itself, it is a means to an end. Securing and Improving the living standards of the people through good governance is the end result of politics. We must grow from this archaic way of doing things in this country. We must abandon politics immediately the elections are over, so that we can concentrate on delivery good governance to the people.
BY PATRICK JAMES