President-Buhari-

Nigeria’s salvation lies beyond politics. The missteps, back office deals and irreverent compromises of the Buhari administration has made it very clear. It is also clear that if people seek power over others, they will conspire to advance their own interests. No matter how we cut it, there is no way the centre can hold so much power without its constituent parts not falling apart.


Everything that has unfolded in Nigeria in the last few years has shown that politics is not the solution to Nigeria’s problems; politics is the problem. Politics has not worked for Nigerians because the compromise politicians make and the deals they cut for themselves is fraught with unacceptable outcomes for the ordinary Nigerian. Every compromise and deal has been carved on the altar of political survival, power struggle and ethnic domination, without the markings of a reasonable solution. The political landscape is arid; so arid that it attracts candidates that are thieves and mostly stupid in everything else other than stealing. They are the kind of candidates you would not want to represent you but you are stuck with anyway because they got there through the scale of their patronage or the influence of their godfathers. Outside politics, there are a few good people left in public service, and even fewer good acts by government. The degeneration happened right under our nose, and in just a generation. It came as a result of our collective straying from the values and ideals that held so much promise at the founding of Nigeria in 1960.

How did we get here? We got here because we had no positive, compelling big picture constants in our local or national politics other than the scramble for a share of public money. That is why real political change, development and and improvement has eluded Nigeria. It is also the reason why the candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressives Congress (APC) running for state and federal offices have become today’s caricature of a politician – a thieving, lying person without any moral compass. They became elected representatives who do not know their community. They were sent to state capitals and Abuja to legislate, yet, they have no understanding of the issues and they cannot speak knowledgeably about the interplay of local and national problems. Luckily though, Nigerian politicians have no convictions about improving their society and they have no pretensions about this. Who knows if it could have been worse. The fiercest battles ever fought in the world have always been over resources. Free money has dried up, for a people whose beliefs are rooted only on money and how to get it; for a people whose distinguishing value formed through a lifetime of experience is a set of misplaced values, the fierce fights for survival is expected. In the first place, they had no genuine sense of service as the reason for running for public office. They did not contest elections because they thought their ideas were better for the country than those of their opponents. They contested because they want their hands in the public till. That is why the Sarakis, the Dogaras and the Jibrins are running the show and stinking the country up.

For real social change, Nigerians must embrace a mix of pragmatism, sound political principles, and an enduring ideology rooted in defined national values. It is not enough to get the right people elected. The search for true representation and national rebirth must consider other important variables. We must ask the tough questions and find true answers to them that we must live by.


Nigeria’s salvation lies beyond politics. The missteps, back office deals and irreverent compromises of the Buhari administration has made it very clear. It is also clear that if people seek power over others, they will conspire to advance their own interests. No matter how we cut it, there is no way the centre can hold so much power without its constituent parts not falling apart. With so much power centralised in Abuja, every interest group will fight tooth and nail for every possible advantage. We must find a way to decentralise the lure of Abuja. The stakes are far too high and Nigeria can never create a free society on this path.

For real social change, Nigerians must embrace a mix of pragmatism, sound political principles, and an enduring ideology rooted in defined national values. It is not enough to get the right people elected. The search for true representation and national rebirth must consider other important variables. We must ask the tough questions and find true answers to them that we must live by. How do we create a national identity that transcends ethnicity and religion? How can Nigerians live together in tolerance? How can the nation push self-responsibility as a national value and as a means to alleviating poverty and promoting equality? What this means is that Nigerians must look beyond the relationship between the country and them. If we ever want to live in a better Nigeria, we must become better people. The way out is that we must begin to improve ourselves. We must begin to lead by example. The real change has to start with us.

In our quest to improve and advance Nigeria, we must not allow politicians to distort our progress. We must elect not to allow them truncate our redemption. Nigeria’s congress of baboons must not be allowed to alter the conversation to fit their narrative. We must do the right things individually from our little corners that reflects our traditions, values and aspirations. In our civic roles, we must strive to elevate these common values and use them in creating new conversations and maintaining a new platform for politics in its noblest sense. Our politics must be built on possibilities for now and the future; and it must intersect with our national goals and aspirations as a great people with opportunity for all.

Bámidélé Adémólá-Olátéjú, a farmer, youth advocate and political analyst writes this weekly column – “Bamidele Upfront” for the Premium Times. Follow me on Twitter @olufunmilayo