Senator Aisha Alhassan: Disloyalty As a Political Tactic, By Bámidélé Adémólá-Olátéjú
She betrays an insufficient appreciation for a strong political ideology and a coherent set of beliefs that must not be abandoned at the altar of political expediency. Her mercenary approach to politics is a deep belief in “win at all costs” as a political virtue. It is a shame because she has the option of leaving her post. Decency demands that.
Loyalty is a necessary political quality. It is the glue that holds political parties, alliances and administrations together. When Senator Aisha Jummai Al-Hassan openly ditched the government she was serving to support Alhaji Abubakar Atiku’s presidential ambition, she was showcasing the political plague that has infested Nigeria without a cure. That is, a patent lack of substantive ideas and values as the supreme guide in political life. In her BBC interview, she showed a disturbing lack of intellectual curiosity and consistency for her stature. She betrays an insufficient appreciation for a strong political ideology and a coherent set of beliefs that must not be abandoned at the altar of political expediency. Her mercenary approach to politics is a deep belief in “win at all costs” as a political virtue. It is a shame because she has the option of leaving her post. Decency demands that.
The markers of executive failure, incoherent policy coordination and execution, as well as the internal sabotage that has characterised the Buhari administration is a direct effect of disloyalty, disobedience, and private agenda from prominent actors within the amorphous coalition, the All Progressives’ Congress (APC), bound together mainly for its victory at the polls in 2015. Senator Alhassan has fired the warning shot. The APC will slowly unravel from here. Atiku will jump ship and switch parties to contest the presidency. We just heard the voice of Jacob, shortly, we will feel the hands of Esau. The senator is beating the drums of Atiku’s endemic disloyalty. It should not surprise political watchers, given the coalition of power seekers who formed the APC.
The APC is a victim of its own success. It is a party unperturbed by its internal wranglings and disorder. Members pretend to be unaware and unconcerned that the disloyalty of political brokers will ultimately result in party fragility, because everyone is on the lookout for himself. While it enjoyed tremendous confidence after the elections, the party did not continue building its brand nor leveraging this for better organisation. Instead, the party was hijacked by freelancers and unreliable agents who change political allegiances in search of better returns and patronage for themselves and the voters they control. Free agency has destroyed the APC from within, leaving the party electorally vulnerable because there is no durable party–voter linkages.
A leader must always be in touch with his support base. Alienation from the base could lead to disloyalty. The loyalty of party activists and supporters often depends on the leader’s actions and demeanour. Since winning the election in 2015, the APC has had no internal arrangement to bring the people closer, except when on campaign for open governorship seats.
A president can not command loyalty, he has to earn it. It serves him right that he is sorrounded by cabals, free agents and freelancers who care little about his policies and legacy. He himself created the enabling environment for the Absalomic creatures within the APC to thrive. Loyalty to him and his vision should never have been limited to a few from his family or his Daura natives. He is the leader of his party, yet he is reluctant to play the role. The president bred insularity by surrounding himself with cronies. His fixation with incompetent aides has created a mafia view of politics that lends itself to the abuse of power and executive arrogance. The cabalisation of governance by his Daura elite made truth a disposable item and fed paranoia among the disenchanted. Nobody is left to tend the party.
A leader must always be in touch with his support base. Alienation from the base could lead to disloyalty. The loyalty of party activists and supporters often depends on the leader’s actions and demeanour. Since winning the election in 2015, the APC has had no internal arrangement to bring the people closer, except when on campaign for open governorship seats. The president’s ill health has also made personal fact finding and familiarisation visits impossible. Understanding and knowing what is happening in and around the party support base is very important. Politicians in Nigeria are not known to detach themselves from their leaders on the basis of principles. Many of them switch allegiances because of hardship and money. The most dangerous politician is the one who easily shift his or her loyalty at the drop of a hat. S/he is most self-serving if s/he switches in the time of crisis. Disloyalty does have its own risks, as such politicians end up destroying their own political careers.
The good news is that we have Professor Attahiru Jega to thank for our Personal Voter’s Card (PVC). The voting public is awake, aware and growing weary from all these political posturing. We know the lack of cooperation, the nonsensical infighting and deliberate sabotage is at a great cost to us. We can only hope to have learnt our lessons enough to reject charlatans and dishonest politicians who are only interested in enriching themselves at our expense. In 2019, we must resist candidates with corrupt antecedents and histories of corrupt enrichment. We must get more involved and effect change for the better. All politics are local, and elections to the biggest positions at the highest levels of government starts from politics at the local level. Reject desperate freelancers!