Rivers State Politics: Taming The Tide Of Anarchy! | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Rivers State Politics: Taming The Tide Of Anarchy!

Posted: Mar 29, 2016 at 3:00 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Samuel Orovwuje

‘A people who would build a nation in which strong democratic institutions are firmly established must first learn to liberate their own minds from apathy and fear.’ – Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar pro-democracy activist.

The regretful narrative of elections violence reminds me of Robert Kaplan classic entitled: The coming of Anarchy. In the book, he painted a picture of how episodic experiment in democracy, scarcity, crime, overpopulation, ethnicity, and indeed tyranny are rapidly destroying the social fabric of our planet. The recent killings and the show of shame in electioneering are indicative of political savagery and criminality between the two main rival political parties contesting for the control of resources and power in River State. Indeed the recurring violence has become worrisome, complex and indeed intriguing for political watchers and analyst. There is no other place in the world where elections are so deceptive where, in fact, they tell such lies as it happens in recent time in Rivers State.

Indeed the recurring violence has become worrisome, complex and indeed intriguing for political watchers and analyst.

Strictly speaking, Politics in Rivers has become a red rag to a bull evoking not merely violent response, but the one that throws evenhandedness and goodness to winds. Politics and the stage managed electioneering is wearing objectionable character and indeed has unfortunately become petty, unjust, and envious and the unforgiving control- freak masquerading as leaders with hidden self-serving agenda with no gaze at judiciousness for the people they seek to serve or govern. Regretably also, the self – styled leaders in the corridor of power and king makers without square have become more malicious, audacious and malevolent bullies singing the praise of change on the one hand and on the other hand continuity. The exploitive apparatus of the imposters are on the rise and the power splits are deepening, a situation made worse by the twosome and the state is becoming increasingly ungovernable in the eyes of the onlooker.

Crucially, the infusion of money and power into political contest has made savagery a weapon of economic and state control. Therefore, it is no coincidence that one of the worst forms of political savagery and thuggery is taking firm root in Rivers. Also, the shadows of military and authoritarian overhangs over the democratisation process have become a humdrum in the affairs of men who want to cling to power at all cost at the centre and  the state level and this must be addressed as a matter of urgency to checkmate the banality of violence in future elections.

Interestingly, it should be noted that the prevailing socio- economic deprivation and chronic poverty is producing distorted minds which are easy recruits for politicians to unleash pain on perceived political enemies. Furthermore, the weak institutionalisations of democratic architectures, including incongruous political parties, endless conduct of elections by INEC are also critical issues responsible for the coming anarchy in our political trajectory. The culture of impunity and banditry playing out in the politics process of Rivers are nothing but a reflection of people that are in dire need of psycho – social healing and to very large extent social maladjustment test to ascertain the suitability or otherwise of the leaders for public office at the state and centre.

The political play-actors are constantly committing irresponsible acts of provocation, plunging the state into a total impasse that could lead to well-known chaos if the outcome of the re – run elections is not properly managed. It is instructive to note that beginning from the 1964–65 general elections, violence has become the main drivers of politics. Nonetheless the Rivers State recent experience is particularly illustrative of the coming of anarchy in episodic democracy where the players do not play by the rule.

Despite visible progress, democratization in Nigeria and indeed Rivers State continues to face significant challenges. Flawed elections, poorly managed civil-military relations, and weak political parties, partisan bureaucracies, INEC, and finally, misunderstandings between APC and PDP grandstanding orchestra and their manipulative partners continue to hinder democracy’s advance.

All things considered, competitive elections in Rivers State based on the previous circumstances of the two dominant characters suggest that flawed elections reflect resistance on the part of the APC and PDP to inclusive or transparent political processes. Election administrators, political parties, and candidates in the legislative spaces also display a disturbing lack of interest in strategic planning, often treating elections merely as one-day events rather than lengthy political processes that are critical to Rivers State’s peace. The challenge lies in persuading the so called political elites within and outside the state to embrace their people aspirations and to maintain the momentum of democratic progress in order to forestall the coming of anarchy. Let peace reign in River State.



Orovwuje writes from Lagos