Home » COLUMN » Demagogues In Nigeria’s Political Space

Demagogues In Nigeria’s Political Space

Written By: Jerome-Mario Utomi


They were voted to provide good and qualitative leadership; elected to bring the nation’s economy out of the wood and were chosen to bring democracy’s dividends to the people.  But, instead of providing the lavishly promised and highly expected conducive leadership, they visit the masses with cluelessness and Utopia.

Instead of reviving the comatose economy, they threw it further down into recession and instead of bringing dividends of democracy, they democratized poverty, institutionalized unemployment and governmentalised hopelessness and frustration. They are not authentic leaders but political demagogues.

Welcome to a nation where leadership occurs by accident, where one suddenly emerges in Government House without any credible track record, where both intelligence quotients and emotional balance are considered secondary in determining leadership. Welcome to a state where one emerges and amasses wealth with egocentric abandon; then walks away without giving account of stewardship or being asked to do so. Welcome to a state where we are led not by authentic leaders but by political demagogues.

Providing context to this discourse, it is necessary that we understand first who a demagogue is. It is defined by Wikipedia as “a person or people who seeks political support by appealing to the popular desires and prejudices rather than by using rational argument. While Merriam Webster sees a Demagogue as a leader who makes use of popular prejudices and false claims and purposes in order to gain power.

From the above, one striking take is that these demagogues are  not restricted to our  774 local government  areas or the 36 states of our  federation, the demagogues are littered  all over the earth surface .  But the ones that operate here in Nigeria could safely be described as hyper modernised as they are negatively brazen and stunning in audacity. The demagogues share one common denominator. They have no interest of the people at heart .They are super-selfish and specialists in the practice of the “use and dump” syndrome.

The demagogues are evil wind that blows no nation or state any good. Becoming authentic leader, they do not contemplate but engrossed in their sole aim of   holding on to the commonwealth of the people without providing the needed leadership. This we have grappled with for decades and that informed the snail speed with which our economy is growing, educational sector comatose, as morals and values have departed our shore.

And now the big issue, demagogues have graduated from individuals operating at the government offices to groups cutting across tribal and ethnic groups. What is playing out with the Independent People of Biafra (IPOB) is a clear demonstration of demagogues at work. The Arewa Youths are not left in this sphere as their self acclaimed leaders are feeding their followers with half baked truth and mechanically produced facts. But they should not be blamed as they are cashing on the loophole and negative examples created by the players at the centre, states and local government areas.

It is a natural extension that very nation wish as well as pray for authentic leaders as they, the authentic leaders “demonstrate passion for their purpose, practice their values consistently and leads with their hearts as well as their head. They establish long term relationship and have the self discipline to get results. They know who they are’ as stated by Bill George, a Professor of management practice at Harvard University.

The above sterling qualities and results of the authentic, leaders are not surprising to me as individual. What is scary and worrisome is the scarcity of these sets of leaders in our nation’s political climb. And why we have not been able to break this jinx of sort since independence

To provide answer to the above, an insightful probe will effortlessly provide an instructive and stunning revelation. This revelation shows that   our nation is blessed with more of authentic leaders than some of the nations that we envy. But out of our own free will emanating from bankruptcy of integrity and morals, choose the demagogues as against the authentic leaders. So the greater portion of the blame should go to us the masses.

We are failing in our responsibilities and that informed why they are moving about unchallenged. We as a people have very wholesomely  forgotten that ‘man who make power makes an indispensible contribution to the nations greatness , but the man who questions power makes a contribution just  as  indispensible especially when the questioning is uninterested , for it is through this means that we determine if we use power or whether power is using us.’

Yes, as a people we have not asked question for too long a time and as a result, power is using us unknowingly. We have accepted anything that comes to us all in the name of leadership. We forgot completely that we were created to ‘question a settled answer and answer unsettled questions.’ Demagogues were our own creature through our silence.

However, the interesting part of this narrative  is that all hope is not lost   as experience  has shown that these people (demagogues) that seem very powerful are also excellently inept to effective  resistance, once  the people take a decision to end their inglorious political sojourn.

To end their sojourn, the only actionable step that is needed from  us is the non linear brain power , resolve, and pragmatic intellectual capacity to unlearn our  unwarranted silence  and relearn how best to harness  the power of effective  advocacy  and the courage to  say yes or no  at the most vital times.

Believe it  or not, demagogues thrives on the ignorance of the people and depends solely on half truth as a vehicle of sort to actualizing  their  establishment and consolidate their reign . .So, a decision to , and followed by practical move to expose our own minds to intellectual elasticity  that will enlighten  us as well  dispel ignorance  remains a strong  antidote for  the termination  of  these undemocratic elements that has dominated our political space over time.

Also, a decision to reprogramme the hierarchy of our choices, placing integrity built on sound knowledge and morals is another responsibility that is expected of us.  The timing of this piece is auspicious and we must use the few point drawn to prove a very few point in our society. Thank God that another electioneering period is around the corner and the demagogues are at every corner lacing up their shoes to do political battles .This piece will become like others and another mere academic exercise if we, as the readers, refuse to bring a shift in our political paradigm.

To end this piece , it imperative that we come to the realization that killing  the demagogues  may not be the civil action to take but have them dislodged from our nation’s political theatre with our votes. Replace them with the authentic leaders and allow the demagogues watch the political episode of our nation from the political gallery.

Check Also

Rewriting The ‘Love Letter’ Called Constitution

One   remarkable character of ours as a nation is that we have a very unique ...