Why I will always tackle the politician

Inusah Mohammed@ Kanda Park The writer at the Kanda Park

Tue, 8 Nov 2016 Source: Mohammed, Inusah

Okay! So I have been talking with many people behind the scenes on my political posts and writings. One of them is my boss at Africa Times Online. His name is Rashid Zuberu. He is a Youth, Peace and Security Expert at Young Peace Brigades. He expressed his unhappiness with some of the harsh way I address issues.

“Anyways, I cannot dictate which way you should go but I believe that you can still make your voice heard and influence decision-making in Nima by been objective and not resorting to insults and you are not a politician, so I rather think you don’t tow the same line of political insults. You are a writer and a journalist; I believe that your opinion should be based on sound judgement and facts and also realism. No political party can develop Nima or Maamobi if we don’t have attitudinal change in our Zongo. I believe instead of tackling politicians, we should tackle our attitude towards empowering people. Politicians will always be politicians, but if we help build our community institutions, it will stand the test of time. Zongos don’t have institutions, so it makes it easier for political parties to deceive the people.” Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm!

For the insults and harsh tones, I am guilty. I plead mea culpa. A lot of friends, bosses have spoken and are still speaking to me about it. I am still working on it. I lose my cool when I am addressing politics especially in our local setting where partisan politics has clogged our vision and blinded us from the fact that we are in a deplorable condition as a people. Nothing makes you lose your temper more when you find people who should know better putting out ignorant and retrogressive analysis. It is disheartening. Martin Luther King Jnr stated that “nothing in the world is more dangerous than a sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” As I stated, with the insults, it is a work in progress.

I am a writer. I do not sit on the fence and write also. I take part in positive activities in my community. That is why I find myself in many community-based organizations, on various whatsapp platforms of different political parties simultaneously and various meetings to champion the cause of our community. I also do not only write about the ills of my society. I am deeply involved in the process of turning things around for the better.

I am a politician. When we reduce the word ‘politics’ to its bare bones, it is simply “the process of making decisions applying to all members of each group. More narrowly, it refers to achieving and exercising positions of governance organized control over a human community, particularly a state.”

Since we all take decisions that affect our community, nation at large, we are all politicians. When I decide to talk against the bad act of littering our streets with rubbish, I become a politician the moment I raise that. No wonder Aristotle said that “every man by nature is a political animal.”

I have stood on political campaign platforms of both the ruling National Democratic Congress and the opposition New Patriotic Party. I have moderated a youth programme of the Convention People’s Party with Prof. Agyeman Badu Akosah in attendance. All these were in a quest to shape the decisions of participants. I have run for the Assembly Elections. Though I lost, I have in one way or the other performed (and still performing) the duties of the Assembly member of my electoral area.

However, in our practical understanding of a politician in this country, I am not one. I do not serve party political interest to the detriment of the lives of citizenry or nation. A friend once asked me “why am into politics”? He asked because he did not see me looting and thieving as others do or want to do. I do not stomach hypocrisy and I don’t cower in pointing out the truth also. I say it without embellishing words. So I am comfortable now without any political party to ascribe to. I do politics of humanity and not the parochial, suffocating and nauseating partisan politics we do. I may contain many contradictions, but hypocrisies, very few. So I am not a politician in our definition of it.

I never got any academic training in journalism. . I have never had any training in that. However most of my actions are interpreted to be journalistic in character. I like to tell stories. I like to inform people. I like to make people know what is happening. I like to awaken the senses of people. I put out stories and editors of the the newspapers in the country inbox me with their congratulatory or condemnation messages. I like to study the human being. Therefore you find me in places that are unusual or unconventional. And i love to tell the world how the places are. Perhaps one day, I will be a journalist in the true sense of the word. Perhaps one day!

Now the issue I want to raise with Rashid Zuberu’s message to me is about the tackling of the politician. I was tempted to believe that we should not tackle the politician; we should leave the politician alone and tackle the attitude of the people until I found myself in the Kanda Cluster of Schools last week.

Once upon a time, I updated my facebook status. I wrote, “It’s very pathetic. This used to be the traditional Monday Stars of Nima where the crème de la crème of footballers in Nima assemble to showcase their rich talent. It was a sight worth be holding those days when Abu Aborkor, Teshie, Fawzi, Sakzon etc used to mesmerize us with their wonderful skills. The remnant now is people who have just come around to sweat rather than play soccer. Another unfortunate thing is the pitch. The Kanda Cluster of schools pitch is an eyesore. And interestingly, that is the only football park we the youth of Nima can easily go without walking long distances. The only park that we had was changed by the NDC government to build as usual, a symbolic gesture of an abortion center in the name of Nima Government Clinic. Football is now a part of us and we need a football park.” That was when I found myself on the deplorable Kanda Park.

I raised this issue on the bad state of the only not-distant football field that serves the people of Nima and its environs with the elderly stakeholders of the community. I also raised the issue with many of the youth that patronize the football field. At a point in time, patrons were debarred from playing on the field including the pupils of the schools that have the field as part of their compound. But no one paid heed to it. Not even a scintilla of effort was put into that. The pitch remained as it is, eroded and watery (it was named ‘vomiting park’ cause it was always flooded) until one person came in. And that person was a POLITICIAN.

One Friday evening, I was invited to come to the Kanda Park the following Saturday morning because Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, the running mate of the New Patriotic Party in the 2016 elections was visiting. I could not go because I had academic engagements to see to. Dr. Bawumia came around and interacted with the ‘big men’ of the playing field. He promised to repair the deplorable pitch and made an immediate cash donation of Gh?5,000. The videos and pictures of that interaction went viral on the social media handle of almost all the people who had interest in that stake. Now if you think that was it, then wait for the subsequent occurrence.

The members of the National Democratic Congress got infuriated and blamed the leadership of the football park. They wondered why they allowed Dr. Bawumia to do what he did. Some were personally attacked with insults and excoriated severely. Some were accused of taking some monies for allowing that to happen.

Immediate calls were made to another POLITICIAN. The brother of the highest politician on the land, Mr. Ibrahim Mahama was contacted to counter the efforts of Dr. Bawumia. Immediately, he sent his contractors with their heavy duty equipments to see to the complete reparation of not only the field, but almost the entire compound of the Kanda Cluster of Schools. The power of a politician!

With this I believe the politician must be tackled. I will always tackle the politician. When the politician decides to make a positive move, everything will fall in line including the attitude of the people. There’s the old leadership lingo that “leadership is the cause and everything is an effect.” Mostly, it is the politician that gets the nod to lead a people. “Leaders are, in the language of psychologist, role models. People look up to them and copy their actions, behavior and even mannerisms. Therefore if a leader lacks discipline, the effect is apt to spread automatically down to his followers. The less discerning among these (i.e. the vast majority) will accept his action quite simply as ‘the done thing; while the more critical may worry about it for a while and then settle the matter by telling themselves that the normal rules of social behavior need not apply to those in power”, as argued by Chinua Achebe in his book The Trouble with Nigeria.

Therefore, when the leadership is right, everything will be spick and span. The politician attracts many people unto the street; he has many people to influence on his campaign platforms. The people who can rival the politician in influencing crowd are the artist or sportsman. But the artist can be frustrated by the politician and the sportsman is paid or supervised by the politician again.

A classical example is the Ivorian artist Tiken Jah Fakoly who shaped the minds and attitudes of his people. But he was chased out of his country when the politician felt threatened. In Africa, Chinua Achebe and Wole Soyinka are men who have overwhelmingly shaped attitudes with their works. But these are men who were forced out of their countries by the politician. The people will have very positive attitudes when the politician is also very positive because “more than any other person, his words and actions make an impact.”

The Nima highway is usually lined up with big containers full of rubbish sometimes taking a portion of the street. Twice when the biggest politician (president of the land) was visiting, the local politicians found their heads again and ensured that everything was cleared on the street. The street was sparkling on those two days. All this happened because the politician had stepped in.

I can tackle the attitudes of our people but it will be in a limited style and fashion. The effect will not be as grand as we want it. However, the politician can cause a social miracle. Something very dramatic happened in Nigeria sometime ago. Chinua Achebe captures it again in his The Trouble with Nigeria. He started “The Trouble with Nigeria is simply and squarely a failure of leadership.”

He continued “On the morning after Murtala Muhammad (a military man turned politician), seized power in July 1975, public servants in Lagos were found ‘on seat’ at seven-thirty in the morning. Even the ‘go slow’ traffic that had defeated every solution and defied every regime vanished overnight from the streets! Why? The new ruler’s reputation for ruthlessness was sufficient to transform in the course of only ONE NIGHT the style and habit of Nigeria’s unruly capital. That the character of one man could establish that quantum change in a people’s social behavior was nothing less than miraculous. But it shows that social miracles can happen.” That is when the politician decides to be upright!

NB: The writer is a Youth-Activist and a Student of Knowledge.


Columnist: Mohammed, Inusah