Politics and Governance – Rivers State under survey


Formally, Politics may refer to the methods, practices and procedures associated with running a government or more generally, an Organization. This definition makes very little sense to a layman especially when viewed through the lens of the Nigerian concept.

In other parlance, politics encompasses  all those maneuvers, stratagems, diplomacy, lobbyings and conceptualizions within an organisation or between two or more persons aimed at gaining advantages over the other. This definition fits in properly and best describes the Nigerian concept of politics. It does relate very well to the layman’s understanding of  what politics entails.

Theoretically, this is good and simple enough, but in practice it is not. We see acts and sly moves that inspire abhorrence for politics. The shenanigans, the penchant for violence, the desperation and the  attendant consequences, all make politics more earthy and repugnant. Whereas,  ideally, politics should aid and encourage governance, but this is not so as the reverse has been the case especially in recent times in our society and more narrowly, Rivers State.

In the last 18 months, we have had to suffer the effects and after effects of politics- high-powered politics- The type that knows no loss, the type that prides itself with the  rationalisation that victory at all time and all costs is a must. We are unable to pull ourselves out of the consuming aftermaths of politics which more often culminates in elections. We still grope in the hazes and mazes created by our political mechanisms.

Seemingly, we have a government that has busied itself more with politics and therefore unable to perform good governance. It is a given that Rivers State has been more engulfed with politics than with governance. In other climes, politics and good governance are complementary. Modern thinking favours the type of politics that enhances good governance over the type that erodes it. Sacrificing good governance on the altar of politics is both undemocratic and retrogressive. Politics should primarily serve the purposes of attaining government while government serves the purposes of providing good governance.

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Previously, we had a Rivers State where the people enjoyed the dividends of good governance in all spheres. We had a government that went about governance with seriousness and all sense of responsibility, bearing in mind that the cardinal responsibility of government is to the people. We were blessed with a government that upheld service to Rivers People over service to a cabal or a select few. However, this pleasant memories of the Rivers man have come under severe attack and threats of extinction by the endless political schemes in the state. It is only a matter of time before our people are completely overwhelmed by the   malefic style of governance presently witnessed in the state. We were gifted with a government that ensured that government activities where never done at the expense of the masses; this was a
no-no for the government. It ensured that the interest of Rivers State and its people remained paramount and uncompromised.

Pensively, one begins to wonder what has gone wrong? Where we had it wrong? If we will ever get it right again? If the government is actually for all or for a section of Rivers people?

If the present government must make any head way, if it must come an inch closer to the standards set by the previous government, it  must slow down politicking and begin the real business of government. This does not absolve those in government from making covert moves and maneuvers that shifts the game in their favour or  confers some political advantages to them over their perceived political rivals but this must not be done at the expense of the people. It should never impede the government from administering good governance to the people. Good governance is the people’s inalienable right.

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Its not too late for Rivers State to make amends, there is still room self correction. The government can make a difference and begin to dare to match the records of the last government and perhaps by some miracle, supplant it.

~Priestley Nna

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