By Ramoni Kabiru Babatunde


Anyway, since development is a gradual and continuous process, the ‘Not too young to run’ bill recently passed by the Senate is a welcomed development but its workability depends on the functionality of some sectors.

Without any symptom of doubt, it’s very lucid enough to the blind and audible to the deaf, that the so-called Nigeria today is a foreign creation, which might be rason detre while someone like Ahmadu Bello regarded it as a “mistake of 1914”. Hence, for some scholars it is called different names, such as futureless marriage, but for me, I may describe it as brutal cum imposing marriage. This is exactly what happened in 1914 except that there was no complaint, no protest because of the absence of many educated fellows. I must tell you, this was the beginning of our predicaments, since the existing/prevailing protocol is self-aggrandizement mission, just to fuel the economy of the imperial leaders.

Therefore, our notorious leaders inherited the politics of self-enrichment from the colonial leaders. Little wonder, the Nigerian parliament has been manifesting some kind of egocentric ethical behaviours, through their shambolic and ill-fated agenda. They rarely pass into law what will not favour them either directly or indirectly. For instance, what is it for them to perceive the immunity clause as a non-negotiable issue? Why is it that the issue of reductions in politicians’ salaries is a no-go-area? How is it that the issue of paying the parliaments either allowances or salaries has become demeaning and counter-productive? Thus, this is to show that, there is a hidden motive behind the Not-Too-Young-To-Run-Bill. Is the reduction in age simply to favour them, to enable their children to replicate or assume the seat of power which will in turn foster their pathological power syndromes?

To approach the issue theoretically, in philosophy, to justify an issue like this, we need to appeal to a branch of philosophy called ‘Ethics’. Since there is no way we would talk about politics with the exclusion of ethics, thus, ethics and politics are somehow interwoven. However, ethics is not equivalent to morality. Simplistically, ethics has to do with behaviours, that is, to set up a standard way of behaviours (guiding principles) which must be adhered to by all. While morality on the other hand, has to do with belief. Nevertheless, there are two theories, the teleological theory and consequential theory. This is to consider the consequence(s) of an action before we declare it to be right or wrong. The second part is non-consequential or deontological theory, this is to consider the duties and obligations of an activity over its consequences. That means to justify based on the former approach, we have to wait and observe the factual outcomes; while the latter based its judgements on the duties and obligations of youths in the political system. For instance, youths contribute about 60 percent of the total votes during the last electioneering exercise, though they occupied no tangible political office. Meanwhile, they form the major stakeholders in terms of elections.

In political science, there are some theories that are relevant to this discuss. There is Elite Theory which says; “the elite class should be responsible and responsive for the ruling of the society”. The attention will capture on system analysis theory developed by David Easton. In this theory, the whole society would be seen as a system surrounded by some trends such as globalisation, since the world has now become a global village, the issue like dollar, crude oil prices and the likes fall under this, therefore it has to do with anything that affects the global world, which in turn affects the system. The issue concerning the economic system/institution is also part of the trends. Therefore, the issue of inflation and recession will also affect the system. This includes political institution such as the issue of the reduction of age, which will in turn foster the political participation of the country. Thus, whatever happens to this trend will also affect the system as a whole. Social and demographical institutions such as religion, culture, ethnicity and labour force can never be over emphasized.

Furthermore, the system can also be broken down into some stages. Firstly, the inputs, this is the demand and supports from the society. The second is the outputs, that is, if the youths are given chances, would they really perform effectively, efficiently and efficaciously? The third is the outcome; would the youths incorporated into the political power change the society positively?

Nonetheless, there are challenges that might hinder the workability of the policy. It either leads to merely shadow chasing or adding salt to the injury, since it is not the case that the youths are absent in the political system before, as we see them in various state houses of assemblies across the country. But the blatant question is how are they performing? Anyway, the first predicament is self-interestness, which is to always consider one’s personal interests over the public interests. The second is the problem of pull down syndrome, that is, you feel like replicating or relinquishing or vacating the office by all means, not just because of the incapability or not doing well displayed by the office holders. The integrity challenge is when you attack the personality of the political leaders rather than constructive assignments. Hence, this is tantamount to what philosophers call argumentum ad hominem. The fiasco of sit-tight syndrome – when someone assumes the seat of power will be forever will set in because most of us have high pathological quest for power. It is also glossily that the youths will have to compromise with their old counterparts or the elders will first sit the youths down and imbibe them with some devilish and catastrophic lecture on how to remain in power long and that the masses do not deserve to be taken serious like that.

Hence, the level of our political culture should be improved to the required stage, in a mission to pave way for its workability. Political culture is our attitudes and beliefs towards the political system. Thus, scholars like Gabriel Almond and Sydney Verber gave us three levels of political culture, just to find out the prerequisite level for development of the political system. The first level is the parochial political culture-this is when primitive attitude of nonchalance is being manifested towards the political system of a particular setting. Though, ethnic rivalry and religion will become the major political instruments of the political dictators. The Subject is the second level, in this phenomenon; the citizens have to obey their leaders blindly without question. Here there is maximum level of loyalty even at the detriment of people’s interests. While the last one is the Participant, in this regards, the majority of the citizens are active towards their political affairs without sentiments. However, the critical evaluations revealed that Nigeria belonged to the first level and is only when she reaches the third level that the new reduction in age will not work against her.

Moreover, another scholar called Samuel Finer in his book the Man on the Horse Back in 1962, also revealed four levels of political culture based on his empirical research. The first epoch is the matured political culture, here there are strong institutions and the majority of citizens were also concerned about how to choose the right persons through the right means to occupy the vacant position. This could be discovered in the country like US, Canada among others. The developed is the second epoch; this is when there are strong institutions, though the majority of people may not be concerned about the right persons through the right means against the political offices. In this regards, political aberrations like military coup is even possible. The typical instance could be in a country like Germany, Japan and so on. The third one is low political culture, here the people cannot be regarded as the citizens because they are very poorly organized and are not proactive towards governmental activities. According to Finer, Egypt, and Syria are typical examples. The last is Minimal political culture, without an iota of scepticism Nigeria assumes this echelon, because here the ruling class acts with impunity and because they are brutal and more coercive than the unorganized and politically passive human beings. Hence, the military intervention also be perceived as normal, and the leaders can fidget with public opinion at will. The experience of Nigeria during IBB regime will showcase the scenario through the introduction of Diarchy System, which permits both military and civilian to operate side by side. Therefore, political culture of this country calls for improvements to welcome the positive side of the new policy.

Finally, the issue of godfathers and corruption will also frustrate the workability of the system. Therefore, for this to serve as blessings for this nation, all these must be demoted to the minimal level, if not totally vanished.

According to Malawian quote “unbuntu ngamtu mganbunye abantu”, which means; you do not live for yourself but for others. The Akan people will say “what makes you a human being is the society”, therefore, you must take the society into consideration in all your actions. The Yoruba will also say “lagbaja kii seniyan”, which implies that someone is inhumane because he/she lacks morality, meaning that he has no feelings for others. Therefore, to be humane, is to have feelings for others in all ramifications of life. In relation to the aforementioned, the principle of sympathetic impartiality simply means to consider others in your endeavours. This is as well similar to the Harm’s principle propounded by J.S Mill and the principle of utilitarianism by Jeremy Bethan.

In conclusion, for the “not too young to run bill” to work smoothly, all the identified and likes predicaments should be tackled from all over and above. The developmental vision and mission would not be seen as a mirage, only then we can proceed to persist in Eudemonia state of Aristotle.

 Being an excerpt from a lecture delivered to the Anti-corruption CDS-group, NYSC, by Ramoni Kabiru Babatunde in Minna recently.