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India, Japan, Nigeria, Libya: Case Studies in Contemporary World Political Culture.
By Professor Dr. Emmanuel Omoh Esiemokhai  
 Published September 5th, 2011

By political culture, we mean the entrenched societal way of life of a people and their socio-political beliefs. The political state of a human society, must be dynamic, not static not retrogressive.

Since the life of a society is incomplete without societal institutions, there must be a government that should regulate the all-round development of the state.

For there to be continuity and change, political parties must exist to contest for power through general elections.

Election success does not necessarily guarantee good governance. Japanese, Indian and Nigerian politics, economic and cultural traits are subjects for my intensive sociological appraisals. The three play like a mariachi band.

India is one of the world’s democratic states. Since 1947, corruption, the cast system and Maharaja Mentality have hindered India’s progress. India could have done much better, if corruption were minimized.

Nigeria has the capacity for growth and development. However, the country has not been well-run as governments promise heaven and earth, but do not deliver.

As a result, Nigeria’s abundant, talented human resources have not been deployed properly. The gains from natural resources are regularly squandered, stolen, or misappropriated.
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The most debilitating factor in Nigerian social life is our inability to objectively and dispassionately embrace the truth about our short-comings. The press is under pressure, as a result of poor salaries and so, panders to publicity seeking politicians. This has become a political culture that seems irredeemable.

General Ibrahim Babangida has disclosed that the press did push him to say unpleasant things about General Olusegun Obasanjo, during his recent birthday interaction with the press. Those purchasable libertines, especially the ones on the take, do avoid publishing certain articles, just to please the powers-that-be.

Some Nigerian journalists tell our leaders that which they think the leaders would like to hear and they cut pet names for the destroyers of Nigeria. In a political culture, in which the press collaborates covertly of overtly with the ruling elite, the latter feel comfortable to carry on business as usual.

People, who point out ways to societal progress and make rational, solid suggestions are ignored and are considered trouble-makers at secret government meetings and are ostracized. Evidence abound. Post-press conference envelops are routinely distributed and thankfully accepted. As the press loses its informed watch-men to the other side, the media windows get closed.

The rot deepens. In Nigeria, reactions to sad events become opportunities to address the media and show off. We love to cry over spilt milk!

One of the most demonizing legacies of colonial rule is that it etched indelible marks in the minds of ex-colonials that they must acquire wealth by hook or crook .That they must fight and die for political office, even if such an aspirant knows very well that he or she has neither the relevant knowledge and experience in the political post, he or she seeks.

In most cases, amateur political neophytes “succeed” in getting appointed, elected, or rigged into office. Then, the disaster of inability, incapacity and failure become real.

In Japan, as a result of their ingrained ethos of honour, self-respect, self-knowledge and self-restraint, all dominated by the power of shame, a Japanese leader, will, on his own, tender his resignation, if it becomes obvious that he has become overwhelmed by the requirements of his office.

This is why the Japanese have had six governments in five years. Hatano (1982; Holloway 1988) found that the Japanese political culture may be characterized by what they termed belief-in-effort.

The Japanese believe in the supreme importance of effort as a determinant of intellectual achievement and effort-dependent optimism. They uphold the distribution of the fruits of labour, which shapes their social justice system.(Robert J. Sternberg)

In Nigeria, only very few Ministers have ever resigned in acknowledgement of failure in government. I was very proud of a Minister from Rivers State, who left the Obasanjo government on principle! He has been my soul-mate ever since.

As a result of their over-stay in government and for failure to govern well, some Nigerian leaders were removed from office, in circumstances of utmost cruelty. Many government officials have been jailed or dismissed from office, discredited in circumstances associated with the fruits of retributive justice.

What is always written in marble is the opprobrium with which the Nigerian people treat those disgraced officials and how they neither forgive nor forget them. This negative remembrance will last as the centuries hurry by.

Two weeks ago in India, a man born of a woman, with a social conscience and who had conquered the spirit of fear about possible government repression, went on hunger strike to draw the attention of Indians and the world, to the rampant corruption in India.

He found support among upright people, who gave him moral support. On the 13th day of his self-imposed hunger strike, the government acceded to his demands and passed the necessary legislation to legally address the issue of corruption in India.

Citizen Anna Hazare had demanded that there should be laws that would enable the people to recall non-performing politicians and government officials and the right to reject bad rulers.

Hazares’ actions led to one hundred amendments of existing laws in India.. His demands will set for a formidable political struggle between legislators and the people of India. Anna Hazare has said that” The power of the people is greater that of Parliament”. This will be the mantra for the coming political struggles world-wide.

Indian wise men have long admonished the race” to know the nature of thought. One, who knows the nature of thinking, becomes endowed with intelligence and all the advantages of being intelligent. He wavers not and lives in an unwavering world; he becomes free of sorrow”

Anna Hazare had imbibed this world-view. He used speech and language in an evocative manner to address issues of national concerns in Indian political life; corruption and deficiencies in legislation.

Like Gandhi, his application of intelligence “could be viewed within taxonomy of metaphors.” (Bibhu D Baral and J.P. Das). Many intelligent Indians have absorbed concepts of intelligence from the classical literatures of India, written in Sanskrit. Zimmer in his 1951 studies of the Sanskrit described extensively Indian Philosophical and Psychological Views of Intelligence.

So, Japanese Shintoism and Indian Sanskrit have shaped the political and ethical cultures of both societies.

Pray, what shapes the Nigerian political culture? It is shaped by tribal vulgarism, ethnic preferences, and the British colonial legacy of “agbata eke”, opportunism, ego- defence, conservatism, misplaced conscience and the lack of advanced thinkers.

If Anna Hazare were a Nigerian, the man would have died of hunger and only a very few people would see the heroism in his protest.

Recently, we were given a laughable lecture about why “some citizens are above the law “and so, cannot be made to account for their corrupt tendencies. This traditional way of thought, must make way for modernism in Nigeria.

Ideally, no one should be above the law. However, former Nigerian Heads of State, who had access to intelligence reports about fellow politicians, are feared. This makes them to be immune from damaging disclosures because, they too, can fight back.

Young Nigerians are beginning to ask why their country is uninhabitable and are thereby forced to move to other lands, in humiliating circumstances? They point at former leaders, after being told of how they squandered their fortune and future.

As Comus wrote, “All the swains that there abide With jigs and rural dance resort; we shall catch them at their sport,

And our sudden coming there Will double all their mirth and cheer”

In future, Nigerians will discuss these issues in great details, aided by the Freedom of Information Act.

Since most politicians love to be remembered, their legacies will be fraught with curses, defamation and scorn because they abducted our commonwealth with impunity.

Nigerian life is” a network of contrasts- heaven and hell, light and darkness, good and evil, love and hate, humility and pride, creation and destruction. The greatest contrast is between Christ and Satan”, who, in Nigeria, seems to “ combine , on a grand scale, the heroic energy, endurance and resources of the traditional Lucifer and the traditional epic hero, no being less grand could be the adversary of God.” ( Douglas Bush).

But he was defeated on the cross by the Blood of Jesus, the Christ, who “broke the gates of hell and cut the bars of iron in two.”

Yet, satan’s demonic influence is pushing the frontiers of debauchery in Nigeria and the world. In Nigeria, there are kidnapping, corruption, Godlessness, self-adoration, self-promotion, haughtiness, evil-mindedness and the preponderance of negativism.

Out there, we have rebellions, wars (televised) and the reign of burnt-out artists, nude singers and half-dressed film “stars,” the preponderance of mass culture hits as well as the hip hop and sex culture. The love for scandals, both real and contrived are all the unmistakable signs of the END-TIME.

As we seek genuinely to transform Nigeria, we must understand the retrogressive forces at work from both within and especially from outside Nigeria.

Those, who had predicted that Nigeria would disintegrate, are bending double to cause fear, dislocation of the territorial integrity and political independence of Nigeria. They will fail.

Yet, they parade themselves as friends of Nigeria and we naively believe their antics. They are damned!

I listen to the ocean, thunder, lightning, the winds, earthquakes, and the early morning songs of birds, all informing me about what awaits the party of the anti-christ in this Era of the Gentiles, Atonement and the Brotherhood of man.

The grand scope and actions of fallen angels are unfolding in brutal rhythm and brutal peculiarity, sometime to the point of denying the divinity of man. This peculiarity yields to the Virgilian tradition, but more suitably, this peculiarity approximates to Dante’s narratives.

In the televised wars in the Middle East and North Africa, man’s inhumanity to man has been laid bare. Cruelty of the most shocking types has been recorded. No side is free from inglorious acts, although the “truth” is made to reside on one side.

The United Nations in passing Resolution 1973, appeared to have inadvertently lost sight of its historical, diplomatic success in November, 1956, when “it created the United Nations Emergency Force, (UNEF), as an emergency measure to restore order in the Middle East, after a dispute between Israel and Egypt led to an Israeli invasion of Egypt, supported by Great Britain and France. The Security Council had met on October 30 to consider a resolution calling for a ceasefire, but failed as a result of vetoes by France and Britain. Hence, an emergency session of the General Assembly met on the night of November 1-2 and approved by a large majority, a resolution calling for a ceasefire. The fighting continued and in another night meeting, the Assembly adopted a proposal for a United Nations international force presented by Canada. The plan specified that members of the UNEF would be recruited from among nations, exclusive of the five members of the Security Council. The force was directly responsible to the United Nations, a decision, which gave the UNEF the distinction of being the first genuine international police force in history. It consisted of volunteer troops from Brazil, Canada, Columbia, Denmark, Finland, India, Indonesia, Norway. Sweden and Yugoslavia; troops from other nations were placed on stand-by call. The UN peace-keeping force ended the fight on November 6, Britain and France suspended military action and Israel withdrew its troops.” The New Universal Library, page 105.

I think that if the United Nations Emergency Force had been sent very early into Libya, to erect a buffer between the rebels and Kaddafi forces, a ceasefire would have been made to hold. There would have been a call on Kaddafi to step aside, hold elections and relinquished power.

If Kaddafi refused, then all the member-states of the United Nations would have been persuaded to break diplomatic, consular and economic relations with Libya.

Within six months, the Kaddafi regime would have crumble or would have existed on in name. This type of diplomatic offensive, should be the subject of a United Nations Resolution to be discussed as from September 10, 2011. The UN must re-affirm that it upholds the provisions of Article 2(4) and Article 2(7) of the UN Charter.

Perhaps Colonel Kaddafi would have respected the intervention of the UNEF rather than that of NATO.

After watching the nanny, who was allegedly scalded by the wife of Hannibal Kaddafi and after recalling the incident of the Saudi Madame, who stuck nails into the body of her Indonesian house girl and the atrocities of the Arab Jihadists and slave traders in Africa, I now associate some members of the Arab ruling class with mawkish acts of degeneracy.

The “Solomonic” vision of the new world order is that it seems to play out in “an elevated and ritualistic tone and movement, which will support their theme with a stylistic and rhythmical assurance,” of democracies in the world.

Of course there is an element of “the grandeur of generality” that will prove unrealizable, after the war efforts and the peace process end.. Why must nations fight, destroy and then make peace?

Imagine where Germany would have been, if Hitlerism had not intervened and diverted the attention of one of the most intelligent race on earth to destroy and be destroyed? I know them very well.

In Japan, leaders do not steal and challenge any court to try them. They leave office with a bow. Some have even committed suicide. Shintoism may be responsible for the Japanese high sense of shame. The Indians are religious and understand the disastrous consequences of KARMA.

A highly developed status of the soul. Is the reason, why if a Japanese government fails, the leader promptly resigns. He does not sit-tight; punish the people with inaction, ineffectiveness, and do-littleness.

One would pray that the people in all countries do not forcibly remove their leaders, but use constitutional means to effect such changes. In the long run, it is the people, who would lose if their cities are bombarded, resulting in no food, no water and no electricity. The end result is death, misery and social dislocation.

In Libya, the hospitals, which provide succor to the injured, would take time to be re-built and re-equipped.

In the last thirty years, we have advocated that every state in Nigeria should have state-of-the art hospitals in. Taking sick Nigerians to foreign hospitals is a failure of social policy.

I was very ashamed, last week, when the United Nations requested that all those injured persons in the UN Abuja bomb blast be sent to South Africa! I wonder if you felt the same pangs of humiliation.

The UN disagreed with South Africa’s non-recognition of the Libyan rebels, but had no choice in seeking better medical attention for the wounded.

Next time, we seek to engage in diplomatic arguments with South Africa, their representatives will chuckle.

There is need to investigate the psychology of human intelligence that regularly cries over spilt milk, never exhaustively discusses national problems with knowledgeable citizens, only to lament profusely, when that which could have been forestalled happens.

Since the October 1, 2010 incident as well as other untoward security events in the country, no one has investigated thoroughly and briefed the nation.

How can we know the truth beyond sympathetic condolences, promises to “fish out” the perpetrators and other such homilies that do not help our concerns?

The security agencies must be adequately equipped to do their work. Issues concerning social justice, good governance, finding out the grievances of political mal-contents, assuaging the fears of the dispossessed, all these must go into the package for reconciliation, fruitful participation of every citizen in the governance of the country, which will enhance peaceful co-existence.

We must begin to adopt a civic culture of humaneness based on healthy biological influences. The ecology of human development in Nigeria is hard to understand.

Thinking and reasoning could evolve for us, dynamic systems as tools for analyzing our societal behaviour and judgment. How it is that impunity, capriciousness and opportunism dominate our values as a people, in spite of our religiousity?

Very often, I wonder what happened to the TEN COMMANDMENTS, the preaching at the mosques and churches, the religious doctrines that should mould humanists par excellence.

In Nigeria, it seems that the quest for ill-gotten gains have diluted our redemption through Christ. In Western Europe and America, where our political cultural habits are formed, they have been mutilated by the hip hop culture and the debauchery associated with sex, same-sex marriages and other social infirmities.

Skeptical and scientific rationalism have dulled their spiritual life. In these END-TIMES, the Cherubs and the Seraphs send winds, rain, earthquakes to territories, which give a semblance of Sodom and Gomorrah.

The Cambridge Platonists believed in the philosophy of rational faith and order. “The traditional orthodoxy was shaped in some characteristically Miltonic ways.”

The Second fall of Man will be accelerated by the agents of the anti-christ, who now spread hatred amongst brethren, encouraging rebellion and causing social dislocation in this Era of the Gentiles, Atonement and the Brotherhood of Man.

Love for wars has become a fact of universal experience. The rational dignity of man is fast eroding as human carcasses litter the streets of Iraq, Libya and Syria.

The Almighty God, who decreed that “You shall not kill,” is now angered by these acts of extreme wickedness. The author of Aeropagitica acknowledged “ the weakness of human reason and will, and the need of humility, obedience and divine grace”

In the last three years, there have been shakings of the earth, in circumstances that make it clear that divine grace is being limited in amounts and benevolence.

Modern media reportage plays down the role of the Sovereign Deity in contemporary world affairs, but it is very real. The media would make short work of such a creed, but Science can only assist man to the extent of human intelligence and reason.” God is watching us from a distance”.

In spite of our mystical, psychic, clairvoyance and medium prowess, the Divine Order will always prevail.

India, Thailand, Japan still make the Creator of the Universe angry by worshipping idols. Nigerians, who do not act in obedience to Divine injunctions, will face occasional degradation, each time HE turns away from us.

The Japanese former Prime Minister has given way to Mr. Y. Noda.There is nothing shameful about resigning from a political office, if circumstances get beyond control. It is fraudulent not to.

The Indian Parliament acted honourably by acceding to the constructive requests of Mr. Anna Hazare. It would have been counter-productive if the Indian Government had called out the troops to shoot innocent civilians.

The above must be the new trend in world politics.

The armed forces, the police and other security agencies should never kill their compatriots because people have risen against incompetent governments. In future, they and the government officials they seek to protect will be prosecuted. Egypt has set the tone.

In Europe and America, politicians resign from office, if they are dissatisfied with the way the country is run by the government. In Africa, leaders sit-tight, even when they have failed to govern well.

Full and impressive orotund speeches, delivered from orographic heights, will earn some applause but they do not build nor transform a state.

In spite of all the well-crafted speeches by government, which permitted hopes of a radical transformation of the Nigerian state, I am still lighting candles, drinking from my well, fuelling my generator and buying food at extortionate prices, one year and a hundred days into the new dispensation. I am still cautiously optimistic that the transformation train will take off soon.

Professor Dr. Emmanuel Omoh Esiemokhai, a Writer and Academic, is the Academic Chancellor, BOSAS INTERNATIONAL LAW BUREAU, Abuja, Nigeria.

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