2015: Change Versus Transformation

By UCHE NWADIALOR
From time immemorial, political party bureaucrats have coined such persuasive verbal nouns as transformation, empowerment or change in order to convince, but more often, to hood-wink the electorate into casting their votes in their favour or to sustain the existing followership for the ultimate consolidation of power.
The first political party to orchestrate change as a strategic concept was the Nigerian People’s Party (NPP) led by Nigeria’s first President, Late Chief (Dr.) Nnamdi Benjamin Azikiwe, of blessed memory, who is remembered as one of the founding fathers of independent Nigeria. Political historians can testify to the extent that wind of change had swept across the Nation.
Today, what we observe in Nigeria’s political development is an ostensible multi-party system gradually dove-tailing into a two party system as we have in the United States of America. Here is one valuable political policy which our celebrated military Head of State, General Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida (rtd), had bequeathed to his country when he built two political parties offices in every local government headquarters after the Nigerian civil war, but both of which have been converted for other uses by the government. One would have expected that the two most prominent political parties in each state should inherit this structure as a mark of honour to the former Head of State since this legacy is an embodiment of the type of change Nigerians expect.
The Oxford’s Longman advanced learners Dictionary (New Edition) describes CHANGE as “the process or result of something or someone becoming different”. In the same vein, this dictionary describes TRANSFORMATION as “a complete change in someone or something”. What is more? Change and Transformation are mutually exclusive. If any difference, it is semantics. They can simply be described as synonyms.
From the fore-going analysis, one may conclude that the two major political parties are in fact not different from each other especially in view of the fact that the same generation of Nigerians have imbibed the same socio-economic and political culture laden with religious intolerance, ethno-centric tendencies and corruption among other social challenges ravaging third world countries. Perhaps during a debate, each political party may attempt to wriggle out of this anathema charting a seemingly different approach in achieving their own goal of change. If one may ask, are we talking about the change of baton in a relay race? Or is it the change of the whole team in the race, it is neither here nor there. If electoral returning officers from the Ivory towers or from the respectable private professional desks can no longer enjoy the confidence of the electorate, then what change or transformation do Nigerians expect?
What can one say about the exchange of threats by the various political parties on their soap boxes? Why can’t we choose our words based on issues of programmes bearing in mind that we are in a democracy where collective responsibility is the principle? If a former Head of State, irrespective of whatever parameters are considered for qualification to contest for any elective post, can now be dimmed not to be qualified to contest the presidency, something must be wrong in our system including the 1999 constitution itself. Similarly if a president in conjunction with appropriate stakeholders approves X sum of money for energy which is certified as adequate by professional experts, why must anybody shift blame of any lull in the execution of the project on the president.
For now, suffice to say that the most outstanding variable left to the electorate is the principle of equity and fair share, exemplified by geographical spread or zonal rotation.
Change they say is as good as a rest. Similarly, change is equally constant and therefore cannot be regarded as a robust vote catching strategy since the purpose of an election is a change of government.
Chief Uche Nwadialor is a former member of DTHA