Apathy is sweet but …

This is the transcript of my post for The ScoopNG. Read the original post here

I’m not a big fan of politics. Let’s face it, far too many people my age-group aren’t exactly excited about it either. It’s not that I’m unpatriotic or anything, it’s just that I haven’t fully grasped what the alternative option is – or that it is useful.

Apathy towards governance is an alluring stance to take. There’s no use getting your hopes up every four years, expecting things to change for the better and then having them dashed now and again. It gets old. It’s apparent the government couldn’t care less about me. Everyone is in it for himself, apparently. So maybe I’d just focus on my own hustle instead and take what I can.

Don’t get me wrong, I want to be patriotic. I want to love my country and be able to walk tall and talk in glowing terms about it anywhere I go. It’s just that there aren’t quite enough reasons to make me be that way.

Every fabric of our government has either failed or is grossly uninspiring. Nearly everyone at the top echelon of power is possessed with greed and their leadership skills leave much to be desired.

I read about some other countries and I hear reports about them in the media and I wonder why what happens there can’t happen here. I read about some of the policies enacted by our government and I’m depressed at the level of blatant corruption; more so, how easily they get away with it.

It’s an arguable fact that the scale of corruption in any place/establishment is directly proportional to the level of ignorance abounding in that place. Corruption, it seems, is an inextricable part of any government in the world. But some countries seem to have paralyzed that demon because a large percentage of their citizens aren’t blithely ignorant about their government and how it affects them.

That’s why I know that apathy, though alluring, is obviously not a wise stance to take. Because government affects you anyway regardless of your stance towards it, being aware and making a conscious effort to understand its workings seems to be the smart stance to take. That way, you can at least make a voting choice you may be able to live with for four years consecutively.

Adam Smith was famous for (among other things) positing that in competitive situations, individual ambitions serve the common good or that the best results come from everyone in the group doing what’s best for themselves. What this means is that the world would supposedly be a better place if we all were a little bit more selfish.

That principle has pretty much been the innate trait of the social construct of most human interactions for centuries. It is what holds sway in the very strata of our politics. Leaders get elected into offices and then proceed to put their personal interests above the collective interests of the people on whose votes they got there.

Yes, they may amass wealth and opportunities for themselves but they lose, among other freedoms, the freedom to walk the streets anymore without fear.

Well, newer economic principles, especially that proposed by John Nash that the best result comes when everyone in the group does what’s best for them and the entire group (and real-life experiences) have since shown that looking out for yourself alone doesn’t necessarily yield the maximum result. Many examples of the short-comings of being self-serving in social and political situations abound all around us.

I want me a government I can trust. Where elections would afford us the opportunity to select the best possible leader from a pool of worthy candidates, not those sprung on us to sate the personal and tribal interests of political bigwigs.

Where said elections would be preceded by campaigns to ascertain the policies on which the various candidates would run and afford the populace to gauge the level of leadership mien each candidate possesses so they can make informed choices at the polls.

I want a government that has goals and make actionable plans to achieve them, not one that now and again whips up a nebulous vision 20xx after a previous one fails.

I want a government that is serious about education and would ensure that a much needed tinkering is done on our school curricula to bolster up our preparedness for the realities that we have to deal with now and in the future. An educational system where history and civics would be mandatory subjects taught from the elementary levels so as to foster a sense of identity and patriotism on Nigerians is what we need.

Knowing your government truly cares about you and that policies are implemented with your interests in mind feeds on your drive to be patriotic. That’s the natural response. I want a government that works. My guess is that we all do.

In two years it’ll be time to go to the polls to elect a new president. The race for the office is on already. Alliances are being formed and broken across various platforms in preparation for the big prize. There comes that feeling which makes one want to hope that something will give when a new government comes. But I’d much rather observe and see what the process throws up before letting my hopes up.If the candidates are a rehashed version of the same old machinery that runs the current system, then there’s not much hope for a change for the better. And most youths would much rather tilt towards apathy again. But there’s an inherent problem with that disposition, I think. For people can only cling on to apathy for so long under a heartless government before a looming uprising breaks out.

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