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Nigeria’s politics of zero-sum game

by Business News Report

What makes economics an interesting science of behaviour is its attempt to predict the behaviour of economic agents. In the attempt to predict how certain economic actors will behave in a given situation, economic statisticians introduced the theory of probability. Using probability and permutations, the concept of zero-sum game emerged. In the game of zero-sum, the winner takes all.

Looking at the practice of politics in Nigeria, it was initially politics of sharing by allocation. It is now absolutely a zero-sum game. Political actors in Nigeria today are involved in the game to benefit themselves only. It is a situation in which one politician’s gain comes only from another politician’s losses. The net balance in total wealth allocation is now zero, meaning that the resources that should have been used to develop the nation are taken over by political actors for their use.

The nation’s wealth is simply shifting from one politician to another. In the attempt to make it, they stop short at nothing. Whoever gets in their way is an enemy that must be crushed to death. They act like moving train, which path no human must cross when it is approaching. They have rendered institutions of state unworkable.

 Nigerian politicians are deadly. They employ every means available to cling to power, not for service, but to dispense favour, enrich themselves and secure the future of their unborn babies. It is only in Nigeria that politics is big business. The more you sow either in resources or violence to diminish your opponent, the more the benefit.

In economics, allocation of resources is key to achieving economic well-being of all, which is the ultimate goal of good governance.

This is because what is available cannot go round all; bring to the doorstep of every citizen the dividend of democracy. The overall well-being of society is premised on efficient allocation of scarce resources. When such are rightly allocated and execution carefully monitored, it ensures value for money.

But what you find in Nigeria is war between political friends and foes. Nigerian politicians are friends as long as they agree to a sharing formula. The moment there is disagreement on sharing, the war starts. No Nigerian politician wants to lose a kobo to any other. Ask yourself, why will 36 state governors enter into a room to vote only to come out to disagree and it has now become an open war? Is this war between the governors’ forum and the Presidency because of the Nigerian electorate? Certainly not! Nigerian politicians do not disagree on principles as it is in other places. Not even along party line; they do so on what they seem to be losing out from. The budget war about constituency projects is all about what comes to me in the budget.

Is the war between the Rivers State legislators and the governor about the people? No, it is about the desire of the center to cling to power! Is Patience Jonathan’s involvement about the welfare of the people of Rivers State? Not at all! It is about fighting the enemy, who wants to stop me from being a first lady, having access to power, access to the purse of Niger- Delta states. It is about the perception that if 2015 comes and my bread winner is stopped, I will be in the cold. In decent and sane societies, with her confession, she would have been picked up for questioning, but alas, the machinery of state will not allow that in Nigeria.

Is the in-fighting within the PDP about the wellbeing of Nigerians? Of course not. It is positioning and repositioning to lay hands on the national cake. It is to scheme out those opponents in the zero-sum political games politicians play in Nigeria. Have you not heard that Nigerian politicians, who find their way to political offices earn the highest wages in the world? Yet, in comparison, Nigerian economy is under-performing compared to those of other countries. It is only in Nigeria you go into politics not to serve but to be served. Nigeria politics is about making unjustifiable wealth. How do you explain that a kilometer of road in Nigeria is constructed at $1million? How do you explain that the President or Minister of Petroleum Resources can on their own award oil blocks to whoever they wish? Why will politicians not kill, maim or do anything to become president?

Why is every region fighting to have their own as the next president of Nigeria? So that the few that have access can make it. Is it not why selfish politicians, who were around Umaru Yar’adua did not want him out of office when it was obvious the man was incapacitated? How come that at 80, papa Anenih is still out there struggling in the name of politics? In more decent societies, he should be resting, waiting for the ultimate call. What value is an 85-year-old man adding to the polity? Why are these men still parading themselves as people, who have things to offer other than to share the nation’s cake?

Why must Nigerian youths allow themselves to be used by these no good politicians to kill, maim and destroy, all because they want access to power in 2015?  Is it not time Nigerian youths and the middle class begin a movement to rescue Nigeria from these scavengers, who call themselves indispensable politicians?

A politician, who performs creditably in office, has nothing to fear about re-election. Nigerians are no fools. They know who is serving their interest. If Mr. President has performed creditably, he has nothing to fear about 2015. But the question to ask him is, Mr. President in your mind and conscience, have you delivered on your promises? Politics of zero-sum game will not help this nation called Nigeria; it will only set us back. All of you involved in this unwholesome act of zero-sum politics are doing Nigeria a disservice. The economy is losing massively in terms of investment flow due to this mindless war. It has to stop now.

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