Nigerian Republicans And Democrats (Alice In Naijaland)
The last electoral cycle of the USA unveiled a long-ignored demography; the Nigerian Republicans and Democrats.
Who would have guessed that the two biggest political parties in the United States have ardent followers in Nigeria?
Each group had their reasons for pitching their tents with the respective parties. While some were ideological, others followed personalities.
There was another category that picked a side out of hatred or opposition for one singular person. Or policy.
Others followed or refused to follow out of affinity or disdain for Black Americans, Christianity or Islam, or other divisive issues.
I’ve always known that there were Nigerian Republicans and Democrats, but the chatter of support this time reached unprecedented heights.
It was all over social media and there were debates on TV and radio. Podcasts, YouTube and Facebook channels, and vlogs weren’t left out.
Op-eds and think pieces were written on newspapers and blogs alike. Nigeria was really caught up in the frenzy.
I believe if impressions were measured, Nigerians talked about this election more than any other country in the world, other than the United States. India might come a close second, thanks to Kamala Harris.
The last three elections in Nigeria only had a marginal following and discussion than this US Election.
Now that the election and inauguration are over, a lot of people are asking what difference does it make to Nigeria? What exactly did we gain?
As much as this is a valid question which someone else will be more qualified to answer, I believe the interconnective nature of the world currently, means no country is “an island”.
You can’t shut your windows and say nothing concerns you about what is happening elsewhere. With one policy by another country, your country can get wealthier or face more challenges for the next couple of decades.
The winner sets agendas and policies that affect international trade, travel, even the exchange of technology. Tiktok came close to being banned. Then almost being forcibly sold.
That is the power that the US President wields.
One executive order and no more outsourcing of jobs, no transfer of technology, import of oil, tariffs that can start a trade war.
There is also the use of punitive sanctions that affects the populace as well as the ruling class.
My only wish is that Nigerian Republicans and Democrats bring this same energy to our next election. We need it.
As much as we are affected by what goes on in Washington, Kabul, London, Cairo, Johannesburg, Tripoli, and Kampala, we are impacted more by what happens in Abuja.
Even if the US President were interested in fixing every road in Nigeria, there is something called “international sovereignty”. Without the express permission of whoever governs Nigeria, he cannot break one stone.
We want to complain about how Nigerian politics is messy, dirty, and disorganized. Did you watch the last US election and subsequent reactions?
Over the last three elections in Nigeria, I don’t think there is anywhere people had to wait for seven hours to vote. That is still commonplace in the USA.
As much as we have a long way to go, we have also come a long way.
I am certain that if legal means of registering with the RNC and DNC were made available to Nigerian Republicans and Democrats, they will sign up. Even if they were certain they’ll never visit the country.
In the same vein, they need to sign up and participate in the internal politics of Nigerian parties.
The complaint of everything that is wrong with our politics and parties is valid. But it can only be corrected if people with pure intentions and capable hands get involved.
The US is already stuck in a situation where two behemoth parties have made others as good as non-existent. Nigeria meanwhile has gone through a watershed moment when parties merged and successfully unseat an incumbent.
There is still a chance of an alternate party coming in and even if they can’t become the leading party, they can be a viable opposition.
They can win a couple of local governments, state assembly seats, federal house of representatives, and senatorial seats. Maybe even a few state governorship elections.
And if no one is ready to do the hard work of setting up a party from the scratch, there is the alternative of joining existing parties and participating in party activities.
The big politics starts from the ward level. There is no national congress/convention without a ward congress. Start taking your seat, start climbing the ladder.
If enough youths get involved, by supporting and voting for one another at all levels within the party, the parties can be changed.
Our politics is currently bereft of ideologies and features more of an “association for convenience”, but engaging those in the system in conversations and open debates will change that.
The poor and uneducated who joins the party and sell their vote for a thousand Naira also wants a better future for their children.
The creation of a better Nigeria is in the hands of the Nigerian Republicans and Democrats. We can only bring it to fruition when we come together.