BY Emmanuel Onwubiko
My arrival in the United Kingdom on Wednesday July 13, coincided with the making of political history.
Wednesday, July 13, 2016 was exactly when British Politics underwent a baptism of transformation with the emergence of former Home Secretary Mrs. Theresa May, as the second ever female prime minister to follow the footprints of the late Iron Lady, Mrs. Margret Thatcher in a century.
Already, she has made all the necessary cabinet level appointments with more women rising in political profile and one of her probable rivals, Boris Johnson, the former Mayor of London, becoming the Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary.
In Nigeria, it took our President Muhammadu Buhari, nearly 8 months to pick his cabinet members which ended up being padded with less than impressive political jobbers.
Prior to her assumption of office at No 10 Downing Street London, Mrs. Theresa May’s predecessor, Mr. David Cameron, had exhibited the dignified attitude for which those holding public office in decent societies are known for. Those holding public offices in the western world do it out of their conviction and determination to serve the larger society and not to be served. The political office holders in Europe and USA are servant -leaders and not Emperors as they are in Nigeria.
Again, looking at the larger society, the ordinary people I see in the United Kingdom went about their daily activities unperturbed by the political earthquake that took place in their parliament.
If it were in Nigeria, with the only exception being former President Goodluck Jonathan, political office holders would rather be disgraced or forced out of office than honourably quit when the kitchen becomes hot
In Nigeria, if a politician envisages an electoral misfortune, he would immediately instigate street thugs to arm themselves and unleash mayhem on innocent Nigerians who are killed at no provocation and the killers are never caught or punished by competent courts of law resulting in a build up of impunity and bottled up angst.
In 2011 when the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC ) which featured the then Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retired ) as the Presidential candidate lost the Presidential election, all kinds of weapons were freely deployed by armed street thugs to burn down houses of supporters Goodluck Jonathan who won the election.
The retired soldier, turned politician, Muhammadu Buhari, distanced himself from these dastardly criminal acts of his road-side illiterate supporters. A presidential panel that investigated the post 2011 Presidential election riots said statements credited to Muhammadu Buhari may have instigated the crisis but added that General Buhari narrated to the panelists that he too was a victim.
In Bauchi State, these armed bandits slaughtered five young Nigerian university graduates serving as NYSC participants just because they were part of the electoral adhoc staff who coordinated the election.
That is the atrocious scenario that usually characterizes politics in Nigeria because, for most aspirants for public office, the quest to serve themselves motivates them more than the zeal for selfless services to the fatherland. Followers ofthe political process are yet to own the process so as purify the way the nation is administered.
Politicians are typical habitual rapists whose stock in trade is to subject Nigeria to horrendous financial rape and abuses.
But, what I see on ground here as I move around the major streets of London tells me that our people in Nigeria really need to embrace a sense of urgency and change their orientation towards politics by demanding transparency and accountability from their elected public officials. They must brace up to the challenge of demanding that those who can’t perform should honourably quit.
Politics must also not be made the only viable economic activity in Nigeria. If the private sector in Nigeria is truly independent of government as it is here in Great Britain, the incidence of violence that mars every electoral process would be a thing of the past.
In Britain, as I punch the keyboards to put up this piece, Mr. David Cameron was photographed helping to move his personal effects out of the official residence of the office of British Prime Minister.
Mind you, David Cameron didn’t lose any election. He only failed to convince the majority of the British voters to vote to remain within the European Union as a member.
This referendum which David Cameron lost was only a non-binding aspect of his campaign promise but he chose to dignify himself by quitting the high office of Prime Minister, but not without showering his wife with encomiums.
The British press captured these historic moments thus: “Appearing in front of the cameras with his wife and three children, the Prime Minister spoke of his pride at leading the country for six years as he made his final appearance outside Number 10.”
He said it had been the greatest honour of my life to serve our country as Prime Minister”.
Mr. Cameron said he was leaving the country “much stronger” and spoke about his record on employment, free schools, gay marriage and the health service.
He said: “I want to thank my children Nancy, Arthur and Florence for whom Downing Street has been a lovely home over the last six years.
“They sometimes kicked the red boxes full of work – Florence you once climbed into one before a foreign trip and said ‘take me with you’. Well, no more boxes.”
Mr. Cameron went on: “Above all I want to thank Samantha, the love of my life. “You’ve kept me vaguely sane and as well as being an amazing wife, mother and businesswoman, you have done something every week in that building behind me to celebrate the best of voluntary service in our country.” He said he was “delighted that for the second time in British history, the new Prime Minister will be a woman, and once again a Conservative”.
He said Mrs. May would provide “strong and stable leadership in delivering the Conservative manifesto on which we were elected” and wished her well in negotiating the withdrawal from the EU which voters backed in last month’s referendum. Mr. Cameron concluded: “For me politics has always been about public service in the national interest. It is simple to say but often hard to do.
*Onwubiko, Head of Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), blogs @www.huriwa.blogspot.com: