Children of politics: Are you raising them?
As we think of feeding the child with the right food, it becomes pertinent that we stress that nourishing his mind with the right thoughts is equally important. Especially at these turbulent times when all we hear or read about is strife. Just as we see ourselves as a nation moving forward, we hear of events or reports which inform us that we go back to times past; times of mistrust of one another, especially in the cake that is this country.
The national cake of Nigeria belongs to everybody and it should feel wonderful to be among those who decide how it is shared because we feel that we know the right formulae to distribute it fairly. That is the reason we have politics and politicians. But this article does not want to talk about politicians-many of us desire to become one and play politics and contribute to the positive development of our country. And these should be the politicians who want to contest elections fairly and strive to serve with their heart and mind when they win elections into public office.
However, things have always happened to make us believe that they do not always give to us all what they promised when they asked for our votes. But more worrisome is that their acts have created another type of family altogether-children of politics.
Many times these children do not harbour the desire to play politics themselves; they have been brought up by their political father or the biological parents to believe that they will never be good as politicians-the way we know them. Sometimes, though they really have no right to think that they could because they have been disqualified by their circumstances as boys- most of the time boys, who dropped out of school or were never sent to school. But many times they have been sensitised enough to realise their worth and capability to disturb the public peace and order.
Interestingly, a child of politics could be well educated and capable of holding a responsible job. But with their training as children who should see no good in established order, they look for only the negative in their employer/employment. They thrive in favouritism and selfish interest in the workplace and fuel themselves with tribalism.
There is nothing wrong in instilling the love of tribe in a child but it should be done in such a way that when he is seen among other tribes, he should be able to feel proud of where he comes from. He should not want to fight or feel in the least defensive because his behaviour shows him as one who has come from among interesting people.
But the sad thing is that when the wrong politics has a grip on the youth, it creates a human cluster, people who only see what politics want them to see, in the same way; in this instant, narrowly. It is not natural because they act collectively as souls who are grouped together and no longer able to exercise their individual right to have an opinion, not even animals desire to be so tied down by what a fellow animal wants to do.
The sad truth is that we did not start raising children of politics today; we began in the first Republic when things could still be said to be calmer then. Still, violence was the issue that closed that time, six years, after the independence.
The succeeding military government only bred more of these elements with the several cancelled elections, but they were able to suppress them before harm was done. But with the cancelled elections and the restoration of democracy at the turn of the century, many of the politicians, some of whom have upgraded from children of politics, came with determination to win elections at all cost. They use under-aged voters- children of politics; under-age voting is corruption under the law.
They put arms and ammunition in the hands of the youth-the real children of politics. The failure to disarm these youths, we hear, is the cause of all manners of violence in the society today.
Why dump it on the doorstep of parents?
Parents as the people who have the first access to the young ones could do a lot. You have taken the first step by sending the child to school for a broad- based education. It is doubtful that many youths of today would take up arms and fight for causes not clear to them. The ones who fight because they are told to would come to the right understanding one day. But until then, tell the child that the easiest way to peace and harmony is treating others the way he wants to be treated.
Some children of politics may become politicians eventually, but when they do, they would have gotten the right tools-kindness and empathy with which to succeed.