DISCUSSION

Population Poverty And Politics As A Tripod of Systemic Failure

When you apply a mix of the tripod of population, poverty and politics, a system should be skewed towards equilibrum.

Thus most people think that microcosmic democratic phenomena, such as the recent election in Nigeria, can be understood in terms of general aggregate indicators like; performance records, credibility of the politicians, integrity of the system, manifestoes of the party-does this one even exist?- political culture and awareness of what is at stake.  The danger of this view is that it is highly misleading into a counterproductive democratic culture.

Election outcome should match a people’s desires for good governance, and equitable allocation of available resources David Easton as well as protection of life, liberty and property.

When a political system is operating efficiently, desires, resources, and systemic patriotism match up. Expectations and wishes are largely fulfilled.  And the people are reasonably satisfied with their leaders, the system, and the society.

This is the promise of the democratic system of government.

The primary democratic tools for maintaining and sustaining this are free and fair election and the voting franchise. But when these instruments are thwarted by maladjusted use of authoritative allocation of values and resources, the population is irrationally left at the mercy of the malicious leaders.

In this scenario, the population become riddled into an abject existence at the mercy of the crumbs that fall from the political table of their slave masters.

This has been the trend of election in Nigeria made more manifest in the 2019 general elections. This is an aberration.

Elections are the fulcrum of the political enterprise irrespective of the system.

In a democracy, elections are the mechanism for systemic overhaul. Thus, elections are held in sacrosanct and uplifted as the ciborium of hope for the majority of the people to prevail in their will and the minority to be heard.

But because in democracies the elite act on behalf of the majority, the conspiracy of a rabid elite continues to jeopardize the sanctity of the common will.

 

A leaf from the “realignment theory” of economics will help explain this political travesty.

Millions of Nigerians entered into the political contract based on democratic principle that offers a free and fair opportunity. Thechance to have a genuine say in who pilots their affairs every other next four years. Their votes were to be based on general honest appreciation of parties and candidates who have proven or with potential ability to deliver on the people’s wishes and aspirations.

But the prevalence of induced poverty and politico-economic inefficiencies became rather the basis upon which the parties negotiated for the peoples votes. Thus votes were based on highest bidders. And the application of brute force became the hallmark of the electoral theatre.

This is the elite conspiracy.

Power resources theory argues that political power in a capitalist democracy favors elites and business. This default favoring business and elites leads to a default unequal distribution of income.

Regardless of where scholars sit on the continuum of power resources and institutions, most agree the state plays a pivotal role in shaping poverty. The conventional approach views the state as a mediating variable, such that power resources and institutions often have indirect effects on poverty through the state. According to this approach, power resources and institutions influence the size, practices, and policies of the state, and the state implements egalitarianism.

Poverty

It becomes evident that poverty therefore becomes the most veritable political weapon for winning elections because poverty is shaped by the combination of power resources and institutions.

In the past 15 to 20 years, considerable progress has been made in understanding how politics and institutions shape poverty and there has rising prominence of the state in inequality research

scholars have recently devoted increasing attention to how politics and institutions shape the distribution of economic resources and how this ultimately drives poverty (Brady 2009; Brady and Sosnaud 2010; Ran)

Philip Alston, an NYU law professor and United Nations special rapporteur  argues that the persistence of extreme poverty is a political choice made by those in power,”

Population

And where the population is large and a greater percentage of the population is poor, then the prevailing political elites and the structure they maintain continues to reign supreme.

So there areas with highest population and population of the poor will natural vote more under this scenario.

And in Marxian dialectics, they bourgeoisies who control the apparatus of state consciously endervour to geometrically increase the population of the poor to their advantage.

Karl Marx describes it thus; “The small-holding peasants form an enormous mass whose members live in similar conditions but without entering into manifold relations with each other. Their mode of production isolates them from one another instead of bringing them into mutual intercourse. The isolation is furthered by France’s poor means of communication and the poverty of the peasants. Their field of production, the small holding, permits no division of labor in its cultivation, no application of science, and therefore no multifariousness of development, no diversity of talent, no wealth of social relationships. Each individual peasant family is almost self-sufficient, directly produces most of its consumer needs, and thus acquires its means of life more through an exchange with nature than in intercourse with society. A small holding, the peasant and his family; beside it another small holding, another peasant and another family. A few score of these constitute a village, and a few score villages constitute a department. Thus the great mass of the French nation is formed by the simple addition of homonymous magnitudes, much as potatoes in a sack form a sack of potatoes.” Karl Marx

Will the majority ever prevail?

Because the political parties went about dangling prices for votes, the value of their perceived victories became diminished and lack integrity. All stakeholders know this.

Against this background, the people, the elites and the system they collectively maintain clearly understand that there is no relationship and no basis for systemic inputs and feedback. The societal decay eats into the fabrics of nationhood.  The gap in citizen identification with the country will continue to widen. The nation will be pillaged from all corners and will end up not just an orphan but also a barren.

If anything, the trend must be reversed for before it gets to this gory conclusion, there will arise a dust of reverberative backclash.

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