In the realm of Nigerian politics, where power is coveted and wielded with fervor, the question of whether the end always justifies the means has become an ever-present conundrum. With the current socio-political landscape dominated by the narratives of identity, it is imperative to dissect the actions of influential figures and examine how they employ religion and other tools to polarize and capture power. One such figure is the former governor of Kaduna, El Rufai, whose recent video circulating on social media has sparked intense debate about the means he employed to achieve his ends.
Before delving into the specifics of El Rufai’s actions, it is vital to explore the broader question at hand. Does the end always justify the means in Nigerian politics, particularly when identity is exploited as a dominant narrative for capturing power? The answer, as with most complex questions, lies somewhere in the intricate interplay between morality, pragmatism, and the long-term implications of short-term gains.
Politics, by its very nature, is a game of strategy, negotiation, and compromise. In a country as diverse as Nigeria, identity politics often takes center stage. Ethnicity, religion, and regional affiliation are frequently weaponized to appeal to specific voter bases, mobilize support, and consolidate power. While this approach may yield immediate results, it risks deepening divisions and perpetuating societal fragmentation in the long run.
El Rufai’s tenure as governor of Kaduna provides a striking case study in the deployment of identity politics. The recent video capturing his conversation with Islamic clerics, with his successor seated beside him, highlights how religion was used to polarize the state. In the video, El Rufai can be seen making divisive statements and stoking religious sentiments, seemingly with the intention of solidifying his political base.
Such actions, though they may be effective in the short term, have long-term consequences that extend far beyond the individual’s time in office. By exploiting religious differences for political gain, El Rufai risked exacerbating tensions between communities, eroding trust, and fueling a cycle of reprisals. The means he employed to secure power may have undermined the very fabric of social cohesion, leading to potential unrest and instability.
However, it is essential to recognize that Nigerian politics operates within a complex web of interests, power dynamics, and historical contexts. The choices made by political actors are often a reflection of the pressures and realities they face. While the means employed by El Rufai may be criticized for their divisive nature, they must be understood within the broader context of Nigerian politics, where identity narratives can make or break electoral success.
The notion that the end justifies the means is a slippery slope, fraught with ethical quandaries. The immediate gains achieved through the manipulation of identity can blind us to the long-term consequences of our actions. When identity becomes the dominant narrative, it becomes difficult to disentangle genuine representation and accountability from cynical ploys for power.
It is crucial, therefore, to reevaluate the metrics by which we judge political success. If the end goal is a harmonious, inclusive society, then the means employed must align with these principles. The narratives that shape electoral campaigns and the actions taken by politicians must prioritize unity, shared values, and a collective vision for progress.
The responsibility to reshape the political landscape lies not only with politicians but also with the electorate. Citizens must demand accountability, transparency, and a rejection of divisive rhetoric. By holding politicians to a higher standard, Nigerians can drive a shift in the political discourse away from identity-based strategies and towards a more substantive and issues-oriented dialogue.
On a final note, the question of whether the end justifies the means in Nigerian politics, particularly when identity is employed as a dominant narrative for capturing power, is a complex one. The actions of figures like El Rufai, who used religion to polarize Kaduna State, remind us of the perils of identity politics. While the immediate gains may be tempting, the long-term consequences of such means can be devastating for societal cohesion. It is incumbent upon both politicians and citizens to redefine success in politics and prioritize unity, shared values, and a vision that transcends narrow identity considerations. Only then can Nigeria progress towards a more inclusive and prosperous future.