Pol­i­tics is not per­sonal

Daily Trust - - LAW - By Daniel Bu­lus­son Esq

“… The po­lit­i­cal sys­tem is chang­ing rapidly in this coun­try, and we bet­ter re­alise that. The ele­phants or don­keys are not what younger peo­ple look to. They look at in­di­vid­ual can­di­dates’ phi­los­o­phy, and I think it’s a dif­fer­ent time and dif­fer­ent gen­er­a­tion.” Richard M. Do­ley.

The forth­com­ing NBA elec­tion is sched­uled for the 30th and 31st of July, and the cam­paign trains of both pres­i­den­tial can­di­dates have been on the move both on ground across Nige­ria and on so­cial me­dia plat­forms. Many lawyers have taken to Face­book to con­vince peo­ple why a par­tic­u­lar can­di­date should be pre­ferred over the other to the ex­tent that no­body’s wall is safe from the in­tru­sion of th­ese cam­paign­ers.

Take for in­stance, a le­gal prac­ti­tioner ex­presses his per­sonal opin­ion on the true in­ten­tion or oth­er­wise of a pend­ing suit re­gard­ing the elec­tion on his Face­book page, all of a sud­den we be­gin to see com­ments de­scrib­ing the qual­i­ties of one can­di­date over the other, then sup­port­ers of the other can­di­date be­gin to at­tack the cam­paign­ers, slowly and grad­u­ally. To the amaze­ment of this writer one be­gins to see words like “keep de­lud­ing your­self”, “maybe you want to prac­tice se­lec­tive am­ne­sia”, “at­tack dog”, “des­per­a­tion has ob­vi­ously blunted your con­science and dead­ened what­ever sense of right you may pre­tend to pos­sess” and the like - all hap­pen­ing on another lawyer’s wall who just ex­pressed his opin­ion.

Why not use your own plat­form to ex­press your own opin­ion, af­ter all it is your wall and you’re en­ti­tled to do what you wish with it. If you ask me, it is not eth­i­cal to in­vade a per­son’s com­ment box and be­gin to cam­paign for a can­di­date know­ing fully well that the owner of the wall is not sup­port­ing your can­di­date.

In the words of a par­tic­u­lar com­men­ta­tor on the same wall, Agbo Jerry Madaki “… this smear cam­paign is an­ti­thet­i­cal to all the Bar stands for. Where has the learned friend­ship ef­fer­ves­cently evap­o­rated to?” I don’t even know the mean­ing of ‘ef­fer­ves­cently’ here but I con­cur. It is only in Nige­ria that another cit­i­zen gets ag­i­tated on the choice of another cit­i­zen, we all have the in­alien­able right to choose what we like and what we don’t.

In pol­i­tics there is no per­ma­nent friend or per­ma­nent en­emy, only in­ter­est and as such ev­ery lawyer is en­ti­tled to be­long to a side that would best pro­tect his or her in­ter­est.

Many young lawyers who would be cast­ing their vote on that fate­ful day may not have not had per­sonal re­la­tion­ship with the can­di­dates; most of what they know about them is based on the cam­paign prom­ises made th­ese past months, why then the ag­i­ta­tion be­tween col­leagues be­cause we find our­selves on dif­fer­ent sides of the race?

Any as­so­ci­a­tion or com­mu­nity that does not place pre­mium on merit and com­pe­tence can­not make any mean­ing­ful head­way, my point be­ing, cam­paign prom­ises have been made, some achiev­able and some not, but it is the in­di­vid­ual’s phi­los­o­phy and that should be the ba­sis of any one cast­ing his vote.

It would be un­fair to the elec­torate and the le­gal pro­fes­sion if en­mity be­gins to grow amongst col­leagues be­cause of dif­fer­ence in choice. You can’t con­vince a lawyer to vote for a par­tic­u­lar can­di­date by in­sult­ing the per­son you are cam­paign­ing for, you are only los­ing your can­di­date’s votes than gain­ing same.

The race as to who be­comes the next pres­i­dent of the NBA should not and never be a do-or-die af­fair, let the best man win and the best man would be he who the ma­jor­ity stands along with in his dream and as­pi­ra­tion of the Bar.

We should not descend to us­ing vul­gar or abu­sive words on one another all in a bid to can­vass sup­port for a par­tic­u­lar can­di­date; col­leagues ought to learn to have meal from the same plate with those on the op­po­site side. Pol­i­tics should be about free will and con­vic­tion not stoop­ing low to in­sult­ing the per­son­al­ity of one another be­cause he does not sup­port your view - what you feel is the right path to fol­low.

Please send your com­ment {s}, rec­om­men­da­tion {s} or ob­ser­va­tion {s} to daniel­bu­lus­son@gmail.com or like us on www.face­book.com/ young lawyers col­umn

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