Of Politricks, Power and Intrigue
By Elyger Agwu
“Think’st thou that duty shall have dread to speak when power to flattery bows? To plainness honor’s bound when majesty falls to folly.”
Kent in King Lear (1.1.164-167)
“The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil,
but because of those who look on and do nothing.”
— Albert Einstein, theoretical physicist
Politics is a very intriguing activity. It is a combination of psychomotor which involves physical skills such as movement, coordination, manipulation, dexterity, grace, strength, speed, ruse and mostly, controversy.
By all ramification, politics is generally seen as the quest for power by actors with keen interest to assume the position of leadership in any given society. It takes sagacity, wits, intelligence and careful scheming to be a successful politician and to be one the politician must always apply the art of ruse, deceit and psychological manipulation. This is what I call Politricks.
Academically, the term ‘Politics’ has many definitions, from the idea of the scholar. David Easton saw politics as the ‘equitable allocation of resources and values’. Even as Harold Lasswell describes it as who gets what, when, and how.
Johan Kaspar Bluntschli in The Theory of the State : “Politics is the science of watching the affairs of state , to fight for and understanding of the state and circumstances , the properties essentially , in various forms or manifestations of development. ”
The Greek philosopher, Aristotle while asserting that “man by nature is a political animal,” postulates that
“Politics is a noble activity in which men decide the rules they will live by and the goals they will collectively pursue.”
One major issue recurrent in all the definitions is the quest for POWER!
Power is the ability to influence or outright control the behaviour of people. The term “authority” is often used for power perceived as legitimate by the social structure.
Power is defined as the ability to affect someone’s behaviour through some sanctions.
(According to C. C Dibie’s Essential Government, “Power is the capacity to affect another’s behaviour by the threat of sanction. The sanctions may be negative or positive. Thus, a political leader may have the ability to control the actions of others by promising those who support him wealth or honours, or he may threaten to deny such rewards to those who oppose him. However, sanctions are used if there is non-compliance”.) – Teslim Opemipo Omipidan.
In all reality, government whether monarchy, democracy, oligarchy, authoritarianism, and totalitarianism, power is the dominant feature and interest of the actors.
The quest for power makes political activities a very delicate issue where actors only look at the ends and justifying any possible means of achieving their desired interest.
People jostle, fight and compete for power, using the society as the arena and the enthusiastic masses as the available means of attaining their ends. Groups are established as the instrument of building the aggregate need of the mass of the people of the society. This is what is called political party, an organized group of people, often with common views, who come together to contest elections and hold power in government. The party agrees on some proposed policies and programmes, with a view to promoting the collective good or furthering their supporters’ interests.
H.L. Mencken was apt when he averred that “Under democracy one party always devotes its chief energies to trying to prove that the other party is unfit to rule and both commonly succeed, and are right”.
Albert Einstein, on his part, asserts that, “Politics is a pendulum whose swings between anarchy and tyranny are fueled by perpetually rejuvenated illusions”.
When I look at the raging game of intrigue buffeting our nation’s political sphere as the 2019 elections draw closer, the words of H. L. Mencken where he intoned that “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary” begins to crowd my senses.
A cursory look at the Nigerian society reveals nothing but a pack of card standing precariously and ready to collapse. That is what it is looking like as the politicians in their deliberate and desperate quest for power, steadily stoke the fire of tension and put everyone on the edge.
Niccolo Machiavelli could be right when he declared that Politics have no relation to morals.
It could be the reason why Ernest Benn declared that “Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it whether it exists or not, diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedy”.
Here in Nigeria, our politicians easily jettison their electoral promises, abandon the persons under whose general will and enthusiasm they rose to their leadership statuses.
The politricians take out time to mould heart-wrenching lies, carefully grease it with smooth entrapping foil and roll them out to the docile and resilient polity and set the stage on fire. The mis-educated polity easily falling for this well-orchestrated ruse, fall over themselves and go for each-other’s jugular
Intrigue is the epicenter of Political activities. Ironically, politics when observed from the outside, might look reserved and placid, but when you get into it, and get to know the characters, you realize just how tense, how brutal, and how damaging the smallest actions can be.
I have been taking keen observation of political activities in outside our country. By doing so my mind started ticking with ideas for roleplaying games. My main brainwaves came as a revelation on how ‘attacking’ can work in political intrigue.
A look at our two major political parties shows nothing but dangerous politicking that is ravaging the Nigerian society. Our people are now being seriously pushed to the point of nadir by the way our politicians are stoking the ambers of discord.
As you can see, in political intrigue games, the concept of an attack becomes a lot more free form – essentially, anything that gets your opponent, or any one for that matter, to start doing something differently counts.
What started as a minor individual disagreement has gradually polarized into a full scale political warfare with the soul of the nation’s seat of power the primary bone of contention. Individuals whose personal interests are at stake have changed the issue to a general problem, claiming to be fighting for the good of the generality of the people.
Ironically, while the politricians are whipping up sentiment in the psyches of the people with the incongruous hype that the wellbeing of the mass of the people is the primary issue, the same unfortunate population is dying of hunger, destitution and lack. The economy that the politricians made us believe was wrecked is suddenly buzzing with political activities getting to frenetic level. Suddenly, the money that was scarce is now pouring from every fort of the politricians’ castles. They now smile at everyone and make the hungry poor look like kings. This is one of the major problems of our democracy, where the people are denied the good lives political manifestos have been chunning out to them at every electoral cycle.
What an irony that……..
TO BE CONTINUED!