“The Convener, Mindshift Advocacy for Development Initiative, Mr. Joko Okupe, has indicted Nigerian political parties for lack of ideological direction. Mr. Okupe made this declaration in a media interaction held recently at the Mindshift corporate office in Ikeja, Lagos.
Fielding questions from the press the Mindshift Convener argues that none of the parties in Nigeria contending and jostling for political power come 2023 is driven on the wheels of ideology. What directs the life and operations of a political party in a democracy, he said, is ideology. Ideology is the bulwark of the party’s culture. It stands tall as the oil or blood that runs the engine of the party and directs the actions of both the party officials and the membership.
According to Mr. Okupe, “Ideology consists of the common beliefs, values, and norms of the party directed at defining the kind of society a party plans to build. It comes from a common vision designed by the party as a roadmap to the society in view. Ideology forms the operating framework from where the political parties draw their inspirations and strategies which are encapsulated into manifestoes and agendas and subsequently communicated to the public through their campaign communications.
But can we say the parties have any ideological direction? How, for instance, can you distinguish APC from PDP. Because the parties lack ideology, so there are no distinctions in their manifestoes. Every party appears to be saying the same thing about: building infrastructure, providing youth employment, providing good health care and good education. But we know it is the same thing they have been saying since 1999”.
Speaking further about the Nigerian state and the type of leader Nigerians will expect come 2023 he said, “There is no political party in Nigeria today you can say is a shining example of what a political party should be. They all lack ideology. We are in a Nigerian state variously described by political scientists as predatory, prebendal, parasitic, patrimonial, neo-patrimonial, crony, kleptocratic, venal, greedy, etc., that has created a crop of leaders who in themselves are selfish and do not understand their own historical mission.
Under this situation he posited that we need a certain kind of leader. “We need a leader who is sufficiently knowledgeable about the task ahead, and understands the context behind Nigeria’s current historical trajectory, and would be ready to tackle it headlong. We need a leader who is bold, brave, and courageous – who can break the bounds of our stranglehold. A leader who understands the need to build cohesion in a multiethnic and multicultural society. We need someone who can confront orthodoxy and demolish our fault lines without diminishing our disparate cultural and ethnic values.
Such a leader needs to have a clarity of his vision and how he wants to achieve it. I have not seen much of that in the present crop of party contenders for the post of the president in 2023.”
Speaking on the solution to the Nigerian leadership problem, he said that Nigeria needs an upgrade in the reformulation of the state, the leadership class, and the citizens. The state is malfunctioning because of its hackneyed structure which tilts towards centrality and unitary-federalism.
That is an aberration in a multiethnic and multicultural state. The leaders are selfish and visionless, attracted only by the fancy of their kleptomaniac tendencies. They do not understand the very purpose of life, and hence can hardly understand the essence of leadership. The followers are famished and lack the understanding of what liberal democracy is all about. In the most part, they lack enough knowledge to appreciate that they are actually the king while the politicians are their servants. They mistake the concept of leadership in a political setting with the concept of kingship in a traditional setting; and this makes them subservient to the politicians who should be accountable to them.
This contradiction makes democracy difficult to practice in Nigeria. Under this scenario the politicians weaponize poverty as an instrument of domination against the citizens.
Following this, Mr. Okupe advocates for the mass enlightenment of the political class and the citizens. For him, both the political class and the citizens are under bondage, and need to be enlightened so that they can be liberated to develop the country, without which Nigeria remains undeveloped for eve. This is the reason he convened the Mindshift movement.
Explaining further, Mr. Okupe said that, “Mindshift Advocacy Initiative for Development was created out of the vision and understanding that our response to whatever situation we find ourselves, either in our individual terrain, group terrain or national terrain, is directly a result of how we think. The bible says, as a man thinks in his heart so he is or becomes. So, if we understand that, we will all push for a Mindshift or a change of how we think. That is what will actually move us away from where we are now.
So, the Mindshift movement is actually focused on shifting mind-sets from negative to positive. It is a non-governmental and non-partisan organization. It is focused on redirecting the mind-set of Nigerians from the route of destruction in every area of lives. “If a man wants to be destructive or disruptive, it is through the power of his mind.”
“There is so much capacity in the power of the mind that the way and manner that the mind is directed determines a man’s outcome. Even for us, as a lesson, other nations of the world are doing incredibly well is due to the different mind-sets that they have. The average Nigerian mindset is anti-progress and anti-development. How can we have progress and development without working on the re-orientations of the mindset we have? Even when government decides to run a campaign on changing attitudes, the success will depend on how people think.” We must have that clear understanding.
That essentially is the mandate of the Mindshift advocacy.
Joko Okupe who is a brand management and marketing communications expert of about 35 years, and who has consulted for many globally reckoned organisations, is set to bring that knowledge and experience to the front burner in the management of the Mindshift advocacy, with the sole aim of galvanizing the Nigerian people to a new way of thinking and reasoning that will lift this country from one milestone of development to a higher milestone of development.