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Cross Carpeting; Not a crime

By: Chief Femi Robinson.
 Published April 18th, 2010

The word “cross carpeting” in politics can only be relevant in a situation where parties have distinct ideologies and manifestos. There is nothing ideologically different in the manifestos of all parties in Nigeria. Every one joins a party where his interest can be better served.

Come to think of it, was I in Politics because of love for money, publicity or popularity? What made me take a deep plunge into politics? Was it not the desire to make a difference? Why should I continue to remain in a party that does not have my interest at heart?

I was not born with the proverbial silver spoon and I do not believing in begging. I was popular as an actor, musician and sport’s man.

I always strived to surmount all odds hence the enthusiasm and belief that there is nothing impossible. My Polish lecturer in the University had told me stories about the Nazi occupation of Poland. He told me how he survived the war because he believed nothing was impossible if you were determined and enthusiastic. You take your destiny in your hands.

I was called “Oba Entu” by my classmates in Kings College Lagos because I was always over enthusiastic.

I was proud of who I was, before I became involved in Politics. At an interview some years back, the interview panel Chairman accused me of behaving like I knew everything. “I do not blame you. You Kings College boys always claim to know too much” he concluded.

“Show the light” that is what our school motto said. I ended up accepting to be the Director of Programs at GTV but I quit when I was being told how to direct my affairs.

I joined the Political campaign train of the great Isaac Adaka Boro to ensure that a non Igbo became a President in the University of Nigeria Nsukka. Before 1963, no non Igbo had been elected President or Director of Socials and I decided to break the jinks. I was able to speak, write, sing and play with professional dance bands in Igbo language; It was therefore easy for me to win over the hearts of die hard Igbo voters during my campaigns.

I went into partisan politics to fight for a profession, the performing arts . I thought being in the system I would be able to influence some positive changes. I now realize that a loud and illiterate politician is better recognized than a performing artist with the best academic and professional qualification.

An educated and intelligent performing artist is looked up to as an academic freak that has nothing to contribute to politics but to make up numbers. He should be seen and not heard. He is often advised to bury his book knowledge at home. We forget that art is life.

Political parties in Nigeria are not driven by any ideology other than making money. They all claim to be democratic just to deceive the public. Yes majority carries the vote, but must it be a majority made up zombies or illiterates?

It is obvious that one cannot play honest party politics in Nigeria unless he is ready to discard some principles that may not go well with his party.

Unfortunately there are some principles one cannot part with, even after becoming a member of a political party. One may have decided not to lie or be involved in rigging elections.

Attempts are often made to brainwash members that politics, is a leveler. I agree with the concept of one man one vote which gives every politician the right and opportunity to decide who should govern him. How can one accept that because he decided to be involved in partisan politics he must descend to the lowest social, educational and intellectual level to be relevant?

Most Politicians in Nigeria today had degenerated in their behavior to the level of animals. They fight each other for supremacy and struggle for the crumbs that fall from the master’s table.

There will forever be the rich and the poor. There will forever be the weak and the strong. There will for ever be the intellectual, the thinker, the dunce and the zombies.

I see the years I spent in partisan politics as years of intellectual slavery. Not only was I not allowed to think, I was warned not to think better than those who had been in the party before I joined. It is anti-party to proclaim that your opponent is performing well. As a Politician you were to have no views of your own and must be willing to change like the chameleon at the shortest notice.

It is a pity that we all still have the military mentality; “He who does not agree with us is an enemy”. This perception does not agree with the thinking of this performing artist. My immediate interest is my home, my family name, my profession and my business. Yes, I almost lost everything, to partisan politics.

Chief Femi Robinson.

Former Headmaster, NTA TV Series.
Ifako Ijaiye Lagos

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