August 13, 2022

Community Member: In America, they have two major political parties and using these parties, they have done well over the decades. Which one do you think favors Nigeria, ideologically and policy-wise?
My Response: First, a disclosure, I am a registered Democrat which means I am in the same party as Joe Biden and Obama but I do not vote on party lines; I vote based on the candidates. There is no comparison between politics in US and what we have in Nigeria. In US, you can know a republican or a democrat from his or her policies or ideologies.
For example, while most Republicans are pro-life, their counterparts, Democrats, are pro-choice. In Nigeria, our politics is nothing but a group of humans since there are no core differences between say APC, LP and PDP members. In short, more than 50% of leading members of APC used to be in PDP. So, at the foundational level, there is no core difference! And that also means that party-level voting makes no sense as there is nothing special one party can offer the other party cannot provide, unlike in America where a pro-life candidate will surely struggle in Boston, a democratic city.
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With that noted, Nigeria will be in a better position if we do what democratic cities do. In America, more than 70% of the top-50 ranked universities are in democratic cities. Also, more than 80% of the largest cities are in democratic cities. In the last 50 years, more than 80% of new Fortune 500 companies have been created by democratic cities. Even when you have great universities in Republican-run states, the likelihood that the highest ranked university is in an island of a democratic city in that state is high (Austin hosts the highest ranked university in Texas, and Austin is a democratic city; the same applies in Georgia where Georgia Tech based in Atlanta, a democratic city, hosts the highest ranked university in that state). Democratic cities file most patents per capita.
What makes democratic cities outperform on many fronts? They actually believe in investing in the future and building community infrastructures. They build infrastructures, invest in the citizens and provide paths for those citizens who need help. Over the years, they have outperformed, contributing more in making America greater.
Yet, what happens there means nothing in Nigeria as there is no basis for comparison. Nigeria does not have political parties when it comes to ideas and policies, we have the assemblies of people and nothing but that. That is the reason why someone can win in PDP in Anambra State for Senate, and next four years win via APC, and another four years, return back to PDP. That cannot happen in America because that person’s ideologies would have made it impossible!
But note this: what makes America great is not by chance.
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This argument you put up here describing Democrat run cities and the universities therein isn’t as straightforward as you posited. The first question is, have those cities historically been Democrat or flipped along the way, and did the universities become great suddenly because they are now under Democrat cities? That would help put things in perspective.
Again, America being a republic, and not the typical democracy you see in Europe, with its brand of capitalism which fuels property rights and prosperity, do you really believe that such align more with Democrat ideology or that of Republican?
Those who emigrate to America would like to remake America, but the unanswered question is, what attracted them to America in the first place? When you historically examine American ideals, then you can reach a better conclusion on whether the new ideological shift would make America stronger or weaker. But these are just for intellectual gymnastics, because anything that doesn’t make Nigeria better doesn’t count much for me, it doesn’t matter how beautifully it’s sold or painted.
As for what could work best for Nigeria, we must first have the moral courage to draft a proper Constitution, then we will qualify for such sacred debate.

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