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Impacts of Personality Politics in Nigeria

Impacts of Personality Politics in Nigeria

In this essay, we will discuss the impacts of personality politics in Nigeria. Personality politics is a political system that focuses more on the personalities of candidates rather than their policies or ideology. It is a system where the political candidates, instead of promoting their platforms, focus more on their personal characteristics, including their charisma, physical appearance, and personal reputation, among others. This political system is a prevalent phenomenon in Nigeria, where personality politics has taken center stage, and it has become a significant factor in the country’s political landscape.

Nigeria is a country with a rich diversity of cultures and languages. It is also a country with a long history of political turmoil, corruption, and political violence. The political culture in Nigeria is heavily influenced by personality politics, which has been one of the major factors contributing to the country’s political instability.

Personality politics has played a significant role in shaping Nigeria’s political landscape, and it has affected the country’s political development. In Nigeria, political leaders are often more interested in gaining power than in promoting good governance. They use their charisma, personal reputation, wealth and connections to win the hearts of the electorate, even if their policies and programs are not in the interest of the people.


Impacts of Personality Politics in Nigeria


#1. Lack of Ideology-based Politics

One of the most significant impacts of personality politics in Nigeria is the lack of ideology-based politics. Personality politics has eroded the values and principles that should guide political decisions and governance. Instead, political decisions are driven by individual ambitions, personal interests, and the need to hold onto power. This has resulted in a lack of consistency in policy decisions and a significant shift in the political discourse of Nigeria. It has also caused a lack of trust in the political system, as politicians are seen as more concerned with personal gains than the welfare of the people.


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#2. Promotion of Mediocrity over Meritocracy

Another impact of personality politics is the promotion of mediocrity over meritocracy. In a system where personality is valued over competence, politicians who lack the necessary skills and expertise are more likely to gain power. This has led to a lack of quality leadership and ineffective governance in Nigeria. It has also created a sense of disillusionment among citizens who feel that their voices are not being heard or that their leaders are not qualified to lead.


#3. Rise in Political Violence in Nigeria

Personality politics has also contributed to the rise of political violence in Nigeria. Political actors who feel threatened or marginalized are more likely to resort to violence to protect their interests. This has resulted in a volatile political climate, with instances of electoral violence and political assassinations becoming commonplace. In some cases, this violence has been fueled by the personal rivalries between politicians rather than ideological differences or policy disagreements.


#4. Creation of Political Class in Nigeria

Personality politics has resulted in the creation of a political class in Nigeria, consisting of a small group of wealthy and influential individuals who control the political landscape. This class has been accused of manipulating the political system to their advantage, using their wealth and influence to secure political positions and control the government’s decisions. This has led to a sense of disenfranchisement among ordinary Nigerians, who feel that they have no voice in the political process.


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#5. Underdevelopment of Democratic Institutions

Another impact of personality politics in Nigeria is the underdevelopment of democratic institutions. A functioning democracy requires strong institutions that are independent of individual politicians and political parties. However, in Nigeria, the focus on individual personalities has weakened these institutions. This has resulted in a lack of transparency and accountability, as well as an inability to ensure free and fair elections. This, in turn, has undermined the legitimacy of the government and created a sense of instability in the political system.


#6. Perpetuation of Corruption in Nigeria

Furthermore, personality politics has contributed to the perpetuation of corruption in Nigeria. When political decisions are based on personal interests, politicians are more likely to engage in corrupt practices to further their agendas. This has resulted in a pervasive culture of corruption in Nigeria, with the country ranking among the top-most corrupt in the world. Corruption has not only affected the country’s economy but has also undermined public trust in the government and the political system.


#7. Polarization of Nigerian Society

Lastly, personality politics has contributed to the polarization of Nigerian society. When political decisions are based on personal interests rather than policy positions, it is easy for politicians to play on the fears and prejudices of different groups to gain support. This has resulted in the creation of a society that is divided along ethnic, religious, and regional lines. This polarization has contributed to social unrest and violence, particularly in the northern part of the country, where conflicts between different ethnic and religious groups have been fueled by politicians seeking to consolidate their power.


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Wrapping up: Impacts of Personality Politics in Nigeria

Personality politics, also known as “politics of personality,” refers to a political system in which political decisions are heavily influenced by the personal characteristics, image, and charisma of individual politicians rather than by their policy positions or party affiliations. This style of politics has had a significant impact on Nigeria’s political landscape, often overshadowing policy debates, issue-based campigns and diverting attention away from critical issues.

Nigeria’s political system is highly centralized, and the presidency holds enormous power. The president is the head of the executive branch and is responsible for appointing key government officials. Due to this power, political aspirants in Nigeria are usually focused on becoming the president, governor, or senator, as these positions hold the most power and influence.

The culture of personality politics in Nigeria has resulted in a lack of trust and confidence in the political system. The electorate often views politicians as corrupt and self-serving, and they are often reluctant to participate in the political process. The political parties in Nigeria also contribute to the personality politics phenomenon, as they tend to be weak and lack clear ideological positions.

To address the problem of personality politics in Nigeria, there is a need for a fundamental shift in the political culture of the country. Political leaders need to focus more on promoting good governance and serving the interests of the people, rather than on promoting their personal interests. The political parties in Nigeria also need to be restructured to become stronger and more ideologically-driven, rather than being personality-driven.

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