By Abdulkabir Olatunji
You probably have seen some of your friends make this post on social media or say it in real life: “I don’t discuss politics, I mind my business”. This by itself is not a problem were it not to be false air of superiority such people attach to their position. They believe those that engage in political discourse and analysis are largely wasting their time, making unnecessary enemies for themselves or are paid by politicians to take the positions on issues they take.
However, what this group of people fail to understand is that while everybody cannot be a politician, we are all political beings. If you recognise that politics is the quest for and management of power to lead a group of people, then you will understand that unless you live in entire solitude, you practice politics. Over and above this is the fact that practically every sphere of an individual’s life is affected by politics, your basic liberties, business opportunities, health and even family relations are affected by politics — think of China’s one child policy, the role of Islamic law in many Muslim countries, the penchant of leading countries starting from the United States to initiate wars in less developed countries, the politics of Christian denominations in the ascension to the British throne, whether you can hope to travel or not as a North Korean and several other examples, there is no escaping the fact that those with political power have a major say in how your life as an individual goes.
Pretending (for that is what it is) that you are not affected or interested in politics does not make you immune from its effect be-they positive or negative. The recent #EndSARS protests in Nigeria have proved this. Some of the supporters of the protests had their property destroyed in the ensuing violence, same for many that opposed it and some that didn’t even understand what it was all about.
Ultimately, while there is prudence in not taking extreme positions in politics and any other aspect of life for that matter, it is naive to think you can excuse yourself from politics and its effects. For some of us that make it a habit to discuss and try to influence politics, we recognise that it might be futile to expect others to build the kind of society, country or world you want to see, if you are not an active participant in the process of selecting leaders and making decisions.