This cliché was popularized by the Late Alh Waziri Ibrahim Dan Borno in the Second Republic when the Late Waziri Ibrahim ventured into politics,in the First Republic, he did so on the platform of the defunct. Northern Elements Progressive Union, NEPU, on which platform of the National legislature and eventually became a federal Minister NEPU was them left of the centre ideologically as opposed to the conservative Northern Peoples Congress, NPC, of the Late Sardauna of Sokoto, Sir Ahmadu Bello.
It was with this inclination to the near left that he found common allies while at the Constituent Assembly like the Late Dr. Benjamin Nnamdi Azikiwe, the Late Chief Adeniran Ogunsanya, the Late Wantaregh Paul Iorpuu Unongo to form the Nigeria Peoples Party, NPP.
However, following some philosophical disagreements, the late Waziri Ibrahim had to dislocate from the party to now found the Great Nigerian Peoples Party, GNPP, which eventually got registered by the defunct Federal Electoral Commission FEDECO whose chairman then was the late Chief Michael Ani.
The GNPP was registered alongside the National Party of Nigeria, NPN, the Peoples Redemption Party PRP, Unity Party of Nigeria, UPN, and the Nigeria Peoples Party, NPP. These were the five political parties that had then met the FEDECO requirements for registration as political parties for the purpose of contesting elections towards forming government at both the federal and state levels in ushering in the Second Republic on October 1, 1979.
At the formation of the Great Nigeria Peoples Party, GNPP, Politics without Bitterness became the slogan of the party with Waziri Ibrahim as the pioneering chairman of the party and standard bearer of the party in the 1979 presidential election which he lost, coming a distant fifth after the eventual winner the Late Alh Shehu Usman Aliyu Shagari of the National Party of Nigeria, the Late Chief Obafemi Awolowo of the Unity Party of Nigeria, UPN, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe of the Nigeria Peoples Party, NPP and the Late Mallam Aminu Kano of the Peoples Redemption Party, PRP.
In the first tenure of the Second Republic, the GNPP was able to win the governorship election in the two states of the defunct North Eastern State, Borno and Gongola States through Alh Mohammadu Goni and Alh Abubakar Barde as well as the six senatorial districts of the two states in addition to a majority of the Federal House of Representatives seats and State House of Assembly seats.
With that showing, it was clear that the GNPP did not have a national appeal but only displayed a regional appeal. In the second term election in which Waziri Ibrahim also contested the presidential election that he lost again in 1983, the party lost its grip in Borno and Gongola states, when Engr. Ashieikh Jarma of the National Party of Nigeria defeated the incumbent Mahammadu Goni who had defected to the UPN on which platform he had contested re-election. It was a similar story in the defunct Gongola state when Alhaji Bamanga Turkur, first Northern Nigerian graduate of Marine Economics and erstwhile General Manager of the Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, came on the platform of the National Party of Nigeria, NPN, to floor the incumbent.
The gale of change had also claimed most of the party’s senators, House of Representatives members and state assembly members in the two states.
While preaching politics without bitterness, the late Waziri Ibrahim had emphasized fairness in the contest for power acknowledging that only one person at a time was to occupy a seat. He therefore urged losers in electoral contests should take defects with philosophical calmness but not take electoral contest as a do or die affair. With such a disposition, he was able to remain relevant even outside the political arena, being one of the most successful businessmen with fingers in many pies.
He lived and died at a ripe age bequeathing his philosophy of politics without bitterness to posterity.
There is a lesson or two for Nigerian politicians to imbibe from the political philosophy of the late elder statesman as they get ready for the next general elections beginning on February 25, 2023 with the presidential and National Assembly elections.
It should also be with the same mindset that the Gubernatorial and State Houses of Assembly elections be prosecuted on March 11, 2023.
Nigerian politicians must always remember that they are Nigerians themselves and are seeking representation through election to offer valuable service to these other Nigerians without the privilege of standing election but have the power of their votes through their Permanent Voters Cards.