Broom Again- A Symbol of Change in Nigeria 

Suresh Kumar and Halilu Babaji

The Times of Africa. Vol. 7 Issue 3 May-June 2015.

Where the broom does not reach, the dust will not vanish of itself; Mao stated in 1945 and is practically seen in Nigeria national election and Delhi legislative assembly elections of 2015 in India. The history of ancient period connects with the broom as the pagans performed fertility rites to induce their crops to grow high. This mythology of broom gives clear message and worry about people’s food security and welfare. The broom witchcraft story explains the famine, disease and war victims in the society and witch flying from one place to another in search of a peaceful society. The renaissance period links the broom with the women and her freedom that ultimately brought the concept of democratic political system in the Europe and Broom Center of Social Demography of University of California today researches on social movements.

India got eighty fifth and Nigeria hundred forty three positions on transparency international corruption perception index and here is one look, the Central Bank of Nigeria lost of US$20 billion of oil revenue that was siphoned from the treasury, $9.3 million cash smuggled from Nigeria into South Africa in a President private jet, Commonwealth Games 2010 in Delhi and misallocation of $1.8 billion, Telecom Scam of $39 billion and Coalgate scandal 2012 and lost of $34 billion in India call for broom to vanish this rampant corruption. The campaign of the APC (All Progressives Congress) was fiercely anti-corruption which ran under the slogan of ‘new broom’ and Muhammadu Buhari secured 55% of total votes in the 2015 general election and declared to aggressively fight corruption that has long plagued Nigeria and go after the root of the nation’s unrest. APC in Nigeria was launched in 2013 and defeated the ruling party in the 2015 general election in Nigeria. Earlier the AAP (Aam Aadmi Party) in India was launched in November 2012 just a year before the general election and raised the slogan of ‘Corruption Free India’ and won 67 out of 70 seats in the 2015 Delhi Assembly elections.

The APC and AAP both in Nigeria and India, has removed the untouchability of the broom and it become an essential tool for politics in both the countries. The determination of the broom as a tool is to cleanse the policies that serve only the elites, the bureaucrats and the parasites that rob the poor of their right to live. The politics of Nigeria/India was being systematically smashed by the leading political parties for a very long time period. But the unexpected and phenomenal success in Nigeria/Delhi by both APC and AAP respectively with the broom as symbols, seems to be a positive development that warrants a suspension of the cynicism. The common people in Nigeria and India have used the broom to clean out undesirable elements from politics. The parties (APC/AAP) emerged as a whiff of fresh air in the stinking and polluted political environment.

Today, with the symbol of broom, these two major political parties in Nigeria and India swept away the majority mandate of the people in order to clean up the rampant corruption and chaotic governance. This corruption in Nigeria and India has left socio-economic development in deplorable conditions, poor roads, sanitation, housing cum slum dwellers, abysmal healthcare delivery, expensive electricity, lack of potable water, dead government schools, poverty and hunger threats, uncontrolled crime and social security and in fact nothing works properly in this corrupted environment. The AAP performance in the Delhi Assembly and the APC magic in Nigeria came as a pleasant surprise for many within and outside the countries politics. Why the symbol of broom has become so attractive among people is the real cause of concern?

The people’s enthusiasm to see the wind of change in several years of democratic governance in Nigeria was a pan-Nigeria movement and referred as ‘the new dawn.’ The change has reflects the will of the people holding a free and mostly non-violent election 2015 that was not thwarted. Majority of Nigerians see the ruling party PDP (People’s Democratic Party) as a known disaster as they faced despotic ruling (1999-2015) an ultimate avoidable waste. It has led Nigeria from one crisis to another, lurching deeper into political anarchy, economic decline and social disillusionment.

Nigerians of goodwill are angered by failures of leadership style and frustrated by corrupted economic policies which are now striving for a fresh start. The consequences of trusting power to the ruling party manifesto in Nigeria’s political and economic predicament today can be traced to poor governance and dysfunctional public administration. Nigeria is perhaps the only country stolen by a cabal of political mafias, merely for power, money, leisure and privilege.

As nations, Nigeria-India are paralysed by wide spread poverty, endemic institutionalised corruption and high levels of unemployment has become a malicious disease, which needs a strong broom. The corruption of public fund has become a chaos in the development activities which make the daily life of the people vulnerable. Even the smallest routine work in any governmental office cannot be complete without money. This money uses in a chain and the share of it reaches to the highest authority. This is a circulation of money, which symbolises “you corrupt me and I corrupt you” syndrome. And the suffering of common man multiply day by day as the money fixed for the development activities was used to fill up the bellies of the bureaucrats and public servants.

The broom has an enthralling visibility in political horizon in both Nigeria and Delhi and has symbolised and delivers a message of national cohesion and unity. The broom clean the footsteps of bad governance which entangled by corruption and maladministration. The broom has become a common man symbol today in both Nigeria and India.  However, the issue of insecurity is not the only challenges facing the President-elect, but other issues which paramount economic, crime and generating power to light up the country are other major issues.

Nigeria and India are multi-ethnic society where a large part of the electorate is illiterate, semi-literate or unable to read and write in English or regional languages. The participation in Nigeria and Delhi elections of 2015, the electorates has chosen a symbol rather than a name. The broom has symbolises ‘change’ and to ‘clean’ the political mafias and cabals, and to tighten the unity, faith, peace and progress of the people in both Nigeria and India. It has also becomes the symbols of integration and cohesion. The Delhi government has started anti-corruption helpline telephone number and receiving the good feedback. The high hope of the common people towards President Muhammadu Buhari government in Nigeria is to build corruption free nations of tomorrow and become a beacon to other developing countries and leaders.


Dr Suresh Kumar, Department of African Studies, University of Delhi, and Halilu Babaji is lecturer in the Department of General Studies, The Federal Polytechnic, Bauchi, Nigeria and doing his Ph.D from the Department of African Studies.