When I set out to peruse Ndansi Elvis’ GATEWAY to Politics: How to Make it, I expected to be daunted by gigantic lexical items and grandiloquent language typical of PhD fellows, one of whom he is. But I was mistaken. The author’s lingo is accessible as his character is penetrable. He writes in simple straightforward language understandable by all classes of people, even those on the lower rungs of society.
Prefaced by the sapient Professor Tazoacha Asonganyi who, by virtue of his works can be seen as a whole political party of his own, the forty-six page book divided into five chapters provides an authentic insight into the tricky and slippery world of politics. For someone who has been in active politics since the tender age of 23 (he is 35 years old today), providing such an insight is not the least astonishing.
As the title suggests, GATEWAY to Politics: How to Make it is the humble advice of a concerned and visionary youth to his fellow youth. Cognizant of the fact that the youth are the leaders of tomorrow, Ndansi Elvis, who already exhibits astounding leadership qualities, cautions his fellows on the right path to tread and the correct decisions to make in order to become a successful politician on the one hand and a veritable leader on the other.
Hear him: “…one of the difficulties you will encounter is finding a political party you agree with 100%. You will never find one. Even if you do, you may soon leave when the ideology changes. What you have to do is find a party whose policy you agree with most…”
The author goes on to say “Show your own team that you have the confidence to take risks, that you can persist during difficult times, and that you are prepared to keep on learning, adapting, and creating new opportunities.”
At the same time Ndansi, in the book, is sounding a note of warning to sit-tight politicians to quit the stage when the time is appropriate, and drawing the reader’s attention to the fact that a politician is not necessarily a leader.
Hear him once again: “A politician does not automatically become a leader. Leadership is a process by which a person influences others to accomplish an objective. “
He supports this thesis with a quote from John Quincy Adams, who says: “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”
Amongst other concerns, the author also draws a line of demarcation between a civil society activist and a politician. And in so doing, he pays glowing tribute to the overly audacious, admiringly effervescent and daringly vocal Simon Nkwenti of blessed memory. (Who in this country doesn’t see glaring similarities between Ndansi Elvis and the late Simon Nkwenti?)
Above all, GATEWAY to Politics: How to Make it is a clarion call to all young people in Cameroon to be actively or passively involved in politics, as a way of choosing the right people to govern them. For as Plato puts it, “One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.”
Ndansi himself says “Just because you do not take an interest in politics does not mean politics will not take an interest in you,” and draws attention to his personal experiences in secondary school, high school and the university which, in no small measure, account for his success as a youth leader and politician today.
My father of blessed memory who happened to have been my class one teacher in primary school used to tell me that he who steals most writes best. By stealing here, he did not mean the kind of things miscreants do but rather gathering ideas from different books.
That is exactly what Ndansi Elvis did to come up with this beautiful, seminal work. For as you devour the luscious lines of the book with relish, you will find not only witty repartees but also illuminating quotations from a galaxy of intellectuals including Plato, Albert Einstein, Edward F. Halifax, Abraham Lincoln, Franklin P. Adams, Robert Green, just to mention a few. These and more constitute the ingredients that the author employs to increase the flavour of his artistic stew.
The casual reader will find in this work a soothing balm to boredom, the political aspirant assuaging information for genuine political growth, and the political scientist quality material for mental gymnastic.