Friday, March 12, 2010

In this land, Animals have their own political party!

I thought my friends, Maaike, Gitty and J-B, were joking when they told me of the Party for the Animals. But they were serious. In this land, animals have their own political party with representatives right up to Senate! Yes! Founded in 2002, the aim of Party for the Animals (in Dutch Partij voor de Dieren, PvdD) is to defend the rights of all animals in the Netherlands. Led by a lady, Marianne Thieme, it is said to be the fastest growing party in the Netherlands. This Party thinks humans have enough advocates and are being sufficiently protected but not animals. [To your left is the logo of PvdD].

PvdD is not a joke—and you are not reading Orwell, please. In 2006 PvdD gained two parliamentary seats, a feat loudly proclaimed as ‘Victory for the Animals!”. It also won a seat in the senate! Niko Koffeman, the Senator from PvdD was proudly called Animals’ Senator. Last week, the party took part in the municipal elections and won seats in Amsterdam, The Hague, Leiden, Groningen, Apeldoorn and Buren. Each of these municipalities now has a councilor whose entire energy will be devoted to protecting the interests of animals through legislations and other political means. On its international website, the Party counts its blessings in these words:

The Party for the Animals now has a total of 26 people's representatives. We already had two members in the Lower House, one member in the Upper House, nine Members of the Provincial Council in eight provinces, eight District Water Board Directors in six District Water Boards and, as of last week, six municipal councillors in six municipalities

I remember an argument we had as graduate students in 1996. It was about animals, language and communication. At a point, we decided to suspend the argument until such a time when animals would be able to come into classrooms and speak for themselves! Now it is happening somewhat. Only that members of the Party for the Animals in Holland are humans. But how truly are they sure they know what animals want? And are they protecting animal interests or fighting against the discomfort they suffer when they see animals maltreated? In which case, they really are protecting their own interests?

Democracy is indeed a journey, and Nigerians will actually think that on this journey, Holland is moving a bit too fast. In Nigeria, we do not have a Party to protect human beings yet—not to talk of animals. Early this morning, Elisabeth Yaoudam, my colleague here at ASC forwarded to me a mail on the Jos Massacre. The mail contained over twenty gory pictures of babies, children and women slashed and mutilated by rampaging herdsmen—rearers of animals. That was the fourth mail I got on Jos and each came with a string of unspeakably gory photographs. Once, I puked. For three consecutive nights now, these pictures have haunted me and robbed me of sleep. I have never seen such horrors before and cannot display it on my blog. These Fulani herdsmen did to Nigerians—human beings—what no one dare to do to animals in the Netherlands. Nigerians...animals! Certainly, Nigeria needs a Party for Human Beings. Good luck to Marianne Thieme and PvdD. And to the animals in the Netherlands...Lucky You!


Akin said...


Take this amazing insight to Nigeria and they'll think you had gone bonkers.

But you have clearly touched on a very significant point Nigeria needs parties that first cater for human-beings then we can consider other things.

I have avoided the pictures of Jos, I grew up there as a kid and have the fondest memories of Nigeria there - it is a shame.

I suppose one other thing you have realised coming to the Netherlands is that you are the resident but unwilling Nigerian ambassador to your Netherlands locality, you need to be quite current with the events in the motherland.


Akin Akintayo

Anonymous said...

Thanks. I need to be current with events in Nigeria. That's why the first thing I do every morning is to read; etc. Thanks. Ayo