By Muyiwa Adetiba
So why were we not surprised that the PDP imploded at its own convention last week? Why was the news not greeted with dismay by the generality of the people? Is it because we are yet to fully grasp the meaning of a ruling party that has imploded and the effect it could have on governance? No.
It is because we— with the exception of Anenih, Tukur, Mr and Mrs President—saw it coming. We saw it coming from the happenings in Rivers, Anambra, Taraba and Adamawa States to mention a few, and the way the leadership handled the conflicts. This party that calls itself the largest party in Africa, this party that wants to rule for the next 100 years, is a party borne of greed and lust for power and nurtured on corruption. The chicken was bound to come home to roost sooner than later.
My little knowledge of management—and history— shows that through the ages, institutions that survive are those built around the core values of integrity, probity and service. These, unfortunately, are values that are alien to PDP.
The founding fathers of the PDP wanted a broad based party that could capture power while providing the ‘dividends of democracy’ on its own terms. In its quest to get as many ‘big men’ as possible, they played down issues of discipline and integrity and ignored the antecedents of many of the joiners. The result was that PDP became an all comers party.
Like any structure that is not built on strong values, compromise and expediency became its surviving strategy. And rather than articulate the ills of the country and look for the best man to tackle those ills, a group in its wisdom, decided that the Yoruba nation had to be compensated for the June 12 fiasco. And rather than allow the Yoruba to bring her best man forward, the same group decided who that man should be. In all these calculations, the long time term interests of the Nation were subsumed by class interest and class preservation. So in order to appease the Yoruba which had been denied her ‘slot’ and the military which had to go back to the barracks, these people brought a man that neither the Yoruba nor the military wanted. But it was a man they felt they could do business with.
Unfortunately, in their quest for a quick fix that overrode the people’s yearning for democracy and good governance, they did not take the intrinsic character of their anointed man who had never been known to be grateful to persons or interests other than his own, into account. He played along with them until he was sworn in before telling them they had lost their investments, both literally and figuratively.
And so deceit and intrigue were sowed into the fertile PDP soil, and watered by greed and naked lust for power, they germinated and grew into a tree whose branches and foliage sheltered blackmailers, murderers and State robbers. Not once did any of our emerging leaders see 1999 as an opportunity to chart a new path for the country.
Our messiah general proceeded to buy or forcibly acquire a political base and planned to rule for as long as possible, either directly or indirectly. His erstwhile ‘god fathers’ who had become disenfranchised and restive, decided to checkmate him money for money, intrigue for intrigue. No one thought of what harm this intra fight would do to their party, not to talk of the country.
And so, in quick successions, we had presidents who were neither truly elected nor capable. The last one who came on the wave of public sympathy quickly showed how ill prepared he was for such a national mandate by allowing himself to be captured by narrow, sectional interests.
The past one year has witnessed abuses that were as brazen as they were politically suicidal. Appointments, allocation of State resources, coercion of public institutions had one purpose; the gratification of narrow, selfish interests. It was thus clear that those who had been used to being pampered and who are now being deprived, would fight back. Every body saw it coming except Mr and Mrs President and their handlers. The last convention with its high handed selection of delegates was for many, the last straw in a string of party abuses. Now crocodile tears are flowing.
Unfortunately, you can not plead patriotism when you have not been patriotic; you can not plead justice and equity when you have not been fair; you can not plead unity when you have been divisive.
The sad thing is that the ills of PDP have been infused into the larger society and the signs of an impending implosion have emerged — in the terrorism of the North; in the armed robberies and kidnappings of the South. Yes, they are there for anybody who has eyes to see— in the restiveness of the youths, the increasing discontent of organised labour and the pervading poverty of the land. Yet, I have not heard a decisive voice for reform even from the new groupings. All I see is the same old fight for power and position.
We can not say we were not warned that 2015 portends grave dangers for Nigeria. The happenings, the dislocations in the polity, are enough warning.
The late Alhaji Jose once told me that a good corporate organisation picks a CEO based on its weakness and need at that point in time. In that light, *we need a leader, or a group of leaders, that will restructure the country and promote merit and equal opportunity; leaders that will silence the voices of tribalism, religiosity and corruption; leaders that will halt the moral and economic decline; leaders that will gore the fat cows and heal the land.
Unfortunately, we are running out of time.