By MATTHEW ADEJOH
AT the last All Progressives Congress (APC) rally held in Yola, Adamawa State, the popular refrain among most of the contributors was the fact that the party was in place for change. The shout of “Change!” rented the air as each speaker tried to work up the crowd, mostly hired, to respond loudly by chanting “Change!”
But a look at the so-called change agents showed a befuddling lot. Number one on the list is former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, who is more Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) than even President Goodluck Jonathan. He has admitted that he was one of the founders of the party and when he was “pushed out” alongside his supporters in 2007, he could barely wait outside the door before rushing in again after he lost out in the leadership tussle in the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN).
Again, he has found his own way out the second time, and his former party, PDP’s Deputy National Chairman, Uche Secondus is confident this change agent will return. Change agent number two is reserved for such persons like Senators Bukola Saraki, Adamu Abdullahi, and Danjuma Goje who have Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) cases hanging around their necks, and find a safe haven in the APC where, if any attempt is made to touch them, they can always scream blue murder.
Incidentally, these men were staunch PDP members and built the party into the monster they now claim it is. Who knows what the APC will turn out to be within the next few months because these were the men who did not brook any challenge or questions when they were in the saddle as governors in their respective states?
And then there is Nasir el-Rufai who made the life miserable for residents of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, as long as his political father, General Olusegun Obasanjo, who appointed him as FCT minister, protected him. When he left power, he had sufficiently taken care of members of his family with plots of land that he even justified it that there was nothing wrong in using public office to benefit friends and family. He was to say something like, “if you get there, you can take care of your enemies.” This one also claims to be a change agent.
From Ogun State to Borno, Kano to Sokoto, Kwara to Ekiti, Bayelsa to others, the in-fighting, over interim state executives, shows that these change events are more monstrous than those in the PDP, and will brook no challenge within the house. So what will happen if they have to slug it out with other parties on Election Day? Please refer to el-Rufai for the consequences of losing the election. In any case, he had already honoured the invitation of the Department of State Services (DSS) over his inciting and reckless statements.
For more concrete evidence of what the change agents are doing within, consider these: the interim National Vice Chairman for the North East Zone, Umar Duhu, has reportedly accused the party’s National Secretary, Tijani Tumsah, of taking over his duties for “selfish reasons” following the latter’s supervision of the inauguration of the interim leadership of the APC in Borno state.
“In my capacity as the Vice Chairman, I am the only one empowered by the APC to inaugurate all APC State Interim Committee members (in the zone),” Duhu said in a statement he issued to the press in Borno, pointing out, “I had inaugurated Bauchi, Gombe, Taraba and Adamawa States. I only have Borno and Yobe to conclude my assignment in the zone
Duhu’s public vent came on the heels of crisis in Borno APC between the state governor, Kashim Shettima, and his predecessor, Senator Ali Modu-Sheriff, over control of the party. The executive committee inaugurated by Tumsah is loyal to Governor Shettima who attended the event with his supporters, while Senator Sherrif and his supporters did not attend the event. He continued: “For Borno State, I am on the last lap of discussions with the leaders of the Party in the State to inaugurate them. What I am doing is to carry everyone along. I will be failing in my responsibilities if I go ahead to inaugurate, and does not carry all members of the Party along.
“…I am not sick, nor outside the shores of this country that anyone, no matter how big his position is in the APC, that such person will usurp my powers and do so for selfish reasons. As party leaders, we must be concerned with uniting our leaders and members, not to concern ourselves with personal gains or to further sow seeds of discord between them.
“I will be surprised and disappointed with any National Officer of the Party, who will go out of his way to go to Maiduguri to inaugurate the Borno State Interim Committee, for any selfish reason known to him. I never dabble into the affairs and works of any National Officer of the APC. Respect is reciprocal and I do not also expect anyone of them to do any such thing to me. We all have our defined responsibilities and we must remain sincere to our responsibilities, and the respect for one another should be our guide.”
It is generally believed that the executive inaugurated by Tumsah leans toward Governor Shettima, while Duhu is supportive of former Governor Sheriff, who is at political daggers drawn with Shettima. Supporters of both men have traded blame as to how the Boko Haram came about, accusing each other of being responsible for the menace that has kept the country on edge for years.
In any case, these are the ones calling for change. Change from what? Change to what? In Borno, is the change to more anarchy? What of Lagos? Is it change to greater privatisation of the people’s commonwealth by some old and new political godfathers who daily insult the sensibilities of Nigerians with their verbal exhortation about change whereas they are permanently immersed in unimaginably humongous sleazy deals? Are the nation and its people not in bigger trouble with these buccaneers who masquerade as the new change agents, the patron saints? God help Nigeria!