Tuesday Platform

August 18, 2009

Chidi Amuta, Ojo Maduekwe and the PDP leadership (3)

By John Moyibu Amoda
IT is this fact, that one member of the Ruling Party can imagine the possibility of a electoral change of leadership that makes that member the available messenger.  The present situation is one of structural blindness and deafness producing a mind-set that cannot contemplate change.

This is why Amuta catalogues the signs of a failing political class.  The issue is not why change occurs but what change will it be? –change engineered by an awakened PDP and their “mega” party opponents?; -change effected through unconstitutional seizure of power?; -change occurring from failure of government and the emergence of the regime of  Somali-like War Lords?.

Chidi Amuta calls attention to the following situation “The public’s today witness to what can happen when a political party produces a leadership that freezes a nation into a hibernation mode.

The consequence is that in nearly all spheres of national life the mood among Nigerians is today one of nearly universal boredom.  But can boredom in and of itself bring about democratic change”?

The question supplies its own answer – the Nation is frozen into hibernation mode – and this is the result of the boredom of the citizenry; the result of their dissatisfaction and desperation; the result of an alienation quite different from apathy; it is a result akin to a theatre with its audience deep in the sleep of boredom; The People no longer care if the leadership perform or do not perform – they are indifferent to the fact of the political class – the “demos” are withdrawing their endorsement.

This is the message that Chidi Amuta wants to convey to Ojo Maduekwe.  He is a theoretical politician, one who thinks about his vocation.  This is why Chidi Amuta pins his hope as it were on this man who may be the only one reading the papers to feel the pulse of the People.

“As a recurrent minister, Maduekwe has been known to strive to find some rationalization for his actions in the various portfolios over which he presided.  As foreign affairs minister, he has variously articulated a bases for some strange thing he calls “citizen” diplomacy.

I am yet to understand what this means in a world that has learnt to largely ignore Nigeria in response to our crisis of identify.  No one out there knows how best to characterize Nigeria democracy or virtual autocracy?

As Secretary of the ruling PDP, Maduekwe tried, largely fruitlessly, to paste some ideological sticker on what is largely inchoate assemblage of political strangers.

I understand he strove to get the PDP to establish a democratic institute, a training for party official and their elected representatives on the mechanics of power, politics and governance in a multi-party environment.

He caused a few retreats to be organized and gave some lectures both on the significance of Obasanjo in the evolution of Nigerian leadership and the responsibilities of a ruling party in transition from military autocracy to electoral democracy.

The latter is a subject that I daresay Maduekwe is eminently qualified to dwell upon, having himself been pressed into service by both the most vicious autocrat (Abacha) and most autocratic democrat (Obasanjo) in our national history.

A man of such serious mindset inside a conclave of eccentrics, deserves minimally, to be taken seriously”.
The question is, is Chidi Amuta’s concentration on Ojo Maduekwe theoretically relevant for the prescription in implied by his analysis of the Nigerian political situations?

The answer is yes!  If there is one in the leadership from the time of General Abacha to President Yar’Adua whose career is indicative of an ability and capacity to communicate his importance and relevance in the day to day calculations of the ruling political class, that person is Ojo Maduekwe.

If there is a person who is aware of the dangers to the ruling party, that person is Ojo Maduekwe.  “He has dared to look reality in the face to tell the truth to the PDP leaders –

“Our party may be replaced by another party – if we remain nonchalant and self-centered.  He has at least considered the possibility of the PDP being displaced by another party.  A critical reader can see that the import of Amuta’s essay is to engage the PDP on the probability of change of power holders through an indirect prodding of Ojo Maduekwe.

“The change that such boredom can bring about would come either from the opposition or from within the ruling party itself.  If the forces of internal democracy within the ruling party are strong, the perception that the party would lose power if the boredom persists can ginger a more activist wing to save the party by re-engineering its leadership and electoral flag bearers.

Where the opposition is coherent and focused, boredom can become a veritable tool of social and political mobilization.  People want activity on the part of government especially where their most elemental needs remain unattended as in today’s Nigeria”.

Chidi Amuta has already appraised the Opposition and founded it wanting.  He has concluded that “Among the contending parties that are not in power, a consensus on strategy is far as outer space.  Blinded by narrow endangered herd mentality, the personal interests and myopic ambitions of their principals, each party that has control of one state or two clutches to its little miserable corner of the political crumb like a life vest.

The rest of the opposition leaders, mostly in their twilight years, speak incoherently of a strange animal called “mega party”, an acronym for political desperation, utter confusion and laziness”.
The opposition has been judged.  It is not the solution.

This is Amuta’s verdict.  This leaves the only cause for change – and this paradoxically is the People yearning for Change, being completely bored by the Ruling Party.

This yearning for change, Amuta says, can even account for the victory of the Opposition if it were other than it presently is – if it were coherent and focused.  The propellant for change therefore is not boredom but a yearning for change of Nigeria’s political situation.

Amuta by implication counts on the emergence of demand for internal democracy within the PDP and this is where Ojo is expected to present the alternative to the Party Leadership – Democratise or Be replaced by the real Opposition – the Military.

If there is any one who has read the handwriting on the wall and has seen the inevitability of change – that person is the current Ministers of Foreign Affairs.  His message – Chidi’s message – who will response to the People’s yearning for change – the presently unheard from leadership within the PDP or the Military.

Chidi Amuta must believe that inspite of the odds Ojo may yet get the ears of the party against the background of the pattern of Nigerian history of military rule.  The essay is therefore not on the Efficacy of Boredom but on the Efficacy of the People’s Yearning for Change.

There is anger, a veritable anger directed at the expression of the power of the Ruling Class – The PDP.  In the past that anger has been expressed negatively – the Rejection of the Elected Government.  That anger has not been strategic for it has not been programmatic.

That anger has been exploited.  This time Citizen Diplomacy is prerequisite reform to educate the Anger of the People.  The Yorubas say – Even the Eyes Weeping still Sees.

Connecting the demand for intra-party democracy to the mobilization of the citizenry in defence of democracy is the strategic statecraft challenge of the moment.  And Chidi Amuta implies that the one person who can sensitize the PDP leadership to embrace this anti-military rule democracy is the “uncommon politician” with a theoretical penchant – The Hon Minister for Foreign Affairs.