By Mohammed Adamu
What was Lai Mohammed’s response to the accusation that the ACN had, with ethno-regional bias, betrayed its presidential candidate, Nuhu Ribadu, by voting a non-performing, manifestly retrogressive party, the PDP?: “It is simply unimaginable and highly incongruous that a ‘progressive’ party like the ACN will work for the victory of the PDP which has put Nigeria in reverse gear in the past 12 years”.
And “yes,” he admitted, “they approached us but we rebuffed their approach, because there is no way darkness and light can work together”. Excellent ideological boundary. The type to rather die than cross! – “there is NO WAY (emphasis mine) darkness and light can work together”. Call it a vindication of Harold Wilson, British Labor Prime Minister, who once said of the Labor Party: “This party is a moral crusade, or it is nothing”.
But then, how, you might ask, did ‘darkness and light’ come to work together at the last presidential election, in the South-West? Or did they?! No, they didn’t! Or so Lai Mohammed claimed: that the South-West did not vote for PDP; nor did it vote for Jonathan! On the contrary, he said the PDP actually ‘stole’ the votes in the South-West.
They “cooked” the figures, he said. And maybe herein lies yet another of Lai Mohammed’s “incongruous”: the implied ‘incongruity’ between genuine votes of the ‘progressive’ South-West and the ‘cooked’ votes of the retrogressive, thieving PDP. Do you doubt that we are about to be straddled between the politically ‘unimaginable’ and the electorally ‘incongruous’?!
Because talking about ‘incongruity’, what can be more incongruous than Lai’s face-saving official positions viewed against the ACN chairman Akande’s escapist admittance that the South-West indeed voted Jonathan, or the Asiwaju himself, Bola Tinubu’s widely reported assertion that ‘Jonathan deserved his victory in the South-West’? And talking about ‘cooked’ votes and electoral ‘deservability’, can any two claims be any more antonymous?
Or could Tinubu’s gratuitous conferment of ‘deservability’ on Jonathan’s ‘victory’ in the South-West be based on the strength of Jonathan’s accomplishments in the South-West or of his electioneering promisories to the ‘progressive’ South-Westerners?! Because ‘deservability’ would be more morally meritorious than even ‘earning’. PDP may have crookedly ‘earned’, like Lai claimed, her ‘cooked’ votes in the South-West, but we should know how Jonathan, like Tinubu posited, ‘deserves’ the South- West votes?
Many Lagos-Ibadan columnists I have read did not reflect any belief in, or, at best, were un_adroitly ambivalent about Lai’s “cooked” PDP votes in the South-West. Most rather believed, like Akande, that the South-West voted the ‘person’ of Jonathan. And many others, like Tinubu, expectedly affirmed that Jonathan did ‘deserve’ the South-West votes.
In fact, my good friend, The Nation’s Waheed Odusile, in his piece, ‘The Road to Lebanon’, said Buhari did not do anything to impress the South- Western voters; and so he said the South-Western voters decided to vote Jonathan. Quite queer voter-behavior, you might say. That when the electorate are not impressed by one candidate, they necessarily vote another who, in fact, has desperately and murderously been on their electoral wind pipe.
And so what then could’ve been so ironically ‘impressive’ about a reluctant Buhari that the ACN had desperately gone outside of its dignified ideological threshold to seek an alliance with? Or,
therefore, what then so palpably depressive about an enthusiastically desperate or desperately enthusiastic Jonathan that the ACN – like Lai said would rebuff invitations by a ruling party, the PDP? And why should we now be told some ‘cock and bull’ story about how the ‘bride’ did not make it to a ‘wife’ because the bridal dance was dull.
Yet, to vote Jonathan because Buhari had failed to impress the South-Western voters should beggar the inevitable question: ‘what then did Jonathan do to impress the South-Western voters?’ besides threatening to ‘frame’ and arrest the South-West’s celebrated politician, Tinubu?; or publicly calling South-Westerners ‘rascals’?
Who then do we believe, Akande and his doctrine of Jonathan’s electability? Or Tinubu and his theory on Jonathan’s deservability?
Is Lai Mohammed many positions only cheaply ‘incongruous’ with those of his bosses? John Gay has said that “the politician tops his part, who readily can lie with art”. Maybe standing alone Lai Mohammed’s positions can hold; but evidently against his bosses’ ideological somersault, they seem slovenly artless!
And thus the question continues to rear its head: is the South-West truly ‘progressive’ or is the South- West, like Jonathan said it was, only cheaply rascally? Either way, if you ask me, not anymore! Because, like Akande admitted they did after voting Jonathan, the South-West has neither demonstrated any modicum of ‘progressive’ credentials (because then Lai’s ‘light’ has crossed the ‘boundary’ to work with ‘darkness’) nor, having now succumbed to Jonathan’s arrogant 25% quest, can the South-West now truly be said to be ‘rascally’ enough. Rascals tell their traducers off. Not bow down timidly to their harangues!
And so did the Canadian-born US economist, J.K. Galbraith, said that “there are times in politics when you must be on the right side and lose”. But in Nigeria not when your goal is not necessarily politically altruistic. Here you can still be on the wrong side and win! Like ‘progressive’ ACN or the South-West voting for PDP’s Jonathan in order to achieve a geo-ethnic spite of a political adversary, the North.