By Josef Omorotionmwan
WE are reminded of “Aggregate Seven” – an uncle of ours whose nick-name emanated from the fact that he had an aggregate of seven wives, none of whom was original. Uncle used his position as a Customary Court President to acquire second-hand wives.
At the least prompting, he encouraged the women to push for divorce and he assisted them to facilitate the divorce process. As soon as they were through, they automatically landed in his house to increase his stock. Those were the days when nobody talked about conflict of interest.
We should have known that perhaps some young elements were quietly imbibing Uncle’s idea, with a view to transforming same to the level of national politics some day.
After the initial take-off around 1998, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has hardly recruited any new members. Their stock-in-trade has not gone deeper than laying wait on decampees and rejects from the more refined political parties. Today, we are looking at the nebulous concept of the Government of National Unity, GNU, which they have applied very dexterously in swelling their ranks.
Virtually after every election, there are maneuvers and scrambles for the spoils of office. This is where they begin to talk of the GNU. We do not expect the 2015 elections to be much different.
And invariably, too, the stand of the major opposition parties has always been that the GNU is unacceptable. They quickly see it as a tasty poison, which when we drink, we die. They see it for what it is – a way of attracting some of the best brains from the ranks of the opposition. Those who go never return to their original parties anymore.
Actually, coalition government in a presidential system is a misnomer. It never works. It is only an effort for selfish politicians to help themselves.
In 2011, 44 of the country’s 63 registered political parties, most of which Nigerians cannot remember their names, on the eve of the election queued behind President Goodluck Jonathan, hoping to share from the spoils of the electoral victory.
Essentially, the quest for a GNU is an extension of the politicians’ search for relevance, particularly in a situation where very little premium is placed on the value of the opposition. Who really provides the heat that keeps government on its toes to achieve landmarks that will free Nigeria from poverty and the pervading corruption that most people now accept as a way of life?
GNU is a ready tool in the hands of government to appease the losing party after the election war, to create the illusion that it is not winner takes all. It is also a way of splitting the ranks of the parties that are contesting the election results at the tribunals.
The offer is too enticing for politicians who want to recover their investments in the election. They are in such a hurry that they hardly consider the havoc to themselves and their party. Once they go, they become deformed and thoroughly incapacitated politically, that is.
In the ill-fated Third Republic, one of the most vibrant politicians that this country had was the ebullient Ambassador Babagana Kingibe. See how he has since boxed himself to a dead-end by drinking of the tasty poison?
We remember James Ajibola Idowu Ige (1930 – 2001) – Federal Attorney-General and Minister of Justice under President Olusegun Obasanjo. He was assassinated on December 23, 2001 in his bedroom at his Bodeja, Ibadan residence.
We have been warned not to speak evil of the dead, except it is in furtherance of the incontrovertible truth. Bola Ige’s decision to join President Obasanjo-led government dealt a big blow on the progressive movement. It has been held as the issue that finally broke the back-bone of the Alliance for Democracy, AD, which won all the governorship seats in the South-West in 1999, but lost all, except Lagos, in 2007.
Perhaps in error, by knowledge and disposition, we had looked upon Dr. Chukwuemeka Ezeife as a clear leader of the Igbo race. This was one man who took the battle of the progressives to the very heart-land of the conservatives and he defeated them all.
In the ill-fated Third Republic, he was by far the most vibrant politician east of the Niger. He was the Governor of Anambra State from January 1992 to November 1993.
He has partaken of the tasty poison and today, he has become a Jonathan apologist. He now preaches the breakup of Nigeria if Jonathan is not allowed to contest the 2015 election. “Whether you are from the North, South, or West, you cannot stop Jonathan from going for a second term and winning… Everybody can make noise but if those who are making noise should think deeply, they would realise that the continued existence of Nigeria as one country is anchored on Jonathan’s continuation in office come 2015”.
Carrying his naivety further, he asserts that if Jonathan does not win the 2015 election, “The Niger Delta boys would blow up all the oil pipelines and the country would break up”.
Senator Ben Obi, Special Adviser to President Jonathan on Inter-Party Affairs was one of the leading South-Easterners noted for their political brilliance. He was the ACN vice presidential candidate during the 2007 contest. The results of the election were hardly out when he jumped ship by joining the Musa Yar’Adua-led administration and he has remained there ever since. He is credited with the famous assertion, “Time of politics is over. We are now in governance”.
Alhaji Nuhu Ribadu, former anti-corruption guru, was the ACN presidential candidate at the 2011 elections. As soon as he lost, President Jonathan made him what the Americans call an offer he couldn’t reject – Chairman, Petroleum Revenue Task Force.
The penultimate week, he finally defected to the PDP, where he is now the aspirant to beat for the forth-coming gubernatorial contest in Adamawa State.
GNU is evil. It is an open invitation to the one-party state, which Nigerians have always detested as retrogressive.