By Tonnie Iredia
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) by its own claim is the largest political party in Africa. Perhaps everyone ought to be there in a country like ours which runs the winner- takes-all political system. Unsurprisingly therefore, the PDP has been ruling Nigeria without a break since 1999.
Some of its members actually imagine that their party will rule the country for the next half a century or more. Although the party is certainly best positioned to attract new members with innumerable spoils of office, many citizens among them this writer do not appear persuaded to join the said lucrative political organization. Many reasons account for this.
To start with, the party in the words of former Governor Orji Uzor Kalu, “is the problem of itself” We can hardly dismiss Kalu’s allegation, because he ought to know as a former leading member of the party who used its platform to serve as Governor of Abia State. Many other members, past and present are transparently disenchanted. Since 1999 for example, the party has been unable to redress its penchant for imposing candidates for elections much to the chagrin of many members. In addition, virtually every national chairman of the party was booed out of office. With his public admission a few days ago of the existence of ample injustice in the party even the current chairman appears frustrated though he is still in office. Some Akwa Ibom members are convinced that the chairman is himself unjust!
We all cannot be politicians if we want the nation to attain a balanced growth. Thus some citizens ought to resist the temptation of everyone running into politics not withstanding its lucrative nature in Nigeria. Accordingly, my choice to be non-partisan remains attractive to me. If so, how did I feel in the last one-week with repeated calls from some friends that one political party had listed my name in its campaign team? It was not a problem to me because I have friends in all the parties who may have found me worthy as a journalist to offer some service to their parties in the area of the media. I am however unaware of any such list just as I doubt if any party that has followed this column would seek to rely on an unrepentant critic
What this suggests is that whereas I am unlikely to vote for the PDP, whether I will vote for the main opposition party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) is similarly doubtful. But then I remain excited about the emergence of the APC for the simple reason that it provides an opposition to the ruling party without which our nation’s democracy would have been a sham. We obviously need to put the ruling party in check so as to reduce the high degree of impunity in our governance. A strong opposition party would also serve as a constant reminder of an alternative to our rather boring and unchanging democratic ethos since 1999. Of course, our nation cannot afford to be doing the same thing all over again while expecting different results.
With more than one big political party, Nigerians ought to be able to convert their current problems into election issues and visualize the party which puts up the best proposal to solve them. As canvassed in this column severally, the main purpose of government is to ensure the welfare and security of the citizenry. All other issues of development are not the same as the mandate hence it is made paramount by our constitution. If a government is unable to meet such a fundamental mandate, Nigerians ought to be ready to postpone sentiments and try another party.
That our current insecurity is not necessarily the fault of the current government begs the issue. The real desire of Nigerians is for a government that can tackle their problem headlong; and not one that rationalizes the issue. Must we return to the political science class to be able to appreciate the principle of the social contract by which citizens surrender to a government to rule them as well as to protect them against any form of harm?
Terrorism is an international subject as other countries experience it by the day. Some 4 days back the world woke up to a brutal attack on a Magazine outfit in France killing 12 people. From the point it happened, the French government did nothing else, their President immediately visited the scene of the incident and promised to trace the terrorists- a promise whose implementation took-off immediately with the confidence of the people in their government buoyed by the way suspects were immediately picked-up. If the government had done otherwise, it would have been condemned and subsequently voted out. In Nigeria on the other hand, the incident would have been followed by a series of stories that would end up in the politicisation sector. It is time to make our government accountable for the public good
There is no evidence that the APC would do better if given a chance because many of its postures resemble those of its elder brother. Its claim of being more sensitive to internal democracy for instance was seen only at the national level; while its disposition in some of the states was worrisome. But because it has not been tried at the national level since 1999, it is not bad to try her but with a better public alertness. One bitter lesson the APC should learn now is for our people to vote it out in the states where it has sown the seed of political discord.
On the issue of which party I will vote for, it is simplistic for anyone to think that my direction is clear. It is not as easy as that because I reserve the right to vote for President Goodluck Jonathan if by chance the Chibok girls are released before February 14. At the same time, I may not be able to vote for anyone whatsoever because I can’t afford the convoluted process of securing a voter’s card which I am yet to get, one month to voting day!!