By Emmanuel Aziken
A stalwart of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC was quick to dismiss the biggest scandal to hit the Muhammadu Buhari administration as a family affair. But whether the fuss between the minister of state, petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu and the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC Dr. Maikanti Baru is an APC family affair is debatable.
The APC stalwart’s reference to the issue being a family affair may have been stoked by the make-believe photo-op between Kachikwu and Baru on the sidelines of the National Economic Summit in Abuja last Tuesday.
If not, then maybe because of the mimicry of the Muhammadu Buhari administration by one of its chief instigators, Governor Ayodele Fayose.
In reacting to the allegations of improper contract award leveled against Dr. Baru by the minister of state, Governor Fayose was quick to accuse the APC administration of treating corruption as a family affair. The practise of confiscating national issues as family affairs was the habit of Fayose’s PDP when it was in power.
Party and government officials decided such issues at conclaves of party elders at the Presidential Villa or in Wadata Plaza.
There were indeed, many of those horrendous affairs that were swept under the carpet in the jaundiced opinion that such issues no matter how grave should not be the problem of the prying eyes of those outside the PDP. The kidnap of a serving governor in Anambra State, the drama associated with the forced resignation of Chief Audu Ogbeh as PDP national chairman, the crisis between President Olusegun Obasanjo and Vice President Atiku Abubakar among many other affairs.
So, how APC’s messy affairs came to be compared with those ugly sides of the PDP era must be quite intriguing for a party that trumpeted change as its philosophy.
Indeed in its two years in power, the APC has packed its set of controversies that are seemingly being handled as family affairs.
The quarrel over the leadership of the National Assembly, the budget padding scandal, the spat between the Department of State Services and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC on one side and the spat between the same EFCC and the Nigerian Intelligence Agency, on the other. There is also the allegation of impropriety in the disbursement of funds by the Presidential Initiative in the North East, PINE among others.
These are worrisome issues. Just as the ruling administration has failed to address its fault lines, so preceding PDP administrations failed to address theirs.
The repeated failure by this and preceding administrations to frontally confront our fault lines is the major reason why the country has failed to reach its potentials. When a country continues to make the same mistakes, there is no way it can make progress.
Indeed, when your correspondent encountered the administration’s image maker, Lai Mohammed last Saturday for a scheduled interview session it was not by happenstance that the first question that was thrown at him was how he would have acted were he the spokesman of the opposition PDP.
It was a question the Honourable Minister sought to pooh-pooh as unfair.
Despite economic indices that Mohammed easily churned out to buttress achievements of the Buhari administration, the question as to whether the ordinary man is better today than two years ago is a poser many supporters of the administration are finding difficult to address.
Whatever, the fact is that under the PDP administration one could point to individuals or fora where family matters were settled. However, under the APC administration, with nothing much changed, political stakeholders are at a loss as to where family affairs are being addressed