By Muyiwa Adetiba
A new political force made up of a coalition of 38 ‘political parties’ came into being during the week. It was a coalition that was expected given the absence of a viable political opposition to the ruling party and given the nature of our parties towards political power.
It was such a necessary, pragmatic, and utterly predictable move that the question was not if sectional, fragmented political parties will come together for 2019 but when.
Alone, none of them would have caused a whimper but together, they might stand a chance. Many of us had hoped though, for a viable opposition which will not just be to wrest power from the ruling party but which will try to do what credible opposition parties do all over the democratic world.
We expected for instance, an opposition party that will offer an alternative ideology; an alternative economic thrust to the one employed by the ruling party; one that will keep the party in government on its economic and financial toes; one that will keep its eyes on the ball in case the ruling party drops it.
We had expected an early birth of such a party that will address the mind set of Nigerians to issues of government and governance. A party that will offer refreshing views to the ‘Nigerian Question’—which are the issues stunting the unity and growth of the country.
The coalition that emerged during the week did not make people like me to feel excited. On the contrary, it made me to feel sorry for the future of the country. After all the noise about ‘not too old to run,’ after all the clamour for a new direction, after all the hope for a third force, all we could couple together are tired old faces, all we could come up with is a new, expanded but unimproved PDP. The Bible says: no one puts old wine in a new wine skin and expects it not to burst. But that was what was done last Monday. Worse, they put old wine of different textures in a new wine skin and expect a mellow blending and maturing.
Time will tell of CUPP as it has told of APC. There was a distinct feeling of déjà vu as I watched these veterans chat and back slap each other. We have been down this road countless times—almost at every major national election. We were down this road four short years ago. Then, two major parties and factions of another three teamed up with other minions to form APC. They promised change even when we knew there was nothing in their antecedence to validate that promise.
We glossed over the combustible nature of the union because we were tired of Jonathan and his party. We were so relieved that a party which could unseat PDP had emerged that we did not question the emerging party too closely. We were in denial about the real motives of the brokers of the new party. The result is that we have had three years of an APC government that have been unsettling for the party and for the country. We have had a National Assembly that is more in opposition to than in tandem with the Executive. We have had a party that is pulling itself in different directions. We have had a President who doesn’t believe he is the product of a political party.
The sad memory of that alliance four years ago flashed through my mind as I watched CUPP plan its proposed coup against APC. The fact that the same venue was used did not help matters. The fact that some faces on Monday were in that hall four years ago did not help matters. The fact that the same rhetoric, the same empty words about coming together to rescue the country from apocalypse that spewed forth from their lying lips did not help matters.
No, the people in that hall did not evoke excitement neither did they elicit hope. Instead, it will not be out of place to say many in that hall are the troublers of Nigeria. Many there, are the reason Nigeria has not progressed because they are vultures. It was pitiable but not surprising to see people who left PDP so publicly a few short years ago after saying uncomplimentary things about the party return, again publicly, to the same party—whatever garb it now chooses to clothe itself with. What has changed? What has been reformed in the PDP since the four, five years they left? Of all the people that returned to their stinking vomit, none is more obvious and therefore more shameless that the R-APC formerly the nPDP. The same modus operandi they used five years ago which was to stay in power while seeking secret alliances with opposition is what they have used again.
The same way they stabbed PDP in the back is the same way they are stabbing APC. (Don’t be surprised if those still in high offices are waiting in the wings. It is their way. We’ve seen it before). And the reason they are doing it is the same; they want power, position, relevance and spoils of office. It is not about the country. It is about self. And they will lie, cheat, threaten, blackmail to achieve their aim.
It is not as if politics has not been good to them. It has. Many have been in politics all their adult lives and are today rich beyond their dreams. But for politics, many would have been nothing but middle level executives at best. But their wealth, their power, their relevance have been at the expense of the country. To paraphrase a former President—and a fellow traveller in misadventure—‘CUPP is not the messiah we need.’ We still await a truly genuine third force and it shouldn’t be about 2019 alone.
A fleeting thought came to mind as I watched those over fed politicians chart another self-serving but fruitless journey for hapless Nigerians last Monday. What if a bomb dropped on that hall as they signed their worthless memorandum? Would the country be devastated or would she be relieved? Would the loss be irreparable or would it be good riddance to bad rubbish? Would it signal the beginning of the end for Nigeria or an old end for a new beginning?
We will never know because it did not happen and because God’s ways are not our ways. But one thing is certain. Too much baggage, too much garbage, too much of what has gone wrong with politics and with the country was in that hall last Monday.