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The colour of party ideology (1)

“This Party is a moral crusade or it is nothing”. –Harold Wilson, British Labor Prime Minister.             

By Mohammed Adamu

In 2011 the PDP –playing its usual ethno-regional card- had approached the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN to negotiate the South West votes for Jonathan in the forthcoming presidential election. It was an indecent proposal requiring that the ACN jettisoned its presidential candidate, the famed anti-corruption Caesar Nuhu Ribadu, in exchange for immunity for its South West stronghold against the PDP’s notorious rigging machine. And notwithstanding its past travails under PDP’s Obasanjo and in spite of PDP’s Jonathan now contemptuously describing the political South West as rascally, the PDP still seemed more tolerable to ACN than Buhari’s CPC with which previously the ACN had failed to work out an alliance.

And no thanks too to its vehemently pro-zoning stand, the South West media had virtually boxed itself into a fait accompli, preferring PDP’s Jonathan to either of ACN’s Ribadu or CPC’s Buhari who was already a celebrated bête noire of the Southern media. But the ACN’s capitulation was no thanks also to the North’s intransigence over what it considered a brazen breach of PDP’s zoning policy after the demise of Yaradua –a fall-out of the perceived geo-ethnic politics of making Jonathan Acting President via a novel but controversial ‘doctrine of necessity’ which the North believed was unnecessarily orchestrated to spite Yaradua who was terminally bedridden in a far away Saudi Arabian hospital.

Nonetheless the PDP had gained so much notoriety then for crass mis-governance, and President Jonathan himself so much reputation for  ineptitude that the spokesperson for the ACN Lai Mohammed when contacted about PDP ‘s overtures to buy the South West votes in the forthcoming presidential election, had said without mincing words “yes, they approached us; but we rebuffed their approach”. Fair enough, but it was the reason for rebuffing their ‘approach’ that this piece is concerned with: “because there is no way darkness and light can work together”, he added. And you have to like that: ‘THERE IS NO WAY DARKNESS AND LIGHT CAN WORK TOGETHER’. This could not have been better stated. In fact when I wrote a three-part series titled ‘All Hail The Progressives’ I commended the ACN’s red-line as an excellent ideological boundary –the kind I said “to rather die than ever cross”. Nothing ferments more in the ideological realm than the cast iron principle to do the needful in every endeavor and in all circumstances, no matter the consequences. ACN’s principled stand against selling the votes to the highest bidder even though not selling would definitely not avail its third-rated candidate, was a fitting vindication of Harold Wilson, the British Labor Prime Minister who once said of the Labor Party “This Party is a moral crusade or it is nothing”.

But that the CAN, after such firm, resolute stand, would eventually be cajoled, persuaded or blackmailed by the enfant terrible of PDP to cross the very ideological red line that it had set for itself, and to ditch its own presidential candidate by voting Jonathan, underscored the delicate fragility of ideological politics especially in third world Africa where electoral contests are always a ‘do or die’ affair. And Bisi Akande, the then ACN’s Chairman in a bid to explain away his Party’s ideological summersault ended up pulling it into much deeper waters. He said that the South West actually voted Jonathan and not PDP; as though voting Jonathan was any less abominable ideologically than voting the very Party that fielded him; or that voting Jonathan was not filthy enough to vitiate the ACN’s progressive purity. In fact, Akande’s defense became as naïve -or as mischievous- as the former British Naval Commander Lord Mountbatten’s needless apology when he said, in pacification of the Tory Party, “Actually I voted Labour, but my butler is Tory”. Yet, apologising to Tory sentiment after voting labour would even be less prickly on the conscience of the ideologically-mindful than apologising to ‘progressive’ sentiments after consciously voting a ‘retrogressive’ government into office. Akande’s excellent oxymoron, claiming ‘we did not vote PDP, we voted Jonathan’, was as politically hypocritical as Thomas Paine’s description of hypocrisy itself as nothing but “pious fraud”.

It is one thing, they say, to do the ‘right thing’, but it is entirely another to do the ‘thing right’. Yes, any political party has the democratic liberty to throw ideological caution to the wind of geo-ethnic politics by opting to swim either with the ‘merit-driven’ credentials of democracy or with its ‘choice-driven’ attribute –which, ironically confers even the right to vote the wrong candidate or the freedom to support the party with the worst manifesto. Nonetheless elevating the democratic right to ‘choose wrong’ over the civic duty to ‘choose right’ comes usually at a premium, especially to a political party that lays claim to any valuable ideological leaning. For the ACN it came at the cost of a blot on the escutcheon of its progressive reputation –since we have seen that Progressives should not, under any circumstances, accept to act retrogressively. A “cause” said the British writer Arnold Bennett “is like champagne and high heels –one must be prepared to suffer for it”. But what must political idealists do when faced with life-threatening or self-immolating political circumstances? Hold on to ideology and die, or let go and live to fight another day? Or did not Jacques Delors, the French statesman say that “You can’t be a true idealist without being a true realist”?

 Re- ‘The Burden of Saraki’

“I am an ardent reader of your weekly column and I have always admired the logic you apply, devoid of sentiments and casuistry! This is without any intention of sounding unduly solicitous or patronising. However I don’t think there is any maxim of law or equity for that matter which says that ‘it is better to err on the side of mercy’”. The maxim is that ‘it is better to free 99 hardened criminals than to convict an innocent soul. Be guided please”. -+234806682297-

Re-‘June 12: A Prophesy Foretold’

“M.M, you are a prophetic columnist who is so deep in thinking, with the great SHAKESPEARE fruit of comfort. I appreciate your true loyalty, and your selfless service to deserving minds. Thanks for this article once again (June 12: A Prophesy Foretold). May ALLAH continue to bless your fountain source of knowledge. We appreciate”. -Mr. Olajide Lawal, +234812328852

Re-‘The Politics Of Bloodletting’

“Dear sir, I read your write up on ‘Politics of Bloodletting’ on the 28th of June with great bitterness of heart. But my question however is: ‘can the argument, over the claims that the attack was premised on reprisal against cattle rustling as you too posited, be substantiated? And or were such rustling and killing, of Fulani herdsmen, done by the members of the communities so attacked? It is indeed a miscarriage of justice for anybody to justify such evil. I have no apology to anyone who may view my opinion as ethno-sympathetic. Remember you are human too. Thanks.” Pastor Mathew O. A. +2349057477915

 


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