By Femi Aribisala
WITH the declaration that Kayode Fayemi has won the gubernatorial election in Ekiti, APC spin-doctors went into overdrive. Lai Mohammed, well-loved by all and sundry for his vacuous bombasts, came out shouting on the rooftops that the Ekiti election is a referendum on the Buhari administration. However, the honourable minister needs a gentle reminder that Buhari was not on the ballot in Ekiti.
Femi Adesina, the president’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, also proclaimed: “With the victory of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in the just-concluded Ekiti governorship election, Nigerian people have spoken, and they have spoken loudly, about their perception of the APC-led Buhari administration. The election was more than one state’s gubernatorial poll. It was a referendum on the performance of the Buhari administration.”
This is a lot of hot air. Nigerians did not speak in the Ekiti election: only the good people of Ekiti spoke. The election was not a referendum on the performance of the Buhari administration. The Buhari administration did not perform in Ekiti. At best, the election was a referendum on the performance of the Ayodele Fayose administration in Ekiti, especially since the PDP candidate was Fayose’s deputy governor.
Bad omen for APC
On the assumption that the election was free and fair (a position hotly contested by the PDP), what the people of Ekiti did was to throw out the government in power. To that extent, the one person in the APC who correctly acknowledged the message sent by the people of Ekiti through the election was governor-elect Fayemi himself. He described his victory as a symbol of liberation from hunger, poverty, and indignity suffered by the people of the state under the Governor Fayose-led administration.
Transposed to the national level, this assessment should not provide any cause for jubilation on the part of the APC. On the contrary, it should provide ample grounds for trepidation. Let me draw clearly the lines of comparison. The people of Ekiti were so dissatisfied with Fayemi as governor in 2014, they threw him out and replaced him with Fayose. However, since 2014, they have become so dissatisfied with Fayose that by 2018, they would rather have Fayemi back than continue with the Fayose administration, as represented by his deputy.
Similarly, Nigerians were dissatisfied with Goodluck Jonathan of the PDP in 2015, they threw him out and replaced him with Buhari of the APC.
In 2015, the cry for change led the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal, to switch allegiance from the PDP party that elected him, to the APC that did not. As a result, Tambuwal was elected Governor of Sokoto State under the APC. Today, 2018, Tambuwal is no longer enamoured of the APC. The governor has not endorsed Buhari’s re-election bid and is said to be considering a presidential bid of his own against the president.
Like Tambuwal, Bukola Saraki, the current Senate President who defected from the PDP and came to power under the APC, is now disaffected with the APC. He was hounded in APC for using the same shenanigans that APC approved for Tambuwal to become Speaker in 2011, to become Senate President in 2016. Having finally been discharged and acquitted by the Supreme Court for the same crime for which Bola Tinubu was discharged and acquitted, all Saraki’s henchmen have ditched the hostile APC and returned to the PDP; waiting for him to make his move. What this means is that things are not looking good for APC in Kwara in the 2019 election.
The same goes for Kano, whose gargantuan votes virtually swung the election to Buhari in 2015. Then, the point-man for Buhari in Kano was Rabiu Kwankwaso, the former governor. But now Kwankwaso is no longer with Buhari. Neither are the other members of the faction that broke up from the PDP in dissatisfaction in 2014 and merged with the APC; fashioning themselves as the new PDP. Apart from Rotimi Amaechi, they are now dissatisfied with the APC, have re-fashioned themselves as the Reformed APC and returned to the PDP.
History, they say, has a tendency to repeat itself. All dealings that formed the bedrock of the APC in 2014 has now come back to haunt the party in 2018.
In the 2015 election cycle, some prominent Nigerians became so dissatisfied with the PDP, they asked for change and ultimately opted for the APC. These included people like former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Professor Wole Soyinka, and Reverend Father Ejike Mbaka, who came out of the woodwork to support Buhari. All these people are now against the president.
Father Mbaka says: “Mr. President wake up; sit up; God said you are toying with the privilege given to you; there is no time; Nigerians are dying in your hand; people are not happy with your system. Change or you will be changed.” Says Wole Soyinka: “We simply cannot continue one day longer to endure this forceful feeding of human blood. The plain expression is ‘ethnic cleansing’ and we must not beat around the bush. The shade of Rwanda hangs over the nation.
The Obama media group that helped Buhari mount his internet publicity effectively in 2015 is now completely disaffected with APC. It is now working for Kingsley Moghalu.
Everything under this APC government has gone from bad to worse.
We are saddled with a government that watches while we are being murdered in our homes, farms, mosques and churches. We are saddled with a government that tells us the choice we have is either to lose our land to carpetbaggers or lose our lives. We are saddled with a government that defines itself as a northern, instead of a national government; with all its security architecture in the hands of northerners. This is certainly not the change Nigerians bargained for in 2015.
Therefore, the same government that came to power shouting change no longer believes in change. It has changed its slogan from change to progress. But there can be no progress in Nigeria without change. The desire for change led to the ousting of Fayemi and his replacement by Fayose in 2014. The continued desire for change has now led to the ousting of the Fayose team and the return to Fayemi in 2018.
But therein lies the danger for Nigeria. The people of Ekiti were dissatisfied with Fayemi. They replaced him with Fayose. Now they are equally dissatisfied with Fayose. But who do they replace him with? They replace him with the same Fayemi they were dissatisfied with before.
Should this be replicated on the national level, we would be back again with the PDP. Nothing recommends the PDP today beyond the fact that APC has been abysmal. Therefore, another round-robin to the PDP cannot be in Nigeria’s interest. We need new blood.
This is where a man like Kingsley Moghalu deserves serious consideration. Moghalu is not part of the musical chairs of the PDP and the APC. He is not a political hack or has-been. He is not a Nigerian Bourbon who has learnt nothing and forgotten nothing. He is not an old horse that cannot learn new tricks. He is young, erudite, experienced, educated and forward-looking. He belongs to the new generation of leadership that Nigeria sorely needs.
An anonymous wise man says: “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Certainly, the Nigerian electorate is not insane. Therefore, come 2019, we need to say in one accord:Enough is enough. Let us give competent hands like Kingsley Moghalu a chance.