By Dele Sobowale
“Every country has the government it deserves.”— Joseph De Maistre, 1753-1821.
Granted De Maistre is substantially correct and there is ample evidence in history to support his submission. But what have Nigerians done to deserve the set of “militicians” and “poli-trick-ians” that we now have running the country at all the three tiers of government. This is the only country in the world today where you cast your vote for a winning candidate running under the banner of a political party and without resorting back to all those who voted him into office, SELLS your mandate to another party and gets away with it. Americans call it “bait and switch” and is akin to our 419. Anyone wanting to challenge that statement should point to another country in the world where that occurs. Even Presidents of Nigeria are not immune from this 419 sort of politics as will soon be demonstrated.
If you are honest with yourself, it matters very little now which political party you started supporting in 2015. For that matter, it is irrelevant which you devoted yourself to even a few weeks ago. Today, it is quite possible that the people you believed in and the party they claim to represent will change political affiliations. Decamping with voters mandate freely given to another political party started in 2001 with the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, under President Obasanjo, when they accepted Dr Wahab Dosumu, Alliance for Democracy, AD, Senator from Lagos State into their fold. OBJ, Bode George etc were all there to receive him. It was a show of shame. But, politicians are generally shameless. The demand by the AD that Dosumu should resign his seat in the Senate and re-contest on the platform of the PDP were ignored by the Senate President, members of the PDP and other unpatriotic elements. They were too happy to accept a stolen mandate.
One lesson of history is that the cardinal reason black people, especially Africans, are the most backward of all the races is our penchant for establishing precedents without thinking of the consequences of our actions. Our leaders literally think only of today and only think of themselves first. With Dosumu’s disgraceful precedent established in 2001, the PDP whose leaders had assumed would rule for “sixty years” (Vincent Ogbulafor), had no reason to believe that it would ever become a victim of that betrayal of voters. Back in 2001, I had warned the party that decamping with voters’ mandate was not only unethical but could come to haunt all of us in the future. I still firmly believe that decamping after election amounts to stealing of voters’ mandate. But, as usual, short-sighted and selfish politicians were not listening.
“In times of victory, prophets are unnecessary distractions.”
Professor Trevor Roper.
When the tide was in favour of the PDP, the party encouraged massive theft of voters’ mandates nationwide. After Dosumu, mandate others like Musiliu Obanikoro and Seye Ogunlewe from Lagos State also followed Dosumu to the PDP. They were both rewarded with appointments as Ambassadors, and Ministers of Works and Defence. PDP made sure that political crimes paid bountifully for the thieves of peoples’ mandate.
But, that was when the going was good. The leaders of the party never knew that there is God.
“All political parties die at last of swallowing their own lies.”—Dr John Arbuthont, 1667-1735.
It was the same “know-it-all” Obasanjo who sowed the seeds of PDP’s destruction, as he will do for his new-found political party. He unilaterally imposed late Yar’Adua as the PDP presidential candidate even when the Federal Government had at its disposal information that Yar’Adua had terminal health challenges. Then, he also imposed Goodluck Jonathan as Vice President. GEJ had never headed any establishment in his life, except for his brief stay as Governor of Bayelsa State. Yet he was positioned to be Chief Executive of NIGERIA Plc. Baba Iyabo went home convinced that he was going to fulfill his Third Term ambition by being consulted on virtually every major decision of government. For good measure he made himself the only eligible person to be Chairman of the Board of Trustees, BOT, of PDP. He was disappointed.
Then, the humanly unthinkable happened. From 2012 PDP started to crumble under Jonathan. In what would possibly be referred to in the future as Nigeria’s reversal of alliances, elected PDP officials at Federal and State levels started decamping to the opposition party – the All Progressives Congress, APC. PDP and Jonathan at first regarded it as a joke until, the APC literally “swallowed” the Speaker of the Federal House of Representatives – Aminu Tambuwal.
The party that had lived on telling lies to Nigerians had finally died from swallowing its own. Surprisingly, they did not realize that the defections will lead to their loss of the Presidency. They still clung to the age-long belief in the power of incumbency which had made every African President unbeatable. PDP received a shock. GEJ lost. But, not before we were reminded about the need for principles in politics if Nigeria will ever reverse the headlong dive into grinding poverty.
“The things that will ruin us include: “Politics without principles”..”Wealth without work.” Gandhi, 1869-1948.
The father of modern India, Gandhi had warned mankind about the things that will ruin any nation. Deliberately, he placed as first, “Politics without principles” and third “Wealth without work.” The PDP, just before and under Obasanjo, entrenched the policy of “politics without principles.” Given the party’s constitution at birth, Obasanjo should not have even been allowed to contest for Presidency. Late Dr Alex Ekwueme was poised to be the flag-bearer of the party and he would have won and the wounds of the Civil War would have been healed. But, the PDP betrayed its own fine principles; succumbed to loads of money and subtle threats by the North-controlled Federal Military Government, FMG, and OBJ emerged as President. That was the beginning of the end of our latest attempt to introduce party based politics in Nigeria.
“Saraki must resign as Senate President”, says Oshiomhole.
Leadership is one thing; clowning is another kettle of fish. The new APC Chairman is acting a role for which he is not prepared. Being a political jester is a professional job and not for amateurs like Adam. He needs to be reminded of a few things which even the worst dullard but observer of Nigeria’s politics remembers.
First, when elected PDP officials started their mass carpet-crossing in 2013-14, which culminated in Tambuwal decamping from the PDP to APC, the PDP repaid in its own crooked currency, asked Tambuwal to resign. Oshiomhole and the APC resisted the call to the end.
Second, Atiku was Vice President elected on the ticket of the PDP. When he decamped in 2006 to the Action Congress, AC, on whose ticket he ran for the Presidency in 2007, all the efforts by the PDP, including litigation to remove him failed woefully. Oshiomhole was on the other side at the time and there is no record anywhere that he asked either Tambuwal or Atiku to resign. Political tomfoolery must have limits – especially when it demonstrates quite clearly a lack of principles by the speaker. Who would take Oshimhole and the other leaders of APC seriously now that they have become the victims of the political crimes their party had committed against the electorate in 2013-14?
Finally, a few elected PDP lawmakers had previously decamped to the APC. Is Oshiomhole asking them to also resign? The sooner the APC realizes that what we are experiencing today is the end of the beginning of the fraud called APC, the better. It was never a political party; just a conspiracy to grab power. And the collusion is falling apart..