By Clement Udegbe
THIS time in 2014, we had the airwaves inundated with all kinds of negative vibrations against the ruling People’s Democratic Party, PDP, the party in the saddle at the time. The print and electronic media were all majorly engulfed in the sing-song of Change while some of us wondered what change can come from the opposition party as constituted or formed.
The All Progressives Congress, APC, as a party, had nothing but sweet words and promises; how corruption will be fought, how our economy will soar in the world and how Nigeria will become an Eldorado. They made smart moves initiated by Senator Bola Tinubu of then Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, which drew all other follower-fishes into the APC net, including renowned academicians, retired Generals and ex-Heads of State.
Some of the small fish made themselves special advisers. Others became media and opinion consultants. They worked from within Nigeria and the Diaspora. They were on TV, newspapers everywhere. Some even started conducting themselves as power brokers.
The real power brokers kept them close to water till July 2015, after the President was sworn in when they started unfolding the master plan of the party.
APC had a plan which it kept to their chest. Many who could read that plan from the party leaders’ antecedents, and body languages, tried to expose the plan but were visited with all kinds of tirades and ignominy.
Upon assumption of office, the true colour of Change became manifest.
First, they absorbed all willing members of the opposition to weaken them and expectedly, many opposition key members trooped into the rulling party;
Then they started persecuting the key officers of opposition, who remained faithful to their party, in a display of undemocratic tenets by the ruling party and its leadership.
As soon as they thought they had silenced the opposition, another plan surfaced – from nowhere, herdsmen became powerful, boasting and threatening the peace of people and by extension, the peace of the nation. Miyetti Allah, their umbrella organisation, became very strong with such a hot frenzy that from records, close to 10,000 persons have been killed by herdsmen since 2015, and it continues.
Then finally, APC started descending on voices that criticised them. The ruling party had such a phobia for criticism be it constructive or not, journalists, commentators on Social Media handles are not spared. The result of all these and many more undemocratic actions by the APC, is a Nigeria at cross roads!
Nigeria has become so atomisitic that reasonable development cannot be expected to take place in the next few years.
If President Muhammadu Buhari contests in 2019 as I expect him to do, and wins, most of his colleagues and companions today will be in jail or have their mouths zipped, and it will create further divisions and fear in the land.
The main fear here, however, is that herdsmen may continue, and indeed, take over most Nigeria’s hinterlands.
If he loses in 2019, tension will pervade the land by virtue of the security network which APC has installed. No one knows what could follow judging from the handling of journalists, the Senate and NASS, etc.
One thing is sure.The level of agitations for separation among the people have increased, and may continue to rise.
We have some Niger-Deltans asking for an Ijaw nation; Igbo people are asking for Biafra and the APC responds to these two with several Crocodile Dances killing several Igbo youths and till date, the whereabouts of Nnamdi Kanu, the IPOB leader, is unkwown.
South-West youths want Oduduwa nation. Theirs was a well orchestrated demand of YOLICOM, for Oduduwa Nation. Fortunately, no recorded arrest was made,and no one was killed.
Who knows, the Middle Beltans will soon come up with their demand for a separate nation as some of their leaders are asking the people to arm themselves in self defense against Miyetti Allah herdsmen.
These demands have heightened because the rulling party is running an administration skewed in favour of one ethinc tribe in most of its appointments. And the untouchable body language of Fulanis since 2015, has not helped matters.
It is, therefore, safe to conclude that 2019 will decide the fate of Nigeria, at cross roads.
America had predicted that Nigeria will not exist after 2015, but President Goodluck Jonathan employed godly wisdom to avert or postpone the evil day. Now, the fate of the country is in the hands of President Buhari, to make or mar.
The ruling party would have to adopt better methods than it is doing now to save the country from going under and to allow the nation fight corruption in more acceptable and honest ways. Many will prefer a peaceful and corrupt Nigeria to a clean “Syria.”
If indeed as it is touted by Miyetti Allah, that Nigeria has been chosen as the ultimate home of Fulanis all over the world, to be acquired through the use of force, violence and cattle grazing policies, then a great challenge faces all of us including the President. What will happen to our constitution and other religions?
The solution lies in constitutional reforms. If the truth be told, the ruling party has brought the issue of restructuring to the fore more than it dares to admit.