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November 25, 2023

One-Party rule is better than this expensive farce, By Ugoji Egbujo

One-Party rule is better than this expensive farce, By Ugoji Egbujo

The PDP has become moribund. The party chairman is anonymous and that namelessness allows him to live like a chameleon. Multiparty democracy thrives on competition and antagonism. That way it provides accountability and democratic options. The PDP has lost its soul and teeth. Once it fell from power, its elders chickened out to become self-appointed fence-sitting statesmen, leaving the party in the hands of political petty traders. Opposition demands rigour and inventiveness. But many are in politics only for the sugar and toys. And others are too frightened, they don’t want to be bullied. The result is a jellylike flirtatious opposition that confers fraudulent nobility on a bumbling ruling party. 

An opposition party should be a rugged vehicle with bright headlamps. Its mission must necessitate all co-travelers to look out for the party and country. Where the drivers of the opposition are small-minded folks preoccupied with primitive personal advantages, pecuniary and political, the vehicle can’t be in the game. A slothful opposition that lacks sobriety and can’t articulate its political interests let alone the country’s. Its impostor-existence undermines multiparty party democracy the same way a fake drug hurts the sick. 

Democracy aims at freedom and equality. A one-party state is a counterfeit democracy. But an opposition party peopled with red-eyed whores will prioritize cheap opportunism and mercantilism and allow the people to be seduced with false hopes into docility. Therefore, a pronounced one-party democracy, as suffocating as it might be, is better than the fudge where the leaders of the opposition are happy errand boys for the president. The ascendancy of politically promiscuous charlatans into high offices in the opposition makes the multiparty arrangement a ruse.

On the current trajectory, the president might decide who becomes the leader of the PDP. When that happens, the loser will be the country. The greatest problem the country has faced since the return of democracy is the lingering prospect of a degeneration into a one-party state. Now, with a judiciary crippled by gluttony, and opposition leaders scavenging for jobs and money around the waste bin of the Villa, a dystrophic calcification into a one-party state looks imminent. But wouldn’t that affliction relieve the masses of many troubles?

Nyerere and Nkrumah had foreseen this conundrum and recommended one-party democracy in the weak post-colonial entities. Africa still lacks the prerequisite sophistication for multiparty liberal democracy. Obasanjo has given up on liberal multiparty democracy for Africa. We have wasted trillions on electoral rituals and democratic window dressings that have only fetched us agony as we recycled charlatans into high political positions. Shouldn’t we now discard all pretenses and live with a life president and his party?

Nyerere and Nkrumah believed that post-colonial Africa needed a united front that would champion national interests without the distractions of acrimonious partisanship and rabid ethnicism. They believed the village-chief traditional style suited the African space which was fraught with many faultlines and widespread ignorance They believed development and unity would yield freedom ultimately. Nkrumah might have believed that in 2023, we would have overcome those problems. But all the same, we can embrace that option out of fatigue and hopelessness. Haven’t we exhausted ourselves?

The feral disposition of the judiciary, law enforcement, and INEC makes life in the opposition purposeless. Our politics is transactional. People go into politics to find money and influence. Parties have no ideologies. Party manifestoes are useless, nobody remembers them. So we can stop the self-deceit. Luckily, we now have a dyed-in-the-wool politician as president.

His body language suggests he would be happy to drag all politicians into his party. If we offer him a life presidency, he will accept it. That might insert him into the Guinness Book of Records. The timid and greedy opposition will be happy to become winners. There are coups all around us and we don’t want the military. So in one fell swoop, we can banish cowardly opposition, save the ruling party the troubles of perpetrating electoral shenanigans, and retain our democracy. 

If we sleep into a one-party state, nobody might need to summon thugs to keep out any ethnic group from the polls anywhere in the country. No vote buying. No bribing of judges. Politicians might steal less. 

In Rivers, both the PDP and APC are now in the pockets of one man. And that man will hold them for the president. If that situation is sustained, nobody will be killed in the next electioneering campaigns and elections in that state. The police wouldn’t need to get involved in ballot box snatching. The defacto amalgamation of the major parties in Rivers can be called political sagacity so it might be reproduced in many other states. If that political adultery is normalized, the masses must endure. The ablation of partisan politics will yield a Kim Jung un but that’s better than engaging in a rigorous charade and spending billions to produce puppets and clowns as governors.   

The chairman of PDP governors is happy to loiter in the villa and sing praises like an otimkpu. Rather than journeyman politics, the leaders of the PDP, NNPP, APGA, and LP must begin to think about a resignation into a one-party state. The masses look fed up. When we have a proper Kim Jung Un, the politicians will only learn how to clap with determination. Two weeks ago, the chairman of the PDP Governors’ Forum praised the president. He thanked him for not pressurizing judges handling election petitions.

He said that was why no opposition governor had been removed by the election courts. Such spontaneous debilitating sycophancy. Such a confession of spinelessness. But soon after the president collected his accolades, opposition governors started to fall. It happened in rapid fire. The court of appeal swung Zamfara away from the PDP. Then it took Plateau away from the PDP. It confirmed the removal of Kano from the NNPP. Then Nassarrawa was retrieved. All of them went to the APC. If we go one party and legislate sycophancy as patriotism, Gov Bala Mohammed will learn how to compose a better hymn for his president. 

It’s possible some senior judges have looked into their crystal balls and seen the utility of one-party democracy. So they are eager to birth it

Rather than masquerading as opposition and propping the farce, the opposition parties should dissolve and allow the country to face other problems. Of all democratic aberrations, puppetry is the worst. It’s better to have a one-party state than have opposition parties tethered to the apron strings of the president like the Apampa faction of the Labour Party and the Wike faction of the PDP. Without shame, opposition politicians brag about their character, denounce their parties, worship the ruling party, and yet won’t defect. It has become boring. It has to be packed up.  

Nigeria needs a timeout from multiparty democracy.