By Patrick Obahiagbon
Finally, the eagle has landed with the emergence of former governor of Edo state, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, as the national chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC). By that strategic political orchestration and stratagem, the APC, under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari, has sounded the ultimate Nunc Dimittis for the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). The opposition must be wishing that this had not happened. Oshiomhole’s chairmanship of the governing APC is a masterstroke in the contemplation of a revitalized winning machine ahead of the crucial 2019 presidential election in which Buhari, as the expected candidate, continues to be PDP’s nemesis and Waterloo.
It is a platitudinous fact that the PDP never wanted the APC to remain cohesive in the hope that it could profit from its internal squabbles and divisions in the build-up to next year’s general election. That was the reason it had continued with its negative profiling of the APC and its jejune antics of taunting the APC as incapable of holding congresses and national convention to elect its national executive committee (NEC). That narrative had, sardonically, become a platform on which the battered opposition strove to draw political relevance. Unfortunately, its rash of criticisms had only portrayed it as dimwitted. And generally, the PDP has now outlandishly reduced opposition politics to petty tittle-tattle and confabulation, poking around in the APC’s internal affairs when issues that directly affect the welfare, security and wellbeing of the nation and her citizenry are blowing in the wind.
But one thing has been very evident in the corpus of criticisms that the PDP has hurled at the APC and Buhari’s administration since inception: the criticisms are all sheer bunkum and gobbledygook oozing out of the belly of damaged and compromised party machine, whose leaders lack the moral high ground to pontificate about corruption. But surprisingly, the PDP, through its publicists, has been laboring hard to skew the corruption narrative against the APC and Buhari, whose moral magnitude has received national and international approbation; a leader, who typifies the moral conscience of the administration and the moving force of the anti-corruption war.
It is in the context of the sheer preposterousness of PDP’s antics that the sensibilities of Nigerians who have become seized of the facts of monumental corruption and mindless looting that charaterised the sixteen years of the PDP government get daily assaulted and ghastly bruised. The fact that the PDP has the gumption to sermonize about propriety in official conduct questions and ridicules our sense of morality. The opposition party has sunk so deep into the corruption morass for it to be able to challenge the APC. Its records of malfeasance and sleaze are sordid. Its integrity capital has been greatly discounted. There is no iota of positivity in its kitty to show to a manically bewildered citizenry.
The PDP cannot come to equity because it does not have clean hands. The totality of the political machine is soiled. The party’s unconscionable and wicked strategy to charge the APC-led federal administration with the mundane issues and primordial sentiments of religion and ethnicity in order to diminish the single-minded effort by Buhari to confront and dismantle the odious legacies of corruption, insecurity and mismanaged economy inherited from it, are reprehensible. Herein is the fallacy of PDP’s oppositional politics. It is obviously luxuriating in the aqua of hocus-pocus, thinking that Nigerians have forgotten so soon how its government mindlessly plundered the nation’s patrimony.
There is no doubt that the leading opposition party has nothing new to offer. It has thus become a compulsive irritant, knowing full well that it cannot electorally rebound due to Buhari’s writ-large credentials and characters of financial prudence and integrity. In addition, the prospects of a much more unified party under the chairmanship of a hard-hitting Oshiomhole have raised the bar far higher than the PDP had expected. Until June 23, the PDP had been indulged by the party’s NEC under the urbane and unassuming leadership of Chief John Odigie-Oyegun. That political indulgence had served as an oxygen mask for the prostrate PDP, which, at the time, should have been put where it rightly belongs through precise and sustained narratives by the APC.
Had Oshiomhole been the chairman at that period when the nation was daily regaled by revelations of corrupt acts perpetrated by the PDP and officials of its government particularly from 2011 to 2015, he would have robustly deployed the platform of his office to further deconstruct the nature of the plundering administration and the characters that superintended it. Today, Oshiomhole has stepped in as national chairman to the discomfiture of the opposition: all gloves are off for bare-knuckled fights with the floundering opposition. It is too late for the PDP to stop the macabre dance. Regardless, Oshiomhole will take the wind out of its sail, deploying his huge capacity for wits and grits.
The role of the opposition is not, as it were, to cry wolf where there is none or to become irresponsible in raising the alarm before international organisations without verifiable factual bases nor is it to play on our centrifugal proclivities at the expense of our centripetal and agglutinating fulcrum.
In fact, the PDP is now in between the devil and the deep blue sea. Whether it becomes irresponsible or not, it should know that it has Oshiomhole to contend with per time.
*Honourabe Obahiagbon, a former member of the House of Representatives, writes from Benin