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Published On: Wed, Jul 9th, 2014

The one party state phobia

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By Abdullahi Musa

Tope Fasua has this to say as the concluding remarks in his article “Come PDP, come one-party state. Let us save ourselves some money. And some agony.” Let me say that he will have more agony, and will save not a kobo. The Nigerian situation even without BOKO Haram is pathetic. The cumulative effect of years of challenge to nationhood comes to fruition with the administration of Jonathan Good luck.

We now have a semblance of a nation. The national treasury is not operated according to any law. Since  the former Governor of Central Bank received the boot, we can now agree that no twenty billion dollars were or are missing. This administration has found a way, not to tame the military, but to engage in a symbiotic relationship. There are the prostrate masses to be cowed further; while a short-changed section of the elite are left without any constituency.

I agree with Tope that those who have been fighting the PDP have been fighting a utopian war: there are no masses to be salvaged. PDP understands the game better: there are always masses to be bought , to also be sold. The elites have never paused to reflect on electoral system where some are expected to vote but will never, ever be voted for: they don’t have academic qualifications. I doubt very much if the riots that followed. 2011 presidential election were really that spontaneous. And if they were, was the South not interested in good governance?

Now that we know what the masses want: immediate gratification, do we then succumb to PDP as Tope espoused? We can do that on assumption that the PDP template is not only error-proof, not that it will last forever. Far from it. Let’s take it that all opposition dissolves, and many join the ruling party, or choose to ignore the political system entirely. Will we then live in peace? Far from that,  we will be in more trouble. That will come in two forms. One, when power is unchecked, it goes mad; it will have no limits. Two, if being nominated translates automatically being elected, then even within one-party State, wars will be fought and the masses and their children will be foot soldiers.

The problem with the opposition of current dispensation is that it is in a hurry. It also does not believe in widening the democratic space, that’s why it started with strategy of capturing Governors, who were thought to be invincible while in office. Now Ekiti shows they are not. A paltry, lean, state treasury is no match to one where 20 billion dollars could take flight, with nobody noticing or caring.

Can we compete with India in terms of the size of its poor? No, its poor are in hundreds of millions. They also have a better equipped military that as yet has never taken over a government. So why did Congress lose the recent election? Why is it easier for them to change a government democratically?

Many stalwarts of APC have accepted a wrong premise towards 2015 elections: that power must return to the North. Then a Southerner who may be a card-carrying member of APC may come to see that the coming elections do not concern him or her, at least nationally. Who owns the PDP? I believe it is the Nigerian military. A bloody civilian like Jonathan Good luck can trot around as President as long as he realizes who is the boss.

The nation Nigeria, like many other nations is held together not by common ancestry  or values but by force of arms. And this far, the Nigerian military commands superior, legitimate, firepower.

The opposition, if any, should come to realization that it is the military that is ruling the country. Politicians who are in PDP are believers in the status quo. If they loot the nation, it is the masses who are further subjugated. With time, the half-baked university graduate must accept his second class citizenship. Where did Tope get it wrong? By assuming all will be well if we submit to Emperor Jonathan. Like someone said, it will be the peace of the grave. Our number problem is that the elite in opposition are not united on anything concrete. They are not part of the masses. They thus should change focus. The elutes in PDP are absolutely convinced that you show love to your nation by serially raping her.

Daron Acemoglu and James A. Robinson wrote a book “Why nations fail”. They said extractive economic institutions create extractive political institutions, and vice versa. The opposite, which is better, are inclusive political and economic institutions. Are the opposition political parties in Nigeria more inclusive, participatory, than PDP? NO! It is up to them then to chart their way to power.

Abdullahi Musa via

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