The Nigerian political landscape is abuzz with frenzied campaigning leading up to next month’s elections. Two political parties – All Progressive Congress (APC) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) – dominate the jostling for voters’ attention. The voters are citizens of Nigeria whose fate is at stake. Since 1999 when the country returned to democratic rule, the PDP has been in the saddle of power. Power appurtenances enabled the party to swallow or destabilize other parties to maintain absolute power. And as Lord Akton observed, absolute tends to corrupt absolutely.
The death of President Umaru Musa Yar’adua suddenly opened up the rumps of PDP. There emerged power vacuum that threw opportunists into power game. Completion of Yar’adua’s tenure was well managed by eminent Nigerians that were determined to sustain the sacrifice of our past heroes for a vibrant, virile and great country; a country of hope for every black man. Though in cognizance of rotational arrangement the power vacuum as a result of the demise of late President Yar’adua placed a disadvantage against the geographical zone he represented. Compromise was reached to allow constitutional procedure to supersede every other consideration to maintain status quo in order of succession for the Vice President to complete PDP presidency as party that won the 2007 general elections.
However, the confusion once again arose when it came to issues of 2011 general elections. The same eminent Nigerians rallied to douse the tensions on a gentleman agreement of just one term that would give President Jonathan a total of six years in office. It was a firm commitment as chronicled in video clippings from his speeches from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and within Nigeria with commendations at Eagle Square, Abuja by former president Obasanjo.
Personalities like Governors Aliyu Wamakko of Sokoto state, Sule Lamido of Jigawa and former governor of Adamawa state, Murtala Nyako were tireless in trying to breach an understanding with northern stakeholders to support President Goodluck Jonathan in the 2011 presidential election. These gentlemen drew odium from their people for what they saw as betrayal. But their efforts were seen in wider spectrum as a means to peaceful resolution of constitutional crisis that Nigeria suddenly got entangled. The country eventually smarted out of it. These gentlemen succeeded as patriots. However, events soon unfolded in bitter and unpalatable reciprocation where PDP leadership resorted to antics of use and dump. It reached climax under the chairmanship of Bamanga Tukur.
Reform is desirable to keep a system in tune with current realities. These realities emanated from the pulse of the grassroots which recurred with public opinion of the electorate at the baseline. Frequently, the governors of PDP nudged the national headquarters to listen and reason in the interest of the party and country. Governor Wamakko was an active mover in the voices for reform. But he became a target of vilification, orchestrated by some PDP members from Sokoto state that found permanent abode in Abuja. They are still the spoilers in Sokoto State structure of the party. They seemed more inclined towards their personal ambitions than welfare of the masses. In fact that character reflected in the travails of other patriotic governors. In spite of their effrontery the governors continued to work towards amicable resolutions of issues. The national headquarters sabotaged these efforts at every stage. The presidency fed with enormous false insinuations was aloof and arrogant to address issues in the interest of the country.
Expectedly, the alternative became abandoning the unwilling horse for a movable one ready to continue the race to rescue Nigerians from downward slide into poverty and continuous carnage. APC emerged as a national formidable party for realization of that mission. It should not be surprising that the hitherto amorphous size of PDP has resulted into degeneration to complacency towards the plight of the masses. Unfortunately, parochial sentiments are now the sing song of the party to harangue Nigerians into deceptive promises of fixing the economy at the expense of innocuous shrinking opportunities.
Few days ago the national chairman of PDP, Alhaji Adamu Mua’azu, ruefully alerted President Jonathan on imminent collapse of the party due to what he called use and dump policy of the party. And that is exactly what caused the massive desertion of personalities from PDP to other parties. The present chairman of PDP made the very observation Alhaji Bamanga Tukur shunned from those patriots now in APC. They are vindicated. It is the carelessness that has plunged Nigeria into a rudderless state. The current situation has blossomed into general negligence to provide security for the citizens, ubiquitous uncertainties, unemployment, economic disarray and huge corruption nurtured and sustained by sycophants of the administration that position as perpetual beneficiaries of the common wealth. Their faces manifested in donations towards bankrolling PDP campaigns. But certainly, the country cannot continue this way.
APC has provided alternative platform for progressives to converge and work assiduously to enthrone a government that shall rescue the drifting ship of nation. The party kicked off its campaigns from the southern part of the country as a demonstration that contrary to PDP insinuation, APC is truly a national party that transcends every jaundiced sentiment. It is a grassroots party as envisaged for PDP by Governor Wamakko and other governors that found their way into APC. PDP is now a cabal that protects interests of a few at the detriment of the Nigerian masses.
In Sokoto, the APC train is being propelled by Alhaji Aminu Waziri Tambuwal. The colossal experience he gained as the Speaker of the House of Representatives will stand him in good stead to govern the state. He is a nationalist that still holds together one of the most cohesive lower chambers in Nigerian democratic history. Sokoto, the seat of the Caliphate, will continue the model administrative paradigm to the rest of the nation under Tambuwal and APC, given the latter’s people-oriented programme for Nigerian masses’ emancipation.
Mohammed Kabir Hassan lives at 87 Western Bye-pass, Sokoto.