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I have heard much talk about the National Assembly. The opposition may gain the number but it will still not be useful. They may disturb the President from easy passage of some request but they can’t get the number to impeach him, which is the greatest threat they could pose. What will happen is that in the likely fight over self-interest, Nigerians and the nation will suffer. But the legislators defect and not lose their seats? Some lawyers say the constitution says once there is a crisis in their party. Is there crisis in PDP leadership? Before the defection, a court of competent jurisdiction has made it clear that the authentic leadership structure is the one led by Bamanga Tukur. That for me legally raised the issue of crisis. So any legislator decamping now may do himself harm. All said I am not troubled about the development so long those pursuing follow the democratic path. What will bother me is introduction of unorthodox tactics. I hope the players uphold the nation and the people far above their personal interest; that is my strong advice. To some extent, what is happening is good.
Last Tuesday, I was busy looking for small finances here and there, when one of my friends beckoned on me, “Ralph, political earthquake has taken place in our nation.” In surprise, I jumped up and inquired, “Has President Jonathan been overthrown”?
He replied, “Not that, but something along the line.” He continued: “At last the G7 rebelling governors have finally decamped to the All Progressives Congress.” I responded by asking, ‘Is that the news? That is not news, I expected it and it is the right thing to do.’ From that point I followed the news to particularly hear what the defecting governors and their allies would give as reasons and what the APC leadership that has been talking about newness and change would have to say about soliciting and taking in prominent pillars of the PDP it has told us created the problems our nation and her people are passing through.
After listening and following the development for several hours I saw nothing to cheer about the whole development. For me it became a reconfirmation of what I already know being a political participant of deep roots, that our political class still lacks sufficient number of men and women with high intellectual ability. Let me begin from the foundation: APC said they were coming with something new and fresh, to provide alternative to PDP and to lead the nation in a different direction. Those who had foresight questioned the initial makeup of the Buhari/Tinubu tendencies. They said the mix did not quite represent a new dimension and dynamics.
What the development tells me is that nothing has changed in the extraordinary sense of it. What has finally happened is that in place of having a new party to provide the kind of alternative necessary for the time, our politicians have led us to further entrenched the PDP tendency on the nation. By the act of last Tuesday, we now have PDP One and PDP two. One is the original while two comprise the splinter groups that are fighting for mere change of power and nothing more. I say so because no blue-print for both political and economic emancipation preceded, what ordinarily should have been a good move if the motives were right and the process very nationalistic. Those who described what happened as merger do not know about the right terms in political science. The defecting figures, decamped to another platform to enable fight about power change: power change to the north and for their personal safety, giving that nearly all those involved will are exhaust the constitutionally provided limits for their office by May 2015. Few hours before the defection, I had done a piece yet to be published where I used the latest unrestrained outburst of Governor of Niger State, Babangida Aliyu and recent interview of Sule Lamido to show that the Governors dirty struggle has nothing to do with expanding democratic frontiers but has everything to do with personal and sectional interest. Aliyu had said last week that the President intends to bribe 400 northerners to betray northern interest and that north will take back the Presidency, since it is only about the question of numbers. If they have this mindset, what then could be said to be the major reason for decamping to APC? Nigerians would have to provide the answer. How much purity would their entry leave for APC? Again Nigerians would have to come up with the answer.
by Ralph Egbu
Some have already jumped to the conclusion that the movement will change the political equation, especially in the National Assembly. My contention, which is consistent with my introduction, is that nothing substantial will change. APC will gain in number but certainly not in quality. I told friends conservative parties are strong anywhere. Once it is clear the governors have really left, many who have remained on the wings would be very glad to see their exit. I do not want to hazard what would follow and the outcome in our kind of environment. I have been in government long enough to know that once the people perceive you as having lost real power, you see the worst of the human element. If people know the governors are going, have no strong influence over police, and now army, they know how to make a switch even without being prompted. How much more now that the political class has made the greatest number of Nigerians to be hungry and famished? We know this to be true. Most elections including those won by the defecting governors were won on the corrupt platform of “cornering” electoral officers, having a “handshake” with the Police and more recently the Army. Will this change because they have defected? How many of them are really very popular?
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But some of us said give them a chance, and that position was based on the understanding that somehow you have to grow something from a platform. But soon, signs began to emerge that what we thought could be “new” may be the product of the same old guards, who have misled this nation and were losing relevance and who have decided to dig into their bag of tricks to stage the last push and regaining power. APC in the last few months, in the manner of school children have moved from one ultra conservative home to another, including romance with ex-dictators, in search of anchor for what was supposed to be a fresh political party. Finally last Tuesday, the APC leadership in a gathering (organized in a Gestapo style quite opposed to democratic pattern), received four governors who won election on PDP ticket into their party. Three “wise” ones have said they would wait, hinging their waiting game on reasons that for me are not very cogent.
What has finally happened is that in place of having a new party to provide the kind of alternative necessary for the time, our politicians have led us to further entrenched the PDP tendency on the nation. By the act of last Tuesday, we now have PDP One and PDP two. One is the original while two comprise the splinter groups that are fighting for mere change of power and nothing more.
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