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Tunde Leye: The Champagne class and the rest of us in 2015 (Y! FrontPage)

by Tunde Leye


On both sides of the divide, we have teams of people that remind me of Squealer from Animal Farm. Where their party is concerned, they justify the actions of the politicians.

The champagne drinkers are at it again. Some of the paraga drinking, alomo drinking and beer drinking class were under the illusion that the opposition champagne drinkers would conduct themselves differently. In fact, a good number of the other classes had vociferously declared in the media, new and old, the impossibility of their saintly champagne drinkers behaving like the well known power wielding ones. But after Friday’s party, it is evident what some of us have known and declared all along; if it drinks champagne, it will act like a champagne drinker, irrespective of the party affiliations. To get a sense of the classes, read the piece [HERE]

When the APC media team went on a blitz against Fayose in Ekiti last week over the distribution of rice during campaigns in voting, they were brutal and merciless in their condemnation. But they forgot that the times are different. A quick Google search produced the rice distributed for the Aregbesola campaign in Osun and the APC media blitz died down. The Squealers could of course not come out to condemn the “ricing” in their own as they did for PDP.

As if that was not enough, the APC held its convention on Friday. The hopes of many were high as to how the APC convention would pan out differently. In fact, in the build up to the day, the media narrative was one of a keen contest between different factions. But in the end, we had a convention where many candidates were unopposed and where most of the voting was simply to fulfill righteousness and meet INEC requirements. Furthermore, one remembers APC’s jibes at the PDP when they produced a 60year old as Youth Leader. So in a move that smirked of the anyhowness of our champagne drinkers, they produced a 52year old Youth or as Tolu Ogunlesi spells it Yoot Leader, in clear contravention of the party rules that they announced in the same convention. The current PDP Youth Leader is 31, and as would be expected, they have had a field day taking the APC to the cleaners on the matter. I however know that it is not on principle that they do this; where it would serve PDP interests, they would still violate their own constitution just as APC just did.

On both sides of the divide, we have teams of people that remind me of Squealer from Animal Farm. Where their party is concerned, they justify the actions of the politicians. It doesn’t matter if they arrest and shoot at protesting students. They can even say corruption is stealing. What if like Gabriel Suswam, they govern a state where primary school students have been at home for nine months? It doesn’t matter. What these squealers look out for is the party affiliation of the politician. Once he or she belongs to their party, they sell indulgences that absolve the politician of all sin and declare them saints who can do no wrong. But the moment the same politician changes allegiance as they are wont to do, all such declarations by the same squealers become null and void and they unearth the same situations as justification of how bad the politicians are.

Young members of political parties need to begin to make their weight felt. You are not merely good enough to be a PA, a media Squealer and the likes. Mr. Ummuna who I spoke about last week is 35 years old, and he is potentially the leader of Labour in the UK. Let that sink in. The largest voting pool are the young people, both within and outside the political parties. Whilst youth doesn’t guarantee performance, it does guarantee one thing. A 75year old party chairman does not have a lot of stake in the future, hence he will work for the country only if he is interested in leaving a legacy. And history has shown us that Nigerians generally speaking are not particularly keen on leaving great legacies. Hence, the young people who have a stake in the future should take more active roles in shaping that future. We cannot be leaders of tomorrow forever. Tomorrow is here and it is time to place the value that our numbers and visibility bestow on us.

It is why I think that the APC youth should challenge the party leadership on this Youth Leader decision. It might be one of the token offices in the leadership of the party, but they should challenge it based on principle, to put the leadership on notice that their anyhowness can no longer be accepted as the order of the day and that they are not going to be contented with the crumbs of SA-ism and PA-ism.

As 2015 approaches, Nigerians should also wake up. People like Suswam should not be able to come out and declare that they are going to the Senate so assuredly, in spite of atrocious nonsense like keeping primary school students at home for 9months. The president will know that there is a direct relationship between his success at #BringBackOurGirls and the possibility of reelection in 2015. Someone like Shettimma will not come out to speak so confidently after leaving his state undeveloped in spite of hundreds of billions in allocation. We are currently plagued with two main parties with politicians who are separated by no ideological differences, essentially different sides of the same coin. The only way we can get real results out of most of them is to show them that we can kick them out when we want to at the ballot boxes. And that, essentially must be what 2015 must be about.


Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.

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