One wonders the furore about cross-carpeting in Nigeria by the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, when it has been the major beneficiary of the obscene pastime. Only a few of those who lead the PDP today shared the dreams of the radicals who braved military might to forge a group that has now been debased by hustlers and moneychangers.
When the likes of Bola Ige, Abubakar Rimi, Audu Ogbeh, Adamu Ciroma, Francis Ellah, Solomon Lar, Alex Ekwueme, Sule Lamido and Jerry Gana, despite his doubtful consistency, banded to liberate us from the shackles of might-is-right with a focus on a progressive nation that could stand on its own, they didn’t bargain for the aberration in man and material that now besets our leadership. The dream was hijacked by political jackals that have turned a serious business of state to a child’s play.
In the first term of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, most of the elected members from the All People’s Party and Alliance for Democracy decamped to the PDP without any face lost by the ruling party for its indecent and illicit gains. The game continued and the ruling party has lived on coercion and intimidation oiled with money to sustain its many breaches of the constitution and abuse of the electoral system. Illegality has now reached saturation and normally something new must sprout from the ashes of the total collapse of a system.
Aminu Tambuwal has changed colours and so what? Governor Olusegun Mimiko, a few weeks ago, moved with his men from Labour Party to the PDP. The heavens did not fall. APGA members of the lower federal house switched loyalty to PDP without the ruling party batting an eyelid. And this was at a time a court restrained parties from effecting changes of membership. In short, Mimiko and others defied a court order to maintain the status quo.
I disagree with Olisa Agbakoba’s interpretation of the article on defection in the constitution. He read a line and omitted the ancillary. Does the constitution not allow freedom of association and choice? If we are to use Agbakoba’s version, all the state houses of assembly and the National Assembly would be empty because almost half of their members have changed their tailors from the initial ones that sewed their gowns. We may not mention names, but who, in the legislature, but a few, can beat their chests today that they had not eaten the rotten pie of disloyalty to their original courses in the political process?
Why are there too many inexperienced persons ruling the roost in the PDP? Some of us from a vantage point saw the PDP being cobbled under the leadership of brave men like Michael Ajasin against all odds. Most of those who proselytise for the party today were in their huts and hovels hibernating from military boots. They are first today to proclaim that theirs “is the largest party in Africa.” Some were cutting throat to win fat contracts from the military. Today, they reap from where they have not sown, thanks to Obasanjo who hijacked the party and turned it to a vehicle of the World Bank and the IMF. It was from him the party started to derail, checked only by Ogbeh and Ekwueme from deviating from the article of faith that brought the group to being. The present PDP is a bastard child of the founders.
Must present African leaders not learn from the events around them? Nobody is all powerful, except our maker. See how Blaise Compaore has collapsed like a pack of dominoes. They are too insensitive and even when they know they are incompetent for their charge, they force themselves on the people.
It is very necessary to point to the defects of President Goodluck Jonathan with the actions of the de facto president, Patience. Does the massive PDP protest in Port Harcourt recently not show that the house is grossly divided? Alabo Graham-Douglas was at his excellence warning about the impending disaster in the party in Rivers State. That justifies a divided party which allows choice for change in constitution. Did Agbakoba hear of Patience picking up Ladoja from Accord Party to represent the PDP? It is only in a divided house that happens. I reported proceedings of brilliant Justice Agbakoba both as a lawyer and on the bench in the First Republic. That noble Onitsha man would not endorse the point of view of Olisa on defection. When a system is crumbling, it dents all institutions in it? Sunday Adewusi became a super general under Shehu Shagari, violating people’s human rights. After my piece in the Sunday Times, the late Mamman Vatsa was touched and he asked Olu Akaraogun, a mutual friend, so “Adewusi is now a general?”
A few months later, the young Turks were rattling their sabre for change and so appeared Muhamadu Buhari in the saddle with WAI and all the brilliant ideas. The Romans always warned that leaders should make haste slowly, “festina lente.” Is the new IGP averse to history? History is always right. Who cast the first stone?
Is the political ghost of Murtala Nyako haunting the PDP? It appears this impeachment bogey could reach the topmost.