Opinion

The ‘monkey and baboon’ ‘must think better’ (2)

The APC and PDP (that is the monkey and the baboon) only strategy lies in the need to arm themselves with the support of that ethnic group that currently controls the electoral infrastructure capable of giving the greatest number of votes and that is the reason zoning is a fundamental issue.

When the All Progressive Party (APC) was formed in 2014 to challenge the political dominance of Nigeria by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), APC made tons of promises, but the most prominent of them were restoration of security of lives and property, extirpation of corruption from Nigeria and making life and social well-being of Nigerians better than was the case under the PDP.

Were those promises by APC the driving force for the defeat of PDP in 2015? Certainly, no! The driving force if we are sincere to interrogate our political culture was largely determined by ethnicity.

The APC promises were not the driving force for the defeat of PDP. Ethnicity did it as Northern political leaders in PDP protested against the breach of the alleged rotation of power agreement between the North and the South by the founders of PDP in 1998. It was not the failure of the PDP to fulfil its electoral promises that led to its defeat of the APC in 2015.

So, it is not a sincere interpretation of the political culture of Nigeria to hold as Mr. Fashola did in the interview that electoral outcomes were largely determined by the fidelity to electoral promises by political parties.

To hold as Mr. Fashola did in the interview is an incomplete, if not a total misreading of Nigerian politics. So, let it be known as axiomatic truth contrary to Fashola postulation that it is not the politician’s promises to the electorate and his keeping of them that determine the electoral contest to any party’s favour. What determines victory for any political party remains a constant juggling of ethnicity and religion in Nigeria.

Depending on how such ethnic and religious factors are manipulated determine the fortunes or misfortunes of political parties in Nigeria. A corollary to Mr. Fashola’s postulation that make promises and keeping them lead to electoral success in Nigeria is his conclusion that for the opposition parties, especially the PDP to defeat APC in the 2023 election, they or it “has to think better” than the APC and handed down the verdict that the opposition (meaning of course the PDP particularly and the other parties) are not doing so now.

It is difficult to agree with Mr. Fashola that a lot of thinking if that thinking is of the kind that is associated with knowledge acquisition and domestication and deployment in bringing about social change in any society. I think that Nigeria politicians are not given to that kind of luxury.

The Nigerian politician is given to excogitating quick fixes and stratagems, in most cases criminal and magical stunts that make electoral victories possible. Let’s take the ‘thinking’ that brought about the PDP, APP and AD.

What kind of thinking led to their birth in 1998? Was it not just quick fixes and stratagems from military-cut-and-fix that created them to take over from them to abort the imminent social change staring them in the face? Between 2013 and 2015, what kind of thinking produced the political amalgam that is APC? What kind of thinking had synthesized all the issues involved and factors at play and fructified the alliance of ACN, ANPP, APGA and CPC into APC? These are strange bed fellows whose ideologies – if any – and perception of Nigeria were worlds apart from each other, yet they formed an alliance merely to defeat the PDP.

So, what was the thinking in that experiment which the current opposition is incapable of doing now? In any case, let’s not just dismiss Fashola’s postulation as bereft of any intellectual substance.

Our grouse with his postulation is that he tried to dismiss the opposition as an ‘unthinking lot’ while the APC presumably remains a nursery bed of political ideas and experimentations that confers on it redoubtable and impregnable which is not true. Every Nigerian political party is not intellectually driven; for each is founded on commonplace idea of just grabbing power to distribute public offices and apportions patronage to worthies according to whims and caprices of the power-wielder.

What serious ideas did the parties espouse right from 1944 when NCNC was born or 1951 when AG and NPC were born? None, apart from individual works of some leaders such as Nnamdi Azikiwe (Political Blueprint of Nigeria) or Obafemi Awolowo (Path for Nigeria Freedom) which were limited by their limited horizons.

None matches the timeless and deep intellectual activity of the Founding Fathers of America in designing the 1787 American Constitution that made freedom, justice and pursuit of happiness the eternal lodestar guiding the nation or the essays arguing for or against the ratification as conveyed by the Federalist Papers written by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and John Jay but signed off as ‘Publius’ and Anti-Federalist Papers (signed off as ‘Federal Farmer’ and ‘Cato’) by George Clinton, Richard Henry Lee supported by George Mason, Elbridge Gerry, Luther Martin and Patrick Henry. NPN, UPN, NPP, GNPP and even PRP were no different from the 1960s political parties so also the present parties.

APC is certainly not having a serious ‘thinking’ about Nigeria if ‘thinking’ is the asset that guarantees electoral fortunes otherwise it would not have ignored the work done its Restructuring Committee headed by Governor Nasir El-Rufai or trivialize the #EndSARS protests as an irritant schemes of the opposition and malcontents.

The party has not shown by it policies and actions as a ‘thinking’ party which would require a countervailing better thinker to overthrow electorally. The APC is going the way of PDP that led it to implode and gave birth to APC.

While PDP did not care to ‘think’ and paid dearly for its error, but at least while it remained under the control of a Commander-in-Chief who appointed field commanders who held his sovereign authority and managed to last while the autocracy subsisted, but once he left the party cascading down the slippery slope under the nonmilitary commanders who succeeded him as presidents. PDP might either survive its present fragile existence to wrestle power from an imploded APC or finally go extinct if it fails in that object.

APC under a similar Commander-in Chief will either hold tightly to power to bolster its existence or implode by weeding out ‘undesirables’ and thereafter galvanize itself into a totalitarian and one party state apparatus. In that there is no ‘thinking’ driving it. Such is only an act of brigandage and certainly it is not the fruit of knowledge that comes from ‘thinking’. After the tenure of the Commander-in-Chief, a non-commander- in-chief is sure to succeed him and it is possible that this non-military man may neither possess the autocratic skills nor the knowledge that berths an enlightened selfinterest that may serve the public and galvanize the society to seek the path of truth and justice capable of rescuing a sinking titan, and that situation the party will disintegrate and even draw the country alongside it, in an unrestrained cascade to the abyss.

 

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