Sunday Digest With Ezeani Chukwunonso: The Nigerian Opposition And Their Brand Of Progressives


At the last check, the new political alliance between the newly formed opposition All Progressive Congress, APC and a handful of renegade members of the ruling Peoples' Democratic Party, PDP has continued to generate ripples in our polity. The new alliance of these strange bed fellows have continued to generate reactions from Nigerians not necessarily because that alliance is in the interest of Nigeria and Nigerians. The alliance is simply generating reactions because Nigerians are currently being treated to a large dose of unsolicited political comedy which has not being the case in decades. The alliance is selfish and deceitful and seeks to serve the interest of disgruntled persons that have been denied as much access to the spoils of political power as they will have wanted. I'm constrained to err my views as it relates to this latest development mainly because I am entitled to do so as a stakeholder of Project Nigeria. Indeed, the older generation have failed Nigeria and Nigerians and I see no reason why I should endorse another group of morally deficient old men seeking to hold on to power at all cost; to the detriment of the younger generation (whose destinies matter more to me), themselves and to Nigeria at large.

Few months ago, Nigerians were full of hope and were excited when the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC),  the All Nigeria’s People Party (ANPP) and the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) merged to form what is now known and referred to as the All Progressive Congress (APC). Expectations were high mainly because we had wrongly assumed that a new group have emerged that will keep the ruling PDP on its toes, causing them to live up to expectation in their service to Nigerians. The social media platforms went abuzz with posts, tweets and pictures of the newly married. Social critics had a field day analysing the new development; its pros and cons were highlighted and scrutinized to the delight of Nigerians. I'm certain that the high command of the PDP lost some sleep at the beginning of this development but now I doubt if the union was worth the troubles.

Alas! A Daniel is come to judgment. My countrymen in the APC have shown discerning Nigerians the real stuff it is made of. Today, what started as mere solidarity visits to some political figures have led to the consummation of an unwholesome alliance between several political gladiators. First, it was more or less political evangelism; today it has become an open bid to woo any "wooable" person into the fold of "the progressives." What I find laughable and equally baffling about this entire episode is the fact that the current crop of APC leaders have not fared better than their counterparts in the PDP whom they seek to outshine. If anything, there are several political holders in the PDP that have excelled in their political career and have raised the bar of development in their respective states (the Akwa Ibom, Anambra and Enugu State Governments are proof that the PDP have not failed totally). I also consider it laughable that while the APC finds it convenient to cast aspersions on the PDP with such reckless abandon that is stunning, it have failed as a union to tell Nigerians what it will do to improve our lots if their bid to form a government (at all costs come 2015) succeeds.

Overtime, my countrymen in the APC have spent time, money and other scarce resources issuing statements that seeks to portray the leadership of Nigeria as clueless and one that has no sense of direction, but the APC have obviously forgotten that it takes much more than issuing press releases to gather enough votes that will cause them to form a government at the federal level. Over the world, political parties that pride themselves as progressives are built on a solid foundation of unshakeable ideologies and principles. Their word is their bound. They do not seek power at all cost and they are most careful of persons that they welcome into their fold. Unfortunately, my countrymen in the APC have betrayed these ideals. 

On one hand they lambast the Presidency for condoning corruption, yet they fall over one another to persuade members of the corrupt PDP to jump ship and form a government with them. On one hand, they accuse the president of shielding a corrupt aviation minister yet the Lagos State House of Assembly still parades Rt. Adeyemi Ikuforiji as its speaker. On one hand they blast the PDP for lacking internal democracy yet Nigerians have heard stories of how the national leader of the APC decides who gets what in his party. The courts acquit Mallam Nasir El-Rufai of land grabbing charges, it's victory for democracy; another court clears Chief Olabode Ibiyinka George of contract splitting charges, it’s the height of miscarriage of justice. The APC lose elections in Anambra, the INEC chairman must resign. They clear the polls in Yobe state, dogs and baboons wouldn’t be soaked in blood any more. How progressive are they then?

Their recent actions have made me joke that had Alhaji Lamidi Ariyibi Adedibu been alive today, he too may have been wooed by the leadership of the APC who appear to be bound by one objective – hold power by all means come 2015. Perhaps, if Abu Shekau, the leader of the Boko Haram terrorist sect abandons his "spiritual assignment" and declares his intention to seek an elective post in Maiduguri, the APC may woo him also after all; Sen. Ahmed Sani Yerima famous for his insatiable sexual craving for minors is now a progressive. Politics of principle and ideas have been relegated to the background. In their opinion, they owe Nigerians no explanation on how they will manage our commonwealth if they are charged with that responsibility. They have not told us how they will resuscitate the ailing power sector, their plans for the housing, agriculture, health and education sectors is still unknown (perhaps under wraps), unemployment is on a steady rise, yet the APC thinks it's not necessary to tell Nigerians how they plan to stem the ugly tide. Little wonder the PDP doesn’t shake when "Lie" Mohammed, the juke box of the APC storms the airwave with his unpopular chants. My countrymen in the APC have told us to go to hell. They have told us to our faces that so long as they are in the good books of IBB, Abdulsalam and Obasanjo, they do not need our support. They have even implied that since they have Lagos, Rivers and Kano States neatly tucked under their over starched dashikis, it doesn’t matter to them if the rest of us don't vote for them.

No doubt, 2015 will be a year that will go down the annals of our history as a people. Whether or not the incumbent President will contest that election is immaterial at this point in time, what is most material now is that the groups that seek to form a new government at that time, the PDP inclusive gathers their act and show Nigerians the direction it will take them if it wins that election. The opposition should be told in clear terms that Nigerians have started loosing faith in them as a group because seeing leaders of the APC sit side-by-side with the likes of IBB and 'Segun Obasanjo in a forum meant to discuss the future of Nigeria leaves much to be desired. Like an ex-president once suggested; "Nigerians should not be taken for granted." While the APC comfortably thinks this warning was issued to the incumbent president only, I think it is also applicable to them.  Enough of political mudslinging. Enough of name calling, enough of noise. Caution remains the word.

As year 2014 begins, I can only hope that the APC takes stock of how badly their popularity have diminished and how miserably they have failed to impress Nigerians as the government that will govern in their best interest mainly as a result of thei r fraternizing with the same band of ex-thieving leaders that plundered our commonwealth as a nation, abandoning us right in the centre of nowhere. The leaders of the APC should reckon with the fact that Nigerians have long woken up from their several years of political slumber and are more willing than ever to vent their spleen on any person or group that seeks to abuse their intelligence any further. More than ever, Nigerians are more sensitive to issues that touch on the fabric of nationhood. The APC should realize that only Nigerians can enthrone and/or dethrone a government hence they should as a matter of importance abandon their plans to woo more thieves into their fold and spend more time and resources wooing Nigerians to their side as only Nigerians will make the difference come 2015.

Ezeani Chukwunonso Elvis is a business consultant and writer. He’s passionate about a better Nigeria and writes in from Lagos.

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