Friday, March 18, 2016 11:49 pm
By Bolanle Bolawole
The elections of March\April 2015 killed and buried the Peoples Democratic Party, as it were; but, surprisingly, it appears the then ruling party, now Opposition, has resurrected from the dead. The party, which all had taken for a goner, is resurging in a manner that would surprise even PDP party faithful themselves. If any prophet had prophesied that PDP would still be alive and kicking by now, such a prophet would have been laughed to scorn by many right-thinking Nigerians. PDP has not only found its voice, it has fought back bravely and has put the ruling APC’s back to the wall. Wonders, they say, will never end. This turn of events is one of such wonders.
Since the All Progressives Congress government was inaugurated on May 29th, 2015, PDP has gingerly but sure-footedly plotted its way back to reckoning. Today, it has become so bold that it issues threats and ultimatums to the ruling party! PDP is on the attack while APC is on the retreat; PDP is on the offensive while APC is on the defence; PDP has seized the initiative, as it were, and has become proactive whereas APC has lost the initiative and is often issuing rejoinders and reacting to PDP attacks. APC appears jaded and worn-out while PDP bubbles with life and is full of confidence. What an irony!
Initially, it looked as if APC was going to run PDP out of town; what with the rash of tribunal verdicts that upturned many important election results won by the PDP. At a point, it was like PDP would lose Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Delta states and many more, including Taraba. Up to the Appeal Court, the ex-ruling party’s nose was bloodied; but dramatically at the Supreme Court level it got reprieve after reprieve, such that it has retained all those states that were hitherto shaky. David Mark and many other PDP chieftains have won their re-run elections.
Since the inauguration of Muhammadu Buhari, PDP is said to have won between 70 and 80 percent of all re-run elections. The only significant election won by APC has been Kogi, and that because Audu Abubakar, mercifully, won the election for APC before he died. Had he died before the vote, the likelihood is that PDP would have retained the state. Even at that, the APC is in tatters over Kogi and the courts will have to pronounce on the issues involved before we can say where victory, eventually, would rest. PDP chieftains have, on the wings of its dramatic resurgence, boasted that it would win the next election in 2019. Why not, if the voters so decide; but I laugh at their fawning back-slapping: Is this resurgence evidence of the people’s love and support? It is not! It is the APC that is fast depleting its once intimidating arsenal of goodwill and throwing a life-line in the way of PDP.
There are 17 reasons why PDP is resurging while APC now looks “clueless and incompetent” (apologies, Lai Mohammed!)
1. Buhari’s first statement of “I am not for anybody; I am for everybody” gave him away immediately as not a party man. Bukola Saraki, Yakubu Dogara and PDP read it well and wasted no time in cashing-in on it. The embarrassment that this government has suffered over the 2016 budget debacle; and the people’s loss of confidence in its ability to tackle the economy, would not have arisen if APC had put its choice candidates in control of the National Assembly instead of the rebels now controlling the place in tandem with the PDP. APC as a party lost its gait and verve and will never remain the same again.
Those who thought Buhari was a party man and, therefore, party leader and waited on him learnt object lessons – like Godot, Buhari never showed up! The party, as it were, was a mere platform that some smart guys employed to achieve their political ambition. APC’s soul is already seared.
2. Buhari’s initial appointments were perceived to be lop-sided in favour of North\Muslim and against South\Christians. The alarm that this sounded travelled far before subsequent (half-hearted?) attempts at amelioration, thus failing till now to allay the fear of North\Muslim ascendancy under the Buhari administration and the marginalisation of the South\Christians.
3. Of the four legacy parties that formed APC, Buhari is alleged to have unduly favoured his own CPC component in appointments to the chagrin of ACN, ANPP and New-PDP.
4. Political observers have observed Buhari’s resolve to build his own political structures in places where he had none. He revealed his hands too early, thereby unsettling political forces in control of such areas. It remains to be seen if the pillars he is erecting in those areas can carry the required weight and deliver the votes when the need arises.
5. Like France’s Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte, Buhari is said to be up against his own “General Winter”. If care is not taken, like Napoleon, he, too, may burn his fingers and meet his Waterloo in no distant future.
6. Buhari is fighting too many opponents at one and same time. He has opened too many war fronts simultaneously. Like Adolf Hitler discovered to his chagrin, Buhari, too, may soon discover that he is biting more than he can chew.
7. Buhari’s antecedents as a military dictator are beginning to dog his footsteps. As he bares his fangs in the many battles he is waging, his methods in a civilian dispensation are beginning to resemble those of his days as a military autocrat. Hear Federal High Court judge, Yusuf Halilu, on the EFCC under Buhari: “The EFCC is a creation of the law. The court will not allow it to act as if it is above the law. It is remarkable to note that the motto of the EFCC is that nobody is above the law; yet, they are acting as if they are above the law. The EFCC Act is not superior to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The respondents in this matter have not behaved as if we are in a civilised society.
Buhari’s first statement of “I am not for anybody; I am for everybody” gave him away immediately as not a party man. Bukola Saraki, Yakubu Dogara and PDP read it well and wasted no time in cashing-in on it. The embarrassment that this government has suffered over the 2016 budget debacle; and the people’s loss of confidence in his ability to tackle the economy, would not have arisen if APC had put its choice candidates in control of the National Assembly instead of the rebels now controlling the place in tandem with the PDP. APC as a party lost its gait and verve and will never remain the same again.
They have behaved as if we are in a military dictatorship where they arrest and release at will. The respondents, I must be bold to say – the EFCC and the Army – have behaved like illiterates” Hear another Federal High Court judge, Okon Abang, in another EFCC corruption case which the prosecution was trying to fast-track: “The justice of the case is to give the defence ample time to study the additional proof of evidence. Though justice delayed is justice denied; justice rushed is also justice crushed”. These are indirect jabs at Buhari government’s autocratic (?) style as it fights corruption.
8. Buhari’s diplomacy to Saudi Arabia to help shore up crashing oil price is commendable; getting support for the war against terrorism is also okay. But he should avoid making Nigeria a member of the murderous Saudi Arabia-led coalition fighting insurgency in Yemen. For one, this country can ill-afford setting its Shia or Shiite Muslims against the Sunnis. For another, Nigerian Christians are ever sensitive to any attempt to Islamize the country under any form or guise. Hear Prof. Ben Nwabueze: “We are all against terrorism but don’t make it a religious issue. This country is not a Muslim state. He does not need to drag Nigeria into the coalition. Nigeria is not a Muslim state and that is why CAN in the North is up in arms over that”.
9. Buhari’s deafening silence on the wanton killings by Fulani herdsmen has embarrassed many of his die-hard supporters. Whereas the menace of the Fulani herdsmen had been on before Buhari’s ascendancy, the herdsmen appeared to have increased in boldness and audacity since their kinsman became president.
And whereas Buhari had expressed his “irritation” at, and “intolerance” for, pro-Biafra agitators and the security forces have declared their resolve to crush the group, no such declaration or action had attended the herdsmen’s menace, until a few days ago when the Agriculture Minister, Audu Ogbeh, tongue in cheek, said the problem of herdsmen and grazing land would soon be a thing of the past. Hear Gov. Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State: If President Buhari could afford to pick his phone and call the Ivorian President Alassane Quattara immediately after the attack (on foreign tourists and others by terrorists), Nigerians must ask the president why he kept mute for days over the Fulani herdsmen’s massacre of over 300 Agatu people of Benue state, the Mile 12, Lagos killings, and the wanton destruction of property, among others”.
10. Deteriorating economic and social conditions. Fuel queues are back; power supply had never been this terrible; additional taxes are heaped on suffering people (instead of limiting it to the super rich) and there is no money in circulation. As Prof. Pat Utomi said, the pauperisation of the people has never been this obvious; saving money and not spending it on areas of need is obsolete economic policy. Yes, government has apologised for the crippling power outages but hear Lagos-based lawyer, Ebun Adegboruwa: “The so-called apology then becomes a gratuitous insult to all Nigerians in the absence of any direct responsibility for the blackout that Nigerians are currently experiencing. Thus, a mere apology, without any concrete solution on how to improve power supply, is to rub insult on the already battered life of our people”.
11. Going back on campaign promises has severely hurt the integrity of this government which, everyone admits, was its unique selling point. Disputations as to whether it was Buhari, his party or campaign groups that made this or that campaign promise have finally snowballed into an open repudiation of the N5000 promised to the unemployed, now derisively tagged “largesse” by Buhari. Can this government be trusted to keep other promises? Interestingly, it was the First Lady who first alerted the country about the coming volte-face when she pleaded with APC not to renege on the campaign promise.
TO BE CONTINUED NEXT WEEK. STAY WITH US!
Bola Bolawole can be reached at: [email protected] . Tel: +234705 263 1058