By FEMI ADESINA
There’s this recent cartoon in Daily Trust Newspaper that sends me holding my sides in laughter each time I see it. And I tell you that I’ve viewed it over and over again.
Two bandits are in flight, really showing a clean pair of heels. This news item kicks you into the cartoon: ‘Scores killed as troops, vigilantes, ambush Kebbi students’ kidnappers.’ The first fleeing bandit says; ‘I think this is the language the President is speaking about!’ And the second bandit responds: ‘I think these are just the Alphabets.’
Hahahahahaaaaaaa. I can’t stop laughing again and again at that cartoon. Lol. President Muhammadu Buhari don vex. Troublers of Nigeria are in trouble, and are being given bloody noses: insurgents, bandits, secessionists, all violent criminals.
After his decoration with the rank of Lt. General on Wednesday, new Chief of Army Staff, Farouk Yahaya, said all types of violent deviants are being sent to God to answer for their crimes, and the summary judgment would continue, till the country is cleaned of vermin. Good. That is a direct reaction to the new language of the President.
The background. Chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Mahmoud Yakubu, had led a team to State House recently, chronicling attacks to the Commission’s facilities in certain parts of the country. He expressed worry that with the trend, immediate and future elections were imperiled.
The President listened very patiently, as he usually does. Then he responded, as any father, whose home was under threat of destruction, would. He pitied those who were trying to turn the country into a tailspin, and said those of them who fought the 30 months Civi War would not look on, and see the country destroyed. “Soon, we will talk to them in the language they understand,” he submitted.
It was a true riot act. The new language yielded results immediately, so much so that the President has now been dubbed by some of his admirers online as Dean of Faculty of Linguistics. Hahahahahaaaaaaa. (This laughter again).
And different segments of the country are hearing the language. It is not limited to criminals alone. Even the opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP) is being spoken to in the language it understands. And it is screaming blue murder.
PDP is being ravaged and savaged politically, and if care is not taken, the Party could become an empty shell before 2023. The vessel is leaking, and taking in water massively. It may have to scream May Day, May Day soon, and evacuate.
The irony of it all is that whenever the PDP is making gains politically, all is jolly well and good. But when it suffers reversals, then democracy is threatened in the country. In 2015, by the time the dust of general elections settled, the All Progressives Congress (APC) had 24 Governors. PDP had 12, and All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) had one. PDP, which had always vaunted itself as Africa’s largest party, threatening to rule us for minimum of 60 years, was looking like King Lear at his worst. It had been knocked off its perch at the national level, also in many States, and its snout yanked from the country’s honeypot. It was terribly unhappy.
By combination of schism, implosion and explosion, APC did not manage its success well. By 2019, the number of its governors had dwindled to about 19. And PDP was reaping the harvest. But APC retooled, got itself straightened out, and returned to winning ways. Gov Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State ported into APC. Followed by Ben Ayade of Cross River. And now Bello Matawalle of Zamfara State. APC is equally swelling in terms of lawmakers and membership, both at the Federal and State levels. The winner takes it all, the loser standing small.
PDP, at its lugubrious worst, is screaming and kicking. They are plundering us! Democracy is in danger! Oh, really? Since when?
Welcoming Matawalle into the APC early last week, President Buhari said the party was becoming more popular “because of its impressive performance record and commitment to good governance.”
True. But PDP never wants to hear that, and it accounts for all the obfuscation we see in the country. We have security challenges, very severe ones, no doubt. And those challenges are being frontally confronted, with the criminals “being sent to God to account for their crimes.” But PDP has made it a passion to daily trumpet negative developments, as if those were the only things happening in the land. All they want is to tar the APC with the brush of infamy so much that the people would forget massive infrastructural works round the country, better accountability in public finances, doing a lot more with a lot less, giant strides in anti-corruption, gradual economic improvements, all despite the security challenges. What PDP has its eyes on is the diadem of presidential seat in 2023, and it is throwing everything into the fray. Hate speech, fake news, disinformation, misinformation, outright lies. The people must not see any redeeming virtue in the APC government, it has resolved.
But the beauty of democracy is that the people have the final say. They always do. They did in 2015. In 2019. And they would in 2023, and beyond. Also, they know the truth, irrespective of the attempts to pull the wool over their eyes.
Democracy would remain a game of numbers. It’s not a cinch that you must win the presidency, if you hold sway in more States, but it does help. With APC’s control of 22 States now, (and counting) to PDP’s 14, it appears that the goose of the opposition party is being cooked. And with the language of the Dean of Faculty of Linguistics, PDP can only come to more grief. The security challenges in the country would be surmounted soon, there would be commissioning of massive infrastructural works in 2022, and the people would know which party has been serving them, and the one that took them for a ride for 16 years.
With the way things will turn out in the months ahead, one political party will wax stronger and stronger, while the other one will wax weaker and weaker. A third force may be unlikely before 2023, at least not in a way to make much impact.
Can the PDP come in from the cold? Doubtful. It may do well then to get blankets, very thick ones, as the chill bites harder.
*Adesina is Special Adviser to President Buhari on Media and Publicity