“Who remembers Reuben Abati of the Guardian? Is he the same Abati of today?”
It is sometimes funny to hear people talk as though Ohimai is the first young person to join PDP. Several young people have joined the party in the past. People with proven track records had joined the PDP and got swallowed by the depth of sleaze therein. Tony Nwoye, former NANS president was the PDP Chairman in Anambra while Chris Uba, another young PDP member, unleashed full-scale brigandage in the state. The first speaker of House of Representatives, Mr Buhari, was less than 40 then. Dimeji Bankole, with good education and the requisite carriage for public service, is still alive today. We all know his story. Herman Hembe isn’t an old man. We know his story.
Have we bothered to ask ourselves why Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the towering economist from World Bank, has been reduced to a regular Nigerian politician, impotent and unable to deliver visible results? Recall that many of us begged her to accept the offer to serve as a minister. And when she did come, we were excited. Today what is her rating in the public domain? Was it not in her presence that a budget of N1 billion – the salary of the United States president for two and half years – was prepared for the feeding of just two men?
Who remembers that Olusegun Aganga was once Managing Director in Goldman Sachs, a corporation known to reward performance and excellence? He didn’t ascend to that height by being a mediocre; he did by merit. Today he is a minister in Nigeria, and can only put up a mediocre performance. He has nothing to show for his giddy rise in Goldman Sachs. And often times I get to ask, as if to get reassured, if Aganga is still in this administration.
How about professor Barth Nnaji? The darkness in your house should remind you that the PDP rot has eaten his past and reduced him. Who remembers Reuben Abati of the Guardian? Is he the same Abati of today? Hime defenders then (I doubt he still has any now) told us he joined to change the system. The system has transformed him a classless sycophant, constantly talking from the two sides of his mouth.
Ohimai cannot change PDP; PDP will change Ohimai. He will either be appointed the head of ballot-box snatchers or cult boys recruitment. Yet, he will not leave because the compensation system has been designed to attract any, and every, mind that has not given money its place in their lives. I don’t know if Ohimai has.
So how do I think the system can be changed? Just like Ohimai, I am convinced that the system can’t be changed from the sidelines. I have often said that activists cannot change Nigeria, only those who go into politics can. But unlike him, I don’t believe anybody can save Nigeria by joining the PDP. The PDP cannot change Nigeria. There’s no place in the world where 13 years is considered short to make a remarkable impact in a polity as a ruling party; yet our thirteen years have been blown away by the greed and avarice of PDP.
If we consider the opposition parties too sectionalised, then we must, as people serious with our quest for change, build an alternative party with national coverage, and then begin from day one to imbibe in members the tenets of true democracy. Let us, including Ohimai, roll our sleeves and get to work. We can build a new national party that will thrive on the power of the people, not on money or brigandage or rigging or godfatherism.
PDP isn’t a great party, and Ohimai knows this. In fact, it isn’t even a political party to begin with. It remains, as the American government described it in a 2007 diplomatic cable leaked to Wikileaks, “an agglomeration of interest groups formed around persons of prominence and power which are loosely tied together by a desire to remain in office and maintain access to the ‘national cake’ or resources of the state”.
Lisa Piascik, the Charge d’ affaires of the US embassy in Nigeria, wrote of the PDP in that same cable, “The PDP remains a highly fractious and opportunistic coalition of interests. True opposition, in the form of a powerful group with access to the pillars of power, comes from within the PDP – not from without as would be expected in a democratic party structure.”
She added that the party has no “ideological consensus” whatsoever and had remained divided from the start.
Ohimai Amaize only chose to become a part of that opportunistic coalition of interests. And as he works hard towards remaining in power and accessing the ‘national cake’ which is the overriding desire that loosely ties PDP members together, I do, from the depth of my heart, wish him well.
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