by Dele Momodu
Three, on a serious note, I’m reasonably convinced that a lot of APC states have given us much to cheer and a semblance of hope than most of the PDP states and certainly better than the government at the centre.
Fellow Nigerians, kindly accept my sincere apologies for disappearing from this page abruptly last week. It was due to circumstances beyond my control. I had really over-flogged my body through marathon trips that left me totally knackered and brain-drained. I truly appreciate your concern and prayers. Many of you must have angered my perpetual cynics who used to complain weekly and endlessly about my column. Your messages, especially on Twitter, were eloquent endorsements of my modest efforts at writing Pendulum under stringent conditions most times.
Let me disabuse the minds of those who panicked about my column being rested by the Management of Thisday newspapers. No one can imagine the kind of freedom I have enjoyed since I took up this assignment. The Publisher of Thisday has never attempted to gag me in anyway and I’m mightily proud of our cordial relationship. Mr Nduka Obaigbena recognises the fact that a column is the personal opinion of the columnist and does not necessarily represent the editorial view of the newspaper. Those hoping and dreaming and preaching that my column should be scrapped should consider the interests of the majority who have come to accept Pendulum as their weekend tonic.
In my last piece of penultimate week, I had written copiously about my encounter with Dr Rilwan Lukman in Vienna about 15 years ago. I was shocked when news of his death reached me two days after that he has passed on. I doubt if he ever had time or enough consciousness to read what I wrote about him but that Pendulum has become my fitting tribute to the great man. May his soul Rest in Peace.
The title for this week was suggested or mandated by a reader, Favour Afolabi, on social media. He had tweeted after reading my piece, WHY I’M NOT A FAN OF PDP, that he expects me to write about my fascination for APC, perhaps, at a time many have chosen to write the obituary of that potentially great party. Let me state categorically that I’m not a member of APC but only a sympathiser and admirer for several reasons. I’m a proud member of opposition. It is unhealthy for a country with our myriad of intractable problems to operate a one party system.
I love the Yoruba proverb that says “we cannot all sleep and lie down facing the same direction.” As a member of opposition, it is my responsibility to work for the rescue of Nigeria from the ultra-conservative elements that have been in power almost forever in our country. Our types of conservatives have failed to yield positive results. They pretend to practise capitalism but without the commensurate capital. We love the American Presidential system of Government but lack the strength and might of America. We have spent too long a time and wasted so much of our resources on living senselessly and needlessly in denial. The rich are getting richer while the poor are getting poorer. Most of our institutional structures have collapsed and the country is virtually on auto-pilot. Those who can’t see the imminent danger ahead are the politicians and the toads of power. They never fought for the democracy we enjoy today and so can never seem to appreciate what we are bound to lose if this present experiment collapses again.
My sympathy for APC is not without a caveat. I’ve not issued them a blank cheque. I’m aware they have their own issues, plenty for that matter. I know many Nigerians claim they can’t see any difference between APC and PDP. I don’t exactly agree as I shall explain shortly. There are also the ethnic jingoists who don’t know the dictionary meaning of democracy. They are those who argue that the current President must govern the country for two terms WHICH IS OK BY ME. But I do not subscribe to the idea that it has to be done by force. What is the essence of holding the next Presidential election, if no one else would be able or allowed to win? Those who insist they won’t agree if the President is defeated in the election are only inviting anarchy. They are inflaming the polity and attracting public odium to the President by making the gentleman look like a man hell-bent on destroying his country on the altar of selfishness and avarice. For all you care, there are many Nigerians who may ordinarily wish to support the President but are now sufficiently nauseated by all the noise or threats of mayhem if opposition wins the election. I’m one of those who believe it is within the rights of the President to re-contest but there is nothing to suggest in our Constitution an automatic win for him. And the position is not hereditary. As a member of opposition, it is my belief that opposition groups must join forces to dislodge the PDP in a clean contest.
Let me now go to why I admire APC warts and all. One, by next year, PDP would have spent a total of 16 years in power. In those years, Nigeria would have moved effectively from a hopeful state to an almost hopeless nation. There is no citizen of Nigeria, except the few in the corridor of power, who’s not alarmed at the speed of our cataclysmic fall from grace to grass. In every sector, we have witnessed a downturn in the fortune of our dear beloved country. The very powerful leaders at the Federal level have squandered the vast resources of this great nation on frivolities to say the least. They have blatantly refused to declare an emergency rule on grinding poverty, infrastructural decay, mass ignorance, occasioned by the collapse of education, gross insecurity, atrocious corruption and extraordinary indiscipline, and so on.
Two, in any sane and sensible democracy, the PDP would have been sacked long before now. Governments are not sacked because there is a guarantee that the incoming would perform much better but because the mood of the people is such that they are totally tired and they want change or temporary reprieve from their slave masters. It does not matter if the next leader fails again, he would be changed for another.
Such a change favoured the ascension of Barack Obama. The people of Great Britain also kicked out their wiz kid Tony Blair because they were just tired of his many stunts and unholy romance with George Bush. Also, the ability to change a leader through the ballot box is the beauty of democracy. While no one can say with absolute certainty how APC would perform at the centre, I would rather risk trying them before knowing what they can do. At any rate, even if the argument that they won’t do better is valid, Nigeria practices Federal Character, so I ask why can’t we “quotalise” incompetence and corruption! Why must PDP be the sole beneficiary?
Three, on a serious note, I’m reasonably convinced that a lot of APC states have given us much to cheer and a semblance of hope than most of the PDP states and certainly better than the government at the centre. I find most of the APC states to be potentially great despite not having the kind of resources available to the Federal and their states. Anyone who cannot see or acknowledge the modest efforts of APC Governors is not being honest about it. While people may say APC leaders have been enmeshed in their own mess, I still believe they have made better use of the resources available to them. I’ve always loved to say that nations are not run by saints but by performers. None of us is a saint and none is likely to be in our lifetimes but it behoves us to leave a legacy behind despite our imperfections as human beings.
Four, it is necessary to send a powerful message to those who think Nigeria can never change by first re-jiggling the principal actors. I believe it would most probably force the incoming government to know it is possible to be sacked like its predecessor if it fails to deliver on its promises. To keep PDP permanently in power is to keep Nigerians in perennial servitude. Every attempt to change democracy to monarchy should therefore be discouraged.
Five, the argument that the APC has become polluted because some PDP members crossed over is a spurious fallacy. How come PDP can welcome APC but APC can’t poach from PDP? At the end of the day, we are all human beings from the same country and what matters is to find more of sensible and forward-looking ones in one party than the irredeemable characters in the other. Let all those who oppose the PDP style come together and uplift our nation. PDP can no longer give what it has not possessed in nearly 16 years.
Six, it must be noted that both PDP and APC combined have fewer members than the floaters who don’t belong to either of them. I’m surprised at the seeming helplessness of the floaters who can’t see the sense and possibility of joining the opposition en masse so as to influence will keep them awake till kingdom come…
Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.