by Chris Bamidele
Nigeria is between a rock and a hard place, we are in a dilemma; a situation offering at least two possibilities, neither of which is acceptable. At least that is what we have come to believe with the discussions going on around us offline and online. We are in a Morton’s Fork situation where our contradictory arguments lead to the same conclusion, albeit unpleasant.
Democracy is a very interesting concept. When I was in secondary school and offering government as a subject, democracy was simply defined for us as “A government of the people, by the people, and for the people”. But growing up and see what democracy is really about, I have come to realize that empirically, the above definition of democracy will only thrive on the pages of a textbook, and in small homogeneous communities. So in our increasingly complex world, the only possible form of democracy we can have or should I say the best form we can get, is a situation where the people cede the power of government to one or another of competing elites – it’s called “Elite democracy”.
Agreed, the kind of democracy being practised now, gives the public/people some opportunity to air their views even when apparently, the elites are the ones governing. But when we air our views, our roles as the public is reduced to that of a rubber stamp, lacking any real power to change anything; especially once we are done electing the elites that will rule us for a specified number of years. So, the only time the public/people have the real power in a democracy is during elections.
Elections give the people the power to accept or reject ‘the elites’ who stand for elections, it gives us the time and chance to scrutinize the choice(s) we would be stuck with till another election. But sadly, in every democracy, no single party anywhere in the world is made up of saints. There are thieves, rogues, crooks, even people who should be behind bars calling the shots in all the parties in any democracy. If you think the Republican Party is far better that the Democrats and vice-versa, maybe you have not been following American politics. But that’s not why we are here.
In Nigeria, some say we have 63 political parties, others say 25 of them are registered. But whichever way you want to look at it, we have only 2 parties who will “seriously” slug it out in next year’s Presidential elections. We know that other parties will be on the ballot papers too but it’s truly a two-horse race between the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressive Congress (APC). But the snag here is PDP has been in power since the return of democracy in 1999. The ruling party has produced 3 Presidents so far and unless you are a PDP member or you just want to economize the truth, you would not argue if I said Nigeria has gone from bad to worse economically, and security wise; but you can still argue all you want, that is why there is a comment section after this post – use it.
But the truth here is, we don’t have a political party that is a coalition of angels yet, and we won’t have Jesus Christ on the ballot paper come next year; so, we must make a choice out of the ‘unpleasant’ options.
Last year, few parties came together to form a strong opposition to the ruling party, and presently they are plotting everything they can to “wrestle” power from the ruling party (Power is no longer with the people, so get used to it) While most people will argue that APC is an amalgamation of political parties with different ideals, a marriage of strange bedfellows, others would tell you, that the singular action of that coalition was the best thing to have happened to Nigeria’s political landscape in the last few years. Whichever side of the divide you are; no one will deny that the competition has just become fiercer. If the ruling party thought they could win votes by merely throwing the ethnic or religion cards on the table like they did in 2011, they are wiser. They know the people would still have to vote; and we all know the class of people who vote the most, and the region with the highest number of voters among all the geo-political zones.
But here we are, faced with the reality of PDP and with the uncertainty that APC brings especially when both of them appear to only know how to tackle or accusing each other rather than stating their ideals and policies to move the Nation out of this quagmire. But the truth here is, we don’t have a political party that is a coalition of angels yet, and we won’t have Jesus Christ on the ballot paper come next year; so, we must make a choice out of the ‘unpleasant’ options. The truth for me here is; I am tired of PDP government, it’s either they are not capable of leading this country or they are simply deceiving us. You cannot be in control of a nation like Nigeria in the last 15 years, and we cannot get basic things right. Yes, electricity is improving in some parts of Nigeria, but isn’t that how it always improves when we are nearing election year? It is called Rope- A –Dope. You know that fighting style Mohammed Ali used in his 1974 Rumble in the Jungle boxing match against George Foreman? Yes, that is it. It’s a simple strategy in which one party purposely puts itself in what appears to be a losing position, attempting thereby to become the eventual victor. So, they give us light very close to election period and we are happy, singing “Kumbayah”. Then we go and vote them again. As soon as the election is over, darkness will return and they will slam us with another fuel hike. (NOTE THIS!) I am no bearer of bad news, but isn’t that what always is happening after each election year?
So in my book, PDP has failed woefully, they have not been able to provide security, they can’t bring our girls back, they can’t even be sincere in their fight against Boko Haram, the soldiers are being owed and their allowances are being shared and swallowed by some pot-bellied idiots in Abuja. Unemployment is on the rise, health facilities are grounded to the extent that our President cannot treat a common headache in Nigeria. Our schools remain shut more than they stay open. They extort the job seekers and now the Youth Corpers; plus many other crimes of this government which I cannot mention here because of space. So, I have made up my mind to try the opposition at the Federal level, I don’t have to belong to any party to do that. And I stand to say I am NOT a member of APC, I have never voted for ACN or APC in Lagos neither have I voted for PDP. But when it comes to the centre, the presidency; one has to choose between APC and PDP. I choose to vote against PDP for now. And if after APC got into power, they are as clueless or more clueless, I will still have the power to vote against them.
My reasons are simple. PDP regime has tolerated corruption more than any other regime in Nigeria. (Please argue in the comment section). The PDP killed young graduates with NIS scam, and no one got punished for it, and they only paid lip-service to the dead. The PDP refused to bring subsidy thieves to book; rather they made us pay more for fuel in our own country. The PDP accuses APC leaders of sponsoring Boko Haram everyday, but they have never been able to prosecute even one of them. The PDP has not been able to bring our girls back till date, and they want to stay in power for the next 4 years, even if this was a marriage, so many of us would be filing divorce papers by now.
Well, those are some of my reasons why I won’t vote for PDP. What are your reasons for planning to vote for them? Don’t tell me the only reason is because APC is not better or you are not sure they would do better. You’d sound unserious if that is your only reason. Make a choice to either break down the rock or go through the hard place. No sitting on the fence here, there is no neutral ground.
And for the proponents of #30%ornothing, this is to you. Being young isn’t a guarantee of vision, selflessness, patriotism, principle and loyalty. In 2011, women negotiated a certain quota in governance and they got it. How has that improved the lot of the average Nigerian woman? Besides, who told you that for you to get 30% slot, it must be given to you after you must have threatened the “oldies”?
Your problem is that you have an irrational sense of entitlement. It won’t kill you, but it causes you to believe that you deserve everything for doing nothing. The names you drop everywhere of our past leaders who were in positions of leadership as youths, the Awolowos, the Pa Enahoros, etc; they didn’t get to be leaders by demanding for their quota, they were the best among the rest, they stood up when others were whimpering under the colonial rule. What do you have to show?
How have you even defended the interest of the youths you claim to be your immediate constituency? The Chibok girls are not youths? The ones killed by the NIS job scam were not? The corpers that are being asked to pay
N4000 to download call-up letters from some web portal are not?
Oh! I forgot you don’t care; you simply want to be in leadership positions. You just want 30% of the National cake or nothing.
Abolore Akande (9ice) didn’t and isn’t asking for any quota, he simply went back to his hometown and offered himself for the job, and it’s now left for his people to vote for him or not.
So, if you wanted any slot, even 1 percent; throw your hat in the ring, roll up your sleeves, and enter the fray. Come out and show us what you got, contest, test your popularity and stop hiding behind one nonsensical political hashtag. We can see through your deceit, afterall most of your leaders called Chibok a scam, they demonized #BringBackOurGirls. And no matter how you look at it; no matter the angle you view it; length, breath, circumference; being young is NEVER a currency for leadership – anywhere.
Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.