by Raymond Eyo
At the moment, there’s so much rot in the PDP that, other than a revolution, it will only take having the right will from its top brass, to effect positive changes. No number of youth joining the PDP will change things for good.
“We are not all PDP. I disagree with Ohimai. We don’t all belong to a party of murderers, looters and political juggernauts.” –Babatunde Rosanwo
As an avid reader and a very politically-conscious person, I read Ohimai Ahaize’s article, ‘Like it or not, we are all PDP‘ with keen interest and an open mind. Ohimai acknowledged that it was his first article in three years or so. That set the tone for the seriousness with which it was written, which seriousness was not betrayed by the article’s overall compelling message. I therefore invite Ohimai and indeed everyone to equally accord this rejoinder, interspersed with citations on the subject from Babatunde Rosanwo, the open-mindedness and seriousness it deserves.
Ohimai articulated cogent and valid arguments but betrayed his bias for the PDP when he said “The current fad is how well you can demonise the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP). I have seen young people on Twitter curse PDP like our problems as a nation begin and end with the PDP.” Ohimai is wrong! Of course, the current fad is not necessarily how well one can demonise the PDP. Rather, most Nigerians on Twitter and Facebook, including me, lambast President Jonathan for his many blunders and failures. Many, again including me, who criticise the PDP have also criticised the ACN on a good number of occasions. In fact, some like me have had reason to express kudos to a PDP governor like Akwa-Ibom’s Godswill Akpabio. More importantly, Ohimai should know better that, given that the PDP has been in power, at the centre, since our present democratic dispensation in 1999, and considering world renown leadership expert, John Maxwell’s aphorism that “Everything rises and falls on leadership,” it is very safe to say Nigeria’s present and ongoing problems begin with the PDP and the buck that could help resolve many of those problems ends at the table of a certain PDP politician called Goodluck Jonathan!
In 2012, on the sidelines of the Olympic Games, Ohimai met and took a snapshot with one of Hollywood’s greatest actors of our time, Jean-Claude Van Damme. Such moments are special because people of great stature like Van Damme should inspire us to emulate the strides that made them great. Well, Ohimai may have kept such lessons (my literal assumptions) for future endeavours because at the moment there’s a great variance between the ideals captured in Van Damme’s showpiece of force movie (Street-fighter), for example, and Ohimai’s tour de force article.
Two days ago, I watched Van Damme beat the brutally oppressive villain, Bison, in his Street-fighter masterpiece blockbuster. In that movie, Van Damme was courageous to inspire a global regiment to take aim at Bison, a man who tormented people and held some hostage, whereas Ohimai smartly attempts to acquit the PDP, a worse-than any real-life Bison, of its many sins.
Ohimai clearly took the shine off his otherwise brilliant article by entitling it “We are all PDP”. No! My brother, we’re NOT all PDP! He should have been more cautious, especially following the recent pasting of PDP campaign posters for Jonathan’s 2015 re-election bid all over Abuja and the lacklustre reaction of his party to it.
It is one thing to inspire people to get involved in Nigerian politics and it is quite another to ask them to join the PDP. At the moment, there’s so much rot in the PDP that, other than a revolution, it will only take having the right will from its top brass, to effect positive changes. No number of youth joining the PDP will change things for good. As the Jonathan 2015 posters and the pro-Jonathan camp in Occupy Nigeria have shown, many a youth will join the PDP because they want a share of the spoil. Let me ask Ohimai: Does the PDP’s NWC, including the office of its National Youth Leader, have room for youth? Are there any chances that youth will be allowed as membersof the body that elects the PDP’s presidential candidate?
Babatunde Rosanwo reacted to Ohimai’s article, saying: “If joining politics is a linear solution to Nigeria’s problems, then Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala joining PDP is not making a huge difference in PDP. The system perpetuated by PDP is one that’s destined to see the crème-de-la-crème fail. Ivy League products are struggling to grasp reality.” How true! The PDP system makes it all too certain for even technocratic Ivy League products to fail. What more of young Nigerian graduates or yet, the Nigerian uneducated mass? It will take political change from the top of both the PDP and the opposition parties to position them to lead a national renewal; not mass enlistment into politics! For now, there may be no difference between the PDP and opposition parties but that instead places a premium on the PDP, as the party in power, to set a positive example. Political power, especially for as many years as the PDP has wielded it at the centre, is one resource no person in their right senses, should overlook.
In addition, contrary to what Ohimai said, it’s not systematically true that Naira notes travel faster than a tweet. In the information age, social media is increasingly becoming a very powerful mobilising tool, even for raising Naira notes for charity. You can never undermine the potency of tweets, especially given the promise by the Minister of Communication Technology, Omobola Johnson to facilitate the development of Nigeria’s ICT infrastructure to increase the number of internet users in Nigeria from 33.5million to 70 million by 2015. Let it be known that tweets can spur a revolution!
By the way, if change is what Ohimai seeks, he should be careful to rather help in de-monetising our politics. Nigeria is direly in need of a politics of ideas than a politics of money. It’s time we de-emphasise the demonic role of money in our politics. Ohimai’s point does no justice to that effort.
It’s also not true that big bags of rice inspire more hope than well-written blogs. Blogs like ekekeee.com greatly inspire hope – and more so among an increasingly literate and conscious youth. With its exceptional pieces, the award-winning ekekeee.com highlights, in very clear terms, what has gone/is going wrong with the system and is thus inspiring hope and rallying good peopleto take on the challenge of making a better Nigeria more and more possible.
Nigeria’s challenges are beyond political participation alone. Whilst Nkrumah’s charge that we should seek first the political kingdom and all things shall be added unto it, is true in many respects, Nigeria needs more than just political participation. President Jonathan is a PhD holder whom Tunde Fagbenle describes as one who “displays a shocking lack of eloquence and depth, even of a good school certificate holder.” What this means is, political participation is only one part of the equation. We must get our education right! We must get our civic responsibilities aright. Again, Rosanwo opines, and rightly so, that: “[There’s a] dire need for Nigerians to pay more attention to their civic responsibilities, Ohimai is right only about those who seek political office.”
It’s not the first time Ohimai has stirred controversy with his affection for the PDP. Months ago, he called the PDP “a great party”. I wonder what form of greatness he was touting. If a catchphrase to his otherwise poignant article is what Ohimai sought, he is intelligent enough and should have picked a non-controversial option.
Lest anyone should say I wrote this rejoinder out of hatred or any semblance of it, for Ohimai, let me state that he’s a friend and I have agreed with him before. In fact, I solicited a meeting with him lately but he wasn’t able to see it through. I still look forward to meeting him someday. As our overall objective is to build a better Nigeria, all hands must be on deck – whether PDP hands or those of the opposition! As Rosanwo concluded, “Yet Ohimai’s clarion call must be met objectively. May the best of us who have something to offer, [lead] this nation.”
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