Now that Nigerians are preoccupied with playing blame games with Mr President, sticking their long noses into the weaknesses of the Buhari-led administration, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) are perfecting their sleight to gain power once again.
Winning elections in Nigeria is a function of pity and mediocrity, and, using this to their advantage, the PDP are giving Nigerians reasons to see them for who they are not. They are cleverly throwing their inadequacies in our blind spots. They play victim for a crime they are also culpable for and beseech us to stand witness for them. They take us for fools by appealing to our senses of pity and judgment, in which case push us to make unfavorable decisions.
The gimmick began on the 26th of March, 2018, when the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Mr Uche Secondus, apologized to Nigerians for the mistakes the party made while in power. In his words:
“I hereby, as the National Chairman, do admit that the PDP made a lot of mistakes; we are humans, not spirits and the ability to admit is key in moving forward…It is the honest thing to do, a legacy to transfer to our children; we cannot continue like that…When we make mistakes, we should come out boldly to the people and apologise… It is important to do so because we have learnt from our mistakes unlike the All Progressive Congress (APC) that will make mistakes and lie to cover it… We apologise to Nigerians that we have made mistakes, we have learnt our lessons and we are ready to begin on a new agenda; experience is the best teacher, no other party has it.”
If Mr National Chairman had not flung a jibe at the APC, maybe his specious statements would have escaped scrutiny. But accusing the opposition party of not learning from their mistakes while taking a virtuous standpoint was unethical, especially for a repentant party. It seems to me that Mr Chairman’s lofty statements were mere pleas for another chance. I am curious, for instance, why penitence has to be delayed for more than sixteen years. More than that, why does it have to linger until less than a year to the elections? From a holistic and atomistic standpoint, that cannot be considered true repentance. Accurately, it was a “necessary” repentance.
For the sake of argument, let us assume that repentance was within the reach of the PDP, and that they were indeed ready to toe the line of honour, unlike their APC counterpart. What moral justification did they then have to buy votes in the 2019 presidential election? It might also be worthy to note that this same political party welcomed several APC stalwarts who have decamped to form a coalition of influential politicians across several regions in Nigeria, just as APC did back in 2015. In fact, the three leading presidential candidates during the last PDP primaries were all APC members until a few months to that time. Is it still unclear that they are more concerned about getting back their lost power than serving us? And is it not amazing how these politicians switch alliances with ease while expecting us to put our faith in them?
When “AtikulateObi” lost the election in 2019, the PDP set off the second phase of their ploy, which was to play victim. They know fully well that Nigeria has a weak resolve, and that eventually everything will work in their favour. And yes it might. Take a look around, and you’ll find that more people have been carried away by the pageant of their good acting and are less invested in their credibility. But PDP playing the victim of electoral malpractices is just a case of “Anini” accusing “Oyenusi” of theft. How can we not know that that is just Anini’s ploy to steal something bigger from under Oyenusi’s nose?
… And the APC are beyond repair.
There is a lot to be said about a PDP in sheep’s clothing, but ultimately, the blame ends at APC’s doorstep. If they had been upright themselves, the PDP would not be standing on lofty grounds, pointing Nigerians in the direction of their numerous crimes. The APC has failed us, no doubt, and president Muhammadu Buhari’s hypocritical actions are sores to the eyes of those that chanted “sai baba” a few years back. The fight they promised us against corruption is not inclusive, their Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has a magical way of rendering every election inconclusive, they flout court orders without remorse, they have even become so “ethical and virtuous” that “God” blessed them with Father Mbaka to inform them of probable victories. The media rave about their actions and inactions; they can’t be categorised as news anymore. Only that I wonder. I wonder with what moral benchmark they measure their actions. Remember that CHANGE they were so confident about? I’m honoured to tell you that it has elements of gimmickry.
The Nigerian political game is played between the APC and the PDP, and now that the APC are gradually losing their credibility, Nigerians are more than likely to bend to the sweet promises of the PDP. From what I can tell, a lot of people are already signing up for the PDP-restoration duty. You see, we live on hopes, Nigerians. False hopes. Is it not the same PDP that has committed every crime that is levelled against the APC and those that are on their to-do list? Or have we forgotten in a hurry the innocent young men that were mowed down by police bullets during the subsidy removal protests and how Jonathan government repressed legitimate civil protest with excessive force? Do we not remember how the same government flout the court order to reinstate the suspended president, court of appeal, Hon. Ayo Salami, the court order regarding the unlawful arrest and detention of former CBN governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi? What about the $20 billion crude oil proceeds that was not remitted into the federation account? And the list goes on and on.
The displacement of these two parties seems like the perfect solution, but we don’t want to build castles in the air. Moreover, we cannot trust other parties not to follow in their footsteps. Power has proven to be a curse, especially here in Nigeria. But then, the decision to give credible candidates power rests with us, regardless of the political parties they belong to. And we can only decide well if the educated ones among Nigerians do well to lead the uneducated ones aright. It is experiential that most uneducated Nigerians, especially the aged ones, look up to the educated ones for answers, for who to vote for. A friend of mine narrated how an old woman insisted that she wanted to vote for the “broom” party, because she was told they are the ones that can bring the kind of unity as experienced with broom sticks (osusu owo). Imagine that level of ignorance. Another friend also narrated how his brother, as a result of his educational accomplishments, was able to convince his uneducated friends that Buhari should not be voted for because he’s an impostor from Sudan. That’s argumentum ad verecundiam (argument from authority) and most uneducated Nigerians are victims of this deception.
Things will take a favourable turn if clergymen would stop entertaining favour-seeking politicians. Their actions could be mistaken for support by their followers. Remember when Bishop Oyedepo asked God to open the gates of hell for Jonathan’s opponents? What ideology would that singular statement breed in the hearts of his church members?
Political issues in Nigeria are complicated, and for that reason, we need to start tackling them at the level of ideology. We need to start thinking for ourselves instead of waiting for politicians and authorities to do that for us. We need to take a firm stand against the actions of these corrupt politicians, for they have proven time and time again that they don’t have our best interest in mind. Instead of us owning them, it is the other way around. And that’s solely our fault. Of course they are going to exploit our weaknesses.
-By Akinyemi AbdulMalik Olumide, a passionate writer and blogger.