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Michael NnebeSaturday, February 1, 2014
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THE SHIFTING WIND OF NIGERIA POLITICS AND THE SINKING SAND OF PDP

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his time last year, I wrote about Nigeria politicians and the culture of impunity in which I catalogued how our politicians, especially the PDP, have continued to take Nigerians for granted. In May, after the NGF controversial election where we learnt that 16 is greater than 19, I called on President Jonathan to call his men to order and stop the madness. Recently I commented on Iyabo Obasanjo's letter where she talked about how well-educated Nigerians prostrate to imbeciles in order to survive. Now I'm reading a poem titled "It's the law" by Ms. Iyetade Soyinka (Wole Soyinka's daughter who died recently) in it she wrote about the survival of the mediocre, and the destruction of the fittest. It is one thing to take a passive citizenry for granted; it is quite a different thing altogether to keep taking fellow politicians for granted.

The wind of change was blowing so strongly at the end of the year that anyone would be forgiven for thinking that Nigeria was witnessing the very end of PDP. A friend of mine, obviously thrilled by developments, called me to say that the PDP is finished, David Mark and Aminu Tambuwal would be out of power by the beginning of January when the National Assembly resumes, and that Jonathan is definitely going back to Otuoke come May 2015. He spoke so excitedly that he had problem catching his breath. Though a very matured man my friend sounded as if he was a young boy looking hungrily at something unattainable to him. As I did not wish to deflate his euphoria I allowed him to finish uninterrupted and then only added, "I guess we shall wait and see, but you need to know that one month is a lifetime in politics." Of course, I knew that the PDP will not just sit back and be run out of town by the opposition overnight. I knew they will do something, pull some tricks.

Behind closed doors the powers that be in the PDP went into overdrive, holding series of secret meetings, especially with the legislatures, threatening, cajoling, persuading, wheedling, enticing, promising automatic tickets in 2015, and God knows how many Ghana must go bags exchanged hands in that interval. In the end, they sacrificed poor Bamanga Tukur to appease those aggrieved. When it felt that they didn't have the numbers, especially in the Senate, they postponed the resumption of the National Assembly by one week and voila! The Senate was secured. As for the radicals in the House of Representative who cannot be tamed, the PDP simply went to one of their appointee Judges and obtained an injunction to stop any movement in the House until the court rules, which in my own interpretation means until the end of their tenure in 2015. The Senate had 22 members ready to switch as at December, but after all the back-door meetings, only 11 switched a few days ago. Kudos to David Mark, who in my opinion is one of the best politicians in Nigeria. He accomplished this without any drama, and when two senators nearly came to blows on the floor of the Senate, he found the way to make them embrace and apologize to each other publicly.

The truth is that there is so much turmoil within the PDP, most of it brought on by lack of internal democracy and the practice of impunity by those that control the party at various levels. Tell me, which member of the PDP in the House or Senate cannot be stopped from returning to the National Assembly in 2015 by the PDP Governor of their states? All the governor has to do is deny you the party ticket, and you are finished. Sadly, this applies to anyone there no matter how highly placed, including David Mark and Tambuwal. Like I said earlier the PDP can continue to mess with a passive citizenry, it is quite a different thing to keep screwing your fellow politicians who knew where the bodies are buried. They can only take so much nonsense from their party before many would say "To hell!" There may be a temporary halt to this hemorrhage, but it is only temporary as long as attitudes at the leadership levels remain the same. Now that many of these outgoing governors want to go to the Senate, many more big heads will still roll, regardless of how big they are, and there lies some of the PDP problems.

Now, APC should be commended for bringing Nigeria close to a two-party system. I can now say that for the first time since 1999 Nigeria has a credible opposition, one that is capable of winning elections on the national level in 2015. But let's be clear about this, other than the merger by CPC and ACN most of PDP problems and the sudden rise of APC were largely self inflicted by PDP. In my opinion, APC still does not have the required structures nationally to win a presidential election in 2015. I have looked at their numbers from 2011 and decided that they still fell short of what is required. Some of those 5 PDP governors that defected to APC just cannot deliver their states to APC on presidential election. But what APC lacks the most I believe is a credible candidate that can make minds change, and make ordinary Nigerians like me to think seriously about voting for their candidate. I honestly don't think I could vote for Buhari. As far as I am concerned, a man who truncated our democratic process in 1983 is not a democrat, and haven ran 3 times unsuccessfully and now over 70 years old, should go home and rest. I have examined the 8-year record of Tinubu as governor of Lagos state, and concluded that he has nothing to offer Nigeria, period.

If APC wishes to get my vote for their presidential candidate in 2015, they should consider Governor Fashola at the top of the ticket, and I will surely go and vote for him. All I wish for this country is someone who will truly transform Nigeria, I could care less if both the president and vice are both Yorubas and both Muslims, or from the same state of Bauchi. Something like a Gov. Fashola/Gov. Chime would be a dream ticket for Nigeria. There are many capable Hausas out there like Col. Umar and so forth that I believe can truly change this country. APC should go and look for such men if they prefer an Hausa man, but if they wish to come up with the usual suspects like Buhari, Tinubu, and co, well, I wish them luck. But again, a year is a lifetime in politics as anything can happen between now and 2015. On the issue of leadership change in the National assembly, some people have erroneously assumed that Mark and Tambuwal would have to step down once APC gets majority. Not quite, our constitution requires a vote of two-third to remove any of those and their deputies, and I know that APC is nowhere near two-thirds in either chamber.

And to those APC members who are now looking hungrily at something unattainable, I warned in an article I wrote in November after Anambra elections that Anambra is a test run for 2015. I have not changed my opinion on that. Your jubilation and great expectations may well be premature since the game plan have somewhat changed. Surely you can go to court afterwards, but we all know (thanks to wikileaks) how much our supreme court was paid to deliver judgment in favor of Yar'adua after the 2007 presidential election. I doubt that Aso rock has gone broke, if anything they may be willing to pay more to the best judiciary in the world money can buy.

Michael Nnebe is a former Wall Street Investment Banker and the Author of several novels, including; Every Dream Has A Price, Riverside Park, Blood Covenant, Gloomy Shadows, Passing wishes, Prime Suspect, and others.

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