Saturday, October 13, 2018
[email protected]
Port Harcourt, Nigeria

olitical events in Nigeria last week centred mainly on the emergence of President M Buhari (APC) and Alhaji Atiku Abubakar (PDP), as the presidential candidates of their parties for the forthcoming 2019 Nigerian general elections. Beyond the intra-party claims and counterclaims of improprieties in the primaries of both parties at other levels; the presidential primaries of both parties seemed to have ended satisfactorily for party members of both the APC and PDP. Thus, it may be said that both parties are finely poised to lock horns come next year, 2019. Of course, I speak of just the APC and PDP, not as if there are no other parties involved in the 2019 elections, or that other presidential aspirants, for example, our own dear Oby Ezekwesili (ANPP) and Donald Duke (SDP), are any less qualified to be trusted with the presidency of the Nigerian nation. However, the realities on ground, as well as the paradox that is Nigeria, suggests that the APC and the PDP are the strongest parties on ground, as we are wont to say around here.

Now, 'strong' in the Nigerian context is a completely and entirely different term from its common and etymological connotations everywhere else on planet earth. A few examples would suffice to justify my excluding our other, probably more qualified compatriots, from the present analysis, and to focus only on the PDP and the APC. In Nigeria, for instance, just one individual (irrespective of his party affiliation), is able to determine not only the candidates to represent the party during the primaries, but also to ensure victory for all the candidates in the general elections. In other words, as the French King Louis XIV imperiously and arrogantly stated, 'I am the State'; this individual is the party, and he/she is synonymous with the party. We can find no better example for this peculiar Nigerian feature in political leadership than the Jagaban of Lagos, Bola Ahmed Tinubu. And we have heard many political personalities boast that they alone put this governor or that senator in power. The cheek of it is when the same personalities turn round to apologise, (yes, that is what they call it), to the people, telling them how they so regret installing (or imposing?) so and so as governor. And that they would not repeat the same mistake again, and that they were misled, etc.

Another peculiarity of the Nigerian political scene is the chameleonic ability of the Nigerian politician to transform or morph from one brand to the other; we are speaking about changing political affiliation like clothes, like from one month to the next. For example, if and when Christopher Alao-Akala, a former Oyo State governor, formerly informs his present party of his intentions to leave their cover; the Ogbomosho man would have swapped political parties four times in four years! The most recent is to the ADC, as reported by the Nigerian Vanguard of 10 October, 2018. And you can stake your international passport that it must come to pass. After all, our current Senate President, Bukola Saraki recently swapped the APC for the PDP; he had earlier crossed to the APC from the PDP, and he did not travel alone. Guys like Saraki (the Oloye incarnate) never travel alone. I mean, apart from the endless convoy of reckless drivers and their primitive-looking security colleagues; Saraki must of necessity travel with good friends like his fellow Oloye from Kogi State, Dino Melaye. And so in the Nigerian political scene (experiment?), criss-crossing is allowed; one step forward, two backwards is a nice dance step; 'carry go, bring come', is sweet music to the Nigerian ear. Pardon me for the digression; there is no end to Nigerian follies, and no end to Nigerian tales. And no end to new abnormalities for a people who having rejected the truth are sworn to surpass themselves in engaging in the unseemly, the inconvenient, the never-heard-before, and the outrightly evil.

I was going to say that I would rather vote a Buhari than an Atiku, if these are the only available options. This view, which some would disagree with, stems from the major premise that Nigeria as presently constituted and configured is ungovernable. I have previously argued on this platform, the alternatives that Nigerians would have insisted on that would have done us good; men like Tunde Idiagbon and Alex Ekwueme have left us. But with us still are men like Ebitu Ukiwe and Shehu Sani (I hope I am not mistaken about the second). However, Nigerians are not yet ready for these kinds, because most Nigerians now have their reasoning and sense of values so skewed that they are hoping that one day it would be their turn to 'chop', either directly or indirectly. And being thus retarded in thinking and consideration, they decorate and celebrate those currently in 'chopping' positions. They celebrate them in their towns and cities, in their churches and social circles; they decorate them with chieftaincy titles, knighthoods and honourary degrees from tertiary institutions. They have gone a step further by involving some pseudo organisations abroad, who bestow all manner of awards, from the bearable to the unthinkable and ridiculous, upon our politicians. And these are the class of people who have oppressed the breathe out of them; so much that I am convinced that it is only in Nigeria that a man relying on the minimum wage is unable to depend on salary from a legal and honest endeavour. Yet, 'my people love to have it so'! They love to have it so because their own mind is prepared to perpetrate the same evil when once the opportunity arises. I have come to the understanding that this is the real reason for what Nigeria has become; from the reception you get in our international airports to the behaviour of the Nigerian Police traffic Corps on the roads. From the failure to have accurate census figures and proper elections, to the perfidies of artisans like your neighbourhood motor mechanic or grocery vendor. Everywhere, every day, I see a people who have long since surpassed Sodom and Gormorah, and have vowed to surprise the Almighty himself - with hypocrisies and self-deceits. And so the Almighty also vowed to abandon them to 'strong delusions', in which they now regard as right and proper that which is actually detrimental and noxious to their well-being.

What I am saying is that Nigerians deserve a Buhari now. I have again on this platform written about some of his foibles and naiveties, but the reason he was preferred before is the same reason he should be preferred now. In mine own eyes, he comes across as more sincere and honest than most of our church pastors! And I say that to the shame of deceitful Christians. He remains the only one amongst the gladiators on the public scene who is relatively clean from 'the chop, I chop' syndrome in Nigeria's public administration. Let me say that it is impossible to find an administration in Nigeria that will be completely free of corrupt individuals. Indeed, as I see it, it is impossible to find any in all the three tiers of governance where half of them are clean. I submit that an Atiku administration would not fare better than an Obasanjo administration. Speaking about Obasanjo, it is also recently in the news that the former President (Obasanjo) has endorsed the Atiku candidacy. This is not surprising! The former President is also one of those who by themselves, with themselves, and for themselves, enthrone people in positions of authority, and then return to apologise for their 'mistake' in imposing these officials on the people. What else can we say?

Nigeria is most certainly a tribulation of a different kind from that envisaged in the Bible.