THE CHRISTIAN WALK

Friday, October 8, 2021
fayee62@aol.com
Cameron, Texas, USA
NIGERIA 2023 SPECIAL:
HOW THE PDP CAN WIN THE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION?

hen you borrow a practice from another clime or system from another lore that is not yours as Nigerians and other nations are notoriously noted for, you either stick to the rules of the original owners or perfect the borrowed system or practice. The Pilgrims that left Europe for the New World should be credited for coming up with an autochthonous system of government markedly different from the tyrannical monarchy they left and deserted in Medieval Europe. They came up with a unique system of government known as the Presidential system of government that has survived for more than three centuries and is now being copied as a model form of government around the world. As with other things Nigerians have copied from the West such as student loan scheme, Amtrak, Greyhound, housing, and mortgage schemes etc. which were all screwed up; now the presidential system of government the military lifted from the West and gave to Nigerians in 1999 is about to be screwed up too. The system is so Delphic making one to wonder if the average Nigerian politician knows how to operate this borrowed system. I mean what could one make of the nonsense about chairmanship of the PDP and the hoopla it is generating, because the southern governors sensibly decided to zone it to the "northern part of the country. Those pied Nigerian politicians need urgent crash course on US Presidential Politics 101.

When the presidential system of government birthed in the New World on September 17, 1787, which culminated in the election of our first president and the father of the United States, General George Washington on April 30, 1789, it took nearly half a century for an executive committee to emerge for the Democratic Party, thanks to a lawyer -turned journalist, native Bostonian, Mr. Benjamin Franklin Hallett. There are seven benchmarks a democracy, whether homegrown or borrowed is judged. First, the articulation and aggregation of citizens interests through free association via political parties; second; evidence of unfettered freedom of speech and assembly for robust civic engagement and public discourse in the marketplace of ideas. The creation of conducive political ambience for political associations to canvass for votes and presentation of their plans and manifestoes to the voters; fourth, the right to vote without fear of intimidation as free citizens; fifth, the conduct of free, fair, and transparent elections by an impartial umpire body and announcing the results as reflected in the legitimate yearnings and aspirations of the voters expressed via their authentic votes. The right of aggrieved political actors to seek redress in court of law if election results are allegedly finagled with; and lastly, the right to respect the final outcomes of such legal redress and the institution of a government by the winning party to represent the legitimate aspirations and yearnings of the voters/citizens. These guardrails are sacrosanct and how a nation or society adheres to these fundamental tenets of the democratic process determines the elasticity of a truly representative government and the tenure of a nation's democracy. This is why strong institutions such as unenfeebled judiciary, free press and independent media often styled the Fourth Estate, virile and strong non-governmental organizations serving as ombudsmen, political education and strong public participation are sine qua non in a democracy. In fact, a strong Opposition is part of this guardrail in the democratic process and system to checkmate the specter and sudden descent to authoritarianism.

When Hallett became the first national chairman of the Democratic Party in 1848, he disclosed that his mission was to rescue the United States from what he called; "whole band of isms" which he alleged the Antebellum Conservatives in the South was introducing to the new nation. He stayed on his job for eight years in 1853 when a fellow New Englander, President Franklin Pierce appointed Hallett as US attorney for the District of Massachusetts. His successor, Robert Milligan McLane a Delaware-born transplant Marylander was given the job because of his loyalty to future President James Buchanan. McLane ended his storied political career as ambassador, member of the U.S. Congress and later as the 39th Governor of Maryland. In its 173-year history, the DNC has been presided over by 56 chairpersons culminating in its present helmsman, Mr. Jamie Harrison, a South Carolina attorney who lost to Sen. Lindsey Graham in the last 2020 election cycle. That Harrison was appointed by the DNC was a culmination of the fast-changing demographics of the United States. Unlike the DNC, its GOP counterpart, the Republican National Committee-RNC- didn't form a party organization until 1856 when Edwin Morgan, a New Yorker became pioneer chairman. America's quadrennial electoral cycle has traditional determinants that have taken centuries to mature except in the intervening years of WWII which enabled President Delano Roosevelt to be in office for 12 years-the longest in US History until the Twenty Second Amendment came into effect March 21, 1947, which prescribed term limits for presidents. These seven factors shape the way the two political parties hold elections to their party executives and their presidential flagbearers of who one of them ultimately proceeds to become president.

Party Affiliation: - American political tradition has matured over the years that virtually every citizen can pitch his or her tent in either the Democratic or Republican Party. Each of the parties has a register of its core members and so any aspirant can easily use the party register to reach out to potential voters. Now, party crossing does occur when a particular candidate is unique, say the appearance of Barack Obama in 2007/2008 for instance or that of Donald Trump in 2016, but besides those rare "phenomenal disrupters" the work of aspirants on any of the two political parties is already cut out for him or her and it is this; how do I drive turn-out of our core party supporters? Again, the candidate is central to answering this vital question. This is why party apparatchiks lean heavily to the person that will become party chairman. Terry McAuliffe garnered the job as chair of the Democratic Party for 4 years on account of this. His home state of Virginia had traditionally been a bellwether of the Conservative South which the Democrats had been eyeing for years because of its electoral votes. He promised he would crack the nuts and he did by turning the State from red to blue and went on to govern the state as governor and he is returning now to his old job. What does it tell the PDP in Nigeria?

* The moment the PDP flagbearer, Atiku Abubakar lost the 2019 Presidential Election, Mr. Uche Secondus as party helmsman should have butted out honorably according to democratic tradition here in the United States where Nigeria borrowed its system, period.

*

You don't choose your party chairman in a zone or state you are already comfortable. Of the 13 governors produced by the PDP so far, 8 of them are in the South. The party needs an aggressive person, most possibly a Muslim from the core "northern part of Nigeria as chairman thereby broadening the tent. Mr. David Mark from Benue State has no electoral value as chairman of the PDP, because with or without him, Benue State is already a shoo-in for the PDP.

Identity Politics and Values: - Traditional values run deep in the United States just as in other political climes and as they say, all politics is local. Most Christian Evangelicals are so concerned about certain values and on those points would not shift political grounds. Take the combustible issue of abortion for example, most Republican voters have stuck to that lone issue for ages and will not shift ground voting for a Democrat. And vice-versa too for die-in-the wood Democrats. Of recent, the issue of Roe-v. Wade has come to front burner and will shape voters' voting patterns in future elections. Similarly, is the issue of legalization of marijuana. In Nigeria, social issues have not become hot-button issue, but religion is a major factor. The PDP can leverage on this in the coming election and hit a home run if the party has perspicacious thinkers to mine it deftly for electoral success and not rabble rousers.

Gender: - Following the enactment of the 19th Amendment by an Act of the U.S. Congress to o the US Constitution which legally allowed women to vote on August 18, 1920, the DNC whose Democratic President, Mr. Woodrow Wilson initiated and signed the act into law began to calibrate its leadership with a view to mining the burgeoning votes of women. There were lots of push back from party insiders that the time was not ripe to have a lady head the DNC but in 1972, Ms. Jean Miles Westwood of Price, Utah was unilaterally appointed by Mr. George McGovern. McGovern, senator from South Dakota and DNC presidential candidate was squaring up against incumbent Republican President Richard Nixon. As it turned out, McGovern lost badly to Nixon (520-17 electoral votes)-and party insiders threw out Ms. Westwood out as chairperson that same year. The moral: when you win, you keep your party job and when you lose, you are shown the way out! Seeing how the DNC went after women votes in 1972, the Republican National Committee-RNC- broke its stag-hold on the party two years later by appointing its party's first female chairperson in Ms. Mary Louise Smith of Iowa. In 1974 the RNC was hemorrhaging profusely aftermath of the famous Watergate Scandal which led to the resignation of President Nixon. On September 16, 1974, President Ford appointed Smith as the party boss, and she stayed till 1977. As soon as Ford lost to Jimmy Carter in 1977 and the RNC lost the White House, Smith resigned. The political moral: you don't keep a loser as your party chair and you don't remove a winner as your party head, period! The moment the PDP flagbearer, Atiku Abubakar lost the 2019 Presidential Election, Mr. Uche Secondus as party helmsman should have butted out honorably according to democratic tradition here in the United States where Nigeria borrowed its system, period.

Ethnicity: - The United States is a melting pot which everyone is aware of by now and the two political parties are conscious of these ethnic complexities, hence they factor these changing demographics in electing or appointing their party chairpersons. The Hispanic population is rising, so also Asian-Americans and Cubans in certain states, including other minorities. The DNC is aware of these rapidly changing ethnic demographics and for a decade has "conceded" its party chairmanship to a Hispanic man, women and black. Political parties must erect large tents to accommodate all hues taking into consideration the various stakeholders needed to win elections. Again, the point here is: how do we bring more voters to our party sizeable enough to win elections? Take for instance again in Nigeria, Mr. Bukoal Saraki has no moral political argument to even stand for presidential primaries of the PDP after losing Kwara State. As Dr Schneider disclosed on CNN in 2000 when the Florida Debacle kept us in tenterhooks during the Presidential Elections between George Bush and Al Gore; "…If Vice President Gore had won his home state of Tennessee, we would not be waiting for the election results in Florida." The 11 electoral votes Al Gore lost in his home state of Tennessee would have put him on top and became president. Any political analyst knew that Gore or Ms. Clinton would never contest again in the United States. How can Atiku Abubakar and his clique be arguing for the presidency under the PDP when 10-before Umahi and Ayade defected- of the party's governors are from the south? It is politically absurd and laughable! Don't tell me America is different from Nigeria. Then stop copying our Presidential System and get a life as a people if you don't want to follow the rubrics of our system!

Economic Blueprint: - "It's the economy, stupid! Thanks to James Carville for enriching our political lexicon on why President George Walker Herbert Bush lost his re-election to Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton in 1992. Every human being has three basic needs in life: food, clothing and shelter and our Lord Jesus Christ stated these three fundamental needs of all human beings created by Him (Matthew 6:25-32). It doesn't matter whether you are black, white, or yellow; male or female, educated or otherwise. These economic needs weigh heavily in the minds of voters during elections. No matter how the APC will try to finagle with the 2023 Presidential Elections, the party should, will and must lose bigly. There is too much hunger in the land and Muhammadu Buhari has made a mess of the Nigerian economy. There are some elections you can "fix." The PDP must be cursed to recycle the same political troglodytes that will make it self-destruct in 2023. When the economy of a nation is booming, voters keep the party that is responsible in power as they did to the DNC under President Bill Clinton in 1992-2000. On the other hand, a tanking economy opens the door for the party and president in power to be shown the way out fast and easily! APC and Buhari are a goner if the PDP don't squander this rare opportunity.

The Candidate: - This is the political master stroke that won the presidency for Mr. Barack Obama. The first time I listened to the skinny young man in Southside Chicago, I looked at my wife and said, that man would be president of the United States one day. My wife chuckled. No matter the color of your skin and where you're coming from, when you first listen to this articulate young man, your first remark is; "Boy, that man is good" without any prejudice. You may eventually not vote for him for other reasons but not account of his fitness. Mainstream media and press were shell-shocked how this young African American senator ran the best organized and scandal-free presidential campaign in US history. Late New York Gov. Mario Cuomo called him the Best Orator of the 21st Century during the presidential campaign and he won and won big, his skin color notwithstanding. If a presidential candidate contested for presidency five times as Mr. Atiku Abubakar did and your party is still recycling him in a nation on 200million souls, you are cursed. He isn't all that good, at best a mediocre whose sense of entitlement to the presidency smacks of local hubris. Enough of fielding old and worn out politicians as presidential candidates and scout for young and vibrant minds in the technological and digital era.

Money and Financial Strength: - Presidential politics requires money and political parties need money and plenty of it to hurl in for menageries of activities: paid staff, canvassing, advertisements and many more. Chairmen hardly stay in their posts if they cannot meet the financial costs of party candidates from local government to the national scene. Besides New York native, August Belmont who stayed as chair of the DNC for 12 years (1860-1872) and his fellow Connecticuter, William Barnum two years later, party apparatchiks are traditionally not in the mood to tolerate non-achieving party chairperson. Belmont stayed that long because under his chairmanship, the DNC controlled the White House for eight years -President Franklin Pierce and James Buchanan-but he was dumped as soon as the Democrats lost the White House to the Republicans-President Abraham Lincoln in 1861. For the next 15 years, the Democrats were kept out of the White House and Barnum was allowed to stay as party chair because he promised to reclaim the presidency for the Blue Party. He achieved it in the election of President Grover Cleveland in 1885. In Nigeria for instance, Mr. Uche Secondus shouldn't have been allowed to retain his chairmanship seat immediately the PDP fielded Atiku Abubakar in 2019 and lost the presidency. In party politics and like other rewards and punishment ventures, you don't reward a losing team and you don't dispense with a winning team, period! Here in America, no matter how rich you are, you don't throw your money away to a losing party and failed candidate as simple as that.

COMMENDATIONS TO THE PDP: - During my graduate years here in the United States, a heated argument ensued in one of our numerous seminars about how Haiti and by extension most developing nations, including Nigeria have become enigmas of growth without development. How come Haiti which defeated imperial France in 1791 at the War of Independence led by Toussaint Louverture is the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere? How can a nation that is more than 200 years old still a basket case? How is it that Mexico as a nation that is more than 200 years old and next to the United States cannot take care of its citizens streaming across the borders to the United States? Why is poverty still endemic in most parts of the world? Arguments went to/for and forth: - colonialism, imperialism, slavery, technological oppression etc. Yet, other nations threaded similar paths and are now medium super-powers: -Japan, Vietnam, Singapore, South Korea, and India among others. My candid and practical view is irreducibly one word: -Organization.

Yes, the obnoxious trans-Atlantic slave trade dealt a heavy blow on our psyches as black people, the twin evils of imperialism and colonialism and the artificially created global economic system and its ancillary institutions run by the Western Powers are skewed against our interests, yet that should not be excuse for our lack of poor leadership. Were these debilities the causes of our leaders stealing public money and squireling it abroad? Why are we so disorganized in Black Africa and why are Africans scattered all over the Western Hemisphere as a result of slave trade and slavery have not been able to get their acts together more than 200 years after those atrocious inhumanity from man to man? Why is it that Nigerians adjudged as the most highly educated immigrants in the United States thrive and do well here and elsewhere, but couldn't shine right there in their homeland? If bright Nigerian minds scattered all over world and making exploits in virtually all fields of human endeavors had stayed back in the land of their birth, would we not have wasted away, unheard, unknown, and uncelebrated? This is why in the march to discover who we are as a people and building an enduring democracy, Nigerians should begin to organize with a view to charting a new course for the nation for the sake of coming generations. That new path can begin with the PDP since the contraption known as APC is a lost cause waiting to implode, explode and dissolve into smithereens very soon. The march to greatness will require the PDP to think afresh, exorcise its ugly past, do a make-over, weed out and do away with all their troglodytes. As former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar rightly said few days ago, the problem with Nigeria is not a northern or southern president or where the president comes from, but a pan-Nigerian president is what matters. Absolutely! But Mr. Abubakar is half-right. Nigeria has tried many of Abubakar's generation and pedigree as presidents who came from the same section of the country and with the exception of two of them, the rest have been total failures including the dour fellow right there now who cried and wept to be given the job the other time but now has messed up everything. Should his type be rewarded? Will you continue to hire the same attorney who has never won a single court case for you and the failed attorney keeps on nudging you to retain him over and over again? Will you hire a surgeon who has a track record of killing patients he has operated upon numerus times, or will you deliberately keep on flying in an airline with putrid reputation of air crashes in the aviation industry?

Take Mr. Abubakar himself talking cheekily, what entitles you to continue to present yourself as a serial presidential candidate when you have established the sour reputation of a serial loser? Will you retain any of the managers in many of the companies you established with stolen money if a manger posted annual loses for five consecutive years as you have lost presidential contests five times? A serious businessperson may tolerate such disastrous balance sheet and certainly you as a businessperson because it is not your personal money, but true investors eager for returns on their investments will get rid of you as chairman; so also, Nigerians cannot continue to gamble with your inordinate ambition as a nation. Nigeria is bigger, far bigger than you and your fat ego and selfish ambition and it is time for you to come to terms with this reality. In fact, the nauseating hispid that leadership must be weaned from one womb, especially when they are second-rated in a nation of 200 million is asinine and dumb. These are serious times and things must be done differently. The National Executive Committee-NEC-was wise and the larger PDP to ratify the recommendation of the Governor Ugwuanyi-led Zoning Committee and his 39 Wisemen and Women. The PDP is indeed turning the page. The PDP is not yet there, but the party is not far from victory in 2023.

PROPHETIC DATELINE: Which of the governors will win re-election in 2023 and which political parties will control the various Government Houses in the states in Nigeria? Who win Anambra 2021 next month? Exclusive on the governorship elections in 2023 next week as it is our tradition in this column since 2015. We shall give you blow-by-blow political prophecies of the various states as we normally do. Watch out!

WAR IS TERRIBLE! THINK AGAIN. BETTER TO TALK THAN WAR-WAR

The heart-wrenching stories and pictures that dot the global mediascape coming out of the South-Asian nation of Afghanistan are assaults on our collective consciousness as human beings. The precipitous withdrawal of the United States after two decades of occupation are eyesores to the rest of the world that, when the chips are down, no foreign power, outsiders and organizations or otherness will come to develop your nation. Between September 11, 2001, when President George W. Bush invaded that nation and last week when President Joseph R. Biden withdrew our troops, the United States spent $2 trillion on the war against the Taliban. That staggering amount translates to $300million per day. If you divide that amount by head for the poor people of Afghanistan, that translates to $50,000. In the war, 2,300 US soldiers perished, 75,000 Afghan soldiers were massacred while 71,334 civilians died with many unaccounted for. As a matter of fact, the true costs of the war may never be known.

Many people became millionaires, toads of war who cashed in bigly like the runaway Ashraf Ghani who helped himself to unknown amount of the Green Backs. The military industrial complex also helped themselves handsomely while the poor, the women, young girls, the marginalized and the vulnerable are on their own. That is war! For those who are beating the drumbeats of war elsewhere, they should look no further of what awaits them. War is terrible. It is not a dinner party. Why can't people of the world understand and get it? Satan and his demons love and crave blood of human beings and are behind all the major wars in human history. If you want to learn more, please visit this website http://www.monnac.club/?fbclid=IwAR0XT7442CqJafaHlovoXnuUTX-wkZqx0u3NGB6sujTUoZnKuGEe0OOMDYU

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