Care About Us

Care About Us

They don’t really care about us

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7/1/2020 10:34:00 AM

They don’t really care about us

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Lekan SoteWhen the late pop musician, Michael Jackson, sang the worrisome sentiment, “All I wanna say is that they don’t really care about us,” nearly everyone thought he meant that, no matter their public posturing, white folks care very little about Black people.

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They may well be right, considering. But the phrase is also applicable to Nigeria’s political elite, who are here in one political party today, and gone to another, tomorrow. Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar best exemplifies this revolving door political ethic.

While yet a sitting VP under a Peoples Democratic Party government, Atiku contested the presidency as the Action Congress of Nigeria candidate. Then, he returned to the PDP, only to lead a factional New-PDP group into the All Progressives Congress, when Goodluck Jonathan showed interest in being reelected as president.

When Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd) emerged as the APC presidential candidate, and won the election as President in 2015, Atiku bidded his time, hoping to be lucky in 2019. It was a mirage. So, he returned to the PDP, where he clinched the ticket, but lost the election to Buhari.

At the moment, Edo State Governor Godwin Obaseki is the poster boy of the revolving door politics. After offending his benefactor and predecessor in office, Adams Oshiomhole, he lost the nod of his political party, the APC, for reelection as governor.

And typical of Nigeria’s political elite, he exited the APC, fetched up in the rival PDP, and got the nomination as governorship candidate, despite the complaints of Kenneth Imasuagbon, who had thought the Edo State PDP candidate slot was a shoo-in for him.

Imasuagbon had thought he spoke on behalf of Edo State chapter of the PDP, when he said, “The party is not supporting anybody, and cannot support anyone.” He obviously did not reckon with the weapon that even the scripture agrees answereth all things.

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Even a suit, filed by Omoregie Ogbeide-Ihiama at a Port Harcourt High Court, that resulted in a court order restraining Obaseki from participating in the governorship primary of the PDP in Edo State, was ignored. Ogbeide-Ihiama later joined others to step down for Obaseki.

The PDP accommodated Obaseki by postponing its governorship primary at least twice, even as another high court, in Ekpoma, Edo State, close to the country home of Oshiomhole, okayed the primary.It no longer matters that the door of governorship candidate of the APC was shut against Obaseki, and Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, who lost out the governorship election to him as the PDP candidate in 2016, picks up the APC governorship ticket in 2020.

It’s the same ding-dong nonsense that senators Dino Melaye and Smart Adeyemi are practising in Kogi State West Senatorial District: In 2015, Melaye, of the APC, defeated Adeyemi of the PDP. But in 2019, the absurd story changed; Adeyemi crossed over to the APC, and clinched the senatorial seat from Melaye who went to the PDP.

Ondo State Deputy Governor, Agboola Ajayi, defected, and announced, “I submitted my (PDP) nomination and expression of interest forms (for governorship primary) at the National Headquarters of the (PDP)… today, Friday, June 26, 2020.”Ajayi picked up the PDP membership form at his Ese Odò Ward of Ondo State, probably in less than 30 minutes after resigning from the ruling APC. He has a “credible” sob story to tell the goofies who applaud his move.

By asking the Commissioner of the Ondo State Police Command, Bolaji Salami, to prevent Ajayi from going out of his official residence, which is next door to that of Governor Rotimi Akeredolu, the state governor, unwittingly, handed him an explanation for dumpling the APC.

But the report, if true, that he was prevented by the police commissioner from taking government property away from the Government House, confirms that the Nigerian elite are in politics only for personal gain, and not for service.And the criss-crossings confirm the theory of former Cross River State governor, Donald Duke, that Nigeria currently has no political parties, but political platforms, used only to realise personal political ambitions.

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In any case, Section 229 of the Constitution only describes a political party as “any association whose activities include canvassing votes in support of a candidate for election to the office of President, Vice President, Governor, Deputy Governor, or membership of a legislative house or of a local government council.”

And beside Section 224, which requires that “the programmes, as well as the aims and objectives of a political party shall conform with the provisions of Chapter II of this Constitution, (meaning, the Fundamental Objectives and Directive Principles of State Policy),” nothing really holds political parties accountable to the people.

Section 6(6,d), which provides that the judicial powers vested in the courts “shall not… extend to any issue or question as to whether any act or omission by any authority, or person, or as to whether any law or judicial decision is in conformity with the Fundamental Objectives and Directive Principles of State Police set out in Chapter II of this Constitution,” is an ouster clause that excuses political parties, or their governments, from being responsible to the people.

Here is the way Eze Onyekpere, columnist with The PUNCH newspaper, describes it: “Politics without ideas; politics for the sake of pursuit of power, and power for no use, but for personal aggrandisement. It’s not about the people, who are considered mere pawns in the pursuit of the zero sum game, where a winner takes all.”

This implies that Nigeria’s politics is not about ideology, principles, or even manifestos. It’s only about brinkmanship and power calculations, to hoodwink the electorate and grab political power to access the commonwealth.At best, it is merely the fulfilment of the righteousness of Sections 65, 106, 131, and 177 of the Nigerian Constitution, which require an aspirant for political office to be “a member of a political party, and is sponsored by that political party.”

To justify their selfish moves, these rascally politicians begin to throw shades at one another, painting their erstwhile comrades and political parties as the abode of the devil himself. But, surprisingly, the Nigerian electorate always falls for the antics– for the “stomach infrastructure” windfalls, arising from the systemic Nigerian poverty.

The unnecessary squabbling in the household of President Buhari portrays him as a good example of a typical politician who acquires political power, only to idle away the people’s precious time.One way you’ll know that political parties are not formed to address the purposes of the people, but only to advance the interest of party members, is in the Freudian slip in a recent statement credited to Buhari.

Hear him: “The issues currently confronting our party… should worry every party member… Our party is faced with internal wrangling.” He gave no thought to how the wrangling may have negatively impacted governance.Even more astute Bola Tinubu, former Lagos State Governor, who seemed to have travelled the high road, to ask his APC colleagues to allow the “party assume its proper role of helping this government lead the nation toward enlightened improvement,” is also more concerned about the party than the people.

What Nigerians probably need to do is to find ways to compel political parties to earn their votes.Twitter @lekansote1Copyright PUNCH.All rights reserved. This material, and other digital content on this website, may not be reproduced, published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or in part without prior express written permission from PUNCH.

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