APC and PDP must be retired from the presidency
Only the most gullible would not realize, after 24 years of forlorn expectation, that there is no salvation for Nigeria in the Old Guard, represented by the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) the proverbial two fingers of a leprous hand – which have occupied the Presidency, consecutively, since 1999 – regardless of what their hatchet men may say.
Either we continue following them, like people under a spell, unto perdition, or we awaken to the fact that power actually belongs to the people, turn a new leaf and resist all forms of manipulation by which our birthright of freedom and prosperity had been stolen and do all it takes to retire them from the Presidency, with another party, by the 2023 election, for a chance to salvage Nigeria before it is too late.
The Presidency is the first target in the rescue mission, because, by the current Nigerian Constitution, it controls all essential resources and powers in all departments of the federation and is everything in setting the tone and direction of the country, with the states as mere vassals – an aberration in a federal system that must be rectified, as the next stage of the mission. Politics is the art of the possible. It is only a prudent, astute and determined president that would embark on the restructuring of the federation. Predators will never do it.
The APC-led Presidency, in particular, is neither prudent nor astute. Among others, it is seen as favouring the religion and followers of Islam and their regions. It is drowning the country in debt without returns. It is even bent on violating the Land Use Act to expropriate land (the only asset still possessed by states) by the Water Resources Bill being pushed, for the umpteenth time, at the National Assembly.
Once the Bill is passed and signed into law, all ground water, as well as all interstate rivers and streams, along with the land area stretching into 10 kilometres from both banks, will be taken over by the Federal Government. You will need a licence even to drill a borehole. And you can guess who will dominate the Water Commission, who will get the licences and who will repopulate the river valleys and ancestral lands – at the expense of native farmers and fishermen.
Second, like Nero who fiddled while Rome burnt, the clueless and predatory Old Guard have left Nigeria slumbering in insecurity and the bottom spots on all socio-economic and human development indices among nations, particularly, since the years of the APC-led Federal Government – despite the intimidating human and natural resources bestowed on the country by God almighty.
The president’s current passion is for foreign trips while the whole country is writhing in the throes of terrorism. And he is adamant against State Police, rendering the governor a commander without an army. It is only now that the terrorists are besieging the Federal Capital Territory, where many of the predators are ensconced, that the toothless National Assembly suddenly threatens to impeach the president they should have sent away long ago!
Third, just as the leopard cannot change its spots, the APC and the PDP have crossed the Rubicon (degenerated to the point of no return) in bad governance and financial and moral corruption that there is no prospect of repentance; the latest evidence being the shameful trading, monetization and vote-buying which characterize their selection of flagbearers for the 2023 general elections – a foreboding of auction in those elections – despite the prevailing destitution among the populace, which ought to be sobering and eliciting far-reaching austerity measures rather than the vulgar display of money.
Both parties share the same identity, particularly, when it comes to looting the treasury. As a result of compromise, there is no credible opposition to keep the ruling party on its toes. Another proof that they have completely lost touch with reality is the case of the Speaker of the House of Representatives attending a course at the Harvard University while public universities remained shut since six months.
Fourth, the APC and PDP are also united in turning Nigeria into a predatory oligarchy – a system monopolized and looted by the few within, at the expense of the majority. One of their strategies is the erection of barriers against the less-moneyed youths, women and technocrats, in order to keep recycling themselves in power. State governors, for example, who retire with obscene benefits would simply relocate to the Senate or Federal Executive Council or major public institutions – instead of giving way to rejuvenate the system with fresh blood!
Today, you do not aspire to be President or governor or legislator if not a billionaire. In the APC, you needed N100 million to express interest in the 2023 Presidency. In the PDP, it was N40 million. Nobody asks for the source of the funds, but most of the aspirants were current or previous public office holders.
Another strategy is to allow the public school system to decay and the standard of education to nosedive while educating their children in foreign and private universities and frantically installing them in the executive, legislature, judiciary and key parastatals and agencies of government (like NNPC, CBN and NPA) regardless of merit, in a phony succession plan which renders the rest of the people onlookers. Then, they gloat (as Atiku Abubakar did in a recent Arise TV interview) in the gullibility and herd mentality of the poorly-educated and subjugated masses towards elections, perhaps, without realizing that they are fanning the embers of the fundamentalism and terrorism already consuming the country.
A progressive society is one in which the son of a nobody can school and compete with the son of a senator or governor in a public school and become somebody without knowing anybody (tribute to Mallam Aminu Kano) which used to be the case in the days of service integrity and quality and accessible education.
Healthy competition is behind the prosperity of North America, Europe and, now, Asia. Nigerians even benefit from open societies around the world more than they do from their country, owing to this threatening closed system, compounded by the quota system. We celebrate Tobi Amusan and Ese Brume and many others, today, but would they have mounted the world stage if they depended on Nigeria?
That the Moslem North (where the closed system is practised, with kith and kin as the emirs, district heads and administrators, at the expense of the majority) is the illiteracy, disease, poverty, corruption and terrorism capital of Nigeria, today (despite their elite being in control of political power since 1960) is an irrefutable evidence that the closed system is the recipe for the failure of any society and should not be allowed to envelope the whole country!
Fifth, the easy money available to the oligarchy from public coffers also feeds the cancer of vote-buying, manipulation and subjugation of the electorate, with the result that outcomes of elections hardly reflect the mind of the people but that of the oligarchy who now see public office as an investment for financial returns. Then they leave the door ajar for themselves and their collaborators to recoup their ‘investment’ a thousand times over and cannot serve the interest of the people (presumed to have been settled and no more indebted to) at the same time.
That is why, for example, the pledge by the APC to deliver uninterrupted power supply within six months of coming to power could not be fulfilled after seven years. That is why there is little or nothing to show for the humongous public debt being left behind by the out-going APC-led Federal Government. There can be no end to this haemorrhage until both parties are dislodged from the Presidency.
Sixth, the APC and the PDP should be rejected for compulsively lying to the electorate and never keeping faith upon coming to power – in addition to vote-buying and vote suppression – in order to restore the dignity of the electorate and to save the integrity of our electoral democracy.
Nwosu is a research and training consultant.