PDP, APC: Any agenda for Nigerians?
“Every man, every woman who has to take up the service of government, must ask themselves two questions: ‘Do I love my people in order to serve them better? Am I humble and do I listen to everybody, to diverse opinions in order to choose the best path. If you don’t ask those questions, your governance will not be good”. -Pope Francis.
In what could pass as the ‘ides of March, (In Shakespeare’s play Julius Caeser, a warning given to Caeser about the March 15th, the day on which he was assassinated), the two giant political parties in Nigeria that have shared powers politically into two unequal parts namely the All Progressives Congress (APC) with substantial control of political powers in over 65 per cent of the landmass of Nigeria and the leading opposition Peoples Democratic Party which handles the other fragments of Nigeria, have launched massive political salvos on each other about who wins political power at the centre come May 29, 2023, when the incumbent APC controlled Federal administration winds down.
These were meetings not about us but about them and therefore represent our collective ‘Ides of March’.
These parties met ironically on the same day March 23, 2022, in the Federal Capital Territory and Obingwa in Abia State of South East of Nigeria.
Whereas APC converged inside the office of the President and was hosted by President Muhammadu Buhari making use of taxpayers’ money, the PDP met in Abia State at the behest of the Abia State governor, who as expected would have used Abia people’s funds to host his party hierarchy made up essentially of governors similar to the texture of the meeting that was held in the Presidential mansion making extensive use of the public fund.
That these two dominant but absolutely non-performing parties met and got lavished dinners making use of public funds is not the essence of this piece even though it is correlated to its import of it.
The larger picture is the rationale for each of these partisan meetings, which is strictly about state capture or to put it in a moderate form, winning political power and especially who wins the office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
These sets of politicians drawn from the PDP and APC did not meet on how to ameliorate the high costs of living and the excruciating economic burdens being experienced by citizens but their major concern is how to win the election by hook or crook.
Ironically, as they met, the Chancellor of exchequer in the United Kingdom, Rishi Sunak, was busy in London announcing a major economic relief package that Boris Johnson’s administration has worked out to soften the high costs of living in the United Kingdom.
This was in the United Kingdom where we see practical good governance at work and not in Nigeria where the bulk of politicians that run government do not understand the conceptual framework of good governance and best global practices in the area of constitutionalism but are basically chasing after their pockets.
And so as reported here, rising from their meeting in Umuobiakwa, Obingwa, Abia State, the PDP governors, under the aegis of PDP Governors’ Forum, resolved to change the leadership of the country.
Describing the APC government as uncaring and insensitive to the plight of Nigerians, they said the ruling party has become a menace to Nigeria.
They consequently urged Nigerians to reject the APC, which they said is disorganised and as such cannot offer good governance to the people of Nigeria.
In their post-meeting communiqué read by the Chairman and Sokoto State Governor, Alhaji Aminu Tambuwal, the governors unveiled the readiness of the PDP to take over and offer qualitative leadership options to rescue the nation.
“We lament the terrible pain and hardship facing Nigerians in virtually all aspects of life was much better in 2015 under the PDP than today under the APC,” the governors said.
The forum urged all party members and party leadership to remain focused and united to win power in 2023, as well as tackle the myriads of problems facing the country.
Meanwhile, to show the party’s seriousness, from today, it will begin the process of mending the fence among members, especially on the contentious matter of zoning.
In a statement by the party’s National Organising Secretary, Umar Bature, the party will inaugurate 37 persons, who are expected to serve in the committee to determine a suitable zoning formula for the 2023 presidential election.
The committee is also saddled with the responsibilities of allocating positions of Senate President, Speaker of House of Representatives and Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF).
They will also work out other leadership positions in the two chambers of the National Assembly among the six geopolitical zones. The list contained a representative of each of the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory.
On the same matter of organising fraternity as political parties, the APC also met in Abuja inside the Presidential mansion and also marshalled plots on retaining Federal powers by all means.
Prior to the meetings, both the APC and PDP exchanged verbal salvos concerning some plots to undermine democracy in reaction to a politically charged alarm raised by the highly partisan Department of State Services, which practically accused the plotters of seeking to unseat the APC government. The President thereafter reacted by accusing the PDP of plotting to push the APC out of power.
As captured by news writers, ahead of the APC national convention, President Muhammadu Buhari, met with governors of the party and urged the APC leadership to refund aspirants who were dropped immediately.
He urged them not to allow the PDP to take over power in 2023.
The President told the party leadership to be united in appointing executives ahead of the 2023 general elections.
What we should be concerned about as citizens is the need to demand accountability from these political office holders of the major political parties and to ask them to show Nigerians concrete, verifiable and believable evidence that they have an implementable agenda for Nigeria and the citizens beyond their partisan pursuit of political powers in the coming elections.
These parties must be put under pressure to take the agenda for Nigerians as their watchword and not mere footnotes in their prepared speeches. President Buhari for seven years has consistently visited London the United Kingdom for medical tourism. So in both the APC and PDP, their dominant thematic area is what will benefit them as individuals and not what will benefit us as a collective. This is why we need to wake up as citizens and accept the fact that eternal vigilance is the cost of liberty.
Let us demand what solutions they have or have they offered regarding food insecurity, which is worsening due to the war in Ukraine launched by Russia?
The citizens should demand from these two political parties their contributions in the area of advancing agricultural technology?
Other critical issues demanding answers are what solutions they each have to the state of insecurity, unemployment, hunger, the collapse of socio-economic infrastructures in the health, education and petroleum, science and technology sectors.
In Nigeria today, the epileptic power supply is a major economic crisis, which the Federal Government seems too overwhelmed to solve, just the same way it is confused about resolving the unprecedented fuel crisis.
These are key areas these politicians should hold meetings on and thereafter showcase their distinctive economic blueprints for growth and show concrete proofs of how these have worked in these states that each of the two parties control.
These parties and the others must demonstrate that they care about us and not about their pockets. But first, the citizens must wake up from slumber and demand accountability.
Onwubiko is head of the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA).