Pdp: Nails For The Coffin Of Reform

May 26, 2010
4 mins read

The world of politics can be likened to the stomach of the African elephant, often containing a hodge-podge of characters; the flotsam and jetsam. In a neo-colony like Nigeria, the prebendal character of politics is built upon a most corrupt clientelism which recruits often controversial characters into leadership; this cast of characters despoils politics almost without redemption. The clown, the crook and the AGIP [Any Government in Power] plus the attack dog, become the face of such politics. Since the nation’s elite chose the lowest common denominator in the process of recruitment, incompetence and kleptocracy overtake governance. When a single political party, as the PDP, becomes totally dominant, the struggle to control it also becomes a matter of life and death: relentless, vicious and bloody!


The fight to take control has taken a new turn. Jonathan Goodluck’s emergence as president has emboldened a new cast of characters; the old dictator Obasanjo and his fugitives-from-justice boys are back into the frame of politics and literally preparing a seizure of power. Last Friday, the media reported the appearance of the attack dogs of the old Obasanjo regime, Femi Fani-Kayode and Nasir El-Rufai, during the PDP Reform Forum, at the Abuja Sheraton Hotel. DAILY SUN newspaper of Friday, May 21, 2010, aptly headlined that “Obasanjo men take over PDP Reform Forum”, reporting “a thunderous ovation” when Nasir El-Rufai, erstwhile fugitive from the law, and one of the most unprincipled politicians of the last twenty years in Nigeria, Ojo Maduekwe, “were introduced as new entrants to the reform agitation”. Nasir and Ojo as “reformers”? Nigeria is truly a joke, if the worst cast of AGIPS like El-Rufai and Ojo Maduekwe will be “reforming” the PDP! El-Rufai is Jerry Gana’s anointed successor in the AGIP business. He served the military government of Abdulsalami Abubakar; lobbied Atiku Abubakar to get a look in when the civilian regime emerged in 1999, and got headship of the regime’s controversial privatization process, ending up midwife of the unpatriotic PENTASCOPE deal, before emerging as FCT minister and the subsequent scandals about land allocations. El-Rufai promptly dumped his mentor to become Obasanjo’s favorite Rottweiler in the duel with Atiku Abubakar. When his effort to become presidential candidate fell through, he latched on to the Yar’adua bandwagon, deluded that he was going to be central in the new government. Pursuit to that delusion, his partner, Nuhu Ribadu, announced even before Yar’adua formed his team, that El-Rufai was the next minister of power; so arrogant and settled was Nasir in his messianic complex.


 Umaru Yar’adua however chose to cut them to size, and with tail between legs, El-Rufai became a “persecuted political exile”, writing papers for imperialist institutions in America, and like a caricature of DON QUIXOTE, railing from a comfortable distance against the “incompetence and corruption” of the Yar’adua government. El-Rufai was the anti-corruption speck extractor from the Yar’adua era, never minding that he carried a huge plank of controversies of his own. Yar’adua’s incapacitation and death, allowed the fugitives to return home, because the new helmsman, Jonathan Goodluck, needed the attack dogs of his mentor, Olusegun Obasanjo, to do a dirty job: attack zoning to run in 2011; and who better fitted the frame than well-practiced Rottweilers like Nasir El-Rufai and Femi Fani-Kayode? The media reported that Fani-Kayode (still in court for theft), acted as the co-master of ceremony, in the road show of “reform” that had Aminu Masari and Ken Nnamani, as the original promoters.


The governors, led by Bukola Saraki, as allies of Umaru Yar’adua were able to seize the PDP from the suffocating stranglehold of Obasanjo and his gang; they imposed their own hegemony and froze out Obasanjo, who confessed at the weekend, according to SUNDAY TRUST, that he was sidelined by the Ogbulafor leadership of the party, which the governors had imposed. Unfortunately, the governors also alienated other tendencies including the Masari/Nnamani forum. When Yar’adua’s health took a turn for the worst, the “Reform Forum” became emboldened to make a go at the Ogbulafor leadership.  Jonathan Goodluck’s emergence became the blessing they were looking for, because there is a confluence of ambitions now, no matter how temporary: Jonathan’s game is to tear the PDP’s zoning formula so he can run in 2011; when Ogbulafor re-emphasized the zoning formula, Jonathan borrowed a leaf from the Obasanjo book of hostage politics, letting loose the ICPC against him. The national deputy chairman, Dr Haliru Muhammed was also found to have collected bribes from Halliburton, never mind that Obasanjo was similarly indicted in the Okiro Report as well as a certain Intercellular telephone company which collected over eleven million dollars! For now, as allies of Jonathan Goodluck’s, they will not be touched.


Isn’t it interesting that DAILY TRUST reported on Tuesday, May 25, 2010, that the presidency had put pressure on the Police Service Commission to re-instate Nuhu Ribadu as an AIG? The pressure was to return him fully into the Nigeria police. The Commission “bowed to superior powers when the pressure was enormous”. Yet it was the same Nuhu Ribadu as the chairman of EFCC, in 2006, who alerted Nigeria, about Goodluck’s wife and some stolen millions of dollars/naira from the coffers of Bayelsa when Jonathan was governor. So what changed that lead to the sweetheart deal between the thief catcher and Jonathan Goodluck? The new situation in Nigeria has brought the ambitions of these different characters to a tactical co-incidence. Obasanjo wants to continue to call the shots; his boys suffer from a power withdrawal syndrome and hope Jonathan Goodluck’s ambition, will ease them back to relevance while Jonathan is borrowing the despicable style of the Obasanjo era to achieve his 2011 dream. The attack dogs will be useful.


The greatest losers are Masari/Nnamani, who earlier projected the face of idealism, but with the influx of Obasanjo’s wild dogs and characters like Ojo Maduekwe, now have the bottom falling off their project. What is unfolding underlines the rot of Nigerian ruling class politics. The PDP remains Chief Awoniyi’s basket of scorpions; they are gradually stinging themselves to death, but the Nigerian people will continue to suffer collateral damage, for as long as the gang of bandits determines the fate of our country. It is the CAPTURE of the PDP that is now being perfected; contrary to Masari’s naïve belief that PDP could be “reformed”. Obasanjo, the attack dogs and Jonathan Goodluck, have supplied the nails for the coffin of reform, and backed by the repressive apparatus of state power, are likely to emerge as the surviving scorpions in the basket. It is almost Darwinian!



If the Jonathan Goodluck’s cabal is scheming to end zoning in 2011, why is PDP chairmanship still zoned to the Southeast?

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