There are very few spectacles on earth that compare to Nigeria’s season of politicking. And what is politics without the intrigues; the suspense; drama and colour and the inevitable dollop of treachery? I returned home last week to run into a headstream of politicking as the posturing for the 2015 elections began to take a much more concrete shape.
The most consistent stream of contemporary politics is the relative lack of substance in the political party system. There is not much to choose between the six and half a dozen of the political parties in our country today. When push comes to shove, what is the difference between the PDP and the APC? That might be the difference between Tweedledee and Tweedledum! I am a student of politics enough to know that the political parties of great ideas disappeared with the Twentieth Century: the Communist and Socialist parties; National Liberation Parties, even the Conservative and Fascist parties!
Today, there is a convergence in an ill-defined, nebulous center, much more in tune with defending contemporary neoliberal capitalism. Its manifestation in Nigeria has given us the frightening lack of principles that suffuse our political order and political party system. Consequently, the role of the individual has come to the fore since each person has merely used, or is using the party only as a platform of access to power.
The state deserves a governor with the intellectual and leadership abilities to lead the fundamental developments to transform it. Kaduna’s place in history is such that it deserves the very best in leadership, away from the annoying mediocrity of the moment. I think history beckons on Nasir El-Rufai. It does not matter that he belongs to the APC. I will support his candidacy to the best of my ability so that Kaduna can get the leadership that will drive the development it thoroughly deserves.
On the other hand, the greatest challenge which faces the people of Kwara state, my home state, is how to end the hegemonic control of Bukola Saraki. To that extent, we have a duty to DEFEAT the APC in Kwara state! Another four years of Bukola Saraki (run by subterfuge through AbdulFatah Ahmed),will end in the ruination of Kwara state. The period since 2003, when Bukola Saraki came into power, till date, has witnessed a regime of heist and monumental deception allied with the institution of the Personality Cult of the arrogant, insensitive Bukola Saraki.
When he left power in 2011, he installed a sidekick, AbdulFatah Ahmed (his erstwhile employee at SocieteGenerale Bank), who was also Commissioner for Finance for most of Bukola Saraki’s years as governor. An ordinarily nice person, but AbdulFatah Ahmed, was content to play Man Friday all through his governorship since 2011, allowing Bukola Saraki to sit atop the resources of our state and wielding the power of selection, firing, reinstating and ridiculing individuals in positions as befits his fancy!
In that elaborate process of deception, the people have been at the receiving end of pains and anguish. Just one example: billions of naira has been spent allegedly to give us water in Ilorin. Yet, water is what we don’t have in that city.It is amazing that all the individuals responsible for controversial water contracts from the period of military dictatorship are all in cahoots in the Kwara State APC (Muhammed Sha’aba Lafiagi; Khalil Bolaji; Bukola Saraki and Abdul Fatah Ahmed!). Consequently, people are looking towards the PDP for the emergence of the candidate that will sweep away the elaborate regime of heist, deception and Bukola Saraki’s hegemonic Personality Cult in place since 2003! The party labels in Kaduna and Kwara are similar but the outcomes we desire in the two locations are different. That is the nature of contemporary politics.
Yet despite this situation, there are certain indecencies that are unacceptable in the political process. An example of such indecency came last week, when Ijaw leader, Chief Edwin Clark, was reported to have expressed fears over President Goodluck Jonathan’s safety. The reason for his fear was that “the opposition politicians could go all out to kill the president in order to be in power”. Chief Clark added that “recent statements” from opposition chieftains of the APC, suggest “that they would stop at nothing to harm the president to get to the seat of power…If they have their way, they can kill Jonathan, they can poison him, provided they will go into office…”.
These must be some of the worst statements from an old man with a penchant for making ridiculous statements. EK Clark did not cite examples nor name the opposition chieftains making such statements. But it seemed directed at cowering all alternative platforms to the Jonathan presidency. How did a legal, constitutional opposition make a transition to the fears EK Clark expressed about President Jonathan’s safety? Must democracy be abridged in Nigeria just because EK Clark’s kinsman is in power today?
I think it is outlandish
statements such as these as well as threats to other Nigerians and the Nigerian state, by Jonathan’s supporters like Asari Dokubo that hurt the president’s position far more than statements from opposition figures. It might be important to remind the venerable Chief Clark, that Nigeria’s presidency is not a minor chieftancy in Ijawland. President Goodluck Jonathan has the whole country as his constituency.
He is in power because he was declared winner of the 2011 elections. Nigerians have the right to re-elect him or to reject and vote him out in 2015. The beauty of the democratic process is that people will exercise their choice based on as many factors as suit their preferences. We cannot have democracy by threats or by outlandish accusations such as those made last week by Chief EK Clark. The opposition will have no reason whatsoever to attempt to kill or poison President Goodluck Jonathan.
They know that elections will soon be here. This is a democratizing country and what will determine President Jonathan’s fate are a combination of political, economic, even emotional factors that weigh upon the consciousness of the Nigerian electorate as they go to the polls in 2015. I saw Chief EK Clark at close quarters during the 2014 National Conference, and I came with the impression that he genuinely believes that he occupies a self-appointed place in the Nigerian political firmament as a “defender” or even some kind of “presidential godfather”.
He carried himself that way and in the Nigerian manner of doing things, he was often the centre of attraction for those in search of sinecures in the political system. Chief EK Clark was regularly handing out his call cards to those hanging around him.
In some of those moments, I think the adoration he received, including the excessive indulgence from the National Conference leadership, began to get the better of the old man. The Nigerian disease of over-veneration of individuals who owe their visibility to alleged closeness to power also explains Chief Clark’s opportunistic exploitation of same to claim relevance far beyond what he actually possesses.
From that false pedestal of access to President Goodluck Jonathan, Chief Edwin Clark, unfortunately, is doing so much damage to President Goodluck Jonathan. But again, this is Nigeria’s political season and it comes with a lot of absurdities!.