Political Decadence In South West Nigeria
By Emmanuel Onwubiko
On Friday June 13th 2014 when the World witnessed one of the finest sporting artistry on display in the football pitch in far away Brazil, the World's fifth largest country, during the encounter between the Senior World Cup defending Champion Spain which also doubles as European Champions and Netherlands which incidentally came second in the last World Cup in South Africa in 2010, the Dutch players outplayed their Spaniards with a whooping five goals to one, thus creating a sensational sporting history.
About that same period that this spectacular football history was being created, the nation's newest political opposition platform known as the All Progressives Congress [APC] congregated at the Eagles Square complex in the central business district of the political capital of Nigeria in Abuja whereby it hosted the first ever National Convention of that party which is an amalgamation of some three divergent political parties that merged to form the opposition stronghold with the singular aim of challenging the premier position of the Peoples Democratic Party at the center in the 2015 general elections.
At that first ever national convention of the All Progressives Congress, a new set of national leadership were selected and installed in almost similar undemocratic pattern in practice in the national ruling party known as Peoples Democratic Party [PDP]. Criticism are rife that the so-called political opposition party did very little to depart fundamentally from the much vilified consensus arrangement for which the Peoples Democratic Party has become so notorious and the very reason for which most of the members of the new political opposition party walked out of the national ruling party in protest for these undemocratic practices of imposition of national and state hierarchies of the political party. Funny enough, the Sokoto state governor Magatakarda Wamakko who also walked out of PDP in protest over the so-called undemocratic tendencies presided over the national convention of this opposition political party which followed similar despicable pattern forcefully imposing leaders on the political party as against all known democratic tenets of free choice devoid of blackmail or hindrance.
But the man who emerged as the consensus national Chairperson of the party and the former Governor of Edo state Chief John Oyegun [allegedly loyal to the South West political juggernaut Chief Bola Ahmed Tinubu] read a speech in which he pledged to bring about a new approach to politics and to work hard to win national elections and use the manifesto of his party to truly transform Nigeria even as he promised that the party will wage unrelenting war against corruption.
While the brand new national chairman of All Progressives Congress was busy making remarkable speech embellished with revolutionary epithets and tenets, some of his prominent party members preparing for the forthcoming governorship elections in Ekiti and Osun states were busy distributing packaged and customized essential commodities such as rice and salt to potential voters in what most critics believe are clear cases of bribery and vote buying. The other political party vying to dethrone the All Progressives Congress from its South West Nigerian sphere of dominance, the Peoples Democratic Party [PDP] is also engaged in the shameful distribution of rice and other foodstuffs in their desperate attempts to buy votes and influence the outcome of the coming elections.
This show of shame happening in Ekiti and Osun states are being systematically carried out by the two major political parties and yet the Independent National Electoral Commission that ought to play the role of an unbiased umpire stands by and watch as this infamy and political decadence of the highest manifestation take place.
The social media of Facebook and many other social media outlets are replete with photographs of potential voters in Osun and Ekiti states who were seen clutching their different sizes of bags of rice given to them by the All Progressives Congress and the Peoples Democratic Party in very negative attempts to win their votes.
Oblivious of the shame and infamy that some of his members have created, the newly selected national Chairman of the All Progressives Congress sounded as if his political platform was better off than all the rest even when formidable body of evidence points to the other way.
Hear him: “Ladies and gentlemen, our party has much work to do. The state of our nation is highly disturbing. It could be said with some justification that our great country Nigeria is on the ropes. A nation blessed by the Almighty with all the key endowments to make any nation great has been virtually brought to its knees by corruption that is unbridled and will qualify for the Guinness Books of Records.”
The national Chairman of APC further affirmed thus; “ resource mismanagement, directionless and what some have described as cluelessness. As if these woes are not enough, our situation has been compounded by the amazingly visionless national leadership that has been inflicted on Nigerians by the People's Democratic Party since the dawn of our latest democratic dispensation”.
“In this past decade and a half of genuine suffering, Nigerians have been frustrated by the fact that there was no alternative national party of comparable strength to rescue them from the clutches of the PDP”, so says Oyegun.
Come to think of it, which party rules Lagos state? Is it not the All Progressives Congress-led administration of Babatunde Fashola [SAN] that has today become one of the most brutal and notorious violator of the rights of the poor Nigerians so much so that health and educational services are way off the reach of millions of poor Nigerians?
In most of the APC ruled states in South West Nigeria, the local government administrations have been hijacked by the governors whereby they imposed their boys as supervisory chairmen in clear breach of section 7 of the constitution of the federal Republic of Nigeria of 1999 [as amended]. In Ekiti state, the APC-led government is known to have dealt severely with teachers just as intra party quarrels have denied the good people of Ogun state the benefit of democracy -no thanks to the petty differences between the governor and the erstwhile governor Chief Segun Osoba.
The National Chairman of APC has his work cut out for him because he has to quickly settle down and ensure that the elected governors in his party platform keep to their own sides of the bargain and deliver quality good governance to the millions of the poor people who are actually the voters that usually stand in the sun to cast their votes during elections. It is the greatest manifestation of evil that the governor of Lagos state has vowed that children of the poorest of the poor will not enjoy the benefit and privilege of university education because it is inconceivable that most poor families in their millions who barely survive on just $2 USD a day will now be required to cough out nearly half a million Naira just to pay the exorbitant cost of University education in the publicly run schools in Lagos state. Lagos state government is also known to have forcefully removed poor Nigerians from their landed assets in Maroko and Lekki just so that these juicy landed assets can be sold to the elites without any form of decent compensation. Lagos has in place one of the most criminally minded pension scheme for retired governors and deputy governors who cart home millions of tax payers money with assorted mansions and automobiles that are procured at pubic expense. The same applies to Kwara state which is also ruled by the APC. Akwa Ibom state ruled by the PDP recently joined the APC in this evil pension scheme for the executive branch of government. Where then is the alternative political platform for the Nigerian people?
+Emmanuel Onwubiko; Head; Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria and blogs @www.huriwa.blogspot.com; www.huria.org.