Nigeria's Much Needed Unity
The accusation that moles within the All Progressives Congress (APC) are out for the jugular of office holders from the north is one that should be taken with all sense of seriousness. If true, and nothing has suggested the contrary, it implies the country can again be forced into a period of political stagnation.
Recent attacks targeting these public office holders have all the hallmark of being sponsored and the south-west unfortunately is the direction that the accusing fingers are pointing. Pundits had suggested that there is a measure of bitterness simmering in the collective cauldron that is the Yoruba interest. There is disaffection over the sharing of the spoil of office that came with routing the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) government of former President Goodluck Jonathan.
That politicians from the south-west could be persistent in ignoring the lessons of history should be a source of worry to them and should equally prompt other Nigerians to remind them of what they desperately want to wish away. This very attitude of bossing coalition partners was responsible for the collapse of alliances across the provinces in post-independence politics. It contributed to the truncation of the first, second and third republics to usher in military rule at those various times. As things stand, it is gradually threatening national cohesion as old wounds are being grazed and exposed.
This is precisely why it is inconceivable that the desperation of these APC moles is allowed to run riot and is now threatening to place the APC on the destructive path that was the undoing of the PDP, which began the process that landed us in the current mess. If the appointees of an APC president are rubbished daily it then says a lot about the party that it may not be different from what it has replaced anyway.
Much as those running the racket may be smirking at their supposed success at tarnishing Mr President’s aides from the north, the action is nothing short of shooting themselves in the foot so long as they continue to remain in the APC. Leaving the party is equally not an option as the last general elections have proven that the era of regional political parties is over. And who will go into alliance with a region if it has repeatedly proven itself as unreliable in working with other ethnic groups and political blocks?
It is understandable that a lot of horse trading went on to produce the tsunami that swept the PDP out of power at the federal level. It is also true that the law of natural justice and morals anticipate that those that contributed to the success of the APC would derive benefits by way of having appointments zoned to them.
What is inconceivable however is for one geo-political zone out of the six in the country to attempt taking it all. The APC won in more than one geo-political zone of course. So, these hawks from the south west who think destroying people from the north will bury the party before its time are being uncharitable by placing their parochial interest ahead of the future of democracy and stability in Nigeria.
The development portrays the kind of greed that is as despicable as it is selfish.
The APC must therefore begin to define the alliance that brought the government on board in the interest of the common masses and not those selfish persons whose only business is to grab major stakes in every segment of the nation's socio-political landscape. Had the deliberate efforts to sabotage the government to prove the points of these south-west leaders been limited to the realm of politics it would have been slightly tolerable even though unpalatable. But they have instead intruded even into professional sphere to begin mudslinging military officers simply to undermine President Buhari, hound his loyal appointees out of office and have their ethnic stocks step into those positions. This cannot be allowed to stand for any reason.
Any voice of reason left in the south-west must prevail in letting the desperate clique see past their nose tips and realise that this is no time to be clannish but to be nationalistic. The concerted campaign against people from the north is being exploited by separatists who are using it to their advantage in calling for a breakup of the country. It is being exploited by those who would rather see Nigeria continue to remain in the throes of terrorism.
No one knows what other groups or soldiers of fortune would find opportunities in the political sabotage being run by the APC moles. Even if these other potential fallouts are later managed there is still the strong prospect that some people would rue the choices of today when the general elections hold in 2019.
One fact that is being overlooked by the other parts of the country is that the north has remained a big brother to all despite the continuous attempt to demonize its sons and daughters. On the surface this looks like a good thing but this is a mark of ingratitude that should be discouraged if we (Yoruba) don't want the Igbos and the ethnic nationalities in the south-south to overtake us in the party hierarchy. If this happens where will the Yoruba find the voice to make demands in 2019?
A lot of damages have been done but it has not become a disaster yet. It will become disastrous if the attacks coming from the region are not halted. Those pulling the strings of this campaign of calumny against the north should stop now. They should instead get busy with ventures that actually add value to the nation like supporting Mr President’s anti-corruption fight. They can also pitch in with efforts at reversing the damage their bellyaching has done to the anti-terror war.
In the meantime, I further suggest that they prevail on persons of south-west extraction holding public or political office to shape up and justify their appointments with excellent performance in office as this is what would market the region as the place to shop for brains when competence is needed. Competence has been a crucial factor in the appointments made under President Buhari’s administration and I daresay this is what south-west leaders should promote instead of undermining the same government they helped install. The least they can do at this point is to work for the much needed unity that will move the country forward.
Abiodun a public affairs analyst contributed this piece from Ibadan, Oyo State.