February 16:And the winner is…
This is the week we have been waiting for in the past four years. It is a referendum on the performance of the APC Change party; on their performance as compared with their promises, on what they have done and what they have failed to do. Along the line, the atmosphere became charged as indicators of political desperation filled the environment. Shameless politicians optimized the transfer window, crossed the tiles( there are no more carpets) and developments in the security axis ( appointments, deployments etc) raised some concerns. To save my neck, I had thought of resorting to Afghanistanism; a practice of concentrating on problems in distant parts of the world while ignoring controversial issues at home, mostly because it is not safe to fish in troubled local waters. I had wanted to write on Chinese Imperialism, about the president who had stroke while delivering his inaugural address, the shut-down of the American economy due to Trumpianintransigence or even about World Wide Marriage Encounter. Journalists and writers of old like Nduka Erabor and Tunde Thomson will readily remember when that was the order of the day in Nigeria. But I was eventually convinced that one could canvass his ideas safely, provided it does not depict undue radicalism; the campaign against fake news and hate speech notwithstanding. As for the result I am about to announce, I also considered all sides of the issue, consulting legal experts along the line and I believe it is safe to do so. It is against the law to announce the results without waiting for INEC’s version… after the elections. But those who are in the spirit and have the capacity, can announce results before the elections; there is no law against that! Even at that, I will still play safe by majoring on the minor aspects of the political environment in the last few days and weeks, in no particular order.
The politics of endorsements was played as it had never been in this country. Everybody and every group, including those without any electoral weight, was endorsing and counter endorsing. Some endorsed peacefully while most endorsed in pieces. Afenifere ‘endorsed’ PMB, but the groups authentic spokesperson used the harshest of terms to describe those masquerading as Afenifere. Eventually, the original Afenifere endorsed Atiku. Ohaneze endorsed AtikuObi but a renege group among them went to the villa to deliver their own endorsement. It also led to idiotic exchange between Obiano and Nwodo. SDP endorsed PMB but Chief Olufaleye resigned from the party in protest while the Jerry Gana ‘branch’ of the party endorsed Atiku. Soyinka endorsed Muoghalu while the party that sponsored Oby Ezekwesili did a U-Turn and endorsed PMB. But theendorsement hat-trick was scored by Atiku when he was endorsed by witches, wizards and… prostitutes! Witches and Wizards? Do they have PVCs? Prostitutes? What is the name of their union or is it NGO? I also noticed that they have all been endorsing individuals and not parties.
We have also had serious politics of venues. Akwa-Ibom State Government said APC could not use the stadium because Julius Berger staff who would open the gates to the stadium were on leave, and that the grass in the stadium would suffer( true; they suffer when two elephants fight). They eventually changed their mind, especially after Julius Berger had agreed to recall its staff from leave! Kano State Government said that the date chosen by PDP was the most appropriate time to repair the distressed stadium. They eventually changed their mind and PDP had its way, garnering what has been described as the most massive crowd in this 2019 campaign season. In Abuja, despite the fact that PDP fullfilled all the requirements and secured approval for the venue, it was suddenly locked on orders from above. Where do these orders usually come from? Where is this above? One day, we shall know. But as it is, it appears political parties will soon start constructing their own venues; after all, football clubs have their own stadia across the world.
And now, the crowds! Where did these human beings come from- that is with the exception of those who came from Niger Republic? APC would hold a rally and you would see a sea of heads. PDP would do so and you would see another sea of heads. Are these different people or do the same people attend all rallies provided the appearance fee is right? What is the political value of these crowds and how many of them were able to go through the stress of securing their PVCs? The other 89 parties and 77 presidential parties should not vex because I did not mention them. I think their rallies were held online.
There were other minor aspects of these campaigns and politicking worth mentioning. The campaign uniforms were quite colourful, except that some of them appeared to have been made by carpenters. It is also obvious that Oshiomhole( I am yet to confirm if he is still a comrade), has gone back to his khaki days. The dance-styles exhibited throughout this period were worth special attention. The prize on the political dancing competition was won by Oshoo-baba and Amaechi. I was pleasantly surprised listening to one of the candidates for of Eti-Osa Federal Constituency, Banky W( I think his real name is Bankole Wellington). He was VERY articulate but I was also shocked to hear that his party’s logo was transfigured in transit! And they just accepted it like that? An under-the bridge-lawyer would have got them serious money from INEC or even help them hold the entire nation by the balls ! How about the last hour INEC-Fires? Suddenly INEC offices across the country are on fire. But the fires do not have national character because they have not succeed in the North East and North West! Are these accidental or are they man-dental? And the Apapa traffic gridlock suddenly disappeared the day PMB came to Lagos! So the trailers and trucks can be off the road? But the shame of Nigeria is that those vehicles where on the bridges and everywhere else the following morning! I also noticed the embarrassments of political whores who went back to their vomits through the decamping routes as they tried to repair the verbal damages inflicted on their new emergency friends, who were enemies a few weeks ago. Also as an ASUUist, I was glad to hear Jimi Agbaje’s promise to commit up to 50% of the Lagos State budget to education . But these politicians…
When INEC asked the parties to conduct primaries, APC conducted ‘secondaries’ and that is probably why their rallies have been characterized by blood, tears and general madness. But the Ogun show of shame appeared to have won the gold medal. In 2015, Momoh asked Nigerians to stone the APC if they failed within 2 years. But while Governor-soon-to-become-Senator Amosun was reeling out the achievements of APC, the people actually stoned the party! You see, we perceive differently. And we saw Buhari, the unusual( and selfish) democrat, asking his party men to vote for him and then vote any person of their choice from any party, and that was after introducing his party’s candidate! By conduction anything but primaries, the APC has also created jobs for lawyers and stress for the courts that will last for another one year. PDP has their issues but as they will say in the streets of Lagos, that of APC ‘no get Part 2!’
I know you have been itching to hear the winner as promised by the title. Well, first things first; ensure that you vote on that day. If you believe that we have never had it so good, vote for the next level so that we continue the continuous towards a higher level of CHANJI. If you believe that Nigeria needs to work again, especially through restructuring, vote Atiku. Never mind all the names they have been calling themselves; they are all friends at night while we are busy breaking our heads for them. If you are tired of the old order, you can cast a protest vote for the new faces; except that some of them fizzled out during the campaigns. Sowore appeared to have danced himself lame before the real game started and I have not seen much of Muoghalu in recent times. But two of them showed more presence than Mailafia and that APGA fellow; I don’t even know his name nor remember any aspects of his programme. My kinsman, Chief Umenwa is also in the race. Whatever we do however, it is obvious that the election will be won by PDPC or APDP because ultimately, they are all the same; they all belong to AAPP( Any Available Political Party) As you go out to cast your vote on Saturday, remember the words of Ralph W Emerson: This time, like all times is a good time if we know what to do with it. Vote in such a way that Nigeria wins because the winner should be Nigeria. If Nigeria does not win on Saturday, then we have all lost it!
Other matters: Red Cap Everywhere
I came out of Ago-palace Way (Lagos) last weekend and there were red caps everywhere( Not the Kwankwasiya variant). As an Igbo titled man, I became scandalized. PMB, Atiku, Senator Adebola (Yayi), Ganiyu Jhonson and the BOS( not a good acronym in a democratic realm), all donned the revered red caps together with their fake smiles as they posed in their posters and billboards. Even some of my brethren who don’t understand the significance of red caps also followed suit! In IgboUkwu, anybody who wears a fake red cap( he is not qualified to wear it) pays a fine of N20000 per infraction and whenever the persons decides to regularize the red cap( take the ozo title) he would pay a special fine, which may up to NIm and or a cow or cows(one cow=N250,000). Then an idea occurred to me. After this electoral madness, I intend to petition UNESCO through its Center for Cultural Purity, asking it to use the INTERPOL to collect the appropriate fines from these red-cap impostors. I will do so in conjunction with the authentic Ohaneze and we shall work out the sharing formula, including the whistle-blowers percentage once the case is won. Dreaming is not an offence!