SHEKARAU, BABANGIDA AND ANPP CONVENTION
Last week, July 15, the readers of the day's Tribune Newspaper were treated with the latest political adventurism of the former Military President of General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida popularly called IBB. Babangida is one of the northern candidates that is strategizing to recapture power (this time around, through ballot box and not barrel gun) as President of Nigeria in 2011. This was after serving the country for eight years in the same capacity between 1985 and 1993. Since IBB expressed his intention to contest in the 2011 presidential race under PDP, there have been barrage of criticisms, condemnations and rejections by Nigerians who, in their valid opinion, strongly believe that Nigeria had had enough from IBB's leadership.
Perhaps, before Babangida declared to contest under PDP, he was not sure if the incumbent President Jonathan would want to continue in office beyond May 2011 by joining the presidential race under the party. At least, Babangida was sure of his money because he was convinced by his eight years leadership experience that an average Nigerian is a 'money monger.' He had also relied on his great contributions to the entrenchment of PDP leadership in Nigeria.
We should not forget in hurry that Babangida was the brain behind the selection of the former President Chief Olusegun Obasanjo as the PDP flag bearer in the party Jos convention of 1999. Since then Babangida has been making vibrant contributions to the fortunes of PDP and perhaps, misfortunes of other political parties of today. With the present look of things and the rejection of zoning by PDP, it is now clear that President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan will contest in the 2011 presidential election. So, IBB and his men now know that their riches and contributions in PDP might not sail them through the party primary, what is more of the general election.
Babangida himself had this fear when he said at the beginning of his declaration that there are other parties available for him to join and realize his 2011 presidential ambition, believing that with his fortune, no party would afford to reject him, except his party, PDP where the incumbency President Jonathan is being favoured. It is therefore, not surprising that the Daily Tribune of May 15 reported how Babangida and his men are scheming to infiltrate the All Nigeria People's Party, ANPP, expectedly, using their financial strength as plan B.
The Daily Tribune story hinted that "General Babangida’s camp wanted to gain control of the ANPP so that the former military president could use it as a platform for his 2011 bid, if he failed to clinch the ticket of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)." It further stated that "IBB was working on a returnee to the party, Chief George Moghalu, as a possible chairmanship candidate that could facilitate his entry into the ANPP, if the PDP decided to review its zoning formula in favour of the South-South. Moghalu recently returned to the ANPP after his sojourn in the PDP and promptly declared his intention to contest the chairmanship election" in ANPP.
The aim of this entire abracadabra is to enable IBB secure the presidential slot of the party at all costs, making the whole thing look like a 'do or die' affair. This, in my view, must not happen no matter what happened. ANPP and her sympathisers must rise against IBB's boys getting what they did not labour for. The question is that if noble and humble men like Governor Ibrahim Shekarau of Kano state had not sustained the party up to the present level, what would have left for the desperate IBB and his men to use as plan B? They contributed nothing to ANPP except her down fall, which the likes of Governor Shekarau battled hard for the party to survive. Why Chief George Moghalu who left ANPP is joining back and asking for the number one seat of the party?
The concern is that if Babangida and his men feel that they will not be able to get their ways in PDP, they should not think that ANPP will be an easy ticket for them. Gone are the days when Nigerians think of party but today, they are wiser and now think of the integrity of the personality involved. As it is, the best option for IBB and his men is to follow the example of General Muhammadu Buhari and his people. When they discovered that they would not be able to realise their whims and caprices in ANPP, they simply left to form new party called, Congress for Progressive Change (CPC). This is better than joining the existing party to cause confusion and make those already there as subservient. Therefore, If IBB and his men could not initiate Buhari option; they should accept their faith in PDP in good faith instead of running from pillar to post in search of an existing political platform to realise their elusive dream of 2011 presidency.
By the way, how come that a retired general like Babangida is so scared of defeat by civilian contender like President Jonathan? Jokes apart, we know that giving the present circumstance and the pedigrees of Malam (Dr) Ibrahim Shekarau, he is more acceptable to Nigerians than IBB in spite of his riches. So, ANPP particularly the supporters of governor Shekarau in Nigeria should work against IBB and his strange bed fellows wanting to search for relevance in ANPP. They should never be allowed since they are already seeing the handwriting on the wall in PDP.
To my mind, it is good for IBB to stay in PDP, show reasons why he is the best candidate among the contenders in the party. Even, if his party had not killed zoning, he still have to campaign to people and tell them what he has forgotten to do after his eight years in office as President. He should believe in the words of Edmund Burke, which says that, "he that wrestles with us strengthens our nerves and sharpens our skill. Our antagonist is our helper."Likewise IBB's men who are scheming to penetrate ANPP at this point in time should also learn from the noble words of Ayn Rand who says that, "the men who attempted to survive not by means of reason but by means of force, are attempting to survive by the method of animals." So, let every one face his party and accept whatever result he gets.
My word of advice to ANPP men and women is that PDP seems to be drowning in view of its non-performing strategy and consistent inconsistencies in its governance. ANPP appears an alternative to solving the naughty problems of Nigeria that are smashing our faces on daily basis. The party must therefore take extra care in the kind of person that will be elected to lead the party to the Promised Land. They should debase the power of money and push for integrity and better performance. Though we are not bereft of Sam Aluko's statement, which says that "The most dangerous thing, the greatest obstacle to stability or viable polity is poverty, for poverty begets crime", we should not also unmindful of the words of Martin Luther King Jnr that "to cooperate passively with an unjust system makes the oppressed as evil as the oppressor." Therefore, ANPP should maintain its integrity at its forthcoming national Convention without allowing external forces that would like to use the party for their political gain. To be forewarned is to be forearmed.
Saka Raji Audu writes from Kano and can be reached on his email: [email protected]