Molly Kilete, Abuja The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has declared its readiness to deploy Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) to the Niger Delta region to secure oil and gas pipelines and other critical oil installations owned by Shell company in the country. The deployment of the UAVs, according to the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal…
The letter written by aggrieved members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) block has given away the shenanigans and intrigues in the ruling political party. As some of us suspect, it is an indication that all is not well with the coalition called APC, which came like a thunderbolt in 2014, following the fusion of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and the political structure of the Imo State governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha, to topple the apple cart. Now it is obvious that there are people or groups in the APC, which believe they are more APC than others.
However, reading the letter of the ‘New PDP’ (nPDP) block in APC to the political party’s authorities, one could not help but laugh. The PDP members in APC are alleging marginalisation, sidelining, non-recognition and non-compensation, among others. They stated: “It is a matter of grave concern that President Buhari has never publicly acknowledged our efforts in the face of clear evidence that the total number of votes scored by the APC in states where leaders and members of the then New PDP block held sway made the difference.” According to them, “There has been no significant patronage and appointments to executive positions in various government agencies, such as chief executives and members of executive directors of government agencies and parastatals.”
These aggrieved PDP defectors also said: “Our belief is that it does not augur well for our party, if a section of it feels that it is being treated as outcasts and meddlesome interlopers in the party they rightly belong with the legitimate expectation to be treated with justice, both in the running of the party and the government.”
Reading this letter, one remembers 2015, when some prominent members of the PDP stormed out of the party’s national convention and announced the formation of what they called the “New PDP.” They had complained about alleged malfeasance in the PDP and, without making much effort to resolve whatever grievances they had with the party, they moved en masse to the APC. In that defection, five governors elected on the platform of the political party left and joined the APC in one fell swoop. The then governors include Chibuike Amaechi (Rivers), Rabiu Kwankwaso (Kano), Murtala Nyako (Adamawa), Abdulfatah Ahmed (Kwara) and Aliyu Wammako (Sokoto). They were also joined by some other bigwigs of the PDP, including former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar; then Speaker of the House of Representatives and now Sokoto State governor, Aminu Tambuwal; ex-Speaker of the House of Representatives and now governor of Katsina State, Alhaji Aminu Masari and many others. Of course, the defection of these politicians did affect the fortunes of the PDP. It was a coup well planned and executed.
Now, the political “coupists” are crying, making this question imperartive: Do they expect discerning Nigerians to sympathise with them? If that is the case, they misfired. When these politicians, in 2015, moved out of the PDP, it was supposed to be because they saw the APC as the hope for Nigeria’s renaissance. That they are crying wolf, barely three years down the line, is an indication that they goofed. Funnily enough, instead of admitting that they made a mistake in their action, these politicians are still exhibiting the same arrogance and selfishness that made them leave the PDP in 2015. Yes, from what they have said, it is apparent that their defection from PDP was not borne out of any conviction, ideology or nationalism but owing to personal interest and selfishness. I dare say that, had they got what they wanted in the APC, nobody would have heard any compliant. The renegades are more interested in self-survival.
It is ludicrous that supposed experienced politicians, like members of the nPDP, have just shown themselves as being shallow in the art of politicking. When they joined the APC, they did not realise they had no place in the political party. They were not there when the ruling party was formed. They were not part of whatever agreement made neither did they contribute to the drafting of the party’s constitution. They were outsiders whose help was needed to get then President Goodluck Jonathan out of office. They were the elixir the APC needed in a political struggle with high stakes. Surprisingly, when they joined the APC, they were too myopic and thought only about the present at that time, not considering what future they had in the APC. Now, the chicken has come to roost.
To be sure, the defection of these now aggrieved APC members from the PDP is turning out to be the worst political calculation ever made by those concerned. They achieved their goal quite all right, which is to ensure that ex-President Jonathan left office. However, the reality is staring them in the face, as all the things they may have complained about in the PDP are manifest in the APC, in greater fold. Some of them accused Jonathan of reneging on an earlier “promise” to do only one term in office. Today, President Buhari has forgotten ever giving the impression that he would do only a single term in office, having indicated interest in seeking re-election, even when his health and capacity are suspect. Some of these people complained about internal democracy in the PDP then. At present, there is no internal democracy in the APC. Some of them talked about imposition of candidates in PDP. Is there no imposition of candidates in APC today? The truth is that PDP and APC are two sides of the same coin. Some of the people who made PDP tick are those who solidified the APC’s structure and gave it the impetus to snatch power from an incumbent government.
There is a possibility that members of the nPDP in APC, who are complaining, are preparing the ground to return to the PDP en bloc, if they fail to get a good deal in the meeting they requested with President Buhari and the APC authorities. They may want to emulate the biblical prodigal son, who, after squandering his goodwill and inheritance, came back to the father with head bowed. If they have true repentance, goodluck to them. It is also possible they would join another political party. Whatever happens, they are living true to type.
Yes, some Nigerian politicians have proved to have a penchant for political flirtation. They think of what the country would do for them instead of what they would do for the country. They want to be constantly in power and relevant. When they can’t achieve this in a political party, they join another. And when they lose out in the new party, they have no qualms returning to the old one. This coming and going, like Abiku, have made nonsense of our democracy.
To stem it and, perhaps, bring about party ideology and membership, the National Assembly should amend the constitution and make it imperative that whoever wins an election on the ticket of a particular political party and dumps it for another shall relinquish the position or office. People should belong to political parties or associations based on their belief and not for pecuniary gains only. Win or lose, they should remain in their political party. Life is about gains and losses, assets and liabilities, depending on the situation.