2015: Like @BukolaSaraki, Like @SpeakerTambuwal By Adebayo Austin
The awakening that comes with the nearness of the general election in February 2015 has ushered in various types of commentaries, positions and gestures from political leaders and associations; importantly, this period has successfully distinguished those who stand for the progress of Nigeria to those who stand for the progress of their pockets and selfish interests, a major success that will guide Nigerians to making choices of leaders to vote.
Day in, day out, the atmosphere keep getting more frenzy with political propagandas, election promises, huge sacrifices for the masses, among others; and as preparations continue toward the 2015 general elections, some political leaders have displayed arrogance and their hatred for the masses through reckless approach to the masses while some other political leaders have made huge personal masses-oriented sacrifices for the good and peace of their political parties or groups, channeled to emancipate Nigerians from the shackles of bad governance that has ravaged the nation since 2011.
As we have identified leaders who are only power hungry and desperate for selfish interest like President Jonathan who will witch-hunt opposition with police unlawfully and disregard the rule of law to fit his purpose; we have also identified some leaders who have proved to us that the progress of Nigeria is at the center of their heart-A good and more practical, also most celebrated of such happened when the former governor of Kwara State and Senator representing Kwara Central, Dr. Bukola Saraki decided against widespread expectations to jettison his widely accepted presidential ambition, instead preferred the new All Progressives Congress, APC’s cohesion to his own ambition.
Saraki joyfully suspended his presidential ambition for the Nigerian dream. In fact, he issued a statement even before other aspirants began to openly canvass support to defer to his party and Nigeria’s bigger interests. He went further than that. He openly, against the expectations of many members of his party and the machinations of other opposition parties to endorse the aspiration of Kwara State governor, Dr. Adbulfatah Ahmed’s second term aspiration.
Afterward, Saraki’s sacrificial gesture made the news nationwide, he also called on other leaders to emulate his gesture in order to build and expand not only the party but Nigeria as a nation.
While political experts and commentators were commenting on on Hon. Aminu Tambuwal’s move to shelve his presidential ambition under the All Progressive Congress, they described his gesture as following Bukola Saraki’s sacrificial footpath. The same way senator Bukola Saraki suspended his presidential bid, the Speaker of th House of Representatives, Hon. Aminu Waziri Tambuwal was propelled by this to announce on Tuesday his unconditional withdrawal from the presidential race. Tambuwal, like Saraki cited party cohesion as part of the reasons he is withdrawing from the race. Tambuwal, who just joined APC less than three weeks ago, was touted as a good presidential material. It was on that note that some of his associates decided to purchase the party’s expression of interest form and the nomination form. He promised that he will reply them on his future political career after consultations. The consultations did not take long as few days after the forms were purchased, the Speaker spoke.
For those who wanted crisis in the APC, profound disappointment was their lot as the Speaker spoke like a patriot. “I came into the APC to enhance and build, therefore, in the interest of our great party, the APC and indeed in the overriding national interest, I wish to appeal to all my supporters, associates, admirers and friends nationwide to show some understanding”, the Speaker stated.
This sort of gesture is apparently more progressive than in another party where everyone else is being muscled to forget their aspiration. In the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for example, the rule there is to “print one form”. According to the party hierarchy, only one presidential nomination form was printed exclusively for the incumbent. This has effectively frustrated other persons who may wish to contest. In the APC, aspirants are willingly suspending their ambition without rancour or ill-will. That is the way to go.
With nationwide security concerns, and the latest economic austerity instituted by the Minister of Finance, which tends towards economic instability, this is not the time to encourage apparent political dog-fight within political parties. This is the time to encourage democracy in all its ramifications. Our country needs a united political class, even more so, a united political party to surmount current challenges. Our enemies must not be made to see our underbelly. Boko Haram for example could be bolstered when it finds that the political parties are acrimonious and incapable of solving their internal political differences. That terrorist organisation will likely take advantage of such situation to continue to carry out mayhem in our communities. As things stand, it appears it is indeed the newly formed APC that is making efforts to encourage peace in our communities and promoting democratic tenets within their political party.
Instead of the PDP to show the way, being the oldest and most experienced party in Nigeria today, the party by its actions and inaction, is dividing the country. The good example by APC and its leading members by preferring party cohesion to personal ambition has greatly reduced tension in the polity. It has shown that this is not the usual inordinate ambition normally practised by politicians. Our country thus has hope for a brighter future. We hereby call on candidates to critically evaluate their chances, weigh it against time (less than three months to general elections) and tell themselves the truth where they see a slim chance of success. This kind of politics breeds maturity and we hope that the party (or parties) will remember those that make such sacrifices at the appropriate time. By remembering to reward their loyalty, the APC will be sending a strong message to others to tow the same line next time; after all, some politicians are there just to torpedo the chances of their parties during general elections. We wish the Speaker success in his future political ambition just as we commended Saraki for his leading role in calming political nerves in his new party, particularly, and the country in general.
Adebayo Austin writes from Ikeja, Lagos.
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