PDP’s Comeuppance and A Bandit State Called Nigeria By Sam Nda-Isaiah
2013 will remain a watershed year in the political history of Nigeria. When the All Progressives Congress (APC) was formed a few weeks ago, it was the first-ever real merger, or fusion if you like, of opposition parties in Nigeria. Since the First Republic, political parties of various tendencies have attempted this with little success. A few alliances here and there have been cobbled for the purpose of winning elections but none was a real merger as we saw this year. And before Nigerians could come to terms with the kind of game change that had just taken place, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) which had threatened to misrule and even destroy the country for 60 years started unraveling before our own very eyes.
No one would believe that what happened to the PDP at the weekend was possible. That seven serving governors could walk out of the party in broad daylight, sacking their party chairman who has been endorsed by the party leaders including the president, is certainly a watershed for the PDP. That the PDP could split at all is a watershed for Nigeria. And a good one at that.
Anything that would break the PDP into pieces is good for Nigeria and anybody who partakes in such act is a good and patriotic Nigerian. That is why the rating of the governors and former vice-president Atiku received a boost instantly. It is a curse to Nigeria that a party that has virtually destroyed the country since democracy was re-introduced in 1999 should keep on winning elections without anyone rejoicing. The PDP is such a wonderful party that whenever any misfortune befalls it, like what happened on Saturday, Nigerians, almost in unison, break into celebration. And the celebrants always include PDP members themselves.
The good thing about what happened last week is that there are many more governors with the breakaway faction apart from the seven that openly walked out. There are strategic reasons they are still playing along with Jonathan, I’ve been told. In fact, there are more governors with the Baraje faction of the PDP than with the president. The issue here, as with the Nigeria Governors’ Forum election, is Jonathan himself and not the dramatis personae. Nobody should deceive himself about that.
As someone said at the weekend, “it is God that is catching them. They have cheated Nigerians too much.” But, as it appears, this is only the beginning of a long drama: the 2015 presidential election is at least 15 months away.
And Now This…
Nigeria A Bandit State?
On August 27, 2013, in an article in The Daily Telegraph of London entitled “Saudis Offer Russia Secret Oil Deal If It Drops Syria”, Nigeria was characterised as drifting into a “bandit state”. In the analysis, Mr Chris Skrebowski, the respected editor of Petroleum Review, in describing the brewing troubles in a string of key oil-producing states, said “Libya is reverting to warlordism, Nigeria is drifting into a bandit state… and Iraq is going back to the sort of Sunni-Shia civil war we saw in 2006-2007.”
Nigeria a bandit state? See what our rogue leaders are turning Nigeria into? This vocabulary used to be associated only with a country like Somalia in Africa and countries of South America, where some of the countries had leaders closely associated with the international drug trade. But if the West desires to stop the disruptions in the crude supply as a result of the activities of oil thieves – since they are distorting global oil prices and that affects their strategic self-interest, even if temporarily before fracking finally changes the game – the West should not buy Nigeria’s oil for the next six months. Since only oil thieves and government thieves benefit from Nigeria’s oil anyway, this will not have much effect on the ordinary Nigerian.
There will also be another advantage to embargo Nigeria’s oil for at least six more months. State governments which have been living the false life of totally depending on oil will have a glimpse of what it will soon be like when oil as we know it today eventually becomes of little value in about a decade.
But every Nigerian should be pained that we are being characterised in respectable quarters as drifting into “a bandit state”. Those who govern Nigeria today behave as if they have no stake in the country. They probably don’t. That is why 2015 is so important.
Taraba: A ‘419’ Poorly Executed
All that anyone needs to know that Governor Danbaba Suntai should be on the hospital bed and not in Taraba State Government House as we saw last week is common sense. Cheap common sense and a little dose of good upbringing. What happened last week was disgraceful and just confirmed Nigeria as a country where anything goes with little consequences.
All those who claim to love Suntai should freight him back to the hospital please. The guy we all saw being carried down the aircraft last week and who could not address his state on arrival after being away for nearly a year was certainly not the one who dissolved the cabinet and gave all the executive orders last week. Many right-thinking people have insisted that the constitution should now be worked to resolve the Taraba imbroglio. Actually, ordinary common sense will do. But there is also another idea. Since Governor Suntai is a pilot, his capacity to continue as a governor as attested to by those who insist he is sound and fit should be evaluated by asking him to fly a jet carrying with him all those who brought him back to resume his role as governor, including all those who met him at the airport. If he flies them successfully from Jalingo to Yola which has been his usual route, then, the question of his fitness should be laid to rest.
All this is happening because crimes are not punished in Nigeria. If those who perpetrated similar acts when President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua became incapacitated had been punished for their crimes against the Nigerian state, nobody would be doing this nonsense in Taraba at the moment. We need to start running our nation as any civilised people would.
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