(Warning: Long post)
In parts 1 and 2, I begun a series on why President Buhari should have an easy Re-election in 2019. Last week, I mentioned a reason – that PMB is a master of deflection using red-herrings as a tool. Today, I want to discuss another reason – unfortunately one that is an own goal by the president’s main opponents.
Reason number 2: PEOPLE’S DEMOCRATIC PARTY (PDP).
It is no longer news that after being in power for 16 straight years, the Nigerian electorate kicked out the PDP in 2015. And that in itself is not strange in a democracy. It has been the way of life in all multi-party democracies, musical chairs of governing. Also, as we can see from those advanced democracies, losing power ought not to be a death knell for a political party.
But for Nigeria’s former ruling party, I suspect it may well be, sadly! (Apologies to many who wish and hope otherwise!) But the following facts are true, are they not?
PDP allowed itself to be painted with the permanent marker of corruption! For many months after its defeat, the party went about as if it had done no wrong! Rather than take stock and seek to make MORAL amends, the party went into a tail spin for almost two years after its loss. It was seriously hung over when it’s ‘pot of soup’ – the presidency – got taken away by voters.
First, it was to do with itself out of power – be gallant in defeat, or sulk? It chose to sulk – big time. Grave error! It even attempted to rail road it’s flag bearer in the 2015 elections, President Goodluck Jonathan to retract his concession of the election! That singular act showed up the party as arrogant! Remember it had already boasted to rule for 60 years? How did this show arrogance? It shows the party as thumping it’s nose at the electorate who (for good or ill) had rejected it once after voting for it in 4 election cycles! It’s like saying, “How dare they vote against us!?”
You wonder what should have been the first act of such a party? Acknowledge that Nigerians had spoken, that they get the message; and promise to get it right if trusted with power again. Go and check again, that is what all serious-minded political groupings do in established democracies when they lose power. Why? Because the outcome of any election is about the governed, about their governance preference. Never about the contestants! There was an attempt by a group within the PDP led by Dr. Raymond Dokpesi that issued an apology akin to contrition on the outcome of the elections. But even that was disavowed by official party line. Another manifestation of arrogance!
So, PDP could not manage its defeat. But other series of faux pax soon followed. For example, it practically abandoned the public opinion space to the new ruling party to declare a bankrupt treasury, kept pointing the finger at PDP and its bed fellows unchallenged. The APC simply waited for the ink of tarnish to run permanently dry! Not a meaningful whimper from the PDP. Notice how it was that PDP’s mouthpiece was arraigned for corruption charges. You have mouth odor and you want to speak at a close-up gathering? And people still think that APC does not know how to place politics o! Choi.
Apart from the Publicity Secretary, other leading lights of the PDP were charged with one corruption offense or the other? Rather than face the issue headlong by (a) condemning corruption in all its ramifications, (b) urge the new government to go after corruption for the sake of Nigeria sparing no one, (c) while offering robust legal support to its members to keep party cohesion, and (d) wait for the slow judicial system to make mincemeat of the judicial process (as it obviously has now done); PDP went on defending the indefensible! Does it matter if there are rogues in the ruling party? Does it make it better that corruption is not exclusive to your party? Come on!
To make matters worse, who then became PDP’s de facto major mouth pieces against the new government’s corruption crusade? Governors of one south-western state and a South-south state who themselves have credibility issues! Like a lamb to the slaughter, PDP offered itself as cannon fodder to an APC government that was obviously ill-prepared for office (the truth be told, please!) It wasted the opportunity to go on the offensive – another law of power that opposition parties have used to good effect before! You keep sniping at government’s heels. Something will stick, and you start early before that government settles down!
Free counsel to the PDP: Where people hurt as they obviously were so much that they voted against your party, guess who will be easy target for their anger? Those who had charge over them before, anyone who can be painted as having caused the problem in the first place! And people will still say PMB is not a good politician o, not good at deflecting o! Just as it is easy for many to blame he APC government for its perceive incompetences now.
AND IT IS IMMATERIAL TO THESE HORDE OF VOTERS THAT THEY HAVE IN THE RULING PARTY PEOPLE WHO ALSO SHOULD BE FACING CORRUPTION CHARGES, which appears to be the feeble defence PDP offered to the APC’s unrelenting onslaught on its credibility! And people reckon APC’s media managers are not up to their jobs! 🤣
Other opportunities at being a credible opposition were wasted or mishandled by the PDP. Take for example the spate of PROJECT completion by the APC administration. PDP’s response? It claims all that these were projects PDP government started! Really? PDP did not know governance was a continuum? APC can rather position itself as a party that ensures projects are not abandoned, and get all the accolades.
How should the party have handled that good news (good for the economy of Nigeria – for all irrespective of party affiliation) you would ask? How about congratulate government for finishing up projects that PDP’s foresight begun, but place emphasis on the bloating loans portfolio it is taking to get these projects done; and task government to explain how it plans to structure the repayments in a way that will not affect spending on other sectors of the economy that impact on people’s lives? No o! That is too intellectual. APC must be bereft of ideas since “they are completing our projects” was all the party could muster!
PDP’s resurgence of late has only come with the realization that another national elections cycle beckons, and the need to show a presence.
Even the recent spate of inter party defections has not in my view given the PDP any added advantage. The way I see it, it would have been better if the notable defectors to the PDP have not by their antecedent, action and/or utterances been shown to be after self gain, rather than the corporate interest of Nigeria! How, for example, do you explain to the discerning voter the reasons given by rAPC, and even the Senate President for leaving the ruling party? What they did not get? Come on!
The former Ruling party made itself easy pickings for the APC, and it should prepare to lay on its bed so badly laid, even when it could have exploited APC’s internal inconsistencies to advantage. All PDP kept hoping for was that “APC will soon implode”, “APC will soon implode”, forgetting that the allure of power easily closes ranks and attract other strange bed fellows with electoral clout, as it did for the PDP for years! Reason why APC cannot implode! To the Nigerian politician, a bird in hand with the ruling party is truly worth more in the forest of opposition!
And that is what is playing out with the several cross-carpeting of our professional politicians! When many rejoiced at the defections to the APC, and the ruling APC seem not to bother, but rather heaved a sigh of relief, I knew immediately something was afoot! Then came the defection of the senate minority leader – there probably goes Akwa Ibom, a jewel in PDP cap. Then if you “Kwakwanso me, I will Shekerau” cross carpeting happened. Suddenly Kano is off the calculations for PDP! From recent movements, Delta State, another jewel in the PDP crown (oil producing state) is now shaky. Many people forget that Ex-Governor Uduaghan is a cousin of James Ibori, and both are tied at the political hip!
Another free lesson: The upper hand will always belong to the party in power, so whether the Senate president jumps ship or not, whether a trickle of state governors leave or not, and regardless of the massive financial war chest they may come with; in this game of chess, the standing Rooks, Bishops and Royalty in this game of chess will always lie with the party in power!
In part 4, I would like to discuss another reason why PMB has a front row seat to winning the next presidential elections – and his name is Bola Ahmed Tinubu! Should make for interesting reading, I reckon!
©Adewale Adeniji. 10th September 2018.
In my introductory part, I gave a background of my politics and voting record so far in Nigeria’s 3rd Republic.
Today, I want to share one the many reasons I have come to the conclusion that the 2019 Presidential elections is for President Muhammadu Buhari (PMB) to lose. I hope to share some of these reasons one after the other before I conclude this series.
First reason. President PMB is a master of red-herrings!
Now, many people (especially his many opponents and traducers) convince themselves that PMB is not a good politician! I chuckle at their naïveté! Well, they would be right if they rather say, “he is not a usual politician”! But I find him a politician, smarter than most in this clime. I accept that his tactics may not resonate or work in a more advanced democracy, but no one can accuse Nigeria’s democracy of being that yet. Sorry, I digress.
The key to PMB’s successful deployment of this tool is that most of his opponents realise it too late; the smart ones, before it becomes too too late . What is it they realise late or before it becomes too late? The truth that PMB is indeed a consummate politician, albeit of a different genus.
For those who still do not accept this theory, listen up. It is informative, is it not,that those who realise it before it became too late become his most vocal converts. No, I am not winking in any particular direction, thank you very much! 😁. Did I hear you say of littoral states? 🙈😁🏃🏿
But seriously, let me use the initial rallying point against PMB for instance – his military background and the fear of despotism.
Since 2003 when he began to run for president, the easiest weapon deployed against his candidacy had been that give him power and PMB will become a despot.
His traducers referenced his 18 months in power as military head of state, statutes like decrees 2 and 4 and the many trips to jail by politicians of the 2nd republic and some media personnel. By way of information only, even I was also a victim in 1984 as a Student Union president! And to think that a few weeks before that I was foolishly shaking PMB’s hand on our campus when he visited! 😁. Only to go and publish “What Is Wrong With Nigeria”!
President Obasanjo used it against PMB during his Re-election in 2003 and Yar’Adua’s campaign in 2007, when PMB was the main opponent to PDP. Obasanjo’s use of this mantra is ironic given OBJ’s own military rule and his Ita Oko detention camp palava! Sorry, I digress again.
President Goodluck used it successfully in 2011 when he rode the ‘indigent boy’ sympathy wave to election in his own right, but unsuccessfully in 2015 when the ‘Despot’ got a winning coalition behind his swan song bid. And since his election, this has been the to-go mantra for those opposed to President Buhari. Despite this constant pounding, this incumbent seem on the verge of re-election when it ought to be a struggle for him! I run ahead of myself again, sorry.
But what is the reality about this ‘despot’ appellation? In almost 4 years in office, PMB has not been any more ‘despotic’ than previous leaders before him! So, why does it appear to be the ‘go to’ tactic?
Because, interestingly PMB stokes this narrative himself! Some may think he does so unwittingly (because they will tell you “he is ‘illiterate’” – siddon there, you hear😁)! I have come to realise, however, that it is deliberate – throwing this red herring that he knows cannot stop him from retaining his lock on millions of votes – any day.
This even became an issue, emerging from the just concluded 2018 Nigerian Bar Association Annual General Conference, when in his conference opening speech, PMB again threw this classic red herrings before an audience that he knows will not let it slide! I even thought I saw a smirk on his face when he said it! My imagination? Oh, ok! 😃
What exactly did he say? He had the temerity to say to a packed audience of lawyers already put off by him that in the national interest the rule of law may be suspended, plying a Supreme Court decision that can be interpreted both ways! Choi!
Predictably, most who heard him or have read the reports of this speech – educated and/or learned alike – have jumped on this band wagon, and taken this ‘song’ to town. Even our Noble laureate is now reported to have said a win for PMB in 2019 will lead to despotic rule! 🤣.
Pray, how does all these discuss dent PMB’s political fortunes? We do not have demographics of our elections, but I wager this bet: PMB’s core (and massive) majority of besotted supporters care less about all this ‘turenchi’! Why is that even so, you may wonder, can they not think? 🤣. Let me let you in on a secret.
How does this campaign of a lurking despot resonate with the poor and downtrodden who view PMB (rightly or wrongly) as the only one who understands their pains and therefore able to salve them?
You are not likely to find PMB’s ardent (mind this word, please) supporters amongst the learned lawyers of the Nigerian Bar, or in the privileged clubs and homes in the land. No! His electoral lock comprises of those who feel left out since before independence, and guess who they blame for it?
Before you dispute this, answer me this question: HOW ELSE DO YOU THINK ESTABLISHED POLITICIANS HAD BEEN URGING, PRESSING PMB NOT TO SEEK RE-ELECTION? Because unlike many arm-chair, social media politicians, they know the score on the ground – they can hold no candle to PMB’s ‘natural’ popularity! Take that to the bank, and the only viable opposition – PDP – have themselves to blame for this. Explained in Part 3 of this series.
That my dear readers is why PMB deliberately stoke the fire with his red herrings! Throw something to the horde to chew on, that will resonate with his core constituency that PMB is for us, while his critics are against us! How you may ask? Who would be afraid of a despotic Leader other than the guilty? Getting it now? Ask the redoubtable President Obasanjo, after his last caustic letter? What has he been up to lately sef? 🤐
Welcome, my friends to one reason why PMB should be easily re-elected next year!
Another reason will be explained in Part 3.
©Adewale Adeniji. 6th September 2018.
If you follow me on social media, you should know my politics by now. If not, let me be clear.
I am, if you prefer categorisation, a centre-left oriented political animal. I believe in government creating an enabling environment to help citizens get a fair shake in life. While that is liberal leaning, I equally believe in fiscal responsibility as a means to ensuring that resources of the state are not unduly wasted . To some, that is conservative. So, I regard myself as a centre of left.
I did not start there though. In my political formative years I was a dyed-in-the-wool communist sympathiser. Beret wearing, lingo speaking comrade! 🙈. But I was weaned of this with the collapse of the communist system and the inequalities it could not cure. So, to my many friends from way-back, ‘life’ happened to my ‘aluta’!😀
I need also to state that despite my love for politics, it is not a vocation I can take up anymore, for reasons I’d rather not go into. So, this series is not about angling for political office (elective or appointive).
But I remain and intend to remain an active voice in the politics of my country – to contribute to the narrative, and hopefully to national development – as a non-partisan voice, but free to make choices as they arise for the development of my nation.
Since the beginning of Nigeria’s 3rd Republic, I have voted in all presidential elections. And since I am putting all my cards on the table, let me tell you how I have voted over the years, because in this series, I want to show why I will be voting the way I will next February, if God permits:
1999 – Olu Falae (APP/AC Coalition)
2003 – Muhammadu Buhari (ANPP)
2007 – Nuhu Ribadu (AC)
2011 – Goodluck Jonathan (PDP)
2015 – Muhammadu Buhari (APC)
So, you can see that with the exception of 2011, I had always voted for the anti-establishment party because I always believed that the establishment party had produced candidates I couldn’t support. So, why did I vote for Goodluck, the establishment party candidate? Because I hoped that with the election of a president who did not come from privilege, may be he will place the under privileged as the centre of his policies. We are all living witnesses to how that panned out!
Enough of my political conviction and my voting background. I needed to put that out of the way to answer several questions I have got in my in-box from readers who wonder why I seem to support PMB now.
In this series therefore, I will be putting across my views of the 2019 presidential elections and why I think President Muhammadu Buhari should win it (please note my choice of ‘should’).
So, please join me for part 2 next time.
Comments are welcomed, even when you disagree. I believe we can disagree without being disagreeable. But please if your comments are abusive and are based on premordial sentiments of religion and ethnicity, or pure, unreasonable hatred, I reserve he right to delete and block!
©Adewale Adeniji. 2nd September 2018.
Weh done o, putative candidates for office. I dey see your moves, your paros! 😀
You go on TV, on social media and yap about all that is wrong with your country, bla bla bla; yet you offer no single solution or alternative route. My friend you at nothing than a clanking cymbal. You are part of the problem.
Without offering plausible alternatives or solution, you offer no sensible reason why anyone who discerns should listen to you.
You have no solution to our issues, you are only trying to ride a justifiable wave of discontent to office.
You will be quite worse than those you want to replace. #ourmumudondo!
Offer me workable solutions, maybe you can change my mind. Rehash what I already know are issues you are wasting your time with me. Why? I can think!
Show me the road map to a better life for the masses of our people, yes I will consider your candidacy. Come to me with primordial, religious hog wash? Repackage what is disguised hatred for a personality you disagree with, I have already moved on from your space!
Anyone ready to join me?
©Adewale Adeniji. 29th August 2018.
It is amusing, is it not, that there appears to have been a 180 degrees emotional reaction to the recent spate of defections going on in the Nigerian political space?
It began with the defection of a swathe of National Assembly members from the ruling APC to the PDP. The emotional out pouring then was that at last the APC administration of President Muhammadu Buhari (PMB) is finished! Then the governor of Benue State defected; and on and on went further comments and analysis along the same line.
Every counter argument that these defectors were looking for a platform to contest the next elections since they are most unlikely to find comfort in their current party was met with derision and cat calls. No! It shows his former allies became the ‘tyranny’ of this President, they screeched!
Then the defection of the Senate president, Bukola Saraki, and the governors of Kwara and Sokoto state. The racket retched up! Now, of a truth PMB cannot surely win Re-election (A wi wi wi fun ko gbo. Ko wa tan ni di alaseju?! But we warned him, now see, he is exposed!) Saraki is a master strategist, they sang! He has knocked down the final nail in PMB’s loss, they chorused!
Even the PDP got on this emotional bandwagon. It went to town with how this is a confirmation that the ruling party had squandered its political capital! They were returning to power, bla bla bla.
All of a sudden came first as a rumour, then confirmation of the impending defection of Godswill Akpabio, senate minority’s leader and former Governor of Akwa Ibom, a South-south state, from PDP to APC has changed the emotional fervour! (Cue: PDP’s electoral calculus had always been a solid South-South and South-East and the hijacking of enough votes in the North and South-West to wrestle power from the Ruling APC!)
It is as if the gates of hades were unlocked! Now, it is that PMB’s toured anti-corruption drive is a ruse; that it is quite clear Akpabio is being blackmailed (How I hate that word! Why not ‘whitemailed’? 🤔). How can a sensible person move in the opposite direction? Bla, bla, bla! Now the PDP warns the APC to stop poaching its members!
There are also rumours of impending avalanche of defections from PDP in a part of the country that had been the bastion of opposition to PMB – South East. And there is abundant panicking in the once rejoicing horde! The scratching of heads have made many heads sore! What could be going on? Rumours also have it that some who had earlier defected are now ‘regretting and recanting’?
Well, let me tell you what many have lost sight of – many who profess to understand politics and the game of it, and who freely tout same in absolutes, really need tutorials on this art; a sine qua non for holding political power. One small tip: the more adept ‘smoke’ out the less adept to show his hands; then swoop in to check mate!
The game is still not over, the chess play continues; the pendulum can still swing and I fully intend to keep my front row seat still! 🤣😂
©Adewale Adeniji. 8/8/2018.