by Abiola Solanke
‘’ Do they say they are democrats and they want to contest the next elections and they annulled June 12? We must resist and take control of our future, we must not forget history. We must go back to the basis’’- Asiwaju Bola Tinubu- September 6, 2010
‘’ A lot of our leaders have been there before now; they have seen Nigeria largely and governed the country. We have to look for them as we plan for the future’’- Asiwaju Bola Tinubu- November 13th, 2013
“A political party without a consistent ideological predisposition is like an individual who does not believe in anything, and that is dangerous for the country” ( Professor Charles Soludo, former CBN governor)
A Political party is a political organization that typically seeks to influence or entirely control government policy, usually by nominating their own candidates and trying to seat them in political office. Ideology is a set of conscious and unconscious ideas that constitute ones goals, expectations and actions. (wikipedia). Political parties are thus the platform with which individuals obtain power and hold on to power.
Following the return to democratic rule in 1999, five political parties came into being, of these five parties, two were dominant, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the defunct Alliance for Democracy (AD). The AD metamorphosed into the Action Congress which later became the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN). Early this year, the opposition parties mainly the defunct ACN, Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) and some section of the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) merged together as the All Progressives Congress (APC)
The Merger Opposition party, All Progressives Congress came into being at a time that Nigerians desperately needed a change from the old order of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), but not a few Nigerians believe it was not bound to be different from the PDP on account of the fellows who came together to constitute the party. Also historic was the fact that the party was registered about the same time that some PDP dissidents walked out on the party’s National convention and set up a parallel secretariat.
Many Nigerians hoped that the birth of the APC would give the PDP a good run for its money but unfortunately it has portrayed itself as not being different from the PDP thus shattering the hope of Nigerians for a credible alternative.
All over the world, parties are differentiated based on what they stand for in economic policies, social issues, welfare issues, etc. But in Nigeria, parties are defined based on the personalities in the party and not on any defined ideology to contemporary issues. The APC has portrayed itself as a party with no clear ideology from the PDP. Truly, a lot of Nigerians are disenchanted with the reign of the PDP in the past fourteen years. The PDP has been regarded as the Poverty Development Party, a party of rogues, criminals, thieves, corrupt fellows and all sorts of adjectives have been used to qualify the failure of the party to deliver the dividends of democracy to Nigerians.Since PDP is just a name, it is therefore expected that the helmsmen who presided over the PDP and held offices in its name would not be found anywhere near a party which seeks to create a new order from the past but unfortunately, the opposition has now become safe haven for past
PDP goons. The opposition has now become the ‘home’ for past PDPites. It is alarming that a party which seeks to displace the PDP is parading the same people who have milked the country dry and yet expect Nigerians to take it seriously!
When one takes a look at those who teamed up to form the APC, the number of ex-PDP this and that is alarming! Prominent figures like, Aminu-Bello Masari (Ex-speaker) Nasir-El Rufai (a former Minister), Audu Ogbeh (former PDP National Chairman) Hassan Lawal (former works minister), John Oyegun, George Akume et al have suddenly become ‘born-again’ and have been integrated into the party! Has that taken away the fact that they are the ones who have taken this country to the pitiable state that we are today?
One worrying dimension to this clear lack of distinction between the PDP and the APC is the attempt by the leadership of the APC to woo the G-7 governors of the PDP to their side. The G-7 governors have been having a running battle with the PDP leadership and have therefore been meeting to fashion out their next move. It was thus shameful to see APC leaders mounting the podium and referring to the ‘rebel governors’ as men of courage, bastions of democracy and all sorts of dubious appellations all in a bid to make them join their party!. These Governors who were elected on the platform of the PDP and have run their states with so much impunity have suddenly become men of ‘strong character’ overnight in the view of the APC!. It is on record that before now, the ACN has severely lampooned these PDP governors either for not developing their states, not constructing roads, corruption, intimidating opposition and all sorts but all that do not matter now as
long as the APC needs their clouts, money, influence and followership to develop itself!.
Perhaps, more shameful was the visit of these so-called progressives to the number one enemy of anything called democracy in Nigeria, Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida (IBB). The self styled ‘evil-genius’ is anything but democratic, he should not be associated with anything democracy after all the atrocities he wrecked on Nigeria in and out of office. One will not be surprised therefore to see the so called Progressives re-christen people like Bode George, Alao-Akala , Depriye Alamesiegha and co, wash their ‘sins’ and term them ‘heroes of democracy’ all in the name of seeking for membership.!
It is shameful that a party which seeks to convince Nigerians that it is different from the old order is hobnobbing with the same man who is one of those responsible for the sorry state of the Nation today. These unholy frolicking has exposed the party as a party with no clear ideology from the PDP and thus not in anyway different from them. It is obvious that the party would do anything to have the ‘bad guys’ in its midst and thereafter portray them to be saints.
The APC have always told us that nothing good can come out of the PDP, how come the party is now absorbing the ‘remains’ of the same party they have severely vilified?. How come its leaders can conveniently sit in the same seat with those who have looted our collective wealth? How come its leaders are not uncomfortable dining in the same table with those who have destroyed our economy, looted our treasury and have divided us along ethnic and religious lines.
The APC has only told us not to take it serious when next it lampoons any PDP official because he/she may ‘repent’ and be made ‘clean’ in the hands of the ‘progressives’.
That a man defects from the PDP and teams up with the APC do not make him a saint overnight. In fact if people find it easy to cross carpet from one political party to another in our political system, it only means there are no clear-cut and defined ideologies and this makes them all the same.
Political parties in the US and UK are defined by their ideologies on managing the economy, solving unemployment, fighting crime etc. That is why it is almost impossible to see the politicians defect anyhow. There are clear-cut ideologies which the party is built upon but this is absent in our Political space. There is an urgent need for our political parties to define their ideologies.
This has once again made it imperative to have independent candidates contest elections. I think it is high time the senate reviews the electoral act to make space for independent candidacy. That is the way to go for individuals who do not believe in the current political arrangement. As it stands today, Nigerians can now make their choice on where they want to align to, the Original PDP or its photocopy (popularly called APC) or choose to remain indifferent.
Abiola Solanke, writes from Abeokuta, Ogun State and can be reached via email@example.com or follow me on Twitter, @abinistyy