I’m not a huge fan of African folktales, but I love the smart conniving tricky tortoise more than any other character of our various tales by the moonlight especially in the popular story of the Tortoise and the Magic Drum. When the generous king gave his magical drum to sneaky tortoise, he decided not to reveal the secret of the drum's "juju," (magic), and tortoise's greed became his undoing. Although this story was gotten from Elphinstone Dayrell's Folktales from Southern Nigeria a book that was published in 1910, greed has gone beyond southern Nigeria’s tortoises; it has eaten deep into the deep cores of Nigeria’s moral values, leadership and social polities.
The ongoing general elections in Nigeria could be described as an eye opener to the real problems Nigeria has with leadership. In the light of the revelations, we are getting a clearer picture of why it might take us – like a prophet of doom said – about forty years to get rid of PDP. If you are watching closely enough, you would agree with me that the problem with Nigeria is beyond Jonathan, PDP, INEC and corruption all put together; it’s basically power drunk politicians spiced with egocentrism, selfishness and self-centered hedonism. In the current political dispensation, the opposition has made it clear that these pathological traits are not just with the ruling party, it is a ubiquitously cosmopolitan phenomenon that free and fair elections alone cannot solve.
Accord to PM News, sequel to the just concluded parliamentary elections in Oyo state, the running mate to Alhaji Rashidi Ladoja – Oyo state gubernatorial candidate of the Accord Party, Hon. Samuel Adejumobi who is also the Majority Leader in the Oyo state House of Assembly and seven others are now members of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN). This is in no way as a result of their interest in the ideologies of the broom; neither is it showing that they are strong believers of Ajimobi’s dream project which is to transform Oyo state to Lagos within the next four years. No. They are simply pursuing political security and relevance when ACN captures Oyo state. In simple English, they are self seeking politicians just like the trail blazers in political parties including the opposition which can as well say good bye to the presidency. Hearing their argument is enough reason to justify the assertion that they are also self seeking, just like PDP stalwarts.
According to Nuhu Ribadu of the ACN, “We attempted to come up with a strong opposition to PDP. On the part of my party, we make every necessary sacrifice including, of course, an offer of stepping down of our presidential candidate in consideration of this. Because we saw that Nigerians wanted it and we also believe that it is the right thing to do – for all opposition to come together. The other party did not fulfill its own part. And it was not as big a sacrifice as our own. Sadly they did not just meet up with what we agreed. We are the senior partner in this alliance attempt...but we still consider it necessary and we did everything including offer of sacrifice of allowing the candidate of the opposition CPC to lead and we will get the Vice President eventually. They agreed and then they turned it down again. Sadly that is the fundamental problem that really led to the collapse of the last attempt.”
Yinka Odumakin spoke on behalf of CPC. "The talks ran into difficulties when the ACN insisted the only condition for agreement was that they must produce the Vice President. By the electoral laws, this was virtually impossible before this election. We suggested that they should let us jointly go into the elections and jointly form the government after our victory. But our friends were not ready to take us on our honour and went to the media".
Although both parties claim to be aware of the yearnings of Nigerians, they however set those public yearnings aside and decided to nag over who gets what position. When black Americans in the US were in similar shoes in 2008 prior to Barack Obama’s election, comedian DeRay Davis made a statement at the 2009 All Star Comedy Jam. According to him, “black Americans are not interested in arguing over whether Obama was the best candidate or not, they just wanted Bush out, and a black man in the Whitehouse. We’ll get the best candidate later on. Let’s just solve this puzzle first”. They weren’t distracted but were focused, determined, and ultimately achieved their set goal. They were aware of the fact that such an opportunity might not come again in their lifetime.
This wasn’t the case with the opposition parties in Nigeria. At a time when the nation could be described as having slightly fair elections under Jega’s INEC, they decided to toil with the golden opportunity to allow Nigerians to vote PDP out of Aso Rock. Like June 12 1993 elections, they’ve blown a golden opportunity to write Nigeria’s name in gold by giving a common front that will allow the citizens to vote out the ruling party, no thanks to their individual greed and PDP’s carefully planned political creed.
In the wake of Nigeria’s electoral reforms, the gate was flung open and political parties arose almost on per second basis. According to INEC’s official website, Nigeria currently has sixty three duly registered political parties all vying for electoral offices. It’s funny to realize that all through Nigeria’s current democratic stretch, the ruling PDP is the only party that has not metamorphosed, others have and will continue to experience changes until they all decide to unite and present a common front. When rumors of the merger were heard and aired, Nigerians like me began to take them serious. But with the way it all ended, they’ve shown their childish unrealistic conquest with just one formidable force. Like M.I said on his Beef track, “they are showing their asses, they should put their pants on”.
Had they come together, the union would have had synergistic effect, not just additive. But they’ve blown it and will surely face the repercussions which include more internal crisis, confusion and frustration. Sobbing Buhari can now become good friends with IBB with his failed ambition and Ribadu, though young, would have Fashola to contend with at the next presidential elections during which PDP would be half-way through with the forty years prophecy. And God forbid if we have another Iwu as electoral chairman.
I’m happy with ACN, CPC, PPN, APGA and Accord parties’ solo efforts across the nation to deflate PDP’s huge intimidating balloon, but their efforts so far have been individual and less felt. PDP still has the majority in both chambers of the law making arm of government and with someone like Yerima getting a re-election, sanity has not been restored to the polity. There is still a long list of works to be done which needs another June 12 opportunity to come to actualize.
ACN and CPC got carried away with the euphoria of smelling Aso Rock and have presented themselves as not just unserious and unreliable, but selfish self-seeking mini PDPs. They are the last thing Nigerians currently need. Individually, they have negligible presidential numerical values, the odds are clearly not in their favor and the predictions so far favor Goodluck Jonathan despite the fact that he does not deserve it which is the most painful part.
Tomorrow, except there is a technology to prevent Jonathan’s loyalists from coming out to vote, lucky Jo will definitely win. Unlike past times when his good luck did the magic, he has the greedy opposition to thank. In the light of these, let me be the first to congratulate him on his stress free easy victory at the polls. Congratulations.
May his victory haunt every one that was part of the failed alliance talks. Shame on you all, and remember to tell your grandchildren what you’ve just done – getting us stuck with a guy who clearly has no idea about what Nigeria is all about.