The Oasis Reporters
December 22, 2018
By Gora Albehu Dauda
The fourth republic is almost 20 years old. Juxtaposing this age with that of humans, either male or female, such would have been thinking of raising a family. Have we then gotten our democracy right all these years?
The answers from most respondents are likely to be ‘N0’ Such respondents would have done so on sound grounds.
Viewed from another prism, a conclusion is most likely to be drawn that the 20 years behind our democracy are 20 wasted years. Recall that many a political party have risen but died out in the 20 years gone for varying reasons. There are many more political parties existing only in name. Only a handful of these parties have survived to be of any relevance, the dominant ones being the PDP and the governing APC.
This situation reminds one of the parable of the sower in the Book of Matthew Chapter 13 Verse 3 – 8 of the Holy Bible which spoke of the sower who went out with seeds to sow and some felled by the wayside and were devoured by fowls of the air, others felled on rocky ground and though the germinated soon withered away. Others felled on thorny soil which quickly choked them still, some felled on good ground which produced their yield in varying degrees. The parable best captures the very nature of Nigerian political parties as well as its politics.
Sadly the metamorphosis of Nigerian political parties is not distinctive as they are formed essentially to serve the purposes of those behind their formation. Whenever there was a schism of sort within the party rather than remaining to resolve the issues, the aggrieved members simply migrate to a different party without taking with them anything different. The Biblical description of “Old wines in new bottles” best captures the situation I’m m trying to put across.
Both the PDP and APC are classical examples of the phenomenon. The PDP formed from the remnants of the old National Party of Nigeria, NPN and other like minded politicians won political power after the military adventurists had retreated and the party held sway for 16 of the 60 years they had boasted they will be in power. The virus commonly called “lack of internal democracy “became PDP ‘s political albatross. In the 2015 general elections, the PDP suffered a humiliating defeat in the hands of the APC which itself was and is still largely peopled by those who migrated from the PDP. If the PDP at the time was bad, could it then have been taken that it was the good guys who left to join the APC?
There is no evidence that the politicians who migrated from the PDP to join the APC would themselves apply internal democracy in the party. The same virus of the lack of internal democracy in due course is turning out to be the undoing of the APC. To what extent then are the political parties learning from past mistakes?
It is yet another season of political migrants as I wrote in another post some months back and the journey this time around is from the governing APC to the PDP you can call it the return journey if you find that appropriate. We are witnesses to a 360 degrees turn by the same characters who left the PDP for the APC. Having enjoyed power for 16 years, it has not been easy languishing out of it for 4 years and so at the highest level of the PDP, a memorandum of understanding between the leadership of the PDP and a group that broke away from the APC, the Reformed All Progressives Congress (R- APC) joined the PDP to increase the chances of regaining power at both the State and Federal levels. Implementing the provisions of the MOU has been fraught with problems and in Kaduna State in particular as a result of the intransigence of certain characters deeply entrenched in the State Exco of the party and the manipulative influence of a self appointed Godfather or guardian angel of the party in the State. The truth be told, politics in a general sense in not done on behalf or benefit for that matter of the people. Politicians are supposed to be representing their constituents but largely are representing themselves. If I were asked if I believe any politician, my answer will be neither Yes or No as they quickly forget they made promises to the electorate while campaigning for power. If only our politicians could be believed, our politics will be less acrimonious and therefore more stable. In a general sense, I have not seen any marked difference between the PDP and the APC because on very careful scrutiny, the players are the same people. In the lead up to 2019, we must hold the present office holders to account especially if they are seeking for ‘re-election. The emphasis before deciding which candidate to vote for must be based on the candidate’s character. It should not matter at all the party platform on which a candidate is contesting as only his/her character should inform your decision. The understanding must be that six and half a dozen are the same.