The political space in Nigeria is awash with what we choose to call negative politicking in the sense that, beyond diverting the attention of Nigerians from the real issues of insecurity, unemployment and hunger, it has nothing to justify the time and energy devoted to it. The ruling party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), is literarily in crisis especially since the Supreme Court judgment on the matter arising from the last gubernatorial election in Ondo State. The apex court used the occasion of the sitting to remind Nigerians, in particular, the APC that it is standing on a slippery ground as far as the legality of party administration is concerned. The Justices, in a minority judgment, had faulted the role the present caretaker committee chairman and Governor of Yobe State, Alhaji Mai Mala Buni is playing in the party.
That decision by the Supreme Court, not surprisingly, exposed the fault lines that have been brewing underneath since after the 2015 elections that brought it to power. They are, however, becoming more pronounced as 2023 looms in the horizon. It is easy to conjecture, in our considered opinion, that for keen political observers, and anyone interested in the political goings on in the country, the signs were there before the outing of the court.
If anything, it brought to the fore the internal wrangling and inherent contradictions embedded in the party being a merger of convenience, an amalgam of strange political bedfellows. Expectedly, previously hidden issues have been blown open in a manner that is threatening to tear the party to shreds with legal luminaries and party bigwigs throwing brickbats at one another in defense of what they consider the appropriate way to run the party affairs. But they miss the point raised by the apex court which is so glaring and does not require a legal mind to decipher.
What emerged during the recently held party congresses in the states is a pointer to the depth of the misgivings among members that had been simmering within the caucuses that hold affiliations and loyalty elsewhere. And those attachments are unyieldingly tenacious as they are beginning to appear. The APC, bogged down by crass incompetence and maladministration, have dwelt in the past since it came to power leaning on a debilitating and unhelpful blame game.
The opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), is worse off. Confused and seemingly rudderless, like a drowning man, it is clutching to any available straw. The situation in the party is made worse following the spates of high level defections from its fold. Members of the party put the blame of the challenges it is presently facing on what they believe to be a lackluster performance by the National Working Committee (NWC). Some party faithful narrow it down to the chairman, Mr Uche secondus. But the truth is that the party is haunted by its past and the consequences of missed opportunities.
While these two major parties are busy disappointing themselves, the nation is bleeding as the real issues that impact on the lives of the people are pushed to the back burner. It is often said that statesmen think about the next generation while politicians think about the next election. The tragedy confronting the polity is that majority of Nigerian politicians are scarcely statesmanlike. That is exactly what is playing out as the political class engage themselves in mortal combat over who holds sway in 2023.
In the opinion of this newspaper, the immediate past Chairman of the Independent Electoral Commission, (INEC) Professor Attahiru Jega, captured it succinctly when he admonished Nigerians to look elsewhere for solutions to their political and other national problems as these two parties hold no promise whatsoever. But will the Nigerian electorate listen? Will they be willing to endure hunger, do away with ethno-religious proclivities and think about their future and that of generations unborn? That, in our view, is the crux of the matter.
We dare to recall that for 16 years, PDP wasted everyone’s time as they engaged in helping themselves to the spoils of office and plotting how to rule forever. Eventually, they were thrown out as they deserved by the electorate who simply got fed up. However, lamentably, in our opinion, this same electorate made another fatal error when they got carried away by meaningless slogans and propaganda that were meant, ab initio, to be deceptive and directionless. Six years down the line, with nothing to show for the effort they made to bring the APC into power, the same electorate are about to allow themselves to be positioned to take another fall.
If this happens and they yield to deception and are misled again by this political class as represented by the APC and PDP, they will only have themselves to blame. If the truth be told, the ongoing shenanigans by the political class is possible because the people create room for them.