By Adekoya Boladale
A long time ago, in the days of Late Chief Solomon Lar, when the likes of Chief Alex Ekwueme and Professor Jerry Gana were still in active capacity, the streets and roads of campaign arenas dazzled with the colourful flash of red and green. The ground for political ‘toasting’ was usually covered with deafening echoes of Power! Power!! Power!!! These were the days when Nigerians took pride in beholding the roof-staff called umbrella, even though under a dysfunctional government the people celebrated our nascent democracy and civil liberty. Days when the Hausa man only knew of ‘fi di fi’ and the little boy on the street of Mokola and Ojoo in Ibadan shouts to high heaven ‘power na da, power na re’ -where is the power, this is the power.
But all these are long gone, all that is left are shattered memories of the once glorified biggest party in Africa, the symbol of the PDP has long been rechristened ‘umblerra’ while the ground breaking echoes of Power have been replaced with Change! The All Progressive Congress (APC) claims to be the new platform for a new Nigeria; it parades itself as the safe haven against maladministration, political oppression and monumental fraud which the present government proudly wears as its badge of honour. No doubt our country, Nigeria is under attack by the demons from hell parading themselves as politicians and political office holders. Our nights and days have been taken over by kidnapping, impunity, terrorism, corruption and nepotism. The dual evil mechanism of ethnicity and divide and rule are freely devised by these fifth columnists to the unsuspecting citizens who continue to see them as patriots and leaders.
The All Progressive Congress seems at infant the best alternative to save our country from this curse with its emergence called the ‘broom revolution’ which swept through the South Western states of Nigeria and won sympathy of some federal constituencies and senatorial districts across the country. The party poses as a divine solution to our long clamour for a political platform devoid of serial robbers and fraudsters.
After 100 years of forceful amalgamation and 53 years of unproductive independence, Nigeria is indeed ripe enough for change. Oh our hearts yearn for a government of the people one whose heart is made of muscles and human blood cells rather than that of hyenas and scorpions.
All seemed perfect at first, patriotic Nigerians and even members of the Fourth Estate were trooping to the newly found party. We thought we had found a saviour, we thought we had found El Dorado but alas, it is not yet Uhuru. Suddenly the deception and ruse on which the APC foundation was built upon could no longer continue to remain hidden. The true picture of what this new party represents became clearer to all and sundry. Contrary to its much publicized progressive name and the echoes of Change, the APC is a total opposite of what it claims to stand for. Events in the past few weeks has opened our eyes to the evil laced around the new PDP called APC and concretized our fear that this new angel may after all be worse than the beast we have been trying so hard to run away from.
For a party that seeks change one is taken aback with its sudden romance with the shylocks who are the architect of our social economic tribulations. It is mind boggling on what mode of change this party truly have in stock for Nigerians with the sudden labeling of Olusegun Obasanjo the widely known corruption magnate as ‘progressive baba’, what progressive mind does Obasanjo possess? The ones used in cornering public funds or the ones graciously used in allocating public corporations to family and friends or perhaps the one that was devised in the Halliburton scam and Siemens scandal. As if that is not enough, our ‘progressive party’ extended its dim-witted charade to General Ibrahim Babangida, Oh no. In what appeared as a roll call of past criminals, Atiku Abubakar was also called upon while General Abdulsalam was not left out. Obviously the status of the APC is not different from how the people put it, ‘Association of Past Criminals’.
The height of this tour was the call on Obasanjo to come take over the affairs of the party. I am sure General Buhari was not present when that statement was made or is this another ‘permanent interest against good conscience’.
I make bold to say that presently the APC has the highest number of criminals than any political platforms in Nigeria. It is now in APC that we have ‘progressive’ Sanni Yerima, the renowned libidinous Peadophile who takes pleasure in having sexual intercourse with children; I was just told he has divorced the 13 year old girl and set to marry another. Ibrahim Tofa is now a progressive, the man who co-planned the annulment of June 12 election. How then can APC preach change with collation of rogues and thieves, dictators and emperors, fraudsters and pretenders? I am beginning to think there is more to the broom symbol, its interpretation is now vast and can mean unity among thieves or maybe a mechanism to sweep our public funds.
The party is worsening the situation with the unchecked graft activities in Lagos state where the state revenue service continues to operate under Alpha Beta consulting a firm owned by Tinubu, the conversion of various choice lands and properties on the Lagos Island worth over 100billion naira to personal use, allocation of public corporations to political godfathers and the unending corrupt activities been perpetrated through Hitech Construction Company owned by Tinubu is alarming.
The unending tax fraud in Ogun state under Ibikunle Amosun is also worthy of note, recently the accountant turned Governor paid 40.2% of the state generated tax to a consulting company, 40.2%? Wow! That’s not all, the state continue to wallop in huge debt and financial misappropriation. One of the projects embarked upon to siphon public fund is the 295 million naira air-conditioned pedestrian bridge which has continued to be under lock and key after commission, I wonder what air-conditioning has got to do with walkways. The state health and educational sectors are in comatose while a teeming number of the youths have taken to internet scam due to soaring rate of unempolyment. That is not all; the scam in the purchase 14 fairly used Armoured Carriers at 165million naira per nit as against the company price of 25million naira for brand new one still remain unsolved. The Governor continues to make ‘ritual’ payment to godfathers with juicy contract awarded to ‘their’ construction firms.
The situation is not different in Oyo state under Ajumobi. The miraculous Mokola flyover constructed at a whopping cost of 3billion naira which was allegedly destroyed months after commission is quite alarming, how much did it cost to construct the London bridge?. Another sight is the Keke Napep ambulance. When real initiatives are not available, politicians choose to embark on absurdity.
Like their counterparts in PDP, the governors under the APC platform have not fared better in terms of good governance. Their mode of governance falls short of the civil expectation and international best practice.
For APC to be taken serious then this madness must stop. The impression of the party as a platform for ‘come and chop’ politicans must be checked. The real electorates who have been neglected must be reached out to first; the party must stop giving the impression that elections are ‘arrangees’, won on the tables of godfathers and political jobbers. The youths who represent over 60% of voters but have been pushed aside must be incorporated into the system. The masses are tired of another party made up of men with big bellies, twelve wives and gray hairs. Money won’t solve the issue at hand but adequately convicing the citizens on the need to trust and vote for the party.
Finally the ethnic colouration should end; APC continues to parade itself as a Northern and South Western collation against other ethnic groups. If election must be won fairly it must represent the interest of every entity within the country.
Adekoya Boladale a political scientist is the Convener, Advocacy for Better Leadership (ABEL), he wrote via firstname.lastname@example.org. Please engage on twitter @adekoyabee
Happy New Year to you all!