By Hon Josef Omorotiomwan
Nigerian politics is becoming more intriguing by the day. At last week’s national convention of the All Progressives Congress, APC, we thought, as usual, that money was going to make the essential difference.
Evidently, establishing a pattern of behaviour based on that convention is extremely difficult. At first, we saw an inverse relationship between the financial outlay by the individual aspirants and their scores at the primaries.
This hypothesis soon broke down when the final scores emerged – Alhaji Muhammadu Buhari (3,430 votes); Governor Rabiu Kwankwaso (974 votes); Alhaji Atiku Abubakar (954 votes); Governor Rochas Okorocha (624 votes); and Mr. Sam Nda Isaiah (10 votes). Our original hypothesis would have meant that Nda Isaiah who came first from the rear spent highest; while Alhaji Muhammadu Buhari, who won the contest, spent least.
Buhari might have spent the least but the information available to us does not support the fact that Nda Isaiah spent the highest. This leaves us with the impression that in-between the spectrum, there were money-bags who had a lot of Naira and Dollars to throw around.
This also means that in the process, some of the delegates who voted for Buhari might have enjoyed the flight tickets provided by other aspirants; they might have stayed in hotel rooms provided by other aspirants; and those sumptuous meals they enjoyed might have been provided by other aspirants.
There is hardly anyone, even the hard-hearted, who would not have been moved by the honest confession made by Buhari, “I have no money to give to delegates. And even if I had the money, I would not have given. I would use such money to provide services for the down-trodden masses of this nation”.
Buhari went down memory lane to push the fact that he remains in the category of the few leaders who did not steal while in public office. All he has always yearned for is an opportunity to serve the people.
This is a healthy development for our polity. So soon, we are heading towards an era where money can no longer purchase people’s conscience and their votes. They would take your money and still vote their conscience. This is largely reminiscent of the 2012 gubernatorial election in Edo State where the PDP outspent the defunct ACN perhaps on a ratio of 4:1 and the results that came were totally in a reverse order. This is the making of a silent revolution.
Sadly, the PDP has never faced the real issues. Their campaigns have never gone beyond the hollow level of attacking the motto and logo of their opponents. The other day, one of their spokesmen was on top of his elements when he struggled strenuously to destroy the APC motto of CHANGE. Hear him: “The APC has been busy making changes. They have changed from AC to ACN; from ANPP to CPC and now to an analgesic, APC”.
Truly, the process has not been easy but PDP fails to realise that this is the first time that we are seeing a true majority of the minorities.
Past efforts at mergers and consolidations always failed. Certainly, every beginning is difficult. All the same, 2014 goes down in history as the year they got it right! Starting from the 2015 elections, it will no longer be business as usual. If an attack on opposition symbols is all the PDP is bringing to the campaigns, the ensuing wind of change will blow them out of Aso Rock before they know what is happening.
For a party, like the PDP, that has failed the nation, enough of pretensions! By now, they should be looking desperately for justifications for their failures. The party should know when silence is preferred.
Sadly, the entire atmosphere around the Federal Government is based on deceit. Questions will be asked and answers will be demanded. For instance, what really happened to the kerosene fiasco where the President Goodluck Jonathan-led administration came up with the alluring idea of importing kerosene for delivery to the masses at the control price of N50 per litre?
They co-opted the 36 States into the diabolical scheme and coerced each State Government to cough out N100 million into it. The exited Governors raced back home to inform their people that kerosene was coming. Alas, their gallant gamble ended in the dust! More than two years on, not many drops of kerosene have arrived!
Too soon, the same names associated with the kerosene “import”, emerged in the leadership of the Transformation Ambassadors of Nigeria, TAN, those noise makers on radio and television! That’s money down the drains and we wonder when State Governments will start asking for the refund of their money. At least, if you refuse to shave a child, you should give him back his razor!
With this administration, it has been an endless reign of scandal and impunity. Which other nation in the world would pride itself on the transformation of its transportation sector for merely repainting a few old coaches, without adding even an inch to the railway lines inherited from the colonialists at independence? Our transformation here has been left in the hands of spray-painters!
These are just a few of the areas where serious-minded people will demand for changes, fundamental changes – not changes in colours and logos of party symbols.
In all this, Buhari is a ready answer. Foisting different names on him does not alter the equation, either. Call him an Islamic fundamentalist, if you wish. But fair-minded people should examine his antecedents and associates and decide for themselves; if he fits into the mould of an Islamic fundamentalist. After all, this was the same man who led the military push against the Maitasine in the 1980s. And last July, he narrowly survived a bomb attack carried out by the same extremists he is wrongly suspected of supporting.
Shall we return to Victor Hugo (1802-1885)? Nothing beats an idea whose time has come. This is the time for change and those unprepared for change must be prepared to be changed!