The Limit of Political Brigandage, By Zainab Suleiman Okino
Indications are emerging that the 2015 elections will be bloody. The federal government which should offer peace overtures is, sadly leading the way in engendering violence by omission, commission or through verbal war. Last week, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) organized an All Nigeria Political Parties and Political Stakeholders Summit, to perhaps douse tension in the polity and give stakeholders the opportunity to interface.
But even at that summit, some politicians chose to fan the embers of discord. In the forefront, is the PDP chairman, Adamu Ahmed Muazu. His remarks leave less for comfort and much for concern. “Initially, I thought the #ringBackOurGirls campaign was well intentioned. That was why I asked my chief of staff, the former FCT minister to represent us and for two days, he was there. Little did I know it was opposition protest against the federal government. But I want to remind us that the war against the abduction of the girls should not be politicized. It was equally wrong for the APC to go to the stadium in Ekiti state, immediately after our rally to sweep off our feet. I was worried about such conduct, I don’t know when men starting carrying rooms”.
This to say the least is worrisome. It is embarrassing that Muazu could voice such ignorance in the name of politics. #BringBackOurGirls is a global movement. One wonders whether the 3.1 million people in 69 countries that have tweeted it, all belong to the opposition APC. If this is the thinking at the official circle, it is unfortunate. If Labaran Maku, who first said the movement was the handiwork of the opposition was ignored, having talked himself out of relevance, the same cannot be said of Muazu. I thought he came to genuinely reconcile the warring members of his party and extend the hand of friendship and tolerance to others?
I’m beginning to think that there is something wrong in the choice of leaders of the PDP. It as if they go out of their way to look for people who cannot guard their utterances; people who are insensitive to the feeling of others and people who are reckless and careless about their choice of words. Coming shortly after BamangaTukur was booted out, because of his combative stance and “I must defend the interest of President Jonathan at all cost” posture, it is disturbing that the current PDP chairman is following in the footsteps of his predecessors. Could this be a script for any chairman of the party or is it individual idiosyncrasies playing out? On this, all political parties are guilty. But whatever it is, the PDP leaders have contributed more to fueling crisis than building bridges across divides. Even if their motivation is to defend their government at all costs, shouldn’t it be done with decorum?
The desperation and foul language on display make one wonder whether we are preparing for war or a normal election. Come to think of it, it is not just about political survival for many, it is survival of the fittest. The fittest in this scenario is the one that has the capacity to kill, maim, induce with money and harass the voters’ or opponents.
The manifestation of this mess is already playing out in Ekiti, whose election comes up this weekend, as the ruling All Progressives Party, the Labour Party and the People’s Democratic Party slug it out. In the run-up to the election and campaigns, an APC supporter was killed, while the governor escaped by the whisker. The words in town are that Ekiti is a litmus test for PDP’s re-incursion into the South west. It is not an entirely bad idea for the PDP to wish to take over Ekiti; the problem is in the forceful way the party is going about it. Ekiti voters should be allowed to decide through the ballot box. If this democracy must be protected and preserved, all hands must be on deck – political parties, politicians and citizens.
Another case study is a recent display of federal might is in the way it (FG) almost muddled up succession to the throne of the emir of Kano after the death of Alhaji Ado Bayero. The Federal Government’s meddling almost created a credibility crisis for the new emir, Sanusi Lamido. In the nomination process of a new emir, state governments are constitutionally empowered to choose one among three candidates recommended by the king makers.
But the PDP government almost turned this age-long tradition on its head. Before Governor Rabiu Kwankwaso could take his decision, the ruling PDP had gone to town to congratulate their ‘choice’ of emir. This is nothing but mischief and an attemptto undermine the governor of the state. The altercation that erupted thereafter and the siege on the emir’s palace for days clearly did not serve the course of peace. It was just a show of power.
What is currently happening in Nigeria is declaration of war by politicians against the citizens of this country; and instead of campaigning to win their hearts and minds; politicians are trying to force their will on them through foul and crooked means.