In a lack of originality and botched attempt at copying the mantra used by President Barack Obama in the 2008 US Presidential elections, the APC and its presidential candidate have been singing the stale tune of “change” to anyone who cares to listen. Particularly in APC-controlled states, their propaganda knows no bounds as they claim to be the messiah capable of taking Nigerians to the El Dorado.
All over the country, APC candidate’s posters litter the streets preaching change and a better option to the present PDP-controlled Federal Government. Billboards, radio jingles, TV adverts, and newspaper editorials are all employed by the change propaganda in an attempt to sway the electorates in their favour.
So, what can we expect from this change that APC is so strongly advocating for? Contextually, change is, when you make different realities to what was abound before or cause a transformation in something. It is when you become different in some particular way to what was considered the norm before. Advocating for change as an election policy is the result of an alteration or modification that is presumed to be of a beneficial nature. Examining the APC manifesto, one can’t find much to distinguish it from the manifestos of other political party’s since 1999.
The core issues bedevilling our nation since 1999 are, for the most part, the same issues which make up the APC manifesto. Essentially, the APC manifesto is undoubtedly a model of vagueness. During the APC presidential rallies, APC leaders continue to make all sorts of promises without providing any cogent or viable means of achieving such goals. For instance, in one of their election promises, the party undertakes to end the insecurity problem in the North-Eastern part of the country. In the same breath, the party then promises to eradicate corruption. However, despite the depth of which the party has gone to ensure Nigerians that APC has the neat fit solution to solving the threat that insurgency enforces on us and the scrooge of corruption, no proper road map or structures have been presented which would effectively provide a solution to some of these social ills that bedevil the nation. Talk is cheap and the APC seems to excel in “talking the talk” of solving Nigeria’s entire problem without communicating to the public how they intend to ‘walk the walk.’
Having had a close look at the APC, I find that I am not convinced that APC and its change ambassadors are real agents of a change that is very distinct to what we have at present. Most of the APC leading members are former PDP members who cross-carpeted to the opposition and a good majority of them left the PDP after their bid to fulfil the political aspiration on the platform of the ruling party failed. If this is so, then the motive for their defection was not borne out of a need to offer real change but out of a self-interest one, instead. As such, it would be foolhardy for anyone to expect these same former PDP ruling members and leaders to provide a chronicle that is very distinct to what they offered during their tenure in office under the ruling party. For a former governor or Minister who has spent almost a decade in a government position and pilfered his way through, to now turn around and tell Nigerians that he is the ‘honest candidate’ and will provide the much needed change, is not only an insult but very pathetic. For a former PDP stalwart who has benefited immensely from short-changing the system to look at Nigerians and convince us that he represents change and styles himself as a progressive, just because he decided to cross carpet recently, is not only insulting but laughable? These so called agents for change must not know what the political philosophy of a truly progressive party entails. The only political philosophy most of these self-styled progressives know is, the same “stomach infrastructure” and the accumulation of inordinate wealth from government coffers that they are now trying to convince us they stand against. If the APC wins next month’s presidential elections, the same old faces of those who have been in government over the years, would still be the faces that would occupy most positions in an APC-controlled federal government. The change that the APC is trying to sell us is not the change that we are likely to get.
Since every Tom, Dick, Harry and former PDP benefactor now in APC insist on preaching that they are the change, the PDP-led federal government could also adopt a similar pomp of change. But the PDP is not taking the hypocritical route to follow suit. The PDP does not vociferously preach change using lip service. Instead, despite all the challenges and shortfalls, the party has put infrastructure in place, which will, in the long run, ultimately carry out change.
So far, under the Jonathan and PDP led administration, the Nigerian economy has surpassed that of South Africa to become number one on the continent. While power is still not at the level it ought to be, it has improved immensely when compared to what was prevalent in the previous administrations. The railway system has been given a new lease of life and has been revived. Presently, trains have since commenced the transportation of people and goods from one part of the country to another. Under the current regime, queues are now a distant memory and a thing of the past at filling stations across the country, as P.M.S has been made available. Nigerian airports have now been transformed to meet international standards and many travellers across Nigeria have attested to the fact that they now perform above par. Federal Universities have been built in almost every state in the federation, irrespective of the political party controlling the state. In a commendable effort to provide education to the most impoverished in our communities, the present administration has built “Almajiri” schools in most northern states in the country.
If all these laudable advancements and transformations are not change, then what is? If it is the will of the majority of the people of Nigeria for PDP and its presidential candidate to win next month’s election and, perhaps, if some members of the current presidential team are replaced by new technocrats with a keen insight of the challenges facing our dear country, this act can also be constituted as change. A proper restructure of his team, should the president be elected back for a second term, could provide Nigeria with a ruling party that has the vehicle of change people are clamouring for.
The new, carefully selected, team to work with President Jonathan could certainly proffer the rejuvenated means that could take our dear country to greater heights.
If President Jonathan could make an alteration in some of his government officials with personnel better suited and improve some of his weaker policies, he would be able to fully consolidate on the gains already made during his tenure. Now, if we are talking about and clamouring for change, this maybe the kind of change we presently need, not a far-fetched change currently advocated by the APC. A new government other than the Jonathan PDP-led federal government, in a typical Nigerian fashion, would ensure that the several gains already relished so far by majority of Nigerians would cease, and ongoing projects abandoned. Nigerians, be wise and think hard when anyone speaks to you of change!