With May 29 Approaching, Is there Really Excitement in the Air?, By Soji Apampa
The poor, the downtrodden, activists and those who previously suffered neglect have been swept to new levels of euphoria by the power of the APC change ideology.
The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria requires that there should be a handover of power on May 29, 2015, but does this really mean that power will change hands? According to the 1986 work of the great sociologist, Michael Mann, there are four sources of social power: Ideological, Military, Political and Economic. How does the incoming administration fare along these dimensions of power and where will the balance of power be? Is there really excitement in the air?
On the strength of the change rhetoric, the APC was swept into power. Not long after, activists were tickled by the news of some of the corrupt refunding monies they had stolen and the spectre of previously untouchable ministers seeking audience with the President-elect to plead their case. All of a sudden, there is a rush among contractors to complete abandoned projects out of fear that it will not be business as usual. Such is the power of ideology, and it is abundantly clear that the incoming administration is in firm control of this source of power. The poor, the downtrodden, activists and those who previously suffered neglect have been swept to new levels of euphoria by the power of the APC change ideology.
Most of the forward looking policies being promised by the APC, including moves to strengthen the fight against corruption and grow the economy may require new laws and thus actions by the National Assembly.
Nigerian military power is ascending and seems to be regaining its potency. Yes, an element of this must be due to the “magic” that Goodluck Ebele Jonathan switched on when he postponed elections from February 14 to March 28, 2015 promising that Boko Haram would be routed in the period. Boko Haram was not routed but they have been given a hard time by the military in the Sambisa Forest and many of their erstwhile captives liberated; however, the Chibok Girls are yet to be brought back. A new Sheriff is coming to town and it seems like there is newfound motivation to clean up the house before he arrives. If past history is anything to go by, the Service Chiefs will have mixed feelings about his coming but the rank and file soldiers would be living with an air of excitement. Just how many layers deep below the Service Chiefs the wind of change will blow is a matter of conjecture at this point and all those potentially affected must be very nervous.
When Nigeria made its successful transition back to civil rule in 1999, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) controlled political power in Nigeria. There was no real opposition to speak of. In the period between 1999 and 2003, “opposition” for the Executive came from PDP members in the National Assembly (NASS). In 2015, we are in the situation where the APC is taking over the national government and will also be the majority in the National Assembly – will history repeat itself? Most of the forward looking policies being promised by the APC, including moves to strengthen the fight against corruption and grow the economy may require new laws and thus actions by the National Assembly. The APC controls 22 States out of 36, as well as the national government and thus wields colossal political power but a tussle to control this source of power cannot be ruled out. The clear losers at the moment are lawmakers from the South-East, South-South and the PDP in general, as well as non-APC controlled States.
Nigerians should expect economic issues to dominate the press for the foreseeable future post-handover.
Nigerian banks reportedly have a history of getting exposed to politicians and political actors around election time. If this is true, you can expect they would be vulnerable in the brief transition before hand-over on May 29 of an election year, only to smile all the way thereafter, as it has largely been predictable, hitherto which party was likely to win the Presidential elections in Nigeria. Many of them could now be left with a gaping hole in their finances that they just cannot bridge. This would leave investors with mixed feelings – happy that change has come but sad, perhaps, that some of their current assets may now be at risk. Some large companies may also nurse very mixed feelings, since the APC promises to review ownership of oil assets and those benefiting from opaque oil subsidy payments; and over N200 billion allegedly paid by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to actors in the power sector. Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) should be ecstatic as the APC promises good times are here.
It would appear that ideology, military might and political power are on the side of the incoming administration; however, clawing back and rebuilding economic power in a State where a club of wealthy thieves could be as rich as any provincial government in the land becomes something they must approach with stratagem. Nigerians should expect economic issues to dominate the press for the foreseeable future post-handover. Is there really excitement in the air? Only on the part of activists, the poor, the downtrodden and their elite sympathisers (local and international).
Soji Apampa, the co-founder of The Integrity Organisation, can be reached at Twitter: @sojapa, and email: firstname.lastname@example.org.