PDP Apology: Restructuring As Restitution, By Ken Tadaferua
…I believe that there is restitution our politicians can and must urgently undertake to save this country from imminent destructive desolation. But that restitution, which would be less demanding, less painful, and more altruistic than returning funds, can only come to pass on three key conditions…
Our politicians are already in top gear, posturing and promising absurdities, to grab the electorate’s attention and votes as the train of the 2019 general elections steams rapidly to the campaign station.
So, three years after losing the presidency in 2015 and only a year to fresh federal elections, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) turns up with a public apology to Nigerians for its despoliation of the nation with rampant corruption, incorrigible impunity and the repugnant lack of vision and values.
Yet, as late as the apology has come and as opportunistic as its timing is, it is still welcome that the former, all powerful, ruling party, found enough humility that made it imperative for it to apologise for its grave misdemeanours.
But as with all Greek gifts, the PDP apology is opaque and deeply deficit in credibility. To apologise is one leg of repentance or contriteness. To make restitution or at least show clear plans to make restitution is the second leg of repentance. The PDP apology is without the second leg and therefore is no more than a political gimmickry.
The PDP ought be very clear about how it will make amends for its many sins, so as to win the credibility that it apparently and desperately seeks for the 2019 elections. It may be posited that this imperative for transparency and restitution underscores the All Progressives Congress’ (APC) call on the PDP to not just apologise but return the billions it looted from the public till in the 16 years of its reign. But is it?
Whilst I agree that returning billions of dollars in stolen public funds will be a fantastic means of restitution as it will help water the nation’s desolation back to lushness. I am, however, under no illusion that the very idea is no more than mere fantasy, for none of our political rogues can, in any regard, be likened to the Biblical Zacchaeus, the chief tax collector, who in making restitution from a pure heart, said to Jesus: “Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I will give to the poor; and if I have taken anything from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold.” – Luke 19:8.
…the restitution I propose will be easy to make, for we will be all agreed that the current socioeconomic and political superstructure used in running this country is dangerous to our personal and national wellbeing, that it makes corruption easy and breeds laziness, that it corrodes trust, destroys morality and values…
The hearts of men have waxed cold with greed in these days. The hearts of our political leaders are worse, with the APC no better than the PDP they oft and justifiably tar-brush as thieving ogres. Indeed, the dramatis personae of both parties, the APC and the PDP, are Siamese twins with the identical DNA of roguery.
In fact, the PDP is shameless and does not deny the allegation of its twin brother, the APC, that it ravaged the public treasury. Instead, the PDP fired an “we-are-all-rogues” offensive, blasting the APC thus: “If there is any party that should refund looted funds, it is the APC, which directly used stolen money to scheme in the election of President Buhari in 2015, while known culpable persons now sit comfortably around the presidential table, still superintending over the looting of our common patrimony.” Now, will the APC be so incensed by the PDP allegation of corruption that it will put its campaign funding books in public glare as an ultimate act of transparency? Not likely.
It is not likely either that the rogues of the PDP and APC, the twin brothers of corruption, will ever make restitution by willingly returning stolen funds. If it happens, then Brother Jero has gotten divine revelation on the Road to Damascus. Which will not happen because Jero is a fictional character by Wole Soyinka.
Nevertheless, I believe that there is restitution our politicians can and must urgently undertake to save this country from imminent destructive desolation. But that restitution, which would be less demanding, less painful, and more altruistic than returning funds, can only come to pass on three key conditions:
One: That the political class and indeed we as a people must come to the general consensus that our socioeconomic and political conditions in the past 50 years up until today point to the undebatable fact that as a nation, we are on the horrible path of Mutually Agreed Destruction (MAD).
…the restitution which our political leaders owe this nation, beyond apologies and even beyond the fantasy of returning monies they stole over the years and still do, will be to RESTRUCTURE the system on the basis of true and decentralised federalism, whose parts or regions run on productive competitiveness, the boosting of tax revenues through the driving for investments and businesses opportunitie…
Two: We must also consensually accept that the MAD conditions under which we live is consequent upon a fake superstructure we built on the rotten foundation of living off unearned rent; abhorrence of hard work, initiative and creativity; sharing of free monies legally, instead of boosting investment and productivity to drive taxation as basis for public revenue; establishment of a rentier economy and corruption, laying the economy to waste from the refineries to sports, sea ports to steel industry, agriculture to industry, banking to insurance, healthcare to infrastructure, education to social services. Everything and everywhere is thickly coated with the dark soot of corruption, impunity and incompetence.
Three: We must sit together to ask and answer the questions – Why are we engaged in MAD? Why is corruption so easy and growing, despite the hullabaloo of anti-corruption wars over the decades? The answer, in my view, lies in our political and socioeconomic superstructure. It is faulty. It is predicated on almost total dependence on easy petroleum revenues, such that oil alone, in the past five decades, accounts for over 90 percent of the country’s total export earning. It is run on a deeply militarily centralised unitary system masquerading as federalism, which recklessly shares money (allocations) usually unaccounted for, every month, every year, to thousands of political and economic units from federal, state to local governments. The system drives laziness, stealing, impunity and worse off, it attracts thugs, crooks, violent men to political leadership.
If we are agreed on these things, then the restitution I propose will be easy to make, for we will be all agreed that the current socioeconomic and political superstructure used in running this country is dangerous to our personal and national wellbeing, that it makes corruption easy and breeds laziness, that it corrodes trust, destroys morality and values, kills productivity and investment and is grinding Nigeria to a bitter, fratricidal MAD.
Thus agreed, the restitution which our political leaders owe this nation, beyond apologies and even beyond the fantasy of returning monies they stole over the years and still do, will be to RESTRUCTURE the system on the basis of true and decentralised federalism, whose parts or regions run on productive competitiveness, the boosting of tax revenues through the driving for investments and businesses opportunities, the ceasation of the sharing of free oil monies and warehousing these as strictly loanable long term funds, among others.
This is all the restitution I seek from our political class. It is a non-negotiable imperative. Unless they seek to shoot themselves in the foot or become pallbearers of the deceased state of Nigeria in the near future, I really see no other option. It is now or never.