Bitter truth

Date: 26-10-2010 10:38 am (13 years ago) | Author: Aliuniyi lawal
- at 26-10-2010 10:38 AM (13 years ago)
It is not often that you hear politicians especially the ones in Nigeria say the truth in public. And when they do the consequences are far reaching. In one rare moment of frank talk last week, Governor Justus Olugbenga Daniel of Ogun State made a very profound statement about the bleak future facing the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the mainly Yoruba south west region of Nigeria following the loss of Ekiti State to the opposition Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) party.

The PDP, aided by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), had in a clear case of obtaining under false pretence also known as 419, claimed the governorship of the state in April 2007. Not even a rerun of the election after a protest to the tribunal by ACN’s flag bearer, Dr Kayode Fayemi could take the state away from PDP as the party in connivance with INEC once again manipulated the result in favour of its candidate Mr Segun Oni.

Another protest, followed by an unfavourable tribunal judgment and victory at the Court of Appeal finally restored the mandate fraudulently taken away in 2007 by the PDP to now Governor Fayemi. That loss was the second by PDP in the south west having earlier lost Ondo State to the Labour Party, leaving the party with just Osun, Oyo and Ogun states out of the five Yoruba states it also fraudulently won in 2003. With another Court of Appeal judgment coming soon following an appeal by Rauf Aregbesola of the ACN against the purported victory of Olagunsoye Oyinlola of the PDP in the April 2007 governorship election in Osun State, the likelihood of the PDP losing another state to ACN is very high. It is the fear of this happening that gripped Governor Daniel last week when he told a gathering of his party’s leaders across the south west, to the hearing of journalists that they risked being wiped out of the region by the ACN. He is particularly afraid of what he called the "rampaging" forces of former Lagos state governor and leader of the ACN, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu sweeping across the region. He vowed not to yield an inch of Ogun State, his domain, to Tinubu even as he acknowledged that the state is slipping through the hands of his party.

It’s been an open secret in the south west for some time now that the PDP has lost whatever credibility being ascribed to it in the zone in the eyes of the people following inept performance by its elected or better still, rigged into office public office holders. The sorrow and misery that the party has brought on the Yoruba nation since the electoral fraud of 2003 are there for all to see. And this is in spite of the eight years of their son, Olusegun Obasanjo, of the PDP, as President and commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. So it is a question of when will the people take their pound of flesh on the PDP and not if as it was never in doubt that they will. It appears the time has come. If Governor Daniel is just realising that now then too bad for him and his party. The people are ripe for and yearning for a change.

But how did the PDP and indeed the people of the south west arrive where they are today politically? The simple answer is greed and inordinate ambition on the part of some of its politicians who invited on their people, alien political culture and tradition just to satisfy their own selfish interests. And there is a lesson here for Nigeria. You don’t impose on the people what they are not used to. Some have argued that Nigerians are used to and better off under the British parliamentary system than the American presidential system. Are they making sense?

Since the days of party politics in south western Nigeria, the people have always been with the progressives and have never been disappointed. The programmes and policies of the progressives, especially as propounded and implemented by late Chief Obafemi Awolowo in the first republic and by his political associates in the second republic fitted perfectly into their own view and expectation of government. This tradition was continued in the region to a limited extent in the aborted third republic while its full implementation in this fourth republic was halted in 2003 by the conservative leaning Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in most part of the region excluding Lagos.

Because the people expected free or highly subsidised qualitative education, healthcare and other social infrastructure that they have been used to from their new rulers, they felt disappointed when these were not forthcoming and they began to ask questions of the PDP. The answers they got were further woes and miseries. Their children were dropping out of school; some could not even attend at all as their parents could not muster the resources needed. Their pregnant wives and children could not afford hospital treatment in the few places where they were available. The roads are terrible; government workers are suffering. This is no exaggeration. Move round the PDP states in the south west and you’ll see what I am talking about; little or nothing has changed from what Awolowo and his successors left behind in the core areas of education, health and social development. These are core developmental issues that we hold dearly here. These characters in PDP here enjoyed these things when they were growing up, but they see nothing wrong in their not providing same for their people now. I am not saying the progressives would have performed wonders but at least if they are in power there would be a continuation of these programmes and policies because they are committed to them and naturally there would be improvements in their implementation. But the guys there now are doing nothing.

So, if the people of the south west are disenchanted with and voting out the PDP this is what they are concerned about. On top of this is the unprecedented corruption going on in government here. People can see and feel it. The politicians and their families are living in affluence at the expense of the generality of the people. Not that their predecessors even among the progressives were not corrupt, but the opportunities to amass so much wealth were not there because there were so many things to do for the people that they were left with little or nothing even if they wanted to steal.

The mayhem that the PDP has brought on our people here in terms of politically motivated assassinations, maiming of political opponents and thuggery, in general is another low point for the party. Look no further than Governor Daniel’s Ogun State and you’ll undestand what I am talking about. So, if he is afraid and complaining of the imminent wipe out of the PDP in the South west, he should look at himself in the mirror and talk to his colleagues across the region including their godfather, Olusegun Obasanjo. They should ask themselves whether they have served their people well and met their expectations. I have my doubts.


Posted: at 26-10-2010 10:38 AM (13 years ago) | Gistmaniac