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Monday, 5 August 2013

A Day for Nigerians, By Ose Oyamendan

Ose Oyamendan
Last Wednesday was a day to be proud as a Nigerian. That is if you’re a Nigerian who is not a member of the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP. And, the five travelling PDP governors do no count because you gotta have a poker face not to laugh at that little circus.
Five governors, four of whom lost the last presidential elections in their states, yet they think they hold their party’s balls in their hands. What’s the worst they can do? Lose the states again! If some members of PDP don’t own most of the banks, they sure would be laughing to them now.
​But you know why these governors are “fronting” in kidspeak? It’s the three words that have the possibility of altering Nigeria’s political landscape. All Progressives Congress (APC).
​I’m proud of and happy for APC and I’m not even a member of the party. You have to be happy because APC sounds and looks like a worthy opposition that may give PDP a fight for the throne. When things like this go down, the winners are the people who can finally look up.
​It’s not an accident that Nigeria has developed at a snail speed because the leaders only feel accountable to their godfathers not the people. The reason is simple – lack of viable opposition. And, the band of the opposition in the past where so worried about survival they were busy consolidating whatever it is they have than to bother with the people who elect them.
​Well, not anymore – we hope. Now, we can watch our leaders sweat inside air-conditioned room. Now, they will know what it means to be in a molue on Eko Bridge where the passengers know that an miscalculated steering of the wheel and the bus may tumble into the ocean. The difference now is, it won’t be the destiny of the country floating away into abyss. It may just be the fortunes of the political lords.
​Ever since I was a kid in Ibadan whose night was incomplete until my friends and I spot Chief Obafemi Awolowo and his fingers flashing the victory sign inside the moon from a galaxy far, far away, I’d nursed the hope of a viable opposition that will make our leaders accountable just like I was the viable opposition to my sister for the last piece of meat on our father’s plate. That meat meant responsibility because I had to behave during the day; something Nigerian politicians often have no clue about.
​In Nigeria’s ego driven politics, the opposition have been something of a mirage. It’s tough to convince a politician to be in the opposition because the juicy contracts are not there and without juicy contracts your pot belly and all the glories that come with it is likely to disappear like a thief in the night. So, what to do? You join the winning party.
​Now, if I was PDP, I won’t sit and pretend APC is just a pesky fly. I would go to court! Yes, I will sue APC. Good thing their leaders – Bola Tinubu and Mohammadu Buhari, are veterans of the Nigerian courtrooms. What would be my grouse? Simple. It’s the word “progressives”. If APC is the All Progressives Congress, what is PDP? The People’s Degenerate (or regressive) Party?
​You can let some things sit or before you know it, they would change the name of the party to Only Progressives Party. A lawsuit would make them sit up. I know it’s not going to be a winning fight but I would have fired the first shot that would be heard from Daura to Bourdillon. Then, I will sit and watch the ego destroy the party.
​Make no mistake about it, APC will rise or fall on one trait: ego.
How does its leaders subsume their egos for the greater good of their new baby. The little matter of national officers almost left a crack on the party. You wonder what elective offices would do to the party whose leaders are rumored to favor selecting rather than electing candidates.
Tinubu is probably going to be a little easy. I do not know a better political strategist in Nigeria. He seems to be a couple of steps ahead of most politicians, definitely anyone in the APC. He has also sacrificed ambitions in the past, like when he reluctantly step aside for Iyorchia Ayu to be Senate President almost twenty years ago, settling for the chairmanship of the banking and finance committee. So, sacrificing the presidency should be easy right? Stop laughing!
​Buhari is a different ball game. He has the fervor of a man whose soothsayer has told would be king again and he doesn’t look like he’s going to allow himself be talked out of it. If he can sacrifice his presidential ambition for the good of the nation then politics in Nigeria is about to get very interesting.
​Whatever happens, the war drums are out now, 2015 is going to be the political war of all wars. Get your cameras ready and buy some earplugs because the airwaves are about to be bombarded. I can see the cards now – in one corner, Goodluck Jonathan. In the other corner, an APC candidate from the north. Let’s get ready to rumble!

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