Agba Jalingo - EVEN IN THE TEMPLES, THERE ARE NO SAINTS, BEST MEN ARE ONLY FOUND IN WEDDINGS
Many have asked me why I am supporting the emergence of APC. Some also say I am making a wrong judgment because there is no difference between the APC and PDP which we all accuse of misrule.
No doubt, when you find a Tinubu and a Buhari (Mai Gaskiya as he is fondly called by his teeming Talakawa supporters), two men who represent two different ideologies in one political party, when you find Senator Ahmed Yerima Bakura, a man stoutly canvassing child marriage and a Femi Fani Kayode who is standing criminal trial for embezzlement of public funds in a party that is talking about change, it calls for caution in the level of optimism that the public should have in that kind of association.
Never the less, I have ruminated on the matter and examined even the best of the examples that we can present anywhere in the world that no political party or association anywhere in the world is populated by saints. The gathering where angels are members exists only in Heaven.
Neither the Democrats nor Republicans in America are saints nor Labour, Conservatives or Liberal Democrats in the UK. Even the Communist hegemony in China has seen recent prosecution and life sentencing of former top shots, Mr. and Mrs. Bo Xi Lai.
Best men are only found in weddings and politics is not a wedding ceremony. Even in the Churches, Mosques, Temples, Synagogues and Shrines, there are not gathering of saints. Rather, there are congregations of broken pieces looking for perfection, how much more for political parties that are comprised of variegated tendencies.
I recall vividly how I attended several meetings at Senator Shitta Bay’s Jabita Hotel, Lagos in the months preceding the formation of the merger party. Olu Falae, Late Pa Anthony Enahoro, Prof. Pat Utomi, General Adeyinka, Rev. Moses Iloh, Alh. Yerima Shettima, Asari Dokubo, Balarabe Musa, and several other well meaning Nigerians were all part of that gathering were it was the wish of every one that the opposition can come together and forge a common front to challenge the status quo.
In 2007, even in mainstream civil society, it was hoped that Tinubu and Buhari who were leading the major opposition parties could swallow their ego and form a common front to challenge PDP. We had always held that it is their refusal to work together that has left the PDP alone to colonize the territory without let or hinder and consequently impeding the deepening of democracy in the country.
I have no reason now not to applaud the realization of that wish. It holds no magic wand to our nations' quagmire but it is a proactive step by the political class that is worth testing. "We the people" have remained largely un-organized and tattered. If the emergence of a strong opposition with the same tactics of the ruling party will afford us a possibility of a paradigm shift; it is the people that must form the third leg of the argument and proof that is it their vote that will determine which 'thief' will win the next election. It is better than when one 'thief' was always sure of winning come rain or sunshine.
It is also on record that all previous attempts in Nigeria to form a political merger collapsed at one point or the other. The only thing that may have followed through have been alliances. This is the first time major opposition parties in the country are successfully coming together to become one party.
Now, like it is all over the world, there is a near balance of forces in the political theater. Two parties with a near balance in money, personnel, thievery, thugs, violence, corruption money, rigging tactics, intellectuals, propagandists have emerge that will go for a duel.
The ruling party will lose some ground to the opposition and frankly speaking, even thought is it generally perceived that ‘all governors are stealing money’, Fashola is still better than Jona Jang. Oshiomhole is still better than Martins Elechi who many Nigerians may not even know unless we mention his state – Ebonyi.
Competition will naturally set in. It will force some form of performance in the arena. The fear of losing the next polls to a strong opposition will force some performance.
It is the people that must organize themselves properly to benefit from the spoils of the impending battle. We must make ourselves vote-able and use it well.