Nigeria is in a chaotic situation now. Almost everything in the country is topsy-turvy. Nothing works here. There is pervasive insecurity of lives and property in the country as armed robbers and kidnappers carry out their nefarious activities in broad day light. Our educational system has collapsed; our crater-marked roads are death traps; and, corruption has been firmly entrenched in the country as part of our culture. Is Nigeria not in chaos?
Nigeria’s tale of woes is traceable to our past civilian military leaderships. The military boys seized power and mismanaged our financial resources. The past successive civilian regimes did not fare better. Since we became a sovereign nation-state, Nigeria has been experiencing the imposition of inept, visionless and corrupt civilian leaders. Just think of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua and Alhaji Shehu Shagari. When a country has a bumbling and corrupt leadership, development will be put in abeyance in that country.
Although the Jonathan civilian regime has published articles in national newspapers to show that our economy is growing, there is a palpable feeling of discontent among the populace. Our leaders’ postulation that our economy is growing in leaps and bounds is stranger than fiction. Nothing can be further from the truth. Nothing advertises our leaders’ incompetence and poor performance more than the millions of unemployed university graduates that roam our streets daily searching for jobs. In addition to this regime’s poor performance, the ruling party has imploded. The ruling PDP is now factionalised, and members of the two factions are engaged in a bitter battle of supremacy that portends grave danger to the indivisibility of Nigeria. They are not fighting because of ideological differences existing among them, but because they want to actualise their selfish interests.
State PDPs across the country are sundered into factions. In Anambra State, the PDP conducted two parallel governorship primaries; consequently, two people are laying claim to the party’s governorship ticket ahead of the November 16, 2013 governorship election. The Rivers State PDP crisis snowballed into a free-for-all on the floor of the state Assembly, which led to some lawmakers sustaining deep injuries. It is believed that Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi’s alleged intention to become the presidential running mate of a northerner in 2015 has soured his relationship with President Goodluck Jonathan.
Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State defeated Governor Jonah Jang of Plateau State in the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) chairmanship election, but the powers-that-be have been trying to muscle him out of that post. Amaechi got 19 votes while Jonah Jang had 16 votes. So, which political arithmetic has it that 16 is greater than 19? It is evident to us that superior authority is prodding Jonah Jang to cling to that post. Governor Amaechi’s problem may not be unconnected to his political ambition. But, as a citizen of Nigeria, he has the inalienable right to exercise his franchise and contest for elective post. Likewise, President Jonathan is not barred by the constitution of Nigeria from seeking re-election in 2015.
But it is the President’s clandestine plan to seek re-election in 2015 that has polarised the party. The PDP, as a party, has not enunciated great policies and executed them, which will lead to the positive transformation of Nigeria. It is a party of selfish and thieving politicians. And, sadly, the party’s strangle-hold on power for 14 years has brought us hardship instead of improved standards of living. So, the demise of the PDP will be cheery news to us. I am worried that the party’s crisis has the potentialities to cause the break-up of the country, if not handled adroitly, carefully and speedily.
Now, we have the old PDP and the New PDP. The New PDP led by Abubakar Kawu Baraje is composed of Rabiu Kwakwanso, the Kano State governor; Rotimi Amaechi, the Rivers State governor; Dr. Aliyu Babangida Muazu, the Niger State governor; Murtala Nyako, the Adamawa State governor; and, others. Their major grouse is about President Jonathan’s intention to run for the office of President in 2015. Our President’s body language and the utterances of his side-kicks and foot soldiers show that he will contest the 2015 presidential poll.
Their reason for setting up the new PDP is to scuttle President Jonathan’s Political ambition by emasculating the party. The northern renegades are actuated by religious and ethnic feelings and the notion that it is the turn of the north to mount the leadership of Nigeria in 2015. They have been trying to box President Jonathan into a tight corner by asking him to accede to their demands. One of their demands is this: that he should stick to one term. Is this demand not laughable?
But, why the renegade governors chose not to form a new party and seek for its registration baffles me. Members of a party who feel dissatisfied with how their party is being run should defect to another political party or form their own party. Rather, the new PDP is setting up new parallel offices across the country, thereby causing chaos in the country. What the new PDP is doing is an act of illegality that has no backing in the law.
We are not unconscious of the stark fact that the PDP’s internal war is not about our welfare. They are fighting to actualise their selfish and materialistic interests. Neither of the two PDPs can produce a visionary and incorruptible leader for us. We know the life stories and antecedents of people who occupy the party’s top echelons.
But, I would like the warring politicians to know that Nigeria is on the precipice now. So, we should not engage in acts that will make our country bowl over. That will make America’s prediction about our disintegration before 2015 to become a reality.
The angry unemployed university graduates, the Niger-delta militants, the Igbo kidnappers and the Boko Haram insurgents constitute combustible entity, whose anger can be sparked off by our leaders’ selfish acts. Do we know the anger of youth? Can we control it? Most revolutions that happened in the past were not planned. An act of self-immolation by a poor deprived vegetable seller caused the Tunisian political upheaval.
Instead of bickering and fighting over the 2015 general elections, our leaders should return to their business of ruling this country.
•Chiedu Uche Okoye, a poet, writes from Uruowulu-Obosi, Anambra State. Photo shows President Jonathan.