Efforts by the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun to blackmail the South-east into supporting his party are being undermined by the party’s poor performance at the federal levelâ€Ž, writes Davison Iriekpen
Reactions have continued to trail the advice by the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief John Odigie Oyegun, to the people of the south-east to use the forthcoming governorship and council elections in Anambra and Enugu States respectively to re-launch themselves into the mainstream of national politics.
Oyegun said voting APC candidates in both elections would not only help address the obvious neglect of the region by past administrations but also effectively demonstrate the peopleâ€™s support for President Muhammadu Buhari.
Speaking at the flag off of the partyâ€™s campaign for the November 4 council elections in Enugu State at Agbani, Nkanu West council, the APC national chairman who was represented by the APC Chairman in Rivers State, Chief Davies Ibiamu Ikanya, said with Imo State already in the partyâ€™s kitty, winning Enugu and Anambra would be an icing on the cake. He said the party was already gaining ground in the south-south zone and did not want the south-east to be left behind.
â€œThe people of Enugu State should support APC. Apart from that, we are complaining, we in the south, Iâ€™m from south-south, we are complaining that we are not properly represented at the centre; we cannot continue to refuse to take the opportunity offered us by nature. If we continue to vote Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), we will continue to be minority at the national level.
â€œSo the message Iâ€™m preaching to my people in the south-south; Iâ€™m also preaching in the south-east that it is time for us to get involved at the centre. Therefore, the example to show is this one we are talking about, the grassroots, the local government election. So let every person in Enugu vote for APC as an example of embracing the change that the centre is preaching, that will be rewarded by our belonging to the centre so that next time by 2019 we will not complain again,â€ he said.
Ironically, the same Oyegun is facing serious opposition from his members who are either from the home state, Edo and south-west geopolitical zone over the way and manner he is running the affairs of the party and his inability to organise the national executive council meetings on how to stabilize the party.
Since he made the comments, he has faced series of criticisms from a cross section of Nigerians who have again used the opportunity to examine President Muhammadu Buhariâ€™s administration, demanding to know what they have benefited from the APC-led federal government since it took over power in 2015.
To many of them, since 2015, not significantly has changed. There are more killings under the current government than any other, insecurity has increased progressively, impunity is on the increase exponentially, the countryâ€™s electoral system has not improved, power is more epileptic, roads are more than death traps than ever, and above all, Nigerians are more hungry, bitter and divided than ever.
Rather than put in place measures to tackle these challenges and put smiles on the faces of Nigerians, the government is on daily basis blaming the previous government.
They wonder when voting for the ruling party has become the criterion for benefiting from the federal government or address neglect in states. They also wonder what states like Edo, Plateau Benue and states which are in the â€˜mainstream of national politics,â€™ have benefited from being governed by the APC.
For instance, in Plateau State alone, over 400 have been killed by Fulani herdsmen with nothing concrete from the federal government to stop the killings. Just last week, over 30 people were killed and 60 houses destroyed in Taâ€™agbe and Nkyie Dongwro villages in Miango district are in Bassa Local Government Area in the state.
So bad was the attack carried out in the communities that Governor Simon Lalong who was on the spot assessment visit, wept openly over the enormity of the havoc wrecked by the attackers.
Frustrated with the incessant killings, youths under the aegis of Plateau Youth G-17 Peace and Progressive Forum, have written an open letter to the president urging him to put a stop to it. The convener and leader of the group, Dachung Musa Bagos, who signed the letter, said government fundamental role was the protection of lives and property of the people as well as ensuring that their fundamental human rights to life are protected.
The letter reads in part: â€œIt is with grief and pains in our hearts that we write this open letter with the conviction that urgent steps and proactive measures will be put in place to address the ongoing killings in some parts of Plateau State which have continue unabated.
â€œHuman lives are sacred and as such should be treated with great respect, and leaders at all levels must portray empathy. People are being killed like chicken as innocent blood are being shed on a daily basis without any form of provocation. As the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, doubling as the Chief Security Officer of the country, we call on you to intervene and give the needed attention to the genocide ongoing in Plateau State.â€
Same is the situation in Benue State where herders have equally unleashed mayhem on the people despite the fact that the state is an APC state.
In Oyegunâ€™s home state, Edo, not only are there no federal presence anywhere, the most visible which are federal roads have all collapsed with the people daily suffering from discomfort moving from one point to the other. Most annoying is the total collapse of the Benin-Auchi.
What Oyegun did not tell the people of the south-east is that most of the APC-controlled states are owing several months of salary arrears despite the bailout and Paris Club refunds given to them.
It was against this background that former president, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, last week berated the Buhari-led APC administration for constantly deploying propaganda to hoodwink Nigerians over its failings. He said since the APC administration assumed office, it had nothing tangible to show as an achievement, rather, it has been using lies and deployment of hi-tech propaganda to cover up its misrule.
Speaking iwhile receiving in audience one of the PDP’s chairmanship aspirants, Professor Tunde Adeniran, and his campaign team, Jonathan declared that the PDP did well during its tenure from May 29, 1999, till May 29, 2015, when it handed over power to the APC, adding that since then till date, the APC administration failed to impress Nigerians.
Jonathan, who cited instances to back up his claim, challenged the administration to a public debate over his position. He said: â€œPDP administration did well for 16 years and will continue to do well, but this administration has done nothing-the administration is full of lies and propaganda. In the power sector, we did well to revive it, but a state governor criticised our government, saying any serious government should be able to fix the power within six months. Today, APC has been in power for how many years? Fortunately, the then governor is in the APC government as a minister.â€
A study by a United Kingdom-based Nigerian professionals group, Nigerian Governance Watch, recently said Buhari was bereft of idea to manage, has no focus, unstable and extremely incompetent in every sphere to shape the affairs of any Nigeria. The group came short of blaming the president, but Nigerians who knew the antecedent of Buhari while in office in 1984 to 1985 blindly went for a man who has not created anything, but only destroys the gains of his predecessors through his thoughtless policies and zero understanding of the workings in a public sector.
It was believed as a military leader, Buhari killed the naira, killed the economy, destroyed Nigeriaâ€™s relationship with the rest of the world, polarised the country, impoverished Nigerians to the extent that Nigerians were queuing up for essential commodities like milk, rice and bread. The Nigerian Governance Watch frowned at the presidentâ€™s deliberate interventions in the electoral process and his use of security agencies to intimidate the opposition.
It said: â€œOn Buhariâ€™s return in May 2015, he has within this short period, turned Africaâ€™s biggest and fastest growing economy to a shrinking one. Crashing the GDP from about 7.0 per cent to 2.4 per cent, Inflation jumping to 11.6 per cent from nine per cent over 2 million Nigerians losing their jobs, FDI dropped by over 85 per cent, Maternal and Infant mortality is at all time high as result of poverty, malnutrition and diseases.
A Second Republic lawmaker, Dr. Junaid Mohammed, said he had not seen evidence to reward Buhari with another term. He said: â€œI have not seen evidence as a Nigerian, who goes to the market that the life of the average Nigerian is getting better. It is either these governors have their ambition or maybe they are beginning to think of what they can do. They are making noise as if 2019 is achievable on the pages of newspapers. I have no objection to any politician having an ambition or a politician who is trying to play games with our own situation. In the case of APC, we have not seen any clear sign that they are serious or they mean business. There was a meeting of the leaders of the party in Ibadan, where Bisi Akande said the candidacy of their party in 2019 is an open one. That is a fair comment but for a Nigerian or an African, who is in power to come to say that he is not going to contest, I donâ€™t know. That is not African.
â€œBut as far as I am concerned, I have not seen rational evidence to the effect that somebody has achieved and therefore, deserves to be repaid with another term. Politics has never been a rational game in Nigeria. Sometimes people vote in Nigeria because of primordial sentiment and geopolitics. It is unfortunate, it stifles our democracy and makes it impossible to have a national dialogue. I have known Buhari for more than 47 years.â€
â€ŽWhat Oyegun did not tell the people of the south-east is that most of the APC-controlled states are owing several months of salary arrears despite the bailout and Paris Club refunds given to them.