Nigeria’s Broken Politics

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Hometruths By Adeola Akinremi; Email: adeola.akinremi@thisdaylive.com

Nothing explains the fact that our political system is broken than the recent exit of the former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), and immediate association of his name with the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Naturally, President Muhammadu Buhari must be happy with the exit of Abubakar. The president and the APC devotees knew the former Vice-President will end up in a landlocked PDP, making it an easy race for Buhari during the APC primaries. So the 2019 presidential election is the only thing Buhari will need to strategise about for a clear win.
Yes, Buhari cannot underestimate a man like Abubakar with money, influence and strong political base all over the country.

Perhaps there is no other person who made it clear with words than the governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai that Abubakar’s exit will make the race easy for Buhari.
“I have heard about what the former Vice-President said about leaving the APC. We knew he was going to leave in December but he has left in November which is good because the earlier he leaves for where he belongs, the better,” el-rufai said in an interview published by Premium Times.
Make no mistake, the political industry in Nigeria is thriving for high-stake players. It is the reason our democracy is not working for everyone, but fewer people or let me rephrase, fewer families.

Like a poker game the first round of betting has just begun, and we are yet to see the final act until 2018, when the PDP and APC will begin to change party constitutions as we have seen before to accommodate late comers. Of course, lawyers will generate revenue when court cases start to happen.
Sadly, the political conversation in Nigeria after two and half years of angst and frustration, when people felt so hopeless under the Buhari administration has now become Buhari vs. Atiku and APC vs. PDP. There’s no third party and there’s no chance that Nigerians will have the opportunity to elect a president outside the two-in-one political parties in 2019. So we are stuck with a broken politics cater to a few.

In summary, group of political hacks have made the parties their playground. So we are left with weak capacity for leadership, high political polarisation, and citizens that are distrusted.
Undeniably, the system is created by political merchants not to allow any third party. After all, All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) lost its grip on South-east and the chance of becoming a third party, because of greed and inconsistency among its leaders. They sold their own porridge to PDP like Esau did to Jacob in the Bible. The story of Labour party under former Ondo State Governor, Olusegun Mimiko, is no different.

Rightly, power and wealth are the highest common factors in party politics and that is why Chief Raymond Dokpesi who registered Advanced Peoples Democratic Alliance (APDA) as a national political party is now seeking to become the chairman of the PDP.
In fact, Dokpesi didn’t care much about moral to tell us that APDA is a deceit. According to him APDA was simply a back-up plan for the PDP during its crisis. So INEC was deceived to register APDA as a national party?

Like the PDP, so far the APC has made virtually no progress on any of the essential policy steps needed to restore prosperity and growth despite being in control of both legislative and executive arms of government during this administration.
The poverty index, inequality, poor medical care, human rights abuse, and falling standards of education have not changed since APC came to power.

To be sure, people are falling into extreme poverty than escaping it, because the APC only carries the name on paper as progressives’ party and not in reality.
The World Poverty Clock, an organisation that relies on data collection from the International Monetary Fund, World Bank, United Nations, and governments of more than 180 countries to track poverty index in the world released a report earlier that from February 2018 Nigeria will have more people in extreme poverty to take the place of India on the map of poverty-stricken nations. The benchmark is Nigeria’s population. We are moving from the more the merrier to the more the wretched, yet there is no serious policy on the ground or implementation of an existing one to address our demographic debacle. Frightening.

Nigeria’s population is growing faster than its economy. Currently, 82 million Nigerians live in extreme poverty, which expert broke down to 42.4 per cent of Nigeria’s population.
Now, we don’t really have a sense of what government did—in terms of planning—with the data from the National Bureau of Statistics that projected the country’s population at an estimated 193 million plus, a big leap from UN projection in 2016. At least census did not take place this year as expected.

Those who did the research like UNICEF have equally said that Nigeria has around 10 million children who do not go to school under this government.
Indeed, we still have army of students finishing from our secondary schools and sitting at home for four years without admission, whereas their mates in Europe and America are moving directly from secondary school to the universities of their choice without unnecessary gap year.

These are worrisome issues, but the two government layers, the state and federal (because the local government is almost non-existent, except that the chairmen are yes-men to the governors) are doing little to tackle degeneration in educational system. They simply like to raise a few block of classrooms, name it after their benefactors, provide breakfast or lunch in schools with contract awarded to their cronies or fronts and pay millions of naira to buy primetime on television stations to show dodgy documentaries. How will that make our students have necessary skills required to raise our economy?

Finally, I’m trying hard to understand this that some governors elected under the APC are rushing forward to endorse President Buhari for a second term and they are flaunting it in our face. Will Buhari become president for the second term just by the vote of 24 governors elected under the APC? Rightly, even el-Rufai puts party above the country when he said, “…we are confident that the way to preserve our party and preserve and advance the interest of Nigeria is for Mr. President to run for a second term.”

They want to preserve the party before they preserve the country. It is one thing: Get all you can, can all you get and sit on the can. That is the unwritten code of politicians in the two-in-one political parties in Nigeria.
Yes, I’m calling for new politics to fix the broken policies and promises. That is my message.
Follow me on twitter@adeolaakinremi1