By Nengi Nwuche
It will be pretense at its scornful worst to hallucinate that politics and governance in the country today is near desirable. The red flags are swaying viciously at all watch posts and it takes only an ostrich whose eyes, science has proven are larger than its brain, yet it chooses to bury its head, eyes in tow, in sand in times of trouble, not to see or feel the decadence in our polity today.
We as a nation have never been this battered before and we as a nation should not, like the ostrich also strain our necks in search of what hit us dizzyingly so bad. We are the architects of our doom and the earlier we accept this fact the better for us as a nation.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) led this country for 16 years. And in these 16 years, there was, if truth must be told, a gradual progress in institutionalizing democracy in the country after a long yawn of military interregnum beginning from 1983 to 1999. When the Shagari led democratic government was scuttled by General Muhammadu Buhari-led military government through the barrels of guns and armoured tanks and subsequent counter coups that ushered in General Ibrahim Babangida and later, Gen Sani Abacha, democratic gains made then was washed down the drain by the military.
So it was a relief when in 1999, the mantle of leadership slipped back to civilians for yet another attempt at democracy. No one expected an easy transition from a highly militarized culture and psyche to a calmer civil political space more so when the president then was also an ex-military Head of state and a retired Army General. It was at this point that the PDP was handed the uphill task of entrenching democracy in the country. It took 16 years of persuasion and demilitarising the psyche of Nigerians to forge a democratic path for the country. This heightened during the government of the late Umaru Yarâ€™ Adua which was completed by former President Goodluck Jonathan. By 2014, the country was headed in the right direction diplomatically and economically until a band of power seekers decided to scuttle it all.
Nigerians were fed with doses of lies and propaganda by the All Progressive Congress (APC)-a party hurriedly put together by strewn megalomaniacal parties through a controversial merger process. APC played on the psyche of gullible Nigerians and applied mass hypnosis to deceive them into believing that the country was headed to the precipice which needed to be saved. In doing so, they cut the image of the defender of the nation. Mass hypnosis is a mind bending technic used to create a utopian world for victims. Experts in this field in their website Natural Hypnosis, aptly explained what APC likely did to Nigerians.
â€œPoliticians who are said to have charisma are the ones who draw you into their world, paint word pictures for you and transport you to a place of their choosing which really exists in your imagination. Their goal is to persuade you that if you follow them, you will be presented with a whole array of glittering prizes even though when you are back in your conscious state, you know that most of them have been insincereâ€.
To achieve this heinous goal, they nibbled at demiliterisation goals achieved so far by the PDP and today, we are back to pre-1999 era. All democratic institutions are being tramped upon through invasion especially the legislative arm and recently the judiciary as witnessed by what happened in Rivers state recently. There are uncountable killings all over the country especially in the northeast and middle belt region of Benue, Taraba, Kogi and Nassarawa states by armed guerilla terrorists operating under the guise of herdsmen, cost of living has skyrocketed, uncertainty has enveloped the nation and ostensible hierarchy of command both in the military and civil institutions have been compromised and broken down. Every gain that was being built block by block has been brought down by sheer poor workmanship that has become the trademark of the APC. Like the proverbial poor workman, there are avalanches of blame. Past administrations are perpetually being accused of corruption but Transparency International (TI) in its latest report has published a mind blowing corruption index for the country since 2015 showing that corruption in this government is unprecedented in spite of the halo the painted above their heads. Nigerians as it seems, have been had so bad by this APC government.
As it were, Nigerians were sold a Trojan Horse as is evidenced today by lack lustre governance and macabre policies of arguably the most incompetent government in the history of the country. Corruption is at its highest level and impunity is the order of the land with election promises broken with impunity. The president is still flying all the aircraft in the presidential fleet. He promised to sell them off and travel by commercial airlines. He spends most of his time abroad for his medicals against his promise of curbing foreign medical trips and using Nigerian hospitals. The president shows off wads of dollars in the country as evidenced in the opening of EFCCâ€™s headquarters which in other climes should have earned him an impeachment because it shows that he has no respect for Nigerian currency which he, through acts of omission or commission, crashed. Stretched further, it also implies that he has no faith in Nigerian economy which he supervises and consequently does not believe in the Nigerian state he struggled for several years to lead, maybe to abyss. There is no hope in all propaganda gimmicks repeatedly being employed to further hoodwink Nigerians. However, every falsehood has an expiry date.
The good news today is that the wool has fallen off the eyes of most Nigerians. What they saw as hope in 2014 has turned out to be a mirage and in a fit of anger of being had so bad, they have resolved to take back their pride and mind in the coming election in 2019. This anger is expressed in two major ways. Firstly, in the new drive to get voting rights through PVC for 2019 elections and the results of the recent disaster called APC congresses throughout the country. The recent meetings of PDP elements who hadrevolted in 2014 under the aegis of New PDP to confessions and apologies from strong APC leaders are pointers to the fact that Nigerians made a colossal mistake in 2015 but are willing to right the wrongs. APC, has shot itself on both legs and are now sitting ducks by their own machinations. All it takes now is only a lame punch to snuffle life out of it. And that is where PDP matters today.
No doubt, PDP may have mismanaged its luck in past years. After all, some PDP elements boasted that the party would rule for 60 uninterrupted years. Maybe, it would have but that projection has been punctuated by APC for four agonizing years demystifying the boastful projection. But APC also has bungled its goodwill too so it is now propitious for PDP to get its groove back by keying on the reversed loyalty of APC to take back governance, surreptitiously stolen from it through propaganda and falsehood. But are key players ready for the take over? Herein lies the import of this discourse.
The PDP as a global political brand should put its best foot forward this time. There are numerous candidates who have shown interest in the race. They are all great candidates but a tyrannical APC will use all in its arsenal to disunite any strong opposition against it. One infamous method it deploys, is to use security agencies to take out people who they feel are threats to their political journey. There will be allegations of corruption, terrorism and misdemeanor against opposition candidates and this may be used to scuttled or disorient PDP plan to take back governance therefore, whoever the party will choose as their front runner for 2019, must be a man or woman with impeccable records who has no corruption baggage trailing him or her.
So far, some faces are peering from the PDP house for presidential candidate for 2019 take back power elections. Prominent among them are Taminu Turaki, a former minister, Abubarka Atiku former Vice President, Sule Lamido former governor of Jigawa state, Alhaji Shekarau, former governor of Kano and a host of others. The only way to ensure that PDP beat APC in their own political punting game is to be a step ahead of them by fielding a candidate who has less or no notoriety baggage and who has a clean slate that would be difficult for the government to label corrupt or a terrorist financier. These so far are the two smear tools being used to take out political opponents by the APC.
So far, everything tilts in favour of PDP today. How they harness this second chance is up to them. If they pick the right candidate, the 2019 election is theirs to lose but if not, well what would follow is better imagined.
â€“Nengi Nwuche, a political strategist and capacity builder is based in Abuja