CONTEST FOR POWER AND THE PEOPLE

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Godwin Obaseki

Thursday June 25, 2020 must go down as a watershed in the 2023 chain of events. A 7-day- old member of the PDP, Godwin Obaseki became the party’s newest goose. As Mr. Obaseki was being packaged as the party’s ‘consensus’ gubernatorial candidate, Operation D-Day was taking place in the next house. The CPC wing of the ruling party, in a political blitzkrieg, snatched control of the party’s machinery, casting the pro-Oshiomhole NWC into the streets of the federal capital. As the clinically coordinated plan was being executed in the chambers of the Federal Executive Council, forces in Abuja/Kebbi/Kaduna/Ekiti were having a victory lap, while Lagos remained eerily quiet. In a familiar repeat of history, the shed built with spittle has been ambushed by the dew. The die is now cast, the cards are out, and the gladiators are back to the trenches. But in all of these, what ought to be in it for ‘We the People’?

The people must recall all the pandemics they have been battling pre-Covid 19 and are still likely to have in their face going forward. Pandemic of rampaging insecurity, extra-judicial killings, and a police force waiting for a bail. Pandemic of a struggling economy, unemployment, and begging bowl social programmes. Pandemic of unprecedented nepotism, favouritism, and systematic marginalisation. Pandemic of a nearly abandoned educational system, disappearing public schools, and struggling universities. Pandemic of an epileptic electricity sector and huge infrastructural deficit. Pandemic of a people quarantined in poverty and squalor, yet insulted through vote-buying with monies stolen from them. Pandemic of a political class who waves the broom with one hand, but uses the other to hide the umbrella under their armpit, in case it rains. In fact, there is the pandemic of a government, which appears to be a house divided against itself.

Now is time, more than ever before, for the people to begin a conversation on crafting the way out of this mess. The contest for power is a major underpinning of politics everywhere in the world, but the difference in the advanced world, is that people-oriented development takes place alongside. This must be the peoples’ take at this time. As the new season of media fights develops, as mass cross-carpeting begins, as hitherto idle corruption case-files are being dusted, the people must not get carried away with the cacophony. Two things are certain. To start with, the six months journey to the national convention will be full of some of the most daring intrigues in Nigeria’s recent political history. Finally, whatever battle takes place at the convention will create new political IDPs. Dissident APCs will mix with PDP, and opportunists PDPs will dissolve into APC. The people must however remain vigilant, separating the wheat from the chaff, and insisting that the goods are still delivered.

Olusola Babatunde Adegbite, Lecturer, Faculty of Law, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife