By: PHRANK SHAIBU
Have you ever seen a crowned prince contest for a chieftaincy title?
In what ways do so-called democrats in developing countries seek to legitimise their rule and perpetuate themselves in power? First, they place the entire machinery of state under their firm, personal control; they put an extensive apparatus of repression and coercion in place, and in the process, mismanage the economy.
To douse pressure from the civilised world, they organise elections and rig them in their favour. Out of desperation to retain power, they try to poach some key opposition elements to give the arrangement some form of legitimacy.
The visit by the Governors of Ekiti, Ondo and Lagos States, Dr Kayode Fayemi, Mr Olurotimi Akeredolu and Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu to their Rivers State counterpart, Mr Nyesom Wike, some days ago to cajole him to dump his party, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) for the All Progressives Congress (APC) fit this bill.
Although the governors didn’t speak to the press, it is clear that the ruling APC is now desperate and therefore the mission of the governors was to bring Wike to their fold or strike a deal with him, courtesy of one of their newest converts. However, what’s the sense in their move? Have you ever seen a crowned prince contest for a chieftaincy title?
What is APC’s record in the last seven years to earn it the reward of having in its fold a performing governor of national acclaim like Nyesom Wike?
The Nigerian economy, potentially Africa’s most viable, is now one of the continent’s most disastrous. But not so the personal fortunes of those in the corridors of power.
It is public knowledge that APC members who were living from hand to mouth before the party came to power in 2015 are now reputedly among the world’s richest men. Conversely, ordinary Nigerians are now resigned to what seems a hopeless fate, sleeping with only one of their eyes closed because of the high level of insecurity that has never been witnessed before in this country.
The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) puts the nation’s inflation rate at 17.71 per cent on a year-on-year basis in May 2022 but the ordinary Nigerian who can barely manage to feed properly and is afflicted by malnutrition and disease knows that economic figures, officially concocted, in no way represent the reality of his daily existence.
A further pauperization of the marginalized Nigerian majority has been achieved under President Muhammadu Buhari, courtesy of the IMF whose mandatory prescriptions the country has had to take since he assumed office in 2015. The Naira has been devalued by more than 300% since 2015– one dollar which sold for about N180 in 2015 at the parallel market is now going for almost N600.
That’s APC’s report card of blood, tears and sweat; that I can bet my last penny the Nyesom Wike that I know will not want to associate with.
There are so many reasons why the move by the APC to poach Governor Wike is not looking tidy. So, if they lure Wike to APC now, are they going to make him Rotimi Amaechi’s leader since he is a sitting governor? Where is their loyalty? Have they thought about this whole thing before venturing? What informed this poor judgement? Perhaps, it was not properly well thought out.
Or what becomes the fate of Siminialaye Fubara, the PDP gubernatorial candidate and other candidates who have been picked to fly the party’s flag in the 2023 general elections in the state? The truth of the matter is that the mood of the people of Rivers State and indeed the people of the South-South show that they are PDP sympathisers. The APC does not seem to have a good hold there.
Some may argue that in politics strange bedfellows can cohabit in the same political party once the conditions are right, but it is highly improbable that Wike will defect to the APC.
Former Senate President Bukola Saraki captured the development succinctly when he described the visit by Governors of the APC to Nyesom Wike, as a miscalculation.
Speaking with reporters during the Eid celebration in Ilorin, Kwara State capital, Saraki said Wike is important to the PDP and the party won’t let him go.
“Wike is an important member of our party and I am very confident that in no distant time, we will sit down and address all the issues. There is no doubt about it that he has cause to feel the way he does, but there are better ways by which issue like this can be resolved,” Saraki said.
Saraki said the party’s leaders were talking to each other and PDP will reunite and forge ahead to win the next elections. He assured that PDP will resolve the family issue that currently confronts it.
“The fact that some APC governors went to see their colleague, trying to capitalise on what they think is an issue is a gross miscalculation. At the end of the day, their visit is going nowhere. The APC governors know that it is this kind of a crack they need to latch on to. Fortunately, we are not going to give him to them because the election ahead is too important. The destinies of millions of Nigerians are too important and even bigger than any party or individual. I appreciate that all our stakeholders appreciate that and Governor Wike himself appreciates that,” Saraki enthused.
Saraki said the APC government should lock itself up in a room and refuse to come out over its failures in governance.
Two important points are discernible from Saraki’s intervention. First, Governor Wike has every reason to be angry but all issues will be put on the table and be addressed as in the case of who gets what as the party coasts to victory in 2023. Second, the nation is in dire straits and the destinies of millions of Nigerians are too important to be left in the hands of APC members currently superintending the affairs of the nation at the moment. All PDP stakeholders, including Governor Wike himself, appreciate the need to do all that is humanly possible to dislodge the ruling APC come next year.
As a corollary, President Buhari and his co-travellers must be told that strong-arm tactics, the type that was employed to rig the 2019 presidential poll won’t work in next year’s elections. A significant factor that has worked for pocket-sized despots in small African countries is the inchoate nature of the opposition parties in those countries. Nigeria is a different kettle of fish; the PDP is out to wrestle and defeat the inept APC government.
The electorate has no alternative to the continued and intensified struggle to put a decisive end to APC’s satanic rule if we are ever to get out of our desperately unhappy state. For, in the final analysis, our future lies firmly in our own hands. This is why PDP is Wike’s last bus stop!
Shaibu, is a Publicist and Special Assistant, Public Communication to Atiku Abubakar – the PDP Presidential Candidate