By Godwin Etakibuebu
We sat down apprehensively in the office of the Editor of the National Concord [Daily], Nsikak Essien, evaluating emerging events in Nigerian turbulent political terrain of the time. The atmosphere in the room was actually tense. Ditto the whole country. It was one day [I have forgotten the exact day] in the month of November, 1993. General Sanni Abacha had just overthrown the short-lived Interim Government of Chief Earnest Shonekan.
The dark goggle-wearing, brutal dictator started off as a benevolent leader, appealing for all to be calm, saying that what they were out to do was “restoration of democracy” – whatever that meant. The issue being discussed in the Editor’s office that Sunday afternoon was the likely restoration of Abiola’s “stolen mandate” as it were. This apprehension was juxtapose against the background that it was General Abacha who arranged for MKO Abiola’s “home-coming with guaranteed security”.
I asked a very pertinent question while we were remunerating about the possibility of Abacha being the man to actualize Abiola’s dream against the reality of what we knew – all the demonic skirmishes of General Abacha, which saw to the push both General Ibrahim Babangida and Chief Earnest Shonekan out of power. “Gentlemen are we are looking at a scenario where Abacha will prosecute the wishes of Nigerians by validating Abiola’s mandate and installing him as President?” was the question I asked.
Nsikak Essien, the Editor replied without missing words. “What Abacha is doing now is not exactly for Abiola’s interest exclusively but for his personal interest which ties with that of Abiola at this point. He is chopping for legitimacy and the fastest way to do it is by playing up this essential card of restoring democracy seemingly and this, for now, tallied with Abiola’s interest. But when it comes to the point where one’s interest shall counter the other’s they will surely part ways. And only at that point that Abiola would know the reality of his friends and his foes”, he concluded before adding a caveat, which is more appropriate for present day Nigeria, “nothing is for Nigerians’ interests but only for the interest of the ruling clique.”
What we have seen in the Nigerian political market place within the last few weeks, cumulating into what a friend called “Amanda of defections”, has brought to mind Nsikak Essien’s analysis of November 1993, about the Nigerian politicians. They are ready and willing to do everything for themselves and nothing for those hoping and waiting for government in order to have good lives. Head or tail, the losers remain the Nigerian populace and not the political elite.
Those of us waiting for good governance for better life, remain the orphans of a country without conscience. And we in this group are in the majority. Yet we cannot rescue ourselves. I once referred to it as the “tragedy of the oppressed” in one of my works. It is going to remain, most likely so, for a very long time to come, until such a time that we [the oppressed] shall become “politically restless and pushed by actual forces of agitation before we can throw this yoke off our neck”. Until then, the superior power of the games of manipulation and permutation of the Nigerian politicians remain a dreaded instrument of divide and rule in their favour and against us. This is the bitter truth. Let us now evaluate this recent Amanda of defecting.
It was expected though, because that was how it played itself out in the year of our Lord 2014; a year that President Goodluck Jonathan “helped”, through political naivety, the formation of a “n-PDP” [new People Democratic Party] which made the formation of the All Progressives Congress which later consigned the then ruling People Democratic Party to dustbin of rejection possible. Five sitting governors of the PDP, apart from other top political jobbers, moved with this group to the formed ship of change called APC.
It was only President Goodluck Jonathan and Bamanga Tukur; then National Chairman of the PDP, that did not see the impending catastrophe the massive defection portrayed. Both instead chorused a fool’s requiem: “good radiance to bad rubbish” until they discovered that they were the reality of bad rubbish. Can we hold it for a moment to compare the past and the present at this juncture? We shall continue in a moment.
Has the National Chairman of the APC; Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, not quoted as saying, a few days ago, that the decamping members of the his Party to the PDP “are big masquerades without fixed address” and that he would not lose his sleep about them? Is the Buhari presidency not quoted as saying that “those that are leaving the party are those who did not even belonged from beginning”? Is there a standing similarity between spoken words of the past and the present in this reoccurring decimal?
The point being made here is that if those who made these types of statements in the past were forced to swallow their words disgracefully and shamefully, will it be wise to come to the conclusion that those presently following the same path will end up differently from those before them? It is a matter of few months from now that the idiom which says that “the taste of the pudding is in the eating” shall be proved. Enough of comparing past and present postulations, as we need to move very urgently to the exercise at hand which is “all for them and none for us”.
In establishing the fact of all for them and none for us, l will present events of current political happening clockwise, meaning working the mathematics from answer to question, which itself is very unorthodox. As you read this today, being Tuesday August 7, 2018, a big name in the PDP shall be decamping into the APC, all things being equal, on Thursday, August 9, 2018 in Akwa Ibom and the show shall be taking place inside the Ikot Ekpene Stadium. His name is Senator Godswill Akpabio; immediate past Governor of the State. For you to appreciate how dreadful the Nigerian politician can be in the game of deceit and compromise you need to know how the movement of this big man was announced and the caliber of the man that announced it will be a source of intrigue to you.
This irrefutable move by Akpabio was made known in a post on Facebook by the Chairman, Special Presidential Investigative Panel for the Recovery of Property, Okoi Obono-Obla. The presidential aide revealed the impending welcome rally for Akpabio. Obono-Obla said, “There shall be an APC rally at Ikot Ekpene, Akwa Abasi Ibom State on Thursday, August 9, 2018 to receive the former indefatigable governor of the state, His Excellency, Senator Godswill Akpabio to the All Progressives Congress! Acting President Osinbajo accompanied by Senator Ita Enang and leaders of the APC in Akwa Ibom will formally receive Senator Godswill Akpabio into the APC at Ikot Ekpene Stadium on Thursday August 9, 2018.”
Why is Godswill Akpabio jumping gun or jumping boat at this hour? There must be a cogent reason why the man has to “carry all the sacrifices” – both dirty and clean [l am afraid there is nothing clean about this monkey business of politicians summersaulting at will] – to achieve result. In case, you don’t know, the man who claimed to have built a “world class hospital” in his State while he traversed the land like a colossus but lacked confidence of being admitted into this “world-class hospital” when he had his first motor accident in Abuja; a few days of leaving office as governor, but instead was rushed out of Nigeria for treatment abroad, has being paying some dirty “homages” to some individual “lords of the manor” in the APC for the past three months or so.
Come August 9, 2018, at the Ikot Ekpene Stadium where the mother of all decamping in the South/South geopolitical zone shall be taking place, Akpabio is going to tell his people the reason why he is jumping from the boat of the PDP to that of the APC. Of all the things he would most likely say – trust politicians – shall be, most prominently, that “I am doing this for the interest of my people and good governance of Nigeria.”
He is likely to reminiscence on how “for a long time, my people have not actually enjoy dividends of democracy” and how “soon after l left the government house here, Satan and its treasure of wickedness located this same Government House and drove away the man I helped to elect for you as a Governor because for now your governor is Satan and the only Political Party that can drive Satan away from Uyo, ditto Akwa Ibom, is the All Progressives Congress.” He will thereafter shout A . . .P . . .C eee and throw some brooms to the people to sweep away the Satan, which he would have convinced them that the PDP represents.
His people; the great Akwa Ibomites, would respond and commence the sweeping assignments given to them by the man who would be laughing back to Abuja to ensure that the EFCC [Economic and Financial Crimes Commission] henceforth sees nothing “overloaded and over-bloated” in the balances of his account. His new masters will give him a pat on his back as the government of the day would embark on another assignment of beautification of another Nigerian produced Saint – Saint Akpabio.
This is the way the game is being played in Nigeria. Like the example given above, his people got nothing except brooms, some bags of rice and a few featherless chickens while he got “all”. Nobody should ask me the meaning of all please. But should you want to know the meaning with all seriousness, a trip to the Central Bank of Nigeria through the EFCC might be helpful. Don’t misunderstand me – I did not tell you that such voyage could give you all the revelations but instead, l said it might help you. Aluta continua!
Somehow and somewhere anyway, along the line of the “Amanda of defections” a few things can happen that could bring the interest of the political elite crossing the path of the lost majority that form the electorate. When such happens it might look like that this prostitute class of politicians is out to care for us. We should be astute enough not to be misled into believing that; during some rare occurrences when their interests crossed out path as bonus, the original intention of these manipulators and devilish gladiators is to benefit us. No, we should never fall for such gimmicks.
The truth at all the times is that every gain in the Nigerian political practices is for them and nothing for us.
We shall conclude this exercise next week with details of the manipulations and permutations against us and suggestions of how possible we can remove this yoke from our necks through the instrumentality of restlessness.
Godwin Etakibuebu; a veteran Journalist, wrote from Lagos.