by Modiu Olaguro
“You know Buhari, he will send us to jail for between 200 to 300 years and it is the lucky ones among us that will get 50 years”
“As you know, there is no way you will hold office in Nigeria and go scot free if the authorities want to get you.”
“Buhari is determined to send people to jail and even APC governors are not comfortable with him and that’s why many of them are not following his campaign team,”
“Let me tell you that Jonathan is 1,000 times better than Buhari and that’s why people resolved to vote for our candidate, President Jonathan”.
The above were excerpts from the words of a former deputy senate majority leader, Jonathan Zwingina before the March 28 national elections. He, alongside Idi Hong, a former Minister of external affairs; Sadiq Haske, a PDP stalwart and two serving senators, Bello Tukur and Ahmed Barata have recently defected to the APC.
Since General Muhammadu Buhari won the presidential election, there has been an inimical display of political masturbations in the nation’s political arena. While youths from across the country defied the hateful speeches and divisive campaigns from the political parties and their supporters in electing who preside over the affairs of the nation – a process that kick-started immediately after the APC presidential primaries – individuals that sticked to the People’s Democratic Party up until when the last ballot of the presidential election was cast to the point when it was glaring that the lanky general had won never saw the need to pitch tent with the silent majority of Nigerians who advocated for genuine change.
Now that General Buhari has won, they had suddenly found the word ‘change’ in their dictionary as a deluge of defectors have been trouping into the All Progressives Congress. Politicians defecting from one party to another is not the issue as politics they say, is a game of no permanent friend, no permanent foe, but permanent interests. Even Ronald Reagan defected from the Democratic party to be a Republican; a party that fielded him to become the 40th president of the United States.
Even as public commentators argue that the leading parties are sides of the same coin, careful observers still maintain that the APC is a better side when compared with the PDP; a good way to begin is to compare the states they govern. This has made me query why this defectors waited until the die was cast before it dawned on them to defect. In the words of a former legal adviser of the PDP, Olusola Oke: “I resisted the actual wind of change that was blowing until it was almost going to blow me out”; to Ayirimi Emami, “the PDP umbrella was leaking and could no longer provide the needed shelter for Deltans”.
In Kaduna and Niger state alone, over 10,000 politicians from the PDP have decamped; 8,000 in Plateau state. Even former governors and serving legislators are not left out. According to NAN, In Katsina, two former PDP gubernatorial aspirants, Alhaji Kabir Barkiya and Alhaji Tukur Jikamshi; Colonel Abdulmumini Aminu (rtd), two former commissioners- Nasidi Danladi and Aminu Jamo and eight serving house of assembly members have joined the list. Even in Benue state, a former governorship candidate, Mathias Oyigeiya has switched alliance. Edo state is not left out as a former governor, professor Osarhiemen Osunbor has decamped.
It’s an endless list.
While Nigerians blame the woes in the country on the PDP, it would be an indication of political immaturity and naivety to gloat over the crumbling of the party which is evident in the manner the defections are going. In saner climes – where individuals are driven to politics more for the sake of their country than their pockets – there would not have been any need for these political masturbations, at least, of this magnitude. For these individuals would have done well in the opposition camp making us see alternatives for every policy and decision General Buhari makes as president.
For masturbating, they have shown to the whole world that they are like objects in the ocean that flows with the tide; instead of helping to strengthen our nascent democracy, they have left the honorable position of playing opposition politics of “doing something for the country” to engage in the politics of asking “what the government can do for them”.
Why the long wait? If it was on ideology: why didn’t they decamp when the face of the PDP in Ekiti state, Ayo Fayose advertised the obituary of Gen Buhari? Why couldn’t they defect in protest of the Chibok abduction? What reason were they holding on to when Dr. Jonathan was undermining the constitution and democracy? What kept them in the PDP when Reno Omokri, acting as Wendell Simlin roped Bokoharam on Sanusi Lamido Sanusi and yet, retained his seat at Aso rock? How come they didn’t see the umbrella lick when a minister bought two vehicles for over 200 million naira? If they were defectors and not masturbators, why wait until General Buhari won the sit to Abuja?
The switching of alliances by these big men and thick madams after Nigerians, especially the youths staged a ballot revolution is an insult on our sensibilities. We cried when the minister of interior, Abba Moro scammed our brothers and sisters, dragging some of them to their early graves through a sham job opening; we protested the very day subsidy was removed from petrol, a protest that led to the killing of at least 13 of us, one of the victim was shot on the testis; we watched in bitterness how the PDP defended a mathematical aberration of 16 is greater than 19. In all of these instances of clear debasement of the values and ideals of democracy, these individuals neither saw the need to either work in correcting the wrong in their erstwhile party nor protest in defence of democracy by doing away with the PDP. If they were genuine democrats, why should the general’s victory be a greater motivation to have instigated the massive defections we are witnessing across the country?
This is a great test for the APC as any political party would never scare members away. Or isn’t politics a game of numbers? Whether they will pass the test is left for the future to decide. Lest they forget, the victory of general Buhari was never an APC victory; it is that of all Nigerians. That instant when the first defector masturbated after the victory of General Muhammadu Buhari, the implosion of the APC was set in motion – an implosion that would only be averted only if the party fashions out a clear-cut standard in leadership recruitment based on the true ideals of democracy. The All Progressives congress should beware of individuals who, in the words of David Mark are “fair weather friends”.
A word they say, is enough for the wise.
Modiu Olaguro just completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Lagos.
He wrote from Badagry.
Email: [email protected]