Globally, no country could be more confused and confounded politically than Nigeria and Nigerians. The dysfunction in the country’s party and electoral systems is arguably deeper and more frustrating than any other place in the world.
This is, however, to be expected in a country where there is no defined or definable political culture; where political parties exist or operate without any known ideology and politicians are mere jobbers without ideological leaning.
That perhaps explains why there are over 40 political parties in the country. Of this number, there are only two major ones –the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and All Progressives Alliance (APC)– which are populated by adventurers and self-seekers who are propelled by opportunism.
Because of their relative strength and dominance of the country’s political space, these two parties seem to think that Nigeria is their property. They carry on as though without them, Nigeria and the rest of the citizens cannot exist.
We would not have been as much bothered if these parties had stopped attributing to themselves the ownership of the country. Our headache with them is the intra-party squabbles and their implications for the country’s political stability and democratic development.
The mal-governance which Nigerians have endured in the last 20 years of the country’s return to civil rule emanates from the invidious activities of these two parties which have been variously described as “two fingers of a leprous hand” and “Siamese twin of different faces.”
Basically, it is the same set of people that are circulating and reshuffling themselves, narrowing the political space to ensure that new persons with fresh ideas or approach to governance do not come in.
Because of this, it becomes quite irritating hearing them justify or rationalize their failures in government. They also blame each other or claim what does not exist in terms of achievement or “delivering democratic dividends to the good people of Nigeria.”
Oftentimes, the APC would come up with its blame game, telling the world that the cause of its failure in government in the past six years it has been on the saddle is because the PDP which was there before them failed to put things right. Nothing can offend our sensibilities more.
We have no tears for either APC or PDP. Our tears instead are for hapless Nigerians who, in our view, are now marooned in a boundless desert-like political space
Recently, the party was quoted as saying, “while the PDP failed to meet the expectations of Nigerians as a government and opposition party, it (the APC) is thriving, healthy and assiduously cleaning the massive mess left behind by the PDP, which failed to deliver democratic dividends to the people of Nigeria after being in charge of the country for 16 years.”
This, for us, is outsight falsehood and if we were to investigate whoever made this statement on behalf of the party, it won’t be strange to find out that he or she must have been part, at one time or another, of the PDP government that left the “massive mess” that he or she is now claiming to be involved in cleaning.
In Nigeria, it is about bread and butter politics and that is why politicians are shameless with little or no conscience in their actions and utterances. Many of them have mortgaged their integrity and conscience for the filthy lucre that they pursue, not to good governance or welfare of the people.
Ahead of the 2023 elections, politicians have thrown the polity into the furnace. If the news is not about police taking over APC national headquarters in Abuja, it is about the PDP governors and its board of trustees (BOT) coming together in lurid meetings to save the soul of the crumbling party.
We consider it unfortunate that after what looked like a spirited and credible opposition, APC was able to wrestle power from PDP, but has proven to the whole world that either it is incapable or does not know what to do with the power in its hand, hence the unprecedented suffering in the land.
Similarly, the PDP, after 16 whole years in power, has learnt no lessons and therefore cannot provide credible opposition to the APC government that is roasting Nigerians like corn. Instead, it is losing its members, including sitting governors, to the party in power, while those that remain in the party are going after one another’s jugular for pecuniary gains.
We have no tears for either APC or PDP. Our tears instead are for hapless Nigerians who, in our view, are now marooned in a boundless desert-like political space unsure of what choice to make between the two leprous fingers if elections were to be conducted today.
We, therefore, align completely with the advice by Attahiru Jega, former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), that Nigerians should look beyond APC and PDP to the possibility of a third force that can engender confidence and facilitate democratic participation. Possibly, independent candidates can also be allowed in the bid to break the monopoly of these two parties.
“Nigerians should dump the two parties because of their bad antecedents over the last 20 years. Indeed, looking at their inability to change the economic fortunes of Nigeria for 20 years now, it is clear that they would not do anything even if Nigerians vote for either of the two parties again,” Jega said.
Nothing could be truer, we believe, and so, that is our own view and position.