Barbara Stanwyck: “We’re both rotten!”
Fred MacMurray: “Yeah – only you’re a little more rotten.”
Those lines of dialogue from the film “Double Indemnity” (1944) sum up the state of the two major political parties in Nigeria today. Both parties are rotten. How could they not be? Given the complete infestation of the political system by corruption on a scale that now requires a presidential aspirant to cough out N27 million for nomination form to be able to contest for the presidency. Both parties are captives of corruption and looting.
However, both parties are not rotten in quite the same way. The All Progressive Congress (APC) have its share of machine politicians, careerists, corporate bag-men, egomaniacs, and kooks. Nothing, however, quite matches the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
Thanks to the presidential election campaigns, millions of Nigerians are finally paying attention to politics and watch with exasperation the tragicomedy of corruption and extended looting. Now, it’s no more a shock to Nigerians that the PDP is full of lunatics. To be sure, PDP has its share of crackpots like Femi Fani-Kayode, Ayodele Fayose, Buruji Kashamu, Bode George, Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, Diezani Allison-Madueke, James Ibori, Patience Jonathan, Iyiola Omisore, Musiliu Obanikoro, Jelili Adesiyan, General Aliyu Momoh, Caleb Olubolade, Edwin Clark, Stella Oduah, Dimeji Bankole, and countless other treasury plunderers. The PDP membership reads like a casebook of lunacy.
The cast of characters and pernicious ideas of the PDP have literally bankrupt Nigeria and hold its citizens and the economy as hostages. The postponement of the presidential elections is yet another extension of PDP’s political terrorism.
The PDP tactics and beliefs are important indicators of an absolutist, authoritarian mindset that is increasingly hostile to the democratic values of reason, compromise, and conciliation. Rather, this mindset seeks polarizing division, (Okupe and Abati’s strategy) conflict, and the crushing of the opposition.
It should have been evident to clear-eyed Nigerians long before now that the PDP has become an antithesis of a representative democracy and more like an apocalyptic cult, a Fascists/Nazist authoritarian parties of 19thand 20th century Europe.
Over the years especially the last six years since President Goodluck Jonathan assumed the presidency, the PDP has become an insurrectionary party that flouts the law when the law is not on PDP’s side. And when the law is on the side of the opposition, PDP threatens disorder. It is a party of obstruction, disruption, and destruction.
Recently, former President Olusegun Obasanjo finally renounced his PDP membership by publicly shredding into pieces his membership card. Obasanjo’s relentless pounding of Mr. Jonathan with acerbic jokes, comments, and criticisms signaled not if but when he’ll leave PDP. We saw it coming.
In three purported tweets from @segunobasanjo, he gave reasons for his departure from PDP: “I’d rather sacrifice my political party for the interest of Nigeria than sacrifice my country for a political party led by a drug baron.” “I’d rather tear PDP membership card than sit down and let Jonathan use PDP and corruption to teat my beloved country apart.”
“I have national and international standard to maintain. For this reason I’d rather stand alone than be in the same political party with Kashamu.” “If there is anything that requires my own comment, position or views, I will say it. It is only when you kill me that I will stop doing so.” “My first preoccupation is what is best for Nigeria: Nigeria first, party second, and anything third.”
All things considered, it can be argued that Obasanjo holds the franchise of PDP. He’s been the pillar of the party. He’s the face or the logo if you will, of PDP. He’s the god father and kingmaker of the party. After his exit, the rest within PDP camp is noise.
Obasanjo’s exit from PDP is fatal to PDP. Obasanjo’s action of tearing up his PDP membership card sends a negative message about PDP to the international community. Obasanjo is telling the world that he has no confidence – absolutely none – in Jonathan’s government.
The consequence of Obasanjo’s action reverberates far beyond PDP. It has a wider economic effect on Nigeria as a whole. Regardless what we think of Obasanjo and how we see him in Nigeria, he is a man the world defers to. Investors’ confidence has already been shaken in Nigeria. There is subtle capital flight and new funds are not coming in – part of the reasons the Naira is losing grounds to the Dollar and Pound Sterling in particular, and other currencies in general.
The fall of Naira against other currencies and its falling purchasing power in Nigeria is going to trigger crisis of its own. There is deepening frustration because funds for operating are not available to businesses. Commercial Banks are not lending, neither are finance houses, money lenders and micro-finance banks. Other economic activities are at a stand still.
No one should be surprised by these developments. The direct consequence of the uncertain political climate is being exacerbated by the undercurrent of scheming and shenanigans of Jonathan and his handlers – the Interpreters of Maladies.
Right now, the economy is in shambles. It will get worse because no investor in his right senses will come and invest in an economy that is being threatened by war. Obasanjo’s action is concrete proof to the world that a lot is wrong with Nigeria. And that’s the essence of symbolically tearing it up publicly. The full implications of Obasanjo’s action are huge and scary. Let’s be clear: Nigeria is in deep trouble. There are no national institutions worth that title. We’ve moved in the warlords’ direction and we’ve initiated another Somalia. The only thing that can save Nigeria now is if we still have a critical core of patriots in the security forces. History will never forgive them if they failed to come together on behalf of the people to save Nigeria, rather than unite to save their ‘pot of soup.’