By Erasmus Ikhide
On July 31st, 2013 a day after Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) was registered by Independent National Electoral Commission, I got a surprising call at dawn from the storming petrel, warrior of the pen, essayist and a poet who uses words like a sculptor, Mr. Odia Ofeimu with troubling apocalypse thus: “Erasmus, do you know that Senator Bola Tinubu has sold Nigeria to the devil for accepting the merger of Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) with Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) and a few little known political parties”.
I was caught off balance. Moreso because I had barely retired from my study to the bed before my sleep was rudely ruptured by the call. Even though I was caught in the bid, I battled to put up spirited defences, that Buhari is redeemable — a self-confessed repented tyrant — against his argument that the former military dictator is an unrepentant ethnic potentate, a bigoted Islamic Mullah and unregenerated recidivist who will resist restructuring — and would in the long run destroy all that the Nigerian progressives have laboured for and ruined all that Asiwaju represents, politically.
The poet posed a posal: “couldn’t Asiwaju have sought a merger with Congress for Progressive Change’s progressive political party or found a way to reach out to Dan Giwa Umar to achieve alignment across the Niger”. He further quipped: “Asiwaju should have opted out of the merger the moment Buhari told him that he will never discuss the restructuring of Nigeria should he become President under the planned merger”.
Ofeimu went further to paint the apocalyptic picture of the coming anarchy darkly — much more than the present unremitting massacres and ethnic cleansing that drabs the nation — should Buhari become the President of Nigeria.
The frightening doomsday scenario he masterfully outlined of a Buhari’s Presidency punctured my optimism for a new Nigeria, restructuring or any possible redemption in the near future. True to type, President Buhari has become the butcher-in-chief through his ethnic Fulani herders terrorists, as predicted by the poet. “The poet didn’t lie”!
The first ominous sign that the APC will destroy itself emerged when the party failed to outline ‘who gets what, how and when’ on or before the 2015 victory at the poll. Because of the party’s leadership directionlessness or selfishness, the nPDP members who joined and shored up victory for the APC secretly aligned with the PDP in both houses of the National Assembly and seized its leadership.
For refusing to share the boots of victory with the nPDP who led five sitting governors into APC was a fundamental error that hunts APC to date. It was even reported in the national dailies then that Chief Bisi Akande boasted that “APC will not discuss sharing formula with the nPDP”.
That was ill-advised and unimaginable greed alien to political history. The APC leadership’s intellectual and emotional indiscretion validates Harold Lasswell’s reputable definition of politics in the 1930s nearly a century ago! that politics is a “competition about who gets what, when and how”.
That was the day APC died a natural death. Mr. Buhari’s response then was: “I’m for everybody and I’m for nobody”, a phrase he plagiarised from existing political lexicon without crediting the source. President Buhari’s calculation also was to distance himself from the national assembly leadership squabbles, even though it’s a known fact that he actually ordered his footsoldiers — now his enemies in the national assembly to seal Senator Bola Tibunu’s overwhelming influence. Now, the chicken has come home to roost.
The third time President Buhari deliberately whittled and weakened Asiwaju’s political influence, using his northern footsoldiers to actualise it was the emergence of Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State at the demise of late former governor Abubakar Audu, who died at the eve of his victory.
Even when the election into the governorship race had been concluded, which would have meant that Mr. James Faleke would be declared the winner of the election, President Buhari used Chief John Odigie-Oyegun and Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to teach Asiwaju Pols 101 lesson.
Fourthly was Governor Rotimi Akeredolu’s imposition and his eventual victory at the poll in Ondo State against the preferred candidate of Asiwaju. President Buhari neatly used Chief John Oyegun and Senator Bola Tinubu’s political sons turned enemies to burnish Akeredolu’s governorship.
One of Asiwaju’s known political kinetic forces who hinted this writer, described this as Chief Oyegun’s most heinous crime against his political leader: “even if Oyegun heeded President Buhari’s counsel to stop Mr. James Faleke from becoming Kogi State governor, which he actually won as of right, it was circumstantially debasing to have Asiwaju disgraced in the South West by imposing a governor on him from the South West.
The fifth and most troubling is the purported inexplicable role President Buhari used Chief Oyegun to play during the Osun re-run senatorial election after the sudden death of Senator Isiaka Adeleke, that led to Senator Mudasiru Hussein losing the senatorial seat to Senator Ademola Adeleke, the dancing Senator.
The bottom line remains that the political marriage between the reactionary, hegemonic northern political bloc, which President Muhammadu Buhari’s ethnocentric government represents — holding the nation perpetually down into the abyss — and the progressive tendency that advocates restructuring, celebrates open governance, complete education, industry and economic revolution, has set Nigeria a century backward.
Nigerians have come to the sad realization that their salvation is neither in the APC’s bloodcurdling government that slaughters them on an hourly basis, courtesy of President Buhari’s Fulani’s herders’ terrorist organization nor the past PDP’s brazen looting government that emptied the treasury unto the bargain.
It’s time Nigerians look beyond the devil and the deep blue sea. That way, we would have bought back our country from the devil.
Erasmus, A Public Affairs Analyst writes from Lagos.