Four Legs Good
No question, now, what had happened to the faces of the pigs. The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.”
The word “Change” will always be synonymous with the unbelievable and largely unexpected election results which swept through the country on the 28th of March, 2015 and subsequently on the 11th of April, 2015. The All Progressives Congress staged what was described by pundits as the most well executed electoral coups this side of the decade.
Largely the opposition party for close to 16 years, the APC was birthed from a merger of Nigeria’s most powerful opposition parties which included the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) – and a bloc of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA). Following a series of unsuccessful attempts to wrest power from the incumbent party – Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), many analysts viewed the 2015 elections as the APC’s last chance to challenge the PDP’s almost ancestral grip on power at all levels.
If there was going to be any evidence that business as usual would not be the theme of the 2015 elections, the campaigns presented the perfect proof. The PDP unused to being pushed to a corner, found themselves campaigning much harder than they had in the past decade. Notable party swaps by key members of the party including Aminu Tambuwal and Rabiu Kwankwaso, men who were considered and rated very highly in the Northern region of Nigeria, only added more spice to the cuisine of discomfort that was served to the PDP. The PDP’s back-against-the-wall situation was certainly not helped by mounting international pressure against President Goodluck Jonathan and renowned executive gaffs – chief of which, was the widely condemned sacking of the Central Bank Governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, who went on to become one of the powerful monarchs in the country – the Emir of Kano.
While the PDP slowly attempted to adapt to their newfound and uncomfortable position of having to fight public opinion. The APC indefatigably continued in their quest to build the party as the perfect escape from the fraud and enormous waste which had become synonymous with the PDP brand. On the streets and on social media, the PDP’s reputation was being crucified by the minute as the APC’s popularity soared. Even with an initially unsure running combination of former military head of state, General Mohammed Buhari and former Attorney General of Lagos State, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, the party continued to sell the Messiah narrative with flawless aplomb. The party that was so used to the route one tactic on Election Day, found itself playing catch up. The PDP brand was indistinguishable from power, regardless of how arbitrary they wielded it…defeat was simply not to be contemplated.
“Several of them would have protested if they could have found the right arguments.”
With the elections set for Valentines Day, the country was agog with a euphoria the PDP had completely unexpected. The tagline – FeBuhari was coined using the Presidential candidates name. The momentum was riveting as polls soared in the opposition’s favor. Many couldn’t wait, what many were unprepared for was the shock that was to rock and test the patience of a nation. On the 7th of February, 2015, the president backed by his military service chiefs was able to convince the Independent Electoral Commission to postpone the elections to the 28th of March, 2015 due to security concerns. Chairman of INEC, Professor Attahiru Jega, while compliant, stated incessantly that the commission was always ready to proceed. The nation held its breath. Both parties appealed for calm as unrest brewed in patches. Presidential candidates of both parties were convinced to enter into peace bonds guarantying that they would ensure the peaceful conduct by their followers.
With more time and money, PDP launched into what journalists could only describe as a rejuvenated campaign. From seminars with ‘youth leaders’ to visits to all the religious houses in the country, the president’s campaign kicked off on an unimaginable level and it seemed that the steam that had pushed the FeBuhari train had left it stranded. However, what the APC lacked in unspeakable cash reserves, they made up for in unmatchable strategists. The APC tactics took a different turn as they commenced a national tour with renewed vigour. With the finish line approaching, newspapers waivered on predictions and the fight appeared to be as close as the country had ever had it. Regardless of the outcome, the giant of Africa was on the verge of making history.
With sparse tales of violence that were certain to disappoint international naysayers, the elections were concluded hitchfree and proceeded to a globally televised count. The numbers were crunched by close to 150 million onlookers and despite a blip caused by the rambling of former Minister, Elder Orubebe, the numbers came in and the final nail in the PDP’s coffin was marked with celebration and elation.
If the Presidential and Senatorial elections were a landslide for the APC, the gubernatorial elections were worse. By the time the dust had settled, the PDP had lost thousands of members to defections and were reduced to press releases complaining of bullying. Various papers started predicting their extinction and their relevance in the space of weeks all but vanished like mirages on hot Fridays.
“Can you not understand that liberty is worth more than just ribbons?”
Moving forward(s), questions have flown over the radar and have all been summed as one – What then is to become of the PDP? Statements from the PDP’s gubernatorial candidate in Rivers State – Nyesome Wike and Professor Pat Utomi, stating that they are ready to rebuild the PDP are, while welcome, severely unconvincing.
The PDP have wielded power so strongly, they are unable to fathom organization in the way an opposition party would. Torn away from an abundance of resources ranging from manpower to governmental access at the Federal level, the PDP find themselves in a place so alien, many have turned the hour glass in their expected demise. The hurried and panic filled statement by the party’s spokesperson, Chief Olisa Metuh where he stated repeatedly that the APC intends for the country to be a one party state was lazily rebuffed by the APC as a cry for help, unfortunately the reality in this rebuttal is at least 99% of the situation – the PDP needs help.
Zero opposition would most certainly be unwelcome as the world has come to understand in the most resounding and devastating manner that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. A ‘No PDP’ situation would throw the country close to what it has come to understand as a vicious cycle of bad decisions, a cycle the APC has vowed to break.
Unfortunately with mass defections by the PDP and the other political parties merely decorative at the moment, the question of who will bell the cat or at least keep it in check, comes to play. Does the PDP have the patience and more importantly, the discipline to stoop low and build a formidable opposition? Do the other parties have the resolve and ambition necessary to form a merger like the APC once did, making them more solid and recognizable as an actual force?
The questions are incessant and with no answers in sight, the APC are slowly solidifying 16 years of opposition life into what is almost certain to be one of the most solid incumbents the country has ever seen. While we watch and observe, one thing is most certain – death has come to passive political participation.
Deputy-chief political analyst.