Why PDP’s loss in Ekiti is bad news for APC and Nigeria - Femi Aribisala

Femi Aribisala Femi Aribisala

All the treachery, betrayals and double-dealings that formed the bedrock of APC in 2014 has now come back to haunt the party in 2018.

With the declaration that Kayode Fayemi has won the gubernatorial election in Ekiti, APC spin-doctors went into overdrive. Lai Mohammed, well-loved by all and sundry for his vacuous bombasts, came out shouting on the rooftops that the Ekiti election is a referendum on the Buhari administration. However, the honorable minister needs a gentle reminder that Buhari was not on the ballot in Ekiti.

Femi Adesina, the president’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, also proclaimed: “With the victory of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in the just-concluded Ekiti governorship election, Nigerian people have spoken, and they have spoken loudly, about their perception of the APC-led Buhari administration. The election was more than one state’s gubernatorial poll. It was a referendum on the performance of the Buhari administration.”

This is a lot of hot air. Nigerians did not speak in the Ekiti election: only the good people of Ekiti spoke. The election was not a referendum on the performance of the Buhari administration. The Buhari administration did not perform in Ekiti. At best, the election was a referendum on the performance of the Ayodele Fayose administration in Ekiti, especially since the PDP candidate was Fayose’s deputy governor.

Bad omen for APC

On the assumption that the election was free and fair (a position hotly contested by the PDP), what the people of Ekiti did was to throw out the government in power. To that extent, the one person in the APC who correctly acknowledged the message sent by the people of Ekiti through the election was governor-elect Fayemi himself. He described his victory as a symbol of liberation from hunger, poverty, and indignity suffered by the people of the state under the Governor Fayose-led administration.

Transposed to the national level, this assessment should not provide any cause for jubilation on the part of the APC. On the contrary, it should provide ample grounds for trepidation. Let me draw clearly the lines of comparison. The people of Ekiti were so dissatisfied with Fayemi as governor in 2014, they threw him out and replaced him with Fayose. However, since 2014, they have become so dissatisfied with Fayose that by 2018, they would rather have Fayemi back than continue with the Fayose administration, as represented by his deputy.

Similarly, Nigerians were dissatisfied with Goodluck Jonathan of the PDP in 2015, they threw him out and replaced him with Buhari of the APC. But since 2015, Nigerians have discovered that Buhari and the APC are a sham. Therefore, they will be inclined to throw them out in 2019 and go back to the PDP.

Under the dismal economic climate currently prevailing in Nigeria, every government in power is in trouble come 2019. APC cannot shout change in 2015, and then insist on no changes in 2019. The Ekiti election indicates change is in the air. This change is bound to sweep away Buhari and the APC in 2019.

Buyers’ remorse

The evidence for this is not limited to Ekiti. In 2015, the cry for change led the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwaal, to switch allegiance from the PDP party that elected him, to the APC that did not. As a result, Tambuwaal was elected Governor of Sokoto State under the APC. Today, 2018, Tambuwaal is no longer enamoured of the APC. The governor has not endorsed Buhari’s re-election bid and is said to be considering a presidential bid of his own against the president.

Like Tambuwaal, Bukola Saraki, the current Senate president who defected from the PDP and came to power under the APC, is now disaffected with Buhari and the APC. He was hounded in APC for using the same shenanigans that APC approved for Tambuwaal to become Speaker in 2011, to become Senate president in 2015. Having finally been discharged and acquitted by the Supreme Court for the same crime for which Bola Tinubu was discharged and acquitted, all Saraki’s henchmen have ditched the hostile APC and returned to the PDP; waiting for him to make his move. What this means is that things are not looking good for Buhari in Kwara in the 2019 election.

The same goes for Kano, whose gargantuan votes virtually swung the election to Buhari in 2015. Then, the point-man for Buhari in Kano was Rabiu Kwankwaso, the former governor. But now Kwankwaso is no longer with Buhari. Neither are the other members of the faction that broke up from the PDP in dissatisfaction in 2014 and merged with the APC; fashioning themselves as the new PDP. Apart from Rotimi Amaechi, they are now dissatisfied with the APC, have re-fashioned themselves as the Reformed APC and returned to the PDP.

History, they say, has a tendency to repeat itself. It also appears karma is out to get the APC. All the treachery, betrayals and double-dealings that formed the bedrock of the APC in 2014 has now come back to haunt the party in 2018.

In the 2015 election cycle, some prominent Nigerians became so dissatisfied with the PDP, they asked for change and ultimately opted for the APC. These included people like former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Professor Wole Soyinka, and Reverend Father Ejike Mbaka, who came out of the woodwork to support Buhari. All these people are now against the president.

Father Mbaka says: “Mr. President wake up; sit up; God said you are toying with the privilege given to you; there is no time; Nigerians are dying in your hand; people are not happy with your system. Change or you will be changed.” Says Wole Soyinka: “We simply cannot continue one day longer to endure this forceful feeding of human blood. The plain expression is ‘ethnic cleansing’ and we must not beat around the bush. The shade of Rwanda hangs over the nation.”

Journalists like Dele Shobowale who were loud in supporting Buhari in 2015 now have buyer’s remorse. Dele now says of Buhari: “He has never been and is incapable of building great teams because, with his deeply ingrained nepotism, he invariably starts his team selection from Katsina, Daura and Daura family. If he had been the National Coach of the Super Eagles, half of the team would have come from Daura.”

The same goes for many others like Jimi Disu, Benzak Uzuegbu, Lande Atere, and Ladi Bada. They are now convinced their earlier support for Buhari was a big mistake. The Obama media group that helped Buhari mount his internet publicity effectively in 2015 is now completely disaffected with the president and the APC. It is now working for Kingsley Moghalu.

Incompetence and disaster

The same goes for rank and file Nigerians. Go to a marketplace up North and shout “Sai Buhari” today and see what resonance you will get. It is now clear that Goodluck Jonathan did far more for the Northern poor than Buhari. Try saying “Sai Buhari” in the Middle Belt and run for your life. Say it in the South-west and you might create a riot between the pros and the cons. But don’t even bother where the South-east and South-south are concerned.

Everything under this APC government has gone from bad to worse. The economy is worse. The cost of living is worse. The security situation is worse. The naira is worse. The unity of Nigerians is worse. The corruption index is worse. The NEPA situation is worse. The ministers in the presidential cabinet are worse. The liberty of Nigerians is worse. The rule of law is worse. Law and order is worse. The political climate is toxic.

We are not just saddled with an incompetent government. We are saddled with one that merely watches while we are being murdered in our homes, farms and churches. We are saddled with a government that tells us the choice we have is either to lose our land to carpetbaggers or lose our lives. We are saddled with a government that defines itself as a northern, instead of a national government; with all its security architecture in the hands of northerners. This is certainly not the change Nigerians bargained for in 2015.

Therefore, the same government that came to power shouting change no longer believes in change. It has changed its slogan from change to progress. But there can be no progress in Nigeria without change. The desire for change led to the ousting of Fayemi and his replacement by Fayose in 2014. The continued desire for change has now led to the ousting of the Fayose’s team and the return to Fayemi in 2018.

That process is likely to be duplicated at the national level in 2019. What most Nigerians want right now is a drastic change from Buhari and his APC.

Same-old, same-old

But therein lies the danger for Nigeria. The people of Ekiti were dissatisfied with Fayemi. They replaced him with Fayose. Now they are equally dissatisfied with Fayose. But who do they replace him with? They replace him with the same Fayemi they were dissatisfied with before.

There is no indication that the Fayemi they are opting for now is any different from the Fayemi they rejected before. Since 2015, Fayemi has been a minister in the Buhari administration. In these last three years, there is no evidence that he achieved anything meaningful as minister. He has no legacy. Therefore, nothing recommends his return other than disaffection with Fayose.

Should this be replicated on the national level, we would be back again with the PDP. Nothing recommends the PDP today beyond the fact that APC has been abysmal. Therefore, another round-robin to the PDP cannot be in Nigeria’s interest. We need new blood. But the message from Ekiti suggests an electorate prepared to give second chances to failures as a result of mere rhetorical flourishes. This does not augur well for Nigeria’s future.

This is where a man like Kingsley Moghalu deserves serious consideration. Moghalu is not part of the musical chairs of the PDP and the APC. He is not a political hack or has-been. He is not a Nigerian Bourbon who has learnt nothing and forgotten nothing. He is not 75 years old. He is not an old horse that cannot learn new tricks. He is young, erudite, experienced, educated and forward-looking. He belongs to the new generation of leadership that Nigeria sorely needs.

An anonymous wise man says: “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Certainly, the Nigerian electorate is not insane. Therefore, come 2019, we need to say in one accord: “a plague on both the houses of the PDP and the APC.” Enough is enough. Let us give competent hands like Kingsley Moghalu a chance.

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