Politics in Nigeria has become a tournament of race horses where the game is on the side of brute speed and not administrative wit. Politicians come with quick fix templates to buy into the psyche of some simple-minded electorates often razzle-dazzled by pecuniary sentiments to satisfy ill digested agenda or tokenistic incentives. Mercantile politicians have weighed in on the perspective of many Nigerians to sell dummies for the price of the real deal. Caught in the mix of the new trend, victorious political platforms have used and are using power at their disposal to make their predecessors mere statistics.
It is therefore important that on the auspicious occasion of the former Governor of Niger State, Dr. Mua’azu Babangida Aliyu’s 62nd birthday that I reflect on how time has slide so fast leaving only memories behind and bringing ambitions closer. How accidental political situation makes politicians like Aliyu political statistics, remembered only when the meal of blackmail is to be served. The statistical value of the likes of Dr. Aliyu at federal and state levels helps the ruling APC to showcase their skewed fight against corruption, which at the end exposes their hypocrisy. Sadly, it gives them an air of satisfaction to drag political opponents into the mud on the excuse of fighting corruption, which pretty much shields them from their own acts of corruption, mal-administration and poverty of emotional intelligence and vision.
It is on record that Aliyu was chairman Northern States Governors Forum (NSGF) for eight years at the most trying time of the region’s security challenges. It was the Forum that articulated linkage with the United States, which culminated in loans and grants to combat terror, education deficit and humanitarian problems in the region. It was the Aliyu-led NSGF that partnered with United States Peace Institute to offer some containment to the raging Boko Haram insurgency at that time. Under his leadership the Forum fought to unravel sponsors of the terror organization; indeed, he was the first to insist that the armed forces then had no political will to fight Boko Haram. Yet such a man is being forced to be a mere statistic when it would benefit the country more to draft him for higher national call!
It may be recalled that Aliyu put into practice his love for a truly united Nigeria and the mechanism for achieving true unity as Governor when he made sure that under his tenure, indigeneship was open to all Nigerians resident in Niger State; there just couldn’t be discrimination under his watch. He ensured spread of appointments across the State and didn’t overlook even those not from State that he had extended indigneship to. And in all of this, he did not sacrifice merit. He successfully fought against the spread of Boko Haram into and from the Mokwa axis of the State despite condemnation from some ethnic jingoists. He stemmed the growing menacing tide of Fulani Herders. He acted like a man who had seen the future. Now all that he stood for agitates and troubles the continued existence of Nigeria from the center under the present administration.
What is most remarkable is the way the current ruling party, APC, has been using its victory and power against perceived opponents even as members of the party are neck deep in what they are accusing the opposition members of. The list of thieving government officials under the present “change” administration is endless at state and federal levels yet most of them are protected. It was massive public outcry that recently forced Mr. President to officially sack former SGF Babachir Lawal and former DG NIA, Ayo Oke. Many soiled politicians mostly from PDP are on lease with APC, occupying sensitive positions and operating comfortably.
Granted PDP led itself into a political disaster in 2015, also granted that many leaders of the party perhaps deserve what came at them, not all were lacking in moral values. It is therefore sad to see that sin of a few is visited on others, lumping them all together to fill the appetite of vendetta and vassal seeking politicians elected not on their merit but on account of their political luck to be in APC at the right time. In fact some voters just thumb printed without bothering to know the candidate behind the broom, realizing their mistake pretty late. That mistake is indeed having negative turn on the economy of our dear country as most politicians elected under APC are largely political neophytes.
Blaming the elites alone for the put down syndrome against politicians defeated in the 2015 election may not present the entire picture. Many brainwashed ordinary citizens cheered most time when they were supposed to call their leaders to order in what has become a political purge against the opposition. Impunity is indeed legalized under APC just the way it was when the Tsar Nicholas II and his family were liquidated in 1918 under the Vladimir Lenin led revolution in Russia. Simply pointing at a PDP member is enough justification for any allegation and it is not uncommon to see the public baying for blood as soon as the unproven allegations are rolled out. Sadly, the political temperature may never be the same again, as the wind is blowing no one any good. Those who sponsored stoning of PDP politicians in 2015 only thought Nigerians the art and science of stoning.
Interestingly, APC politicians are now being pelted for the crime they alleged against PDP politicians.
The likes of former Governor Aliyu deserve more than being counted and treated as part of the mere political statistics of politicians in the dragnet of EFCC. They deserve better than an early political grave. The administrative gaps, corruption, skewed anti-corruption fight, cluelessness, and vendetta exhibited by most of the elected or selected politicians on the platform of APC only point to how unprepared, sadistic and retrogressive they are. They ought to know that they have no right to smear their predecessors as part of the on-going competition among APC executives over who could most whittle down the opposition at the different levels of governance in Nigeria. In this they should know that they are mistaken because while today they have the power, tomorrow may be their turn at the receiving end of the impunity they are unleashing now.
* Ebije was Chief Press Secretary to former Governor Aliyu.