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APC is Six, PDP Half a Dozen 

By Ike Abonyi

“A political party cannot be all things to all people. It must represent certain fundamental beliefs which must not be compromised to political expediency, or simply to swell its numbers.” – Ronald Reagan

Nigeria’s democracy will remain discombobulated so long as the political parties are without clear ideological leanings or  principles. Today, there is no fundamental difference between the ruling party, All Progressives Congress, APC, and the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP. If the duo are kettle-and-pot in colour, who should call the other black?

Characters of the same or no political hue are bunched together in the two main political parties, tossing the country around in the name of politicking. So long as the gladiators of the two main political parties are the same in character and philosophy, so long will Nigeria’s democracy be struggling and bungling. 

If APC and PDP were ideologically and philosophically dissimilar or unalike, maybe our politics would have been different, maybe the electorate would have enjoyed the opportunity of choice, and maybe, also, the people would have seen much difference in the behaviour of political leaders. What you get instead is the same wine in the same wineskin. When the status quo of a bad system is made to persist, know that the future in such climes is exposed, barren, and even denuded.

The ruling APC is claiming to be progressive in its ideology and behaviour but in reality, the party is nothing near progressivism. The PDP is also hovering between being progressive and conservative but ends up portraying none of the two tendencies. 

If the two parties were different, maybe Nigerian people would have been able to see some contrast since 2015 when power changed hands from PDP to APC. But what are the people seeing? The same people put on different garbs on the same body, exhibiting the same traits, talking, acting the same way, and pretending to be what they are not. Yes, by the name they are not the same but in every other sphere, they are not just identical twins but are the same thing in all ramifications.

So under such circumstances, anybody expecting something to change must be living in denial. People don’t give what they don’t have no matter the pressure of the demand. If you keep your hand into a box filled with silver and bronze and expect to pull out gold instead you must be a magician or brigand. The latter lives by plunder and expects to reap where he did not sow. That appears to be the disposition of most Nigerians who are expecting these two parties to save Nigeria.

Not a few Nigerians participating in the ongoing political conversation are itching for a real chance of going outside the box to make a bold statement. Even those who would want to work outside the norm are copiously handicapped by what the two parties can offer. 

In all the ongoing cacophony in the political space ahead of 2023, most of the operatives are after what they can make or how they can remain relevant. To them self-interest is the driving force and their primary focus; national interest is a distant secondary consideration.

The period we are now in our political activities of picking future leaders is very critical but what we are witnessing is the same old behaviour and the same arrogant characters dominating the stage. How does one engender hope in a process that a political party that seven years ago polluted the entire political space with lies against the then ruling party will after eight years in power not find within its fold anybody better than the man they defeated? How do you explain that, is it not a plain admittance of failure?

And how does one explain the political idiocy of a man who received all the fabricated abuses, from a political group just to label a dog to oust him and turn back to wanting to join the same party? Both the party apparatchik and the man they are wooing are far away from being sincere in addressing the political challenges of this nation.

If the United States powerful foreign affairs committee and Harvard University research team say that Nigeria has reached a point of no return with all the indices of a failed state apparent, why should we as a nation not be thinking and acting outside the box for a solution but still thinking that old ways that brought us where we are are still the road to follow.

Suffice it to state that APC contemplates the return, in whatever guise, of Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, whose presidency it lived to abuse, as their best choice for the exalted position, is no brained. His showing even a whiff of interest demonstrates that we don’t know the magnitude of the challenges before us as a nation.

Anybody playing in Nigeria’s political space now and not agreeing that old ways should pass away is living in denial and should be discarded.

In much of the old Northern Region, peace has taken flight; ditto for the South where everybody lives in awe of the killer-herdsmen and gunmen. As disheartening as the situation is, what appears to be of concern to a majority of the current political actors from both North and South is not how to mend the fractured nation-state, but how to retain power. Perhaps, even more daunting and dispiriting is that the ones who ought to be statesmen are not only entertaining the selfish thought but also working to actualize it. 

All this is happening because the foundation of our democracy is faulty from the beginning, having been laid on a quicksand. The political parties were created not based on an ennobling foundational philosophy for a solid political evolution but just for power-grabbing. To worsen the situation, the operating constitution is alien to the people, being a product of military diktat. 

It is for this error that a political player will pick a ticket as the flag bearer of a political party, win the election on that platform, and, in the name of defection, carry the electorate’s mandate to the party that lost the election. For the same reason, somebody who ruled for eight years, three as Vice President and five as President, is disposing himself to leave the party and head in the opposite direction. Where then will the younger generation find honour to emulate?

Despite having to live with the rude reality that principle and shame are not negative attributes in politics, Africans still believe that there is a minimum an elder can go in exhibiting ugly-looking, ill-suited and unbefitting behaviour even in politics. Perhaps some strange, horrid, and nauseating political exhibitions as Nigerians are witnessing from APC and former President Jonathan made Napoleon Bonaparte insist as in his famous quote: “In politics, stupidity is not a handicap.”

So in looking ahead in search of a pathway to the solutions to politics for our nation, where to look is the political parties. When we get it wrong at the level of parties as it is now obvious, arriving at the desired destination will not be achievable. If we are desirous of rebuilding and reconstructing opportunities for our future generations, it will require our political leaders to realise that their responsibility lies not with their political party, but rather with the Nigerian voters that give them a mandate at the polls.

If politicians, especially the elected ones, value and respect the electorate, they will not be trading with the people’s mandate, jumping from one party to the other in search of personal comfort. Former American President Dwight D. Eisenhower was apt and possibly envisaged our situation when he asserted in the 1950s: “If a political party does not have its foundation in the determination to advance a cause that is right and that is moral, then it is not a political party; it is merely a conspiracy to seize power.”

Against this backdrop already underscored by the disconnected and disorderly political atmosphere in our polity, one may be right to state that Nigeria is yet to have political parties that will grow and deepen our democracy. APC and PDP, as the dominants in our political system, have not met the requirements of a political party, hence our epileptic democratic journey.

Whether our epilepsy is caused by genetics or is acquired, what is certain is that all is not well with our future because the political parties are all the same. If only APC and PDP were different, maybe a window could open elsewhere. God, help us.

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