Defections: Moving to the Centre to do What?

By Jude Atupulazi

There are times when even the most chronic liar knows his lies are not cutting any ice. At such moments such a person can’t wait to finish his talk and go into hiding.

But it becomes much more serious when such a person appears to have lost all sense of shame and honour and, despite knowing his lies are clear for all to see, still persists in them. That is the scenario playing out in Anambra State today as the state gears up for the November 6 governorship election.

We’ve all been hearing how some lawmakers and politicians are defecting to the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC; the party in control at the centre.

The defectors have been singing that their reason for doing so is to take the state back to the centre in order for the state to fully benefit from the nation’s dividends of democracy. If there was ever anything that comes close to hollowness, then this is it.

It’s ok when anyone comes out clearly to admit the real reason for their actions. But when an adult tries to hang a cheap one on the head of a fellow adult, it becomes something of an insult. This season is what has come to be known as a bazaar period for politicians and lawyers.

Thus, it has become customary for politicians to jump from one party tree to another in search of juicy fruits. Our friends who have just decamped to APC, without exception, are what I call political monkeys jumping from tree branch to tree branch to grab as many fruits as they can.

There is just nothing altruistic in what they are doing. They do it, not because they see anything better in APC, but because of sheer greed. That’s for some of them.

For the others, their motive is solely to protect their neck after stealing their constituents blind. This is where I doff my hat for APC. They are smart; even if criminally so. They seem to compile lists of those with skeletons in their cupboards and dine with them. At the appropriate time they show them their skeletons and…bingo! Those people grovel at their feet, pleading to do the bidding of their masters. So two things have been established here: defection out of greed and defection out of fear.

It may therefore be good to ask our wonderful defectors which of the two factors induced their defection. But I’m sure if anyone close to them looks hard enough, the reason will be known. But another thing I can assure anyone is that these defectors have no electoral value.

They are only feathering their political nests and may even be making hay while their sun shines, in case APC fails to make it here. Again, they are the ones to tell us their real motives.

Away from this, I’ve been trying to ask myself why any reasonable Igbo person would want to have anything to do with the party called APC. My wonderment arises from what has been playing out in Nigeria under the APC led Federal Government of President Muhammadu Buhari; a government that has been like no other in terms of pummeling Nigerians into submission.

Poor and clueless governance apart, what worries me (and I’m sure it worries many other Nigerians) is the suspected sinister Islamization agenda of the Buhari Government. Nothing that happens daily has done anything to douse such fears or suspicions.

While branding Biafra agitators terrorists long before now, he has blatantly refused to extend same to the murderous Fulani herdsmen who kill, rape and plunder across the country. Rather than do that, he only calls them bandits. And these happen to be the only bandits who never get arrested. When they are, they never get tried.

Also he cuddles ”repentant’ Boko Haram members like babies, gives them money, sends them for overseas training and integrates them into the nation’s Army.

Any wonder that the Nigerian Army has been puffing and panting in its war against the insurgents? But amid this is the even more dreadful suggestion that the insurgents would eventually take over the country under a special but surreptitious arrangement that will turn the country into what looks like Afghanistan.

Fantastic as this might sound, we are beginning to learn in Nigeria that the more fantastic some tales are, the more likely they are to be true. But I pray and hope this one won’t be true.

But the more obvious ones are the issues of RUGA and Grazing Routes which the APC Federal Government has been trying to railroad every state into accepting. Meeting opposition in some governors and states, the FG has seemingly changed tactics and is now either wooing people or scaring them into entering their bandwagon in stubborn states or zones.

And of all the stubborn zones in the country, the Southeast holds the aces as long as accepting the Buhari brand goes. This zone has never voted for Buhari; not now, not in the past when he was contesting and failing.

Even in the last presidential election when Gov Umahi of Ebonyi State tried surreptitiously to garner votes for APC, while still pretending to belong to PDP, Buhari still failed to win in Ebonyi.

There’s no denying that the Southeast is very important in the calculations of the Fulani run presidency in its plans to Islamize the country. Having tried to capture the zone by legal means and failing, it is now trying to foist their lackeys on the people of the zone as it has already done in Imo State.

But Imo State needs a ”brother” in order not to be an only son. This is why the presidency is now focusing on Anambra to implement that agenda.

While addressing political parties recently on plans for the election in Anambra on November 6, the INEC national chairman, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, said the commission would use the Owerri storage facilities for the Anambra election owing to the destruction of INEC’s property in Anambra earlier this year.

This disclosure was immediately met with a barrage of condemnations by many people who saw it as an ominous sign of what lies ahead of the November poll.

While only God can tell if there is any sinister motive to the planned use of the storage facility, the outrage that trailed the announcement spoke eloquently of the people’s lack of trust in INEC which they see as a tool used by the Federal Government to make or mar in states they favour or do not favour.

Who will blame the doubters? It is clear even to the defectors that APC will not win any election here or come close to winning without vote allocation or manipulation. Indeed, I’m waiting to see what APC will be telling people during the campaigns when most people believe the presidency wants to use any candidate they foist on the people here as a Trojan Horse to launch its attack.

The Imo State governor already says he will not endorse the Anti-Open Grazing Bill agreed by the Southern Governors’ Forum. His statement comes as no surprise; just as any such thing said by anyone they succeed in foisting on us in Anambra will not shock us.

The party knows how badly handicapped its brand has made it here and all these defections are being staged to give the party a semblance of popularity before the poll so that when they make their move, people from other zones in the country will readily point at the defections earlier. They are using greedy and crooked politicians here to actualize that and that is why they are shamelessly crossing over.

But I expect the parties and their supporters to fight back, rather relying on us to fight their battle. We can only talk and warn but they are the ones to take the appropriate preventive action.

The Southeast has so far been near impenetrable for Boko Haram but with more APC bootlicking governors around the zone, that difficulty may yet be surmounted.

But one thing I can assure those being used now is that when the chickens come to roost, they will realize so late in the day that they will be treated as expendable stuff like the rest of us, having served their purpose. By that time, they will realize that they are the biggest fools in Igbo Land who are neither wanted by their government of the day or by their own people.

I just hope they still possess the good sense to watch their backs as the shadows begin to gather behind them. These are precarious times and it wouldn’t do for anyone to become a pariah in his own land by his own making. Ekwuchaalam.