By Jude Atupulazi
Every empire in history had an expiry date, no matter how strong and powerful it was. When the time came, a new power arose and deposed it to form its own empire. In Nigeria, not too long ago, was an empire called the People’s Democratic Party, PDP. It was a party so strong that it had seen itself as a behemoth and it was. It had mighty powers and wielded them unabashedly.
It harassed, hounded and intimidated every opposition that at a time, it did not see any opposition strong enough to attract its attention. It then loudly proclaimed that it would rule over Nigeria for the next sixty years. Everyone believed the party. But against all expectations, it lost the next election and crashed to ignominy.
The surprise was that it was even an election it conducted and for a party known for its ruthlessness in manipulating election results, what happened to it baffled many political watchers. Today the behemoth of eight years ago has become a groveling, harried little animal unsure of what comes next. That is life for you.
Today, the party that dethroned PDP has turned into another monster. It is called the All Progressives Congress, APC. For the years it has been in power, it has displayed all the characteristics of the monster it chased out. Worse still, many of the principal actors in the then PDP are today in APC, so much so that it has become extremely difficult to know the difference between PDP of eight years ago and the APC of today.
And like the PDP of old, the APC we see today sees itself as the alpha and omega of Nigeria’s political space. It approbates and reprobates. It chooses those to hound and those to protect. No matter what anyone does, once the person joins the party their sins are forgiven, except those they have singled out to be sacrificed to fool Nigerians and the world. This made all the criminals to join the party from their previous ones.
For the near eight years they have been in power, they have contrived to reduce Nigeria to a laughing stock. They have made life unbearable for the masses. Many have become depressed or frustrated under their watch. But amazingly, with a few weeks to a very crucial election that will determine their destiny, they have allowed things to worsen.
It is as if they purposely want Nigerians to be angry with them and vote them out; for how can anyone explain why the country’s bad situation has suddenly grown from worse to worst? Are Nigerians about to witness the mother of all political suicides by the ruling party? Are they about to implode in order to create a new empire under Atiku Abubakar? Is that why the federal government seems to be ”frustrating” APC’s unpresidential, sorry, presidential candidate, Alhaji Bola Ahmed Tinubu by trying to stop him from spending all the cash he stashed away through the introduction of new notes?
Indeed, we have been witnessing what appears a spat between Tinubu and Buhari. At a rally in a state in the west, Tinubu descended on the government of Buhari and described it as having ”F9”. This would be the first time a candidate would be attacking his party openly. He had also accused the federal government of trying to frustrate him through the new CBN policy on the redesign of the Naira.
There is also this talk that elements in Aso Rock are working for Atiku, being a Northern Muslim that is one of them; hence the seeming efforts to frustrate Tinubu. At this stage we may not exactly know what game plan is unfolding except to be watchful and mobilize ourselves to take back our country from those who think it is their birthright to rule; even when their years in power have not impacted positively on their own people, least of all, the rest of Nigerians.
Whatever their plan, I’m inclined to hope and believe that their empire is on the edge of collapsing, no matter whatever they may be up to. All we need to do is to arm ourselves with our PVCs and vote them out.
Can Obi protect his votes?
This has been a question many Nigerians who want a change have been asking. This poser becomes necessary, given what plays out in Third World countries whereby the party in power does everything to ensure they win; that they retain power. Many, including yours truly, have no doubt that were the presidential election to be held today, Obi would win. But then, they are always quick to remind anyone that this is Nigeria, a land where no good happens. Thus they worry that even if Obi wins, he will be unable to protect his votes against a behemoth in power.
One would not blame those nurturing this fear. The APC has the means to try to thwart the popular mandate of the people. But then, history tells us that once upon a time PDP was like that. The party did whatever it liked and enthroned whoever it wanted; most of them charlatans unworthy to be gatemen to decent folks.
In Anambra of those days, it was pretty much the same. A certain godfather replicated what happened nationally at the state level. He called all the shots, wielded all the powers. The police were at his beck and call. During elections opposition parties were bullied into submission and the preferred candidates of the godfather declared winner. But Peter Obi came from nowhere and stopped this.
Perhaps, many of those who harbor fears about Obi’s ability to protect his votes are those who do not know him well. To these people, I will tell them to go cast their votes first, and, if they can, stay back till the voting is concluded and the result announced.
Then they can go home. If this happens everywhere and Obi wins and the powers that be go ahead to declare a false result, the Obi I know will pursue justice even till the end of time until he gets it. If he could do it when he was all alone between 2003 and 2006, how much more now that many angry Nigerians are prepared to join him to protect his victory?
What will stop Obi will only be if he genuinely loses the election. If not, those who hope to rig will realize that they will never know peace or have any hiding place till they relinquish the mandate to the rightful owner. But that is if angry Nigerians don’t strike first and visit their anger on those who may attempt to thwart their mandate.
The battle line is already drawn and what restrains the angry pack of Nigerian masses is just what will happen on February 25. Na we and dem.
The earthquake and two faces of humanity
Last Monday news of a terrible earthquake in Turkey and Syria shocked the world. As at the time I wrote this piece, the death toll was put at Fifteen thousand people. In a particularly sad incident, a man lost 25 members of his family! But in-between the sadness were emotional scenes involving the miraculous rescue of people. I saw how a new-born baby was rescued from the rubble after its mother was killed. I also saw an entire family rescued. In another incident, a one and a half year old child was rescued after spending a whopping 56 hours under the rubble! That’s more than two days. Such is life.
In an amazing display of humanity, I heard how many countries immediately rushed to Turkey and Syria to be part of the rescue efforts. They came from America, United Kingdom, France, Malaysia and even, wait for it, Russia. The same Russia that has refused to stop waging war against the Ukraine. That shows you how humanity always manages to triumph in such situations.
But on the flipside of this touching show of humanity, one quickly sees the war still going on to devastating effects in the Ukraine between them and Russia. This is what one sees in one breath while watching the news on TV. You then wonder why human beings who drop all they are doing to rush to other countries to save lives still go on to take same lives in a needless conflict. Amazing, I tell you.
This life self.
But what struck me the most was the irony of the whole thing. While