PDP’s politicking and presidency’s subliminal campaign

Boko Haram was a creation of PDP. General Owoye Azzazi, a first class military intelligence officer and one time National Security Adviser to President Jonathan was categorical. Boko Haram was the product of ‘PDP politics of exclusion”. It was for this reason his removal from office was orchestrated by PDP dealers and wheelers holding President Jonathan hostage With the intensity of politicking by PDP, in the last six months which has now dove-tailed to the president resorting to subliminal campaign messages targeted at our innermost fears and vulnerabilities, it is important to remind ourselves of this fact especially since it is often said Nigerians suffer from collective amnesia. It must also be noted that in Borno State, the epicenter of the insurgency, it is difficult to make a distinction between PDP and ANPP that has controlled the state since 1999. Both parties are controlled by a clique of friends with business and family ties. Both parties have equal strength, running neck to neck in all their past outings.

For PDP everything is politics; the running of the economy, the management of the education sector, equipping our teaching hospitals, (doctors are currently on strike over government policy of addressing and paying heads of hospital supporting services as consultants), elections to pick our representatives – a routine exercise in many countries including Ghana and Malawi – has been reduced to “do or die’ endeavour by PDP and its leaders. Even ordinary traffic control efforts of a state government are politicized by PDP. (The Lagos State Commissioner of Police has directed that about 200 arrested stone-throwing members of FERMA, a body he has declared illegal be prosecuted.) Yet like a pot calling the kettle black, the PDP is always the first to accuse others of politicking.

If we needed any evidence, the events leading to the Chibok national tragedy about five weeks ago and its aftermath provided that. We now, on daily basis witness PDP stalwarts coming out to make outlandish statements which is at variance with realities on the ground purportedly on behalf of a government that seems to be at war with everyone – Shettima, the embattled governor of Borno State, APC, the opposition party and even the grieving parents of the abducted girls who have now been banned from demonstrating on the streets of Abuja ostensibly for security reasons.

No one has tried to address the claim of Danuma Mphur, the chairman of the Parent Teachers Association (PTA) of the Chibok Government Girls Secondary School or that of the local council chairman of the area, that the police and the military commander in Chibok were alerted four hours before the attack and Mphu’s claim that it took three days after the event before security people came to ask them questions. Similarly it took over two weeks of international pressure mounted by the social media to nudge the president to speak, because he, according to Obasanjo, initially did not see any abduction but the handiwork of his detractors bent on denting his record to forestall his re-election in 2015. The picture one gets is that of politicization of a tragic event by shameless PDP spokespersons. It was as if Chibok, a Nigerian town located in Borno, one of three north-eastern states under emergency had been ceded to Cameroon as Shettima became the issue. None of the PDP’s self-serving men engaged in the trial of Shettima on television told Nigerians what became of soldiers said to be based in all the local government areas of the state including Chibok. For the inquisition of Shettima for failing to provide security after an undertaking, officials of Federal Ministry of Education and WAEC were on hand to provide indicting evidence. Locating the children became secondary while the inquisition lasted.

If we thought politicking and buck-passing would end with the offer of help from the international community, we were all wrong. Government’s response to “Bring Back Our Girls” group’s sing-song was a directive that their anger and plea should be directed at the insurgents who abducted their children. When the weeping parents remained adamant, government witchdoctors allegedly hired their own grieving parties to do their bidding. They were subsequently unleashed on the members of the Oby Ezekwesili-led ‘Bring Back Our Girls Campaign Group’ at the Unity Fountain, Abuja, breaking chairs, cameras and tripods of journalists covering the event and disrupting the group’s meeting. According to Ezekwesili, “the new group members, who came in a bus, had turned the Unity Fountain into a joke”.

The joke was quickly followed up by a more hilarious one to make us laugh when we should be crying, (apology to Saro Wiwa), courtesy of Labaran Maku, the Minister of Information. Now, government has put the whole blame for insurgency and the abduction of our girls on the door step of APC. According to Maku, “90 per cent of all insurgency is in states controlled by APC party, and 90 per cent of those campaigning to bring back Chibok girls are members of that party”. He conveniently ignores the fact that former President Obasanjo recently told Nigerians that Boko Haram leaders he had a meeting with confessed they were in existence and active during his term, 1999 -2007. Maku the combative minister of information however did not say if APC equally mobilized Britain, USA, China and France that recently hosted a conference of Nigerians and her neighbours in France attended by his principal. He did not also say if it was APC that influenced the outrage expressed by people all over the world. But PDP is not a party to be easily discouraged. Another PDP stalwart, Senator Ita Enang has also opted to prolong our laughter. For him, “these APC politicians or sympathizers engineering these ceaseless rallies in some parts of the country” are politicizing the abduction of the Chibok girls”.

While the president’s men are engaged in open politicking to trivialize a national tragedy, the president himself has embarked on subliminal campaign – a propaganda technique with messages to evoke fears targeted at our vulnerabilities. The problem however is not just that effectiveness of persuasion through subliminal messages is suspect; propaganda succeeds more at the level of subconscious. But the president’s inept men with a lot of money to waste have tried to leverage on the images of Mandela, Martin Luther Jnr and President Obama whose images are too real to obfuscate our consciousness? Except within PDP, I am not sure there are Nigerians who believe their president shares the charisma and passion for service of Mandela, Martin Luther and Obama.

At a time of national emergency when the president needs a transparent and unambiguous message of appeal for support of his party and political adversaries, what is being dished out by shadowy groups such as “Alliance For Defence Of  Democracy and Protectors of Nigeria Posterity” are offensive,  foggy messages with  childish innuendo  capable of hardening the position of those who strongly feel a president that cannot guarantee the safety of life and properties of its citizens has lost legitimacy. How can a body that calls itself an alliance for the defence of democracy be asking his principal to’ carry on’ and alienate those who are against him if they truly have faith in democracy and believe democracy is a game of numbers? How can a group that calls itself protector of Nigeria posterity be counselling its principal to cultivate the ill-feelings of those who promised to make the country ungovernable for the president?

How are we sure these incompetent promoters of President Jonathan who currently ignore the ethics that makes it mandatory for them to disclose their names and sources of their campaign funds are not the same loathsome men, who having frittered away about N12 billion on ex-President Obasanjo’s collapsed third-term agenda, re-emerged as key players in Jonathan’s government

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