Except for the lessons that can be drawn from some of the unwholesome activities of PDP leading lights, the party has never really come out with clear-cut agenda to define its vision of Nigeria. Obasanjo in 1999 talked of ‘a total transformation of Nigeria’ through urban development and privatization, stable power supply, roads and infrastructure and constitutional review, etc, all of which remained mere promises at the end of his presidency. Yar’Adua came up with his own unwieldy eight-point agenda which neither the party nor Jonathan paid attention to after his death. As a candidate, the closest to vision or mission statement by Jonathan was his less than insightful statement about “respect for law and order, sound economy and stabilizing power”. As president, his transformation agenda, a five-year development plan 2011-2015 which “focused on ‘strong, inclusive and non-inflationary growth; employment generation and poverty alleviation and value re-orientation of the citizenry’, all of which to the unemployed youths, citizens of besieged north-east and other aggrieved Nigerians remain mere words.
Asked recently about his strategy for his victory and what his agenda would be, Ayodele Fayose told reporters “If I enumerate my agenda, we would be here forever”. As for his strategy for winning without a party manifesto, he said, “Fayemi gave cooked rice, I gave uncooked rice. This is politics and you need everything to entice voters and rice was shared by me, almost two weeks before election. Are we saying that people should remain in hunger perpetually because we are providing infrastructure?” But far more important to him is how to empower his people through awards of contracts which he alleged the defeated governor gave to outsiders.
In neighbouring Osun State, challenged to a television debate of his party agenda last week, Iyiola Omisore looked for an escape route. He wanted an assurance from the organizers that he would not be assaulted by a ‘less than ‘literate Governor Aregbesola’, who he said may not be able to control his anger when confronted with facts at his disposal. He did not say what the facts are about. But like Fayose, he also did not forget to tell the reporters he was terribly upset that Aregbesola awarded Osun State contracts “to godfathers, relations and party leaders, especially persons from outside the state”. He was particularly grief-stricken that the internationally acclaimed Osun State Opon Imo initiative which according to him was nothing but “an N8.4 billion scam” was allegedly handled by the governor’s siblings.
For PDP, power is all about patronage. Close observers of PDP over the years and the pronouncement of some of its leading lights tend to confirm this fact. John Campbell, a former US envoy for instance described PDP during proceedings at a hearing on the topic “Nigeria in Turmoil” in the British House of Commons on March 19, 2010 as ‘an elite cartel at the centre of power in Nigeria, a political party that came together … as essentially a club of elites for sharing of oil rents and political spoils.’ Audu Ogbe, a former PDP chairman gave credence to Capmbell analysis when he said; “When I was chairman of PDP, my son never got involved in oil but two PDP national chairmen after me, their sons pocketed over N400 billion without supplying a tea cup of oil”. Dr Okupe was to later confirm sharing is all that takes place in PDP while admonishing his Yoruba people to join the PDP. According to him: “In things that are not enough, when people sit down to share and take decisions, if there is nobody to speak for you, there is problem’’.
Beneficiaries and other key actors have also given credence to this claim. Asari Dokubo, leader of a militant group in the Niger Delta, who along with other repentant Niger Delta militants got mouth-watering multi-billion dollar contracts according to Financial Times of London, for instance later told newspaper reporters that he secured bigger contracts under Obasanjo than he got under Jonathan, his kinsman. Nasir El ‘Rufai, former BPE Director General, also told a House of Representatives probe panel how blue chip companies were sold to privileged PDP members and their sympathisers at give away prices.
And as if to confirm there is little governance going in Abuja outside the scramble to award contracts, Obiageli Ezekwesili, a co-founder of Transparency International and former minister of ‘Due Process’, solid minerals and later education, all in Obasanjo’s PDP administration, recently asked the National Assembly to ask the president why it has suddenly become his duty and that of the Federal Executive Council to hold meeting over award of contracts when there are statutory bodies responsible for such duties. But of course the National Assembly cannot ask such questions since as beneficiaries of N250m Constituency project contracts per senator, they cannot dissociate themselves from the Abuja contract scam.
Our tragedy is that PDP has consistently demonstrated it doesn’t give a damn about Nigeria. Unlike other societies where those who hold hegemonic power protect their stakes in their nation by ensuring its survival, PDP members are ravaging our land while lying through their teeth declaring all is well. As 2015 approaches, they are spending taxpayer’s money like water on media campaigns to deceive the impoverished taxpayers. As Minister of Power and Energy, the late Olusegun Agagu claimed in 2002, the nation generated 4200MW of electricity. Twelve years later with an injection of between $24 billion and $50 billion into the energy sector, the nation generates less than 4500MW. Yet PDP and the president say they have solved the nation’s energy problems by selling all the generating companies built through the sweat and blood of taxpayers to government-favoured private investors that have turned around to appeal to government to buy equity share in their newly acquired companies.
Car accessories such as tyre, battery and break pad manufacturing companies inherited by PDP in 1999 have all collapsed due to energy crisis and stiff competition from sub-standard imported products brought into the country by companies that enjoy government waivers. Putting the cart before the horse, we celebrate the inauguration of another car assembly plant despite the fact that the country has derived no joy from those inaugurated in Kaduna, Enugu, Ibadan and Lagos, some 40 years ago. With virtual collapse of our iron and steel industry due to bare-faced stealing by NPN buccaneers and its PDP successors, except PDP and its World Bank economists who fraudulently tell our people that growth is synonymous with development, most right-thinking Nigerians know that for or every N3m car assembled in Nigeria, about N2.6m is repatriated.
A large chunk of our territory has been made ungovernable by insurgents who ravage villages unchallenged killing innocent Nigerians at will and abducting women and young girls including the latest 300 Chibok girls, the cause of world outrage. In the midst of daily harvest of deaths from the trouble spots in the north of the country, we are daily assaulted with an on-going media campaign claiming President Jonathan ‘has fought insurgency to a halt’. Amidst the entertainment, a nation that fought a three year civil war without external borrowing and which has spent about a trillion dollars, a quarter of her annual budget on defence yearly in the last three years, is seeking $1billion external loan ostensibly to fight insurgency.
Just as PDP with its cluster of criminals has continued to demonstrate its lack of faith in our country, with the moles planted in the in APC by PDP now returning back to base, with APC governors behaving like the lords of the Manor, lacking the spirit of compromise, with their party elders behaving like warlords insisting it must be their way or nothing, and with the APC lacking the discipline of a political party to call everyone to other, I think it is time apathetic Nigerians who look up to the current crop of politicians for salvation should start thinking of how to take their county back from politicians of all hue. I honestly don’t know the methodology to achieve this beyond asking them to do what they know how to do best: prayer and more prayer, if only God will listen in view of our transgressions and impunity for which no one has been held accountable since independence