Yoruba marginalisation: OBJ and PDP greed

“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,’’  Dr Doyin Okupe

Shame on to all those who have said PDP has neither a philosophical foundation nor an ideological orientation. There you have it at last from a PDP leading light who should know having seen it all. As Obasanjo media spokesman, he legally secured contracts from Imo and Benue states. It did not matter that EFCC had to be invited to resolve how the ‘sharing’ was done applying the usual PDP ‘family affair’ approach. The important thing was that both PDP governors involved and Dr. Doyin Okupe were happy and maintained their peace while their political enemies wasted so much energy on non-implementation or non-completion of the road contracts.

Except for a few cynical Nigerians and other PDP detractors, ‘sharing’ has long been accepted as PDP prevailing ideology even beyond our shores. Long before Okupe’s testament, John Campbell, former US envoy had during proceedings at a hearing on the topic “Nigeria in Turmoil” in the British House of Commons on the 19 March 2010 presented PDP 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.’

As if Okupe’s and Campbell’s thesis needed further validation, Audu Ogbe, a former chairman of PDP who claims ‘corruption is the only thriving sector in the country’, has further consolidated the views of Okupe, a PDP insider and Campbell, a detached political analyst. Hear Ogbe, “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.”

I also find myself for once supporting Okupe’s admonition that Yoruba Council of Elders, Afenifere (both old and renewal) absolve Jonathan from the war of attrition among South-west PDP greedy members. If they feel short-changed, they should look inward towards their greedy representatives in the PDP. Don’t our people say, the insect that feeds on yam lives as a parasite on the yam?

Stripped of an attempt to rope in ACN whose ideology everyone knows is ‘Afenifere’, translated “prosperity for all through creation of an enabling environment for self actualization of each ethnic groups’ potentials”, Okupe a man who thrives in mischief and survives on exploitation of human frailty of leaders like Obasanjo and Jonathan will be right to say Yoruba members of PDP are the architects of the fortunes or misfortunes of the Yoruba nation.

I think the Yoruba Council of Elders who has been trying to blame others for the sins of the wing of Yoruba political tendency that imbibes the PDP ideology of ‘sharing’, should listen more to Okupe. Our revered elders “fi ete sile, nwon npa lapalapa’ (leaving undone the pertinent while expending energy on the inconsequential). Instead of confronting Obasanjo the father of Yoruba PDP, who as president deprived the Yoruba of what rightly belong to them, imposed men without character even by PDP’s standard.

After all it wasn’t ACN but PDP that masterminded the judicial indictment and imprisonment of Bode George and late Afolabi. It was PDP that took Adebayo Alao-Akala, Gbenga Daniel, Rashidi Ladoja, Ayo Fayose, and Dimeji Bankole to court for alleged, and in some cases, proven financial malfeasance. It was Yoruba PDP members that told a judge that both Obasanjo and Oyinlola have no respects for rules and judicial pronouncements, and the judge agreed with them.

During the eight years of Obasanjo mainstreaming, Lagos- Ibadan and Sagamu Benin, the two most important roads in the country were abandoned because Obasanjo wanted to prove the point that he was president in spite of the Yoruba. Under his imposed state governors, there was virtual collapse of the educational sector.

I think our leaders that have been paying solidarity visits to their troubled children who PDP acknowledged as having contributed to the eight years of criminal neglect of the West should ask Obasanjo, PDP legislators of both the upper and lower Houses during PDP years of locusts to account for their stewardship before taking on Jonathan.

Senator Babafemi Ojudu, my younger colleague at The Guardian in whom I am very proud gave us an account of his two years stewardship as a senator during our last state association meeting in Lagos. He disclosed that he and his two other colleagues representing the state had decided to ensure N750m (N250m per senator) budgetary allocation for constituency projects is deposited with UNDP that has in turn promised to double the amount and invest same on a project that would provide jobs for the state youths.

Ojudu further disclosed that while some states of the federation have as many as 10 federal roads slated for reconstruction or rehabilitation in the current budget, the only federal road listed against his state was a road in Nassarawa or somewhere. He also disclosed that while his state could boast only of one lonely driver or none at all in many of the federal parastatal, some states have between 12 and 20 in spite of the existing federal character principle. PDP sharing philosophy is based on neither existing law of the land, nor justice, fairness and equity. It is not surprising that Afe Babalola, Obasanjo’s friend and lawyer not too long ago claimed that the state of Ekiti roads all through PDP 12 years were in a worst state than what existed during the colonial days.

Obasanjo in power was more interested in empowering non-Yoruba. Even Asari Dokubo, leader of a militant group in the Niger Delta recently told a newspaper reporter that he secured bigger contracts under Obasanjo than he got under Jonathan his kinsman. Nasir El Rufai, his former BPE Director General, has just told us he personally borrowed money to buy into state owned companies and used his position to attract donations from contractors towards the building of a private library. While this was going on, he presided over the sales of some Yoruba owned companies like Daily Times, National Bank, and choice properties in Ikoyi allegedly to his in laws and PDP cronies under the dubious privatization and commercialization policies.

Okupe also lamented the loss of the office the speaker-ship zoned to Yoruba because of what he and Bamanga Tukur, the current PDP chairman described as internal squabbles among the Yoruba members of PDP. But apart from Dimeji Bankole’s possible enrichment of self and PDP members, the only legacy the Yoruba can point to was his shameless public fisticuffs with Gbenga Daniel over who would take credit for an uncompleted 10-year old Ota Bridge.

Two years into the Jonathan presidency, it has become apparent that Jonathan does not give a damn about either the Yoruba, Fulani, Kanuri nor any group for that matter. Jonathan only cares about Jonathan. The shoeless boy, as president, does not see a difference between exploiting his Azikiwe Igbo middle name to secure votes in the East, disparaging the better focused Yoruba governors as ‘rascals’, or instigating the non-Yoruba residents in Lagos against high performing governor Fashola or sacrificing his party constitution after trade off with northern governors to secure the party’s ticket. Similarly President Jonathan did not see anything wrong in channelling his presidential campaign funds through a Labour governor of Ondo State or allowing him free hand to nominate ministers to fill the state slot. To Jonathan all is fair in war as in politics and the end justifies the means.

Our elders may have no control over Jonathan policies, but they can at least remind Obasanjo and those who share the PDP ideology of ‘sharing’ that Awo whose legacies they have tried to obliterate built schools, universities, libraries, financial institutions, manufacturing companies housing estates and plantations, not for self but for the people.

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