Within two and half years, the American journalist and writer, Karl Maier, published two important books that are so damning as they are provocatively captioned. In January 2000, “This House has Fallen: Midnight in Nigeria” was published while in July 2002, “This House has Fallen: Nigeria in Crisis” rolled out of the press to the reading public.
The dominant motif of the two books, which have generated dozens of reviews across the world, is a graphic portrayal of the big mess Nigeria had become under the watchful eyes of her rapacious leaders. Maier’s objectivity has been questioned as he is accused of using the books to deepen the Western obsession with Africa’s negative narrative. Yet, the fact remains that Nigeria has been one helluva of a mess that is vulnerable to everyone’s condemnation due to no one’s fault other than Nigerians’.
Today, one can convincingly say that Nigeria has not fallen or that Nigeria is rising again. Therefore, if Karl Maier’s repeated title is to have any relevance now, it only applies to the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), which was humbled in the last general elections and “Nigeria” in his titles would have to be substituted with “PDP”. Perhaps, the Bible says it all: “How are the mighty fallen in the midst of the battle! O Jonathan, you were slain in your high places” (2 Samuel 1:25 King James 2000 Bible).
The PDP, as every Nigerian has seen, is the proverbial house built with saliva and it takes only dew to destroy it. If the recent argument of Senate President David Mark is anything to go by, it doesn’t even require any external force as flimsy as dew, PDP can self-destruct and it has done so already, to the satisfaction of Nigerians, who survive its ignoble 16-year misrule, and the well-meaning members of the international community.
After the PDP Publicity Secretary, Mr Olisa Metuh, accused the All Progressives Congress (APC) of poaching its members, which drew a brilliant response from the Publicity Secretary of the APC, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the subject of this column’s “Metuh goes to school” (on April 24, 2015), PDP has proved that it is the enemy of itself. Nigerians are amused by the verbal missiles flying from left and right, front and back in the PDP family. The salvos in the PDP versus PDP classical “clash of the Titans” are unrelenting in their ferocity. There is every indication that everyone will continue to flex muscle in the supremacy battle till the whole contraption unravels.
In clear terms, Nigeria has been treated of late to the theatrics of buck-passing by the leadership of the PDP and the Presidency on who is to blame for PDP’s dismal performance in the recent elections. While the national leadership of the party attributes the failure to the hate campaigns by President Jonathan’s wife and aides/friends/attack dogs like Femi Fani-Kayode, Dr Doyin Okupe as well as characters like Governor Ayo Fayose of Ekiti State, the Presidency has released evidence of how the national leadership “corruptly” shared millions of naira among themselves.
For some four weeks now, it has been one day one trouble for the erstwhile “biggest party in Africa”. It is an irony of fate that the same party that was so consumed by arrogance of invincibility that its successive National Chairmen have boasted of eternal prominence now engages in vicious in-fighting.
Basking in the euphoria of his new appointment then, former Chairman Vincent Ogbulafor said something in April 2008 that has proved to be a figment of drunken imagination: “Some time ago, I used to read in the newspapers that the umbrella of the PDP is torn. Each time I read that, I would laugh and then say to myself that the umbrella is still strong and very intact and ready to accommodate more people. The PDP is a party for all and is set to rule Nigeria for the next 60 years. I don’t care if Nigeria becomes a one-party state. We can do it and PDP can contain all.”
In September, 2011, not to be outdone, the then Chairman of the party, Alhaji Kawu Baraje, now a chieftain of the APC, also said, “We will continue to make it and PDP will continue forever as the dominant political party in Nigeria.” Dominant indeed!
The downfall of the PDP lies in its inability to manage its dubious successes and the disenchantment of its leaders. Long ago at the height of its glory, Chief Sunday Awoniyi branded PDP as “the party of sinners”; he was frustrated out of the party when his ambition to become Chairman was frustrated by the then President Olusegun Obasanjo on the premise that Awoniyi could not be Chairman while another Yoruba man was the President. Another Chairman was more brazen. Chief Barnabas Gemade’s struggles to remain the Chairman met a brick wall in the internal scheming and he cursed that the fate of his successors would be worse than his experience. The bell now tolls for Alhaji Adamu Muazu too!
Though the PDP had been shaking for long, the day it started to cave in was the day former President Obasanjo tore his membership card in the open glare of the world. The drumbeat of “Bi awada bi ere, PDP w’ole lo, bi awada bi ere (Like joke, like play, PDP is sinking, like joke, like play) by the drummer at the background served as the icing on the cake.
If the PDP will rise again, I repeat, its members need to plan more and talk less. Let them lick their wounds quietly, go for a retreat in the multi-billion naira mansion that the President is said to be retiring to and save us all the public display of their inanities.
WHO EVEN WATCHES AIT?
There is a lot of hoopla about the so-called ban awarded AIT for its ignoble and unprofessional roles in the hate campaigns against the President-elect, General Muhammadu Buhari. Though the ban was wrong and it has been addressed appropriately by both the incoming ruling party and the President-elect himself, the noise was unnecessary.
Who even watches AIT? I am not sure I have watched the station this year because of its poor programming. It is neither an excellent news station like CHANNELS nor is it an entertainment destination like WAP TV or SILVERBIRD. It appears more like a Jack of all trades and master of none.
For such a station to be dignified with a purported ban, in whatever guise, at all and for its owner, Chief Raymond Dokpesi, to even have the audacity of assaulting our intelligence with what his station believes or disbelieves, was uncalled for.
Just let AIT remain what it has proved itself to be. Its corporate conscience is sufficient as its punishment.