Though the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has not been able to manage its electoral success brilliantly, its recent decision, through a Screening Committee, to disqualify former legislator Uche Ekwunife from contesting the vacant seat of the Anambra Central Senatorial District is very good. I love it.
In fact, it would have been much better and more thoughtful if she was not admitted into the party in the first instance. People like Ekwunife who have elevated political harlotry to a prestigious status should not be taken seriously or given the opportunity of representing anyone on the platform of a “progressive party” since they do not even present or represent themselves well in the eyes of the public.
Here is a politician who stands for nothing except her selfish interest. It is on record that in the last few years, Mrs Ekwunife has been changing parties like diapers. She had dumped the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to embrace the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) after which she decamped to the Progressive Peoples Alliance (PPA). She thereafter divorced the PPA to return to her old vomit, the PDP, before she recently joined the APC.
It is given that some other politicians also do what she did. But what made her case to be noteworthy is the vacuity of her mind as evident in her remarks on her latest adventure. She had viciously vilified APC and on the day she was to join the party, this was the putrid air reported to have oozed out of her buccal cavity: “Please forgive me when I said that APC is an Islamic party, it was a joke. APC is a party for Ndi-Igbo, for Christians and for all lovers of progressive Nigeria.”
Through the statement, which has already drawn a lot of flak on the social media, it is clear that the Mrs Ekwunife is one of those who exploit and manipulate the ethno-religious cleavages of Nigerians to score political gains. She is a huge joke, a symbolism of the worst that democracy can throw up.
In fact, the observation of the panel in recommending Mrs Ekwunife’s rival for the coveted senatorial seat, Mrs. Sharon Ikeazor, is an indictment against the “fair weather” politician. Mrs Ikeazor was described as someone whose “trajectory shows loyalty, perseverance and consistency to the emergence of our progressive party.” This is a direct reference to the qualities the panel believes Mrs Ekwunife is chronically deficient of.
Mrs Ekwunife’s political harlotry is a metaphor for sounding a note of warning to the ruling APC, which has been doing commendable work in fighting corruption, at least through President Muhammadu Buhari. The infiltration of its ranks by all manners of self-centred politicians chiefly from the ethically-challenged PDP should be checked. A beautiful lady who welcomes all sorts of men approaching her will soon end up in self-destruction.
It is possible that the hordes of dissenters and carpet crossers marching into the APC from the opposition PDP do not have the interest of the party and Nigerians at heart. Their mass defection to APC is seen from three perspectives.
One, it may be a strategy of hijacking the structures of the APC, create a formidable internal opposition and work more effectively against it in future. As the Yoruba say that if one is not defeated by the in-house battle, the one launched from outside cannot defeat one. It could be planned that knowing how the APC works would make working against it easy.
Two, mass defection could result in internal opposition as the new entrants maintain their old ranks and camaraderie. In life and politics, people bond easily with those they share same life experiences with and this explains why ethnic groups and nationalities often elect to live in the same neighborhood in foreign lands.
Three, the defection could be a decoy to escape the ongoing investigations into how the previous government, with its thieving agents and party men, looted our collective patrimony. Therefore, leaving PDP can be a diversionary tactic of escaping the prying eyes of the investigators searching for stolen millions and billions.
This is why APC should not be naïve by considering the swelling of its rank from PDP members cheering. It has been suggested that the strategy worked in Bayelsa State where the PDP leadership and Governor Seriake Dickson actually encouraged the defection of party members. This was meant to let the Governor know the plans of the APC and the plan worked well.
On the basis of the foregoing, it is better for the party to place an embargo on defection. If a family is too large, there is always a problem of management and discipline. If the ruling party makes itself a ready platform for every Audu, Olu and Uche, it portends danger for its internal cohesion and discipline.
This is why the recent call by Vice-President Yemi Osibajo in Jigawa State that it is not too late to join the APC should be re-examined. A good product sells itself and people would support the APC as long as it is pro-people and corrupt-free.
It is better for democracy and Nigeria for PDP to mend its tattered umbrella so that when the raining day comes, Nigerians can still have succor under it. So let the PDP put its house in order in order to mount an effective opposition against the APC if and when the latter becomes complacent. Let the APC beware of the naivety of admitting all sorts of characters in its fold, especially those that have been found wanting in “loyalty, perseverance and consistency”.
WIKE’S VICTORY IS DEMOCRACY’S BEAUTY
Contrary to the expectation of many Nigerians, given the enormity of the infractions against the electoral process in the hotly contested Rivers State Governorship election last year, the Supreme Court, in its wisdom, ruled two days ago in favour of PDP’s Governor Nyesom Wike. The interesting part of it is that Wike’s victory is part of the beauty of democracy.
Now, the battle has been fought and won or lost. What remains on the part of the stakeholders, especially the APC, is to take the judgement in good faith and move on. There should be no belly-aching or finger-pointing.
Four years is short and 2019 is almost here. Rather than throw tantrums or cry over spilled milk, the stakeholders in Rivers should go back to the boardroom to do two things: deliver the dividends of democracy to the people of the state (on the part of the PDP and Wike) and strategise for the next election (on the part of APC and aspirant Dakuku Peterside). The two parties have fought a good fight, the court has finally decided and the case is settled. So, there is no need for any noise.