No matter what the Supreme Court rules this Wednesday, the fire of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is set to be extinguished. The two factions of the once-upon-a-time “biggest party in Africa” are not likely to work together. Even if Ali Modu Sheriff or Ahmed Makarfi requested his supporters to close ranks with the other faction, he would be ignored. And I don’t see how either faction would strengthen a new party – one faction already has a registered party waiting – enough to make any meaningful impact in 2019.
The end of the PDP has come sooner than expected. It shows that boasting is wrong. All those who claim, even if insincerely, that Nigeria is “indivisible” or that its unity is “non-negotiable” have a lesson to pick from the PDP’s fortune. Only 10 years ago, the party’s leader said it would rule Nigeria for 60 years. Six years ago, another edited the earlier pronouncement: PDP, he said, would rule for 100 years or forever.
Pride goeth before a fall indeed. When the PDP leaders were bragging about their titanic party, they should have learned from the fate that befell the Titanic a century earlier. A day before the ocean liner made its first trip, the captain was said to have boasted that “not even God could sink her”. The “unsinkable” Titanic – measuring 883 feet long, 92 feet wide, 46,328 tons, and 104 feet high — hit an iceberg and sank during its very first trip on April 15, 1912. More than 700 passengers were rescued alive, but over 1, 520 others perished! And it was not until 1985 that the wreckage of the Titanic was located about 530 km southeast of Newfoundland, Canada.
In 60 or 100 years, no one is likely to remember that the PDP once existed. It’s not like any of the First Republic parties that history books mention. If, however, the Nigerian authorities restore History as a subject in schools or the World Wide Web continues to exist, the PDP could still be remembered as a party that was notorious for election rigging and treasury looting. It may be mentioned also in analyses recounting Obasanjo’s third term gambit. Historians may also recount that it’s the first ruling party to lose a presidential election in Nigeria. And I hope Nigeria itself won’t be history by then.
Not that the current ruling party (APC) is too different from the PDP. After all, most members of the APC were once in the PDP. The only difference between both parties lies in the scale of looting sprees witnessed during their reigns. The Buhari regime has, by seizing public funds and thus compressing the economy, also rendered all political parties powerless. The situation has been so bad that even the ruling APC can’t pay NEPA bills and office rents.
A regeneration of the PDP won’t happen unless there’s money to share. A few treasury looters are still left in the party, but the activities of the EFCC seem a deterrent. Much of the billions recovered so far from septic tanks and ghetto or tower rooms are funds that would have been used to maintain the party faithful and fight elections in future.
With PDP’s likely demise, Nigeria is set to become a one-party state. We’ve been fighting this spectre off since the beginning of the Fourth Republic but it keeps rearing its ugly head. I’m aware of six or seven PDP governors that have already rented rooms in the APC. So the battle of 2019 – if 2019 does come – will happen within the APC.
After Wednesday it will be time for a requiem for the PDP. I expect that the billionaires left of the party will jump into the APC and sink the ruling party as well. Karl Marx was right: the only permanent thing in life is change. Interestingly, the APC has “change” in its slogan, just as a faction of the fading PDP has adopted “Change the change” as its party’s slogan.
Quit Order and Movement of Jarred People
A tiny spark can indeed burn an entire bush. Following the “quit order” issued by some riffraff on behalf of the north and IPOB’s directive that the “order” be obeyed, some people have started relocating from the north to the south, and others from the south to the north. My sources said that many more are likely to quit after schools’ closure for the long vacation in a few weeks.
What I consider the catalysts for this movement of the people are the timing of the “quit order” (just at the end of an academic session and beginning of another) and the general lull in economic activities as the economy is set to collapse. It will be easier to transfer children to better schools. And many business people now have an excuse to seek greener pasture elsewhere, that is, relocate their businesses.
But nobody is going to declare Biafra again. To the best of my knowledge, IPOB, MASSOB and others are not planning to declare secession anytime. They intend to achieve their dream without firing a shot. They expect the United Nations to intervene and force Nigeria to organise a referendum.
Whenever there is a threat to life and property, however, it’s good to err on the side of safety because life has no duplicate. But what many expect to provoke a riot is not the “order” to quit by October 1; it is the likely fallout of a power struggle in Aso Rock. Rev. Fr Mbaka has been quoted as having said that he saw a vision of people crying in Aso Rock. If President Buhari fails to return from London and work, within the next 27 days, he may be declared incapacitated and impeached. That’s what the Nigerian constitution says: 90 days is the maximum; he has spent 63 days at a stretch. There are even rumours of a coup to forestall a “breakdown of law and order”!
Rather than wait and be caught up in crossfire, a wise person ought to first put away his valuables. And what’s more valuable than human life? So, changing schools for children by September will be a good move. Wives that are not doing any profitable business could also move and look after the children as they attend their new schools.
It’s not yet time to sell off property like houses and land. But the men should not throw caution to the wind. Ahead of October, they should organise themselves and meet regularly to design security strategies. They should begin to gather credible intelligence. A people attacked have the right to defend themselves.
— By ANIEBO NWAMU
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