THE OUTCOME of the recently concluded national elections, to many people and nations, is expected and to others, strange depending on the side of their political inclinations. While it is not gainsaying that the APC worked hard, including orchestrated jingles and social media to overcome the ruling party, the PDP appears to be in shock considering the sudden reverse of her status in the governance of Nigeria, at least for now. One cannot but recognize the fact that there were hate electioneering campaigns, election malpractices including allegations of under-aged voting in the North and failure of the Voter’s Card Readers in other parts of the country as well as use of thugs, particularly during the gubernatorial and house of assembly elections.
Today, the new Federal Government led by the All Progressive Congress (APC) has been inaugurated and it is expected that its manifestoes and promises during electioneering campaigns, which largely informed its victory at the polls, would be a reality. The immediate and obvious implication of this development is that PDP, which had led the Federal Government in the last sixteen (16) years, is now in opposition; a new status that demands concerted efforts and political maturity by his members to align with.
It is no doubt an uphill task for PDP members to adjust quickly to remain formidable strong opposition with the aim of strengthening democracy in Nigeria. This is what is obtainable in developed democracies in Europe and America where political ideology remains the compelling force in political activities. Unfortunately, Nigerian Politics is still evolving after many years without a clearly defined ideological perspective among the political class. What we practice in Nigeria is a contrast to what obtains in the democracies aforementioned. Because we have not entrenched political ideology in our system, most of our politicians have continued to play harlotry politics hence they are greedy, gluttonous, selfish, unpatriotic and even adopt any form of threaten as well as the use of carrot and stick in our body polity. Otherwise why will some founding members and leaders of PDP who greatly benefitted from PDP-led Federal and State Government in the past years, easily jumped the gun few hours after the incumbent President, against all odds, conceded victory to Muhammadu Buhari?
It is generally said that ‘the down fall of a man is not the end of his life’ and that ‘if you cannot beat them, you join them’. Looking at the unfolding scenario, it is obvious that those with integrity, love and faith in PDP, belong to the first school of thought that though PDP lost the last presidential election, there is still room to revive the party, make it stronger and possibly take over the mantle of leadership from APC in the next presidential election. Unfortunately, those who defected from PDP to APC after the declaration of the election results, belong to the second school of thought that “if you can’t beat them, you join them” even when APC had cautioned them to remain in their party to make it formidable in playing its opposition roles.
Inspite of this ugly development, peace pervaded the country in such a manner that some APC leaders were shocked over the unusual maturity and patriotism displayed by President Goodluck Jonathan in conceding defeat. The spokesman of the party, Lai Mohammed, amplified this position during one of his appearances on Channel TV said that the decision of President Jonathan to concede victory was disappointing to many, including himself, who had thought the country would be in turmoil after the announcement of the results. Today, credit and commendation go to the President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, GCFR, for subjugating his personal interest for peaceful national harmony; a decision that is at variance with 2011 debacle where hundreds of unsuspecting and innocent citizens were killed and their properties destroyed, ostensibly to ignite religious war in Nigeria.
Whereas there were noticeable irregularities during the last general elections, the PDP do not appear to be ready to challenge the victory of APC particularly in States ordinarily regarded as PDP strongholds. The APC who has been clamouring for good governance, have however threatened to challenge the results in the States where PDP won the gubernatorial elections even when INEC has alluded that the elections were free, fair and credible. Those who alleged that APC is working towards a one-party state seem to have a point though it is unlikely that APC will take over all the States of the Federation. If that happens, then our democracy is jeopardized and developed democracies will make us a laughing stock before comity of nations. Onlookers expect the APC-Federal Government to consolidate on the achievements of the outgone PDP-Government. It is trite for anyone to submit that PDP-Federal Government did not accomplish anything worth improving upon by the new regime. We must not devote our valuable time overheating the polity by scandalous commentaries that will not lead the country anywhere. The fact that Rome was not built in a day is sacrosanct in the socio-political evolution of human race; our new leaders should patriotically assess and evaluate the hand-over notes with a view to identifying areas that demand consolidation for the economic advancement of Nigeria. Nobody is in doubt that we are not there yet, but we must appreciate what has, so far, been done to transform the country bearing in mind that such approach will fast-track the developmental stride of the country to greater heights. It is not unexpected that APC-led Federal Government will introduce new policy aimed that suitably addressing the seeming challenges facing good governance, infrastructural development and leadership. This should hopefully uplift the socio-economic wellbeing of Nigerians and provide the platform to showcase the new Government’s capacity to deliver dividends of democracy to surpass whatever the achievements of the PDP-led Federal Government. A country that is in a hurry to catch-up with development must not encourage the “pull down syndrome” or Machiavelli contradictions but encourage purposeful leadership to stimulate “I-can-do spirit” among her citizenry to guarantee the desired positive change in the country. I look forward to a Nigeria where everyone is interested in the transformational development, rule of law and love for the country than the region-based or ethnic bigotry. As the new Federal Government gradually settles down, let us bear in mind that Nigeria is far bigger than any individual’s political interest and ambition. The existence of Nigeria is what allows our agitations for political office. Let us therefore not pretend over patriotism in our endeavours by allowing opponents a voice in the political emancipation of our great country. The clarion call is for Nigerians to, irrespective of ethnic, religious or regional lining, work for genuine peaceful co-existence to facilitate Government’s efforts at strengthening institutions and processes of governance that will make Nigeria a pride to Africa in particular and the world at large. Together, we can achieve our goal of nationhood. A word, it is said, is enough for the wise!
Eigbiluese writes from Abuja