by Sylva Ifedigbo
If reports from several sources, news media and on-the-ground observers inclusive are anything to go by (and I have no reasons to doubt them honestly), the recent local government election in Edo state as is largely the case elsewhere, was to say the least, a joke.
Nothing better told the story for me than the picture of one Honourable Abdulrazak Momoh (AKA Starblack), a member of the Edo State House of Assembly representing Etsako West 1 Constituency of the state who according to reports was apprehended during the election by security agents for being in possession of a pump-action rifle during the Local Government elections.
I don’t know about you but that sight didn’t exactly look like an atmosphere of “One Man One Vote” which the former labour leader turned politician, Adams Oshiomole chants, eye balls and veins bulging out, at every election campaign rally. It seemed more like a “One man one pump action” affair. The way honourable Starblack was holding the pump action in the picture, you wouldn’t be wrong to think he was a hunter. Only this time, he was hunting for something different, something more valuable; Votes.
A friend commenting on the news story said something that was not only true but which I think captures the irony of our political space: “Look very well ,” he said, “ that man must have been in PDP in the past”. My friend said it all.
Edo state is an Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) controlled state, an opposition state who supposedly should be (if you take their rhetoric seriously) showing us how things should be done, cleaning the filth that is the PDP, conducting elections that we can hold against those of PDP states and declare proudly, ‘the difference is clear.’ But what do we have instead? Same old six pence.
You see, if you are one of those excited about all the new kangaroo gatherings in the name of mega progressive alliances, I suggest you take one step back and look again at who the apostles of this brand new gospel are. The opposition today just in case you are yet to observe it yourself is nothing but a platform for extending the longevity of yesterday’s office holders and a cheap avenue for others to re-launch floundering political relevance. And as long as they remain such, our problems in this country can be said to be simply undergoing progressive hybridization.
A few months ago when the APC was first mooted, the party (in making) chose no less a personality than Senator George Akume to announce it in the Senate. He spoke so passionately, his statement garnished with such adjectives as change and Development and progress. Harmless, inspiring speech you might have concluded. But when you remember that this same George Akume was a PDP Governor in Benue State for two whole terms, you begin to wonder at what point this epiphany occurred, at what point he came to the realisation that Nigerians deserve change? While he was Governor or after a rearrangement of Political musical chairs in Benue forced him out of the PDP into the ACN as erstwhile protégé and now Governor Gabriel Suswan took over the reins?
I almost puked inside a bus on my way to Yenagoa for the recent Africa Movie Academy Awards when I heard over the radio during a news broadcast of a chieftain of the soon to be registered APC making wonderful promises to Nigerians that their problems will soon be a thing of the past. It would have been cheering news, the sort that could have ignited a spark of hope in an agonized heart meandering dangerously through the narrow potholes infested East west Road, had the said chieftain making such progressive statement not been Chief Achike Udenwa another two time PDP Governor.
You see, if those men are our hope for any change, then we are as D’banj will say, on a long thing. Some will say, well, we need to start somewhere, that any means of wrestling power away from the PDP is okay and that with time the bad eggs will be weeded out. If you believe that, you will fall for anything. The bad eggs will neither be uprooted nor discarded. Their ranks can only swell. Wait until the primaries for 2015 begin and the shifting cultivation will commence… from the right to the left and vice versa. As they shift, so will their grammar shift.
Until we get that fresh-breath-of -air progressive movement, one not peopled by yesterdays men, one that is not an arrangement just to win the very next election at all cost, one that is made up of professionals, successful people not people who have politician as their profession, one that is not a recycling plant, I am afraid it wouldn’t matter which party is in power, problem would simply have changed name.
That day will come. But it will come only by our efforts to do the right things not this smart phone I need to sound smarter than others grandstanding under disguised partisanship which seems to be holding sway.
Happy Workers Day.
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