By Matthew Adejoh
As the 2015 national elections draw closer, the desperation of leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) is becoming more apparent. Not only have their statements become more and more alarming,
it has also, of recent, verged on the extraordinary. A few weeks ago, the party’s newly-installed National Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, took the rhetoric to a frightening height: at a rally in Osogbo, he said his party would form a parallel government if the conduct of the 2015 elections was not credible.
It was not an ordinary threat. Many Nigerians were prepared to dismiss the
statement, made in the heat of the Osun governorship campaigns, as a mere
political rant and a gimmick to spur support for the party at the local
election which it eventually won. But since Odigie-Oyegun has refused to either withdraw or clarify his statement, one is right therefore to interpret it for what it really is: a call to anarchy. In every sense, it is a seditious statement
that has the potential to subvert our hard-earned democracy, hence the rash of
condemnation that it has generated.
In the recent past, incendiary statements that threaten the peace of the country have been associated with members of the APC. Why they find it fashionable at this critical moment in our history is still a surprise, but more surprising is why the authorities have not treated them with the seriousness they deserve. At a period we are still coming to terms with the dire consequences of the actions of General Muhammadu Buhari, whose careless statements after losing the last presidential election largely led the increased violence across the country, such combustive rhetoric can only cause more harm.
Time has come when security operatives should invite such desperate politicians for questioning whenever they make statements that tantamount to incitement. In other climes, the like of Odigie-Oyegun would by now be cooling his heels in detention for such a statement to which any right-thinking citizen can input treason. That he still walks around freely says so much of the sacrifice that we collectively make for the sustenance of our democracy. But it is a sacrifice that must not be misconstrued by the opposition as a license to consistently cross the line of decency, all in an inordinate ambition to win the forthcoming election.
Some questions naturally arise from Odigie-Oyegun’s senseless outburst. How does a parallel government work in his imagined country and what will it portend for our sovereignty? What parameters will the APC boss use in gauging a free and fair election? As a former governor, the APC leader’s statement
defies all decency in our already charged political clime and it is difficult
to see how he will profit from that subversion of our common good.
Before he removes the log in our eyes, Oyegun who was made the National Chairman of APC through a process that clearly lacked transparency and credibility, ought to first remove the log in his. The APC, which he leads, has continued to be the bastion of political god-fatherism where the will of a few are imposed on all others. What moral force does a man who was,
single-handed, installed by Alhaji Bola Ahmed Tinubu as the APC National
Chairman, much against the will of the majority of the members at the party’s
last National Convention, have to talk of credibility? Now it is easy to understand why he is Tinubu’s errand boy.
It is almost a pattern in the political firmament of this country that whenever APC loses election, its leaders describe the exercise as a sham and amplify its flaws: real or imagined. On the other hand, whenever it is on the winning side, like it happened two weeks ago in Osun, the exercise is commended as the people’s will. Such a stance is not only hypocritical; it is also a threat to democracy. Odigie-Oyegun is playing true to type; but while he reserves the right to play their queer brand of opposition politics where every process that does not favour them is flawed, it is unacceptable for him to drag our national stability to the precipice in the process.
The APC leadership has thrown caution to the winds, hounding rival parties with lies, blackmail and offensive comments simply because it wants power in the country in the next elections. Now, it has served notice of its intention to
visit our decency with mayhem, which is what Odigie-Oyegun’s parallel
government theory is all about. Nowhere in the world do political parties climb to power through cheap blackmail and naked lies and Nigeria cannot be an exception.
Talking tough in order to garner sympathy of the electorate may be considered politically expedient by politicians with declining fortunes, but it has its own consequences which are not often good. Time has gone when people vote on the basis of empty propaganda and threats to peace. It is ironical, yes, absurd that a party that aspires to lead Nigeria is the same party threatening the people’s common good.
* Mr Adejoh sent this piece from Abuja.