For a citizen who had been dazzled by the unusual campaigning strategies of APC’s Vice Presidential candidate, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, an invitation to see him in flesh, and to hear him explain the ambitious policies collated in his party’s widely circulated manifesto, which took place at the Sheraton Hotel, Abuja, on January 26, was the highpoint of my week. The meeting was organised, in the words of the organisers, as “an interactive session between Professor Yemi Osinbajo and the youth, opinion leaders, and active civil society leaders from Abuja and other northern states” and it was indeed an engaging session, moderated by Mr Chris Ngwodo, one of the most outstanding and cerebral young intellectuals in Nigeria today.
Having listened to our guest, and also to his responses to questions ranging from how they intend to sustain their welfare system, down through how they intend to carry out civil service reforms, because right-sizing has always been a dreaded approach among Nigerians with no other alternative source of income aside from this charitable organisation we call Civil Service, to how they intend to solve our power problems, I had to give praise to theLord for not being tortured by a “stealing is not corruption” logic. His responses, even with the limited time, were honest and perceptive. He did not promise miracles, just the will and passion to serve as one of a clique of politicians determined and passionate about the welfare of the Nigerian. Of his principal, General Buhari, he expressed absolute confidence in his ability to reform the system and to revive our institutional and cultural discipline.
I don’t see them as extraordinary at all. There’s nothing extraordinary about Buhari, Osinbajo, and their political partners. They do not have two heads, not even bigger sizes of brains. What they do have, however, is the challenge to do better than the current administration, because they’ve seen the limit of our patience, which now inspires our fierce antagonism of this incumbent. Some of their policies, foreseeably, may not be implementable, and, even if they are, not really sustainable. But it’s easy to hold that theirs may notbe worse than this government that, instead of takingresponsibility for wrongs recorded under it, antagonises well-meaning critics and political opponents.
Professor Yemi Osinbajo has shown that he’s the opposite of everything represented by Architect Namadi Sambo, the current occupant of the Office to which he aspires. And if Namadi Sambo were a perceptive politician, possessing the conceptual skills of Osinbajo, he could’ve done better than just always wearing agbada and tailing his boss all over Nigeria like some traditional bodyguard. If he were as smart as his potential successor, he wouldn’t have been this heavy baggage; he would’ve pulled off that Agbada and embarked on a political evangelism in the north, long before Osinbajo initiated the people-oriented strategy in the south, going from stalls to stalls!
I mean, Nigerians lose the use of their intellects when “befriended” by even the most notorious politicians with the affectation of humility – as discerned on social media. Has Sambo ever held even a townhall meeting to “share ideas” with the “masses” or visit grief-stricken relatives of compromised security arrangements under them? A visit to Chibok at the time a people’s daughters were abducted could’ve boosted the morale of those people.
And instead of maintaining a respectable and humanizing communication with the unhappy people who brought them to power, some of whom had tried to give them benefit of the doubt, they employed a trio of intolerably indecorous media aides –Reuben Abati, Doyin Okupe, and Reno “Wendel Similin” Omokri – to insult every Nigerian, both political and apolitical, who seeks explanation for why things keep getting worse. You can’t be so disrespectfully condescending to the people, squandering the last specks of your goodwill, and expect them to volunteer as foot-soldiers of your bid to remain in the very Office that made you disrespect them and theirs. This is commonsense, and for many Nigerians who had had such sorry encounters with these agents of an elected leader, it’s that experience of humiliating engagements, that this Presidency is inefficient, ineffective, insensitive and insensible, that inspires them now to advocate for its replacement!
As we agitate for a new Nigeria, we must be wary of accepting every clown that manoeuvres to the conscience of the people on Buhari’s coattails, which is already being exploited by several APC candidates for the forthcoming General Election. The worse of these clowns who must be resisted are those defecting politicians, especially those who lost the PDP primaries, terminating their aspirations to vie for, or return to, an elective Office, and thought the wisest way to redeem their image is by defecting to APC. I don’t get it. It is one thing to leave a party after losing a long fight to redeem it, and it’s another to defect for failing to entrench your personal will. Leaving a party immediately after losing out only portrays you as an incautious opportunist.
Contrary to some people’s perception, I’m not for complete replacement of PDP by the APC; I’m only for a political system in which both parties are almost of equal structure and strength, both trying to be the best groom, knowing that a misdemeanor means being replaced by the aspiring opponent. We will face a repeat of PDP’s misrule if we welcome every Hassan, Oladele and Chukwudi fielded by APC. We need a diversity of options; APC here, PDP there, without any succeeding in dominating the other, only in competing to offer Nigerians their best. May God save us from us!
By Gimba Kakanda
@gimbakakanda on Twitter