It is hard trying to keep up with the pace of news from the states and Abuja these days. With three weeks to hand over, politicians are at their terrible best. While the incoming All Progressives Congress is trying to figure out how to turn stone to bread, the Peoples Democratic Party is undone by misery of its own making.
The long knives are out, and the bloodletting has been incredible. In about six weeks, President Goodluck Jonathan has fired five top appointees, including the inspector general of police, and hired just as many willing and unwilling persons to take their places.
A minister friend joked that these days, political appointees are afraid to visit the Villa or even appear on the presidential radar. An encounter may be fatal. So, obscurity has become a survival tool for those who still wish to hang around government.
But the party is giving Jonathan just as much as it is getting. Looking back, it has urged the president to look inwards for his reelection failure, instead of heaping the blame on the national working committee.
The fault, the party said, was squarely with First Lady Patience Jonathan; campaign spokesperson Femi Fani-Kayode; and Governor Ayo Fayose, the arrowheads of the hate campaign against APC’s General Muhammadu Buhari.
It is just as well that PDP spokesperson Olisa Metuh and other jittery members of the party’s top hierarchy have finally found the courage to speak up. They know now, what ordinary Nigerians knew long ago – that the party’s campaign was not to help Jonathan win, but to destroy Buhari and those close to him, whether or not Jonathan won.
Where was Metuh and co when Jonathan said at a campaign rally in Ekiti that if only he had four people like Fayose, he would not need to campaign? Were they deaf to the derogatory and vile comments by their party’s campaign and blind to the deliberate use of state institutions and resources to weaken, degrade and undermine the opposition?
They are victims of their own mischief and desperation. Yet, the negative fall-outs now spreading to a number of PDP states show that Jonathan will not bear the brunt alone. He was the face of a party that had outlived its usefulness, existing only to share money, live the life and consolidate positions for insiders. But the wreckage of the party is not falling on one man’s head alone.
With a few exceptions, PDP states were among the worst governed in the last four years, lagging in basic infrastructure, health and social services. They may say it was not entirely their fault. Falling oil prices reduced statutory allocation to states by nearly 40 per cent.
But that didn’t happen until last year. For three and a half years, oil revenues were pouring in at over $100 per barrel. The federal government and the states were too busy “sharing” the huge inflows and stashing away whatever they could find for reelection, they didn’t know when the lean times sneaked in.
Now the party is over and the destitute and hungry remnants are tearing themselves apart, with no one to separate or comfort them.
In an attempt to confront their demons, party leaders at the national level and state lawmakers are looking for scapegoats, the same scapegoats they reared over the last four years without complaining.
Lawmakers refused to speak up for voters who they claimed to represent. They chose, instead, to line up behind governors who in turn lined their pockets. And now, they are moaning about poor governance on the eve of their departure.
The urge for redemption would never have crossed their minds, if PDP had won. From the presidential villa in Abuja across all former strongholds of the ruling party in the states, failure, the world’s loneliest orphan, has come home to roost.
Can you imagine that with three weeks to go, Niger state legislators want to impeach Governor Babangida Aliyu whom they described in a motion in January 2013 as God’s special gift to the state? Or that legislators in Enugu state have served impeachment notice on Governor Sullivan Chime with whom they have been in bed for eight years?
When Chime left the state for five months in 2012/13 without disclosing why or even delegating power, the legislators found nothing wrong. When he thrashed his wife, demonised her and later kicked her out of the government house despising her tears, the legislators turned a blind eye.
When he later descended on his deputy and sponsored his impeachment on the excuse that he was breeding chicken in government house (in direct competition with the governor’s own poultry), the legislators backed the governor all the way.
Now, on the eve of his departure, they want to impeach him not for the shambles of the last four years but for refusing to share with them a part of the N11 billion commercial bank loan he has just taken or the acres of prime land and other patronage he has been distributing.
The world is collapsing on the ruling party and even in their few remaining bastions like Enugu, they can’t help airing their dirty laundry. There is no need to shed a tear for the PDP; the party fully deserves its current misery.
The blame game, infighting, betrayals and backstabbing are only just beginning. The full measure of the party’s 16-year atrocities will hardly come to light within less than two months of its electoral defeat.
Have you read Boyloaf’s interview with Premium Times, in which the militant-turned-billionaire said President Jonathan’s tenure was a wasted presidency? Wait till after May 29. It will unfold, little by little, until the party’s rite of passage is complete.
Greed, complacency and arrogance brought PDP to its knees. Africa’s self-styled largest party has become an orphan, a destitute in search of a home.
The APC need not experience this tragedy to learn from it.