2019: Between Loose Broom and the ‘Safe’ umbrella. By Oludayo Tade

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Oh My home, Oh My home
When shall I see my Home?
APC Suffer Me o,
When shall I see my PDP,
I will never forget my home!
(Dino Melaye, 2018)

The political ecology of Nigeria witnessed the first batch of defectors last week from the seeming loose broom party to the now timely umbrella party where shield is assured and certain. While only imbecility can make a sensible person use broom as shield inside rain, the umbrella is a symbolic shield against sun and rain whether mild or terribly harsh. Don’t get me wrong. This is rainy season and it only makes sense that no individual uses broom as shield in our kind of torrential rainfall.

 

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As a result, the tactical retreat of about 40 members of the National Assembly from the broom party is symbolic and instructive. It affirms the slogan of the ruling party: CHANGE. It resonates with how the Buhari-Tinubu camp plotted holes in the umbrella and making it inhabitable. Consequently, the duo rejoiced receiving defectors from the boastful PDP into the All Progressive Congress (APC) pre-2015 elections. That unholy matrimony which targeted a common enemy, Goodluck Jonathan, without careful consideration of how they will share the responsibilities of cleaning the house once the common enemy dismounts has now become their own undoing. Seat back and wait as other batch(es) dismount at politically strategic times. Welcome to ‘broomwood’ movies.

 

The recent development of political backpedalling foregrounds Nigeria’s political space as transactional and migratory. Its actors are essentially nomadic and are at every point in time in search of greener pastures. Political emigration is therefore a condition of moving out of a political party in search of a suitable, comfortable, welcoming and homely party that serves the present need. And like a snail that recoils once in touch with an unpalatable object, return political migration is a possibility once the dreams become dashed owing to unmet needs or perceived political persecution and/or prosecution. Returning home therefore is to benefit from associates who can speak for and defend you in the present instance. Unlike the biblical prodigal son, umbrella returnees ‘come home’ with wealth and political capital that can water the grass for fellow party-men and make the pasture greener, boost their political chances at 2019 polls and stop the scarcity of funds. In all these transactions, the ‘self’ is primary while the ‘nation’ is secondary.

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That the reportedly unperturbed Prince of Daura and his endorsed firebrand ex-labour chairman could summon meeting with the Broom holders in the National Assembly hours after receiving a dose of decamping pill indicated change. But does appearing on camera with the Broom party chairman to profess loyalty actually means being loyal? Did Samuel Ortom not take the same approach and fooled ‘Osho Baba’ with smiles and handshakes in front of cameras? Can those who have been de-robed by the presidency of just sitting in the hallowed chambers, some for upward of ten years, collecting jumbo pay without doing nothing still trust the same man to treat them well? This group of still ‘loyal’ representatives wanted special treatment for staying in the party as canvassed by ‘Gbaja’ their leader. So whether staying at ‘home’ in the broom or returning ‘home’ under the umbrella, the self once again comes before the nation.

Every political decision has justifiable reason(s). Military ‘coupists’ in Nigeria history claimed to have ousted government over gross corruption but not many of them could claim to be better than the one they accused of corruption. The political ‘jumpology’ undertaken in 2015 by former PDP members followed the mood of the country. Nigerians then were not ready to return the ‘Otuoke lucky boy’ following improper management of human and natural resources under his watch. The alignment of forces and the circumstances of the marriage allowed for little consideration of who gets what in a government to be formed. When a marriage begins to threaten the lives of parties, they head for the court seeking divorce and list their reasons. In the opener, deviant Senator representing Kogi West, Dino Melaye who arguably is one of those who have broken the traditional norm of ‘not talking while eating’ captured his reasons for backpedalling in his newly released song ‘Oh my home’. Dino who has been critical of the Buhari presidency and his party accused his former broom party of persecution as against prosecution. Saying he suffered under APC, Dino situated his treatments by the Kogi and Federal governments using the instrumentalities of the state as undeserving.

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What do Nigerians stand to gain from the divorce movie showing from Daura Cinema? For me, we are now going to see more attention paid to issues affecting the nation from the complacent Buhari presidency which thinks it is the best to have happened to the country and takes people for granted. Attention will now be paid to clamours here and there. We are already hearing that the President is likely to revisit the derivation formula. Since the political market seems liberalised now with more threats of party switching, Nigerians will hear more hidden secrets that former party men held back. The umbrella party will benefit from the humongous wealth from the decamping members who also will interact more with their hitherto abandoned constituents erecting some projects and ‘touching more lives’. They will ‘mobilise’ in cash and kind to win in 2019.

Obviously, poor success management structure, foot-dragging approach to issues needing urgency, lack of internal democracy, and treating insiders like outsiders are some of the conditions necessitating the unveiling implosion. External factors against the Daura presidency are ‘cold feet’ approach to alleged internal corruption among Aso rock comrades, unchecked killings, clannish decisions, uninspiring and crippling economic conditions, worsening investment in education and health; poor road infrastructure and growing spate of insecurity and looming famine owing to Fulani herdsmen unbridled attacks on farming communities. All these are issues dear to the masses and are likely to influence 2019 outcomes.

As an incurable optimist the presidency consoles itself with the wrong notion of national acceptance and that defectors have promised to work for the president even in their new found home! This is illogical but not impossible. If it believes in this, why is the President and his party chairman persuading others not to defect since they will work for the president wherever they are? What is obvious is that there may be need for damage control if it is not too late. What is important is that like the first batch of defectors, 2019 may also see voters defecting from their 2015 ‘home’ to a new home of ‘comfort’. To retain their loyalty and votes their concerns must be practically addressed.

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Dr Tade, a sociologist sent this piece via dotad2003@yahoo.com

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