At first, he came with chaos. He appointed dead men to serve in his government. He looked the other way as the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and Department of State Service — two agencies under his watch — went into a duel. He told women their place is in the kitchen. He acquiesced to ridiculing statement by former British Prime Minister, David Cameron, that “Nigeria is fantastically corrupt.” He went on Awol for months, spending taxpayers money in London to heal his sickness without accountability.
Now, why is the president erratic? In his final drive for re-election as unpopular as he is, based on comparison to the weeks before he was elected in 2015, we are seeing the brute force of a democratically elected president who’s turning Nigeria to a nasty place on earth, where respect for the rule of law is unnecessary.
The gestapo-style of the president will make Lord Acton call him a corrupt man based on his (Acton’s) famous expression that “power tends to corrupt; absolute power corrupts absolutely”.
How can security agents hole up politicians with which the president have differences to their home the way we saw in Abuja yesterday and the president still pretends not to be in the country?
This experiment of substituting civilised methods for brute force will not earn the president a stripe. He will probably be remembered as a president who showed disdain for the rule of law after his government failed to honour court orders on many issues.
If there’s any memory, the former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki, has been granted bail on at least six different occasions by various courts, yet the Nigerian government has persistently refused to comply with court orders.
So what did the president mean, when he took the oath office saying, “let me reiterate this administration’s commitment to due process, merit and total observance of the rule of law as central pillars of a prosperous and democratic society?” Does healthy democracy not depend on robust debates? Why is the president suppressing the voices of those who are critical of his violations?
One other loading question for the man who wants a second term is this. What happened to the diverted ecological fund?
Since TheCable published the exclusive story, there has not been a defense from the presidency.
To be clear, TheCable’s exclusive story gleaned from auditor-general’s report reads: “Examination of FAAC records revealed that a total amount of N48,601,928,311.08 was received into the Ecological Fund in the year, as the required 3.0% deduction from the federation account for the development of natural resources.
“It was observed that the sum of N28,239,060,570.89 representing about 58% was paid out of the fund as loan to carry out various activities that are not related to development of natural resources.”
We all know that the last government began to go down after we heard that $20 billion oil money was unaccounted for. Now, is this new misappropriation under this government something Nigerian taxpayers shouldn’t be worried about?
All in all, for me I would love to see the president show sign of intelligence before I can advocate for his second coming. I hate to say it, but the truth is he doesn’t have it. He has been tested for nearly three years.
Okay, what is the mad rush to the Peoples Democratic Party all about, when the grand old party has not unveiled anything (new constitution, philosophy or whatsoever) to show us it’s departing from its discredited past? Sadly, defectors have no other national party to go, so they are left with what is available. For the PDP, I like to tell the story of New Labour Party in England.
In October 1994, in Blackpool England, Tony Blair, the former British Prime Minister, who succeeded John Smith, to lead the British Labour Party to victory, made a speech that got him rousing cheers from the audience, a congregation of Labour Party devotees seated at an annual conference.
The speech that October was centered on how Labour Party might become electable again, wrest power from the John Major’s conservative government and consolidate its hold on power. Blair was 41-year-old in October 1994, when he spoke at the conference. And just two years after, at age 43, he became the youngest Prime Minister in Britain after the Labour Party won a landslide general election victory in May 1997. It was the largest in its history. It was because the Labour Party made changes that Britons could identify with. The party modernized its image and policies. The entrance of Blair and Gordon Brown after they were spotted as great guys needed to give Labour party a push helped Labour greatly. Their suave way of campaigning and managing party affairs was key.
For instance, in response to the challenge of law-breaking in Britain before Labour took over the reins of government in 1997, Labour used the phrase “tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime”.
It was a better phrase than that of Tory that used “tough on crime,” as a single campaign phrase. Can PDP go tough on the causes of crime too as a fundamental solution to the problem of insecurity in the country?
What more, the October speech made by Blair changed everything for the Labour Party. He sufficiently used the words New Labour as a fundamental breach with the party’s discredited past. Can PDP find a man of letter like Blair?
Yes, the New Labour Party thrived and it endured in power for another decade. I believe the PDP needs to look at the ideas of the New Labour in Britain and other relevant examples as models in making serious appeal to Nigerians if it must win next year.
I have heard of a plan to change the name of the party soon, but changing party name without changing character of the party will only make it look like the National Electric Power Authority (NEPA) that changed name to Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) and lately with certain “reform” called DisCo. The truth is we all still say up NEPA after each light out.
Finally, I think PDP and the ruling All Peoples Congress (APC) are like vehicles at motor park with touts loading bags and calling in the passengers. The touts have a way of taking passengers from one vehicle and putting them in another. And where one tout disagrees with the method of the other, he throws the first punch and the uproar at the motor park is not a small one. Mockery!