A picture is worth a thousand words, the English say. Nothing epitomizes this more than the picture released over the weekend of Senator Godswill Akpabio, the senate minority leader, visiting President Muhammadu Buhari holidaying in London. As one who has harped consistently on these pages that the president should play more politics, it is fitting that part of the blame of his complete metamorphosis into the average Nigerian politician be laid at my door. But it’s official; the president is truly now a politician.
Let’s face it; all our politicians are the same. No scruples, no ideology, nothing for the good of the people but all for themselves alone. Anything and everything just to garner votes, even as the citizens groan. With the gale of defections across political parties, little wonder that governance has taken a back seat. Initially, I thought the picture was fake, what with photoshop these days and seeing that not a few senior colleagues have fallen prey to photoshopped pictures, I tarried a while before accepting that truly the All Progressives Congress is wooing folks like Akpabio. It’s the way of our politicians, anything or anybody just to make up the numbers. Of course there is no party of purists in our part of the world, but it sure must be up there as the eighth wonder of the world with Buhari and Akpabio sharing the same party.
Now, there is nothing strange in APC trying to poach from PDP or other political parties after all there is nothing different between them based on our experience so far. But one thinks there should be honour even among thieves and so we should have honourable defections. True, Akpabio’s defection should be viewed in the same prism with the senate president, Bukola Saraki’s defection earlier last week. Neither is better nor commendable, contrary to what their followers or supporters want us to believe. Such, however, did not start today. President Buhari actually commended Governor Aminu Tambuwwal of Sokoto State, then the House of Representatives Speaker, who defected to APC on October 29, 2014.
“We will like to thank Alhaji Aminu Tambuwal for what he did yesterday. We were overwhelmed,” the former head of State said. “And it was only yesterday I admit that I ask what profession is he and I was told he was a lawyer, I say no wonder.
“Taking such a remarkable risk and sending everybody on holidays till December is an achievement. By now we will be sounding like a broken record about the objective of the APC. Our intention God willing is to secure this country and to efficiently mend it. So God help us.”
That was candidate Buhari then, sadly he is not different from President Buhari. Last week, Apple, the computer company not the fruit, became the first American company to be valued at $1 trillion even when our 2018 budget as a country is N8.612 trillion. Just imagine that Apple can conveniently swallow Nigeria without any hiccup. Towards the end of last month, Chinese President, Xi Jinping, promised $14.7 billion of investment during a state visit to South Africa while on a state visit. He also visited Senegal and Rwanda, even as our senators are busy defecting and governance is suffering.
On Saturday, I was at Radisson Blue Hotel on Isaac John Street, Ikeja to see a friend and it was tough securing a parking space even with the underground parking lot at the hotel. The Lagos State House of Assembly speaker was around in the hotel either holding a meeting or conference and I also saw Ita Enang, special adviser to President Buhari on national assembly, nothing strange as they have the right to be anywhere they want to. But the number of people I saw with them gave me serious concern. I counted three Toyota Coaster buses bearing the Lagos assembly inscription with a retinue of aides and security agents who took over the lobby completely. Even if we ignore the waste, what about the time spent on frivolities? It’s the same thing with our national assembly members who care less about what citizens are going through.
And now that we are all in agreement that there is no difference between APC and PDP, it’s up to the rest of us to ensure that we avert the looming political disaster. With the senate on recess till September, when will the budget for INEC submitted last month be approved? With general elections scheduled for early next year, what probability exists that the elections will hold? Is the stage not being set for a constitutional stalemate? Call me an alarmist but I sincerely hope that I’m wrong even as some citizens are seemingly enamored of the defection drama going on presently.
We must be vigilant and careful.