15th May, 2014
By Joe Igbokwe
I have followed Okey Ndibe and all his thoughts for years and to all intents and purposes I have not been disappointed by his numerous answers to our many national questions. Okey Ndibe has done a prodigious work on the project Nigeria and if his many analyses and interventions on the crisis of our country had been strictly adhered to, we would have been solving the problems of Nigeria gradually. But Nigeria’s leaders since 1999 believe they know it all, and hence the trouble we find ourselves today. Okey has been a deep thinker and he will remain so for a long time to come. In fact, Okey will only get better and I pray that his generation will continue to increase.
However, I am at a loss to understand what informed Okey’s stand in his latest piece titled,What Do APC, Nigerian Leaders Stand For? I have read and re-read the piece and I am still disturbed that Okey Ndibe can pose this kind of question at a time like this as if he has not been following APC plans and struggles for a new Nigeria. I know that agents of PDP have been bashing Okey Ndibe for his progressive stand in Nigeria for years now and one is tempted to believe that he wrote the latest piece to pacify his many foes who do not like the way he puts words on paper to block their feeding bottles. Reading deep into Okey’s piece, I simply concluded that Okey is suggesting that there is no alternative to PDP in Nigeria. In other words, Okey thinks that APC is not a credible alternative to PDP and given that there are no other political parties that have the strength, capacity and guts among the motley others registered by INEC, then Nigeria should stick to PDP. I may be wrong but Okey should prove me wrong.
Our friend Chido Onuma came up with this kind of analysis about a year ago and we reasoned together on this platform for a while before we rested the case. Chido Onuma toed the same line of argument that APC may not be a credible alternative to PDP because, according to him, there are no actions and deeds on ground to run away with the thinking that APC will unseat President Goodluck Jonathan come 2015. I remember I told Onuma that if people like him think this way there may be no hope for Nigeria. I reasoned that all of us should have been working together on how to present a credible alternative instead of sitting in the comfort of our homes to make fraudulent conclusions that will not solve our problems. In the end I remember I told Onuma to be one of the instruments of change in Nigeria instead of throwing up our hands in total surrender blaming others instead of blaming ourselves for self inflicted pains. My wonder remains why intellectuals should write off an untested idea or alternative just because they feel those that stand to be displaced by the emergence of another platform feel it is a convenient way to stem a possible rustication from their hallowed positions.
Now back to Okey Ndibe and his question on what APC, Nigerian leaders stand for given the crisis this country is going through today. Okey wants to know the APC stand on the problem of insecurity in the land and the abduction of our girls in Northern Nigeria by Boko Haram insurgents. Listen to Ndibe: “True leaders excel in the way they respond to a major adversity. Great leaders separate themselves from the pack of pretenders when they are tested by crises. The APC advertises itself as the antidote to the ruling Peoples Democratic Party’s lethargy, inertia, and incompetence. We’re told that, come 2015, all we need do is replace the PDP with the APC—and, pronto, our headaches would vanish; we’d usher in an era of superb statecraft and surpassing leadership.”
In Okey Ndibe’s words: If this were so, what’s stopped the APC in its tracks at this moment of grave danger and opportunity? Why has the party failed to rise to the challenge of defining itself as a serious opposition body—and doing so by proposing tough, credible solutions to Nigeria’s festering problems?
So, is my brother Okey saying he has not read or heard APC’s positions on diverse issues and problems confronting the Nigerian state or is he saying he is not convinced by them? These are two different issues for he might acknowledge that APC has offered alternatives but the alternatives may not rhyme with his own ideas or feel that he does not know that APC has alternatives to whatever he feels the PDP is offering.
Now I will attempt to answer Okey’s postulations and questions with many questions; Did Okey Ndibe know about all the troubles APC went through to get registered as a political party? Did you see the hurdles the legacy parties crossed to beat PDP to their game plan? Did Okey not notice all the interventions APC has made via the National spokesperson of the Party Alhaji Lai Mohammed? Has he not been called lie lie Mohammed by PDP sympathizers for standing up to many PDP blunders and brigandage? Do you know PDP and their supporters blame APC for almost every wrong step they take in Nigeria? If rain does not fall it is APC. If their wives cannot get pregnant it is APC. If the power stations fail it is APC etc. The question is, how can a party that has not presented any alternatives to what PDP presently offers command the kind of awe every Nigerian knows the PDP has for APC? Now, does Okey know that PDP including President GEJ never believed the Chibok Girls were abducted until a few days back? Did you not hear Mrs Kema Chikwe, Olisa Metuh or Mrs Patience Jonathan? Do you know that PDP family think that it is APC that is responsible for Boko Haram mass murder in Nigeria? Do you know that APC has offered useful advice to PDP and the Presidency but they will not listen? Do you know that the ruling party believes that all the problems facing Nigeria are caused by APC? Okey have you seen the manifesto of APC? Have you read it? Do you think APC and PDP are same of the same? This is a manifesto that was painstakingly developed and launched with full media coverage. Is Okey feeling that the contents of that manifesto do not represent alternative ideas on how APC intends to run the country? Is Okey pretending he does not know that a party’s intent on governance is contained in its manifesto and what it does with that content depends on if it gets elected to power? Before Okey developed his article, did he take time to avail himself of the contents of the manifesto? Has be critiqued the manifesto before coming to chorus the PDP position that there is no alternative to their terrible misrule of the country? If you believe this there is no hope for this country. I do not want to go away with the thinking that there are no good men in this country. I do not want us to believe that there are no thinkers in a country of more than 150 million people.
If Okey must know, APC is a product of deep thinking, a product of hard-work for a new Nigeria and a product of deep synergy. You cannot dismiss APC unless it is tested with power at the centre. Okey, APC wants to do things differently. We have an idea of what to do with Nigeria. We want Nigerians to try this alternative even for four years. We want to be trusted by Nigerians who believe that change is possible.
Okey Ndibe has made few trips to Lagos in recent times and he once commended Lagos for service delivery. I challenge Okey to take notice that the same progress is being replicated in APC States of Ogun, Osun, Oyo, Ekiti, Edo and Imo. You need to visit these states to see things for yourself. One more thing – to believe that APC has not done enough in the face of the monumental problems Nigeria is saddled with is to give blank cheque to PDP to continue to reduce Nigeria to a basket case. It is an unflinching support for these nitwits and subhuman mongrels to continue to decimate, and desecrate Nigeria.
•Igbokwe is Lagos APC Publicity Secretary