Okey Ndibe Fumbles Again


By Joe Igbokwe

Time has come for anybody who wishes Nigeria well to take a stand or that person holds his peace and be silent forever. Time has come for courageous and educated men and women in this country to take sides with either PDP or APC in the struggle for the soul of Nigeria instead of sitting on the fence and continuing the lazy blame game syndrome. To continue to throw our hands up in total surrender that it is neither PDP nor APC leaves us with no option than to continue in this state of hopelessness and helplessness. When a nation is in deep crisis as we are now real men do not sit on the fence. They throw their hats into the ring and damn the consequences.

For nearly sixteen years, Nigeria has been practicing what we term nascent democracy. We have been saying we are on a perpetual learning process. We have been scavenging to find excuses for what has been an unmitigated failure of a richly endowed nation. Our so-called intellectuals have keyed and have been slaving to explain away the indiscretions of our leaders and their profligacy. Either because we are lazy or we are intellectually compromised, we have laid back like willing sluts and have taken the umbrage of our so-called leaders. We should have expected that by now, Nigerian intellectuals would have been raising critical questions of why we are the way we are today. Nigeria is on the brink of collapse. Our economy is prostrate. Life totters on the brink. But for sixteen years, Nigeria has been reaping handsomely from the high price of oil. We have been enjoying an oil boom but just some few weeks after the price of oil started falling, we are now being suffused with doomsday prophecies and told that life is about to become hellish for all of us.

Each time Professor Okey Ndibe and Chido Onuma (two writers I respect so much) write about political parties, elections, ideologies, philosophy, principles, the duo always tell us that APC and PDP are the same. This is one lie they have been telling those who care to listen and the danger is that when you tell these lies a thousand times gullible people may believe them as true. In his latest piece Okey Ndibe once again dismissed the opposition APC as another form of PDP even when APC has not been tested. Hear Okey: “PDP and APC are kindred spirits, two parties beset by ideological aridity and most of their most prominent figures fuelled by the same contemptible idea that politics is, above all, a means for accumulating riches. Why else do they hire thugs, kill or maim their opponent, betray all lofty principles, submit themselves to the most diabolical rites. It is certainly not to serve Nigerians.”

From the interpretation of what he said here, I ran away with the thinking that putting APC and PDP in the same pedestal is another way of telling us that since PDP and APC are the same, PDP can just continue to rule Nigeria because there is no need for change.  This is unbelievable, this is unacceptable and this is absurd. If I wanted to be too strict, I will say that Okey Ndibe wants President Jonathan to continue till 2019, because APC is not better. But could this be true? Of course no is the answer. Let no one be deceived. This is a vintage PDP propaganda since they can no longer explain what they did with sixteen years oil windfall. Nigeria is wrecked and damaged and no one knows where to head. Poverty is rife, impunity is overwhelming, infrastructure are decayed. No hope, as joblessness, insecurity, inflation and many other vices have made a mess of Nigeria. Nigeria hugs the limelight in every negative index of growth! With this dreary picture and with the reality of being swept off power, PDP came with the insidious propaganda that it is the same with APC, the party that stands the greatest chance of seeing it out of power. With this, PDP wants to level the ground and make Nigeria’s case incurable. If this is the case, Nigerians will be made to believe that no one can do it better than the PDP and the ground will thus be made more pliable to the continued stay of PDP in power. This is PDP’s lifeline and they are using this to hoodwink harmless columnists who are eager to be seen as objective because they agree to this illogic. They then mart PDP’s saving grace and thus help PDP to stay fixed in power.

APC believes in politics with principle, PDP believes in politics without principle. APC believes in work before wealth but PDP believes in wealth without work. APC believes that power goes with responsibility but PDP believes  in power without responsibility. APC believes that things can be done differently in Nigeria but PDP believes in the maintenance of status quo ante. While PDP plays ethnic and religious politics, dividing Nigerians to remain in power, APC believes that Nigeria remains a secular state where every religion is respected.

While APC believes that there is insecurity in the land, PDP thinks that it is doing its best for Nigeria even though their best is far from being good enough as thousands of Nigerians have been killed. APC believes that stealing is corruption; Goodluck Jonathan believes that stealing is not corruption. While APC believes that impunity should be a serious crime in this country, PDP believes that impunity is a way of life. APC believes that the police, DSS, INEC, CIVIL DEFENCE, NYSC, etc, are institutions of democracy which must be strengthened to consolidate and sustain democracy, PDP uses these vital institutions to oppress, suppress and repress Nigerians to remain in power.

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APC is convinced beyond reasonable doubts that it is wrong and unacceptable that Federal Government should keep 52% of the Federal Allocation while states and 774 LGAs keep 26% but PDP thinks that it is business as usual. I can go on and on. The difference between PDP and APC are many. Okey says: “let’s go beyond this facile notion that we must choose only between the PDP and the APC. There are lots of other parties out there, some of them founded by progressive and visionary Nigerians. Rather than be detained by the real or ostensible odds and impediments, the enlightened political elements in Nigeria should adopt one of these marginal, fledging parties, and turn it into a vibrant and vital third force in the 2015 elections.” This is mere wishful thinking. PDP and APC were not built overnight. Okey Ndibe saw the difficulties and the obstacles APC waded through to get to where it is today. Where will you get the third force when PDP is the one sponsoring these mushroom parties just to remain in power. President Obasanjo registered more parties just to weaken the opposition. Each time elections approach money will be given to them and as they scramble for the money PDP goes to grab power with both hands.

Now, beyond reciting the idle and unintelligent credo of ‘all of them use thugs’ and all what not, when will Okey begin to inquest why and how Nigeria ended up the way it is today under PDP’s watch for sixteen years? Or does he want us to also agree that APC is responsible for the prostrate state of Nigeria today? When will Okey ask what happened to the monumental windfall from oil for sixteen years? When will he ask why Nigeria got broke just few weeks after the fall of crude price, even with the price still remaining within the budget benchmark? When will Okey ask what happened to the excess crude account that we are so helpless today? When will Okey ask what happened to the Sovereign Wealth Fund with the high falutin promises that were woven to midwife it? When will Okey ask of the infrastructure the PDP built with sixteen years oil boom in his eagerness to lump APC into PDP failings? My readers should get me right. Okey may be asking these questions but when he becomes so desperate to sound politically correct and objective to the extent that he begins deconstructing obstacles on the paths of the PDP, he is only trying to help PDP. Many Nigerians are wondering; Is Okey fatigued? Is he seeking the sunny side? He should do that if that is what he wants and quit this procured sophistry he has found so attractive for some time now.

Again, the APC will not tire of dropping before Okey the picture of what Lagos is today, what Ogun is today vis-à-vis what it was four years ago under PDP, what Edo is today, compared to what it was before Oshiomhole came, what Imo is today, as against what it was in twelve years of PDP, what Kano is today, what Osun is today in just four years of Aregbesola’s government, what Oyo is today, as against what it was under the PDP. These are few cases involving critical infrastructure and human capital development, which is the critical factor in governance. How on earth can an objective pundit note these and still sell the plagiarized PDP hogwash that PDP is the same as APC?

APC has not held power at the centre. In fact, APC was formed barely a year ago but here is our intelligent Okey telling us that it is the same with a PDP that has been in power for sixteen years. Quite strange. So Okey should land; PDP should continue? Truly, he may have come to just awful conclusion because he believes that all men are the same, which leads one to wonder if he wants to manufacture men that will people his unstated alternative. Is Okey losing sight of the fact that association or experiences or hard lessons or belief or ideology can change a person? Okey is ingeniously selling PDP’s market while seemingly appearing objective. Okey has not tried our APC yet he has been frantic in tagging it with a PDP that has been in power for sixteen years? How did he come to his conclusion except that he has been generously drinking of the same fouled pot the PDP hopes it wants to peg its continued stay in power. Are the hastily arranged afterthoughts that seemingly informed Okey’s erratic conclusions strong enough to lead to the kind of conclusion he wanted to trade round?

What makes Okey so suspicious is that he failed to articulate the alternative Nigerians must tread since he had bound APC with PDP sins. How come, Okey did not come up with pointed alternative; with the strength and capacity to wrest power from the PDP and APC since both were not good? PDP is PDP and should be bold to carry its cans. APC is APC and is carrying out any limitations it might have for it cannot be a perfect organization. But it cannot be PDP otherwise there would have been no APC but one seamless PDP. That we are APC makes us different from PDP no matter how Okey and his fellow marketers try to sell PDP’s poisoned chalice. APC is an idea whose time has come and its strength is founded on its difference from PDP. Okey should stop selling the kind of ice he is desperately selling to Eskimos. That is pure hogwash the PDP hopes to structure its desire to stay in power.

Okey Ndibe must stop playing this hide and seek game. He must stop this arm chair criticisms and join the struggle to liberate Nigeria from PDP. We are tired of this blame game, this idle talk, this long complaint, this ‘do not rock the boat attitude’ this ‘playing the ostrich’ drama. Real men have moved beyond sitting on the fence and thrown their hats into the ring. If you want to change things in your country then there is no alternative to politics. If Okey cannot come home to help Nigeria to stand he should hold his peace. What we need now is action and not idle talks. At the stage Nigeria is now, we can easily detect the sly message in “PDP is evil……there is no alternative to it”. That is the byline of the PDP and runs in clear tandem with Okey’s effort. If APC has not been tested at the national level Okey has no right whatsoever to claim that APC and PDP are the same. I don’t know whether Okey my brother has hunted ostriches before that he is now adopting its style in helping PDP’s evil reign. He should quit this game for it is a clearly transparent game. It is the last line of the crumbling PDP and an intelligent Okey should see through it instead of trying to help them sell their jaded product-for that is what he is doing with that article and his recent outings.

•Igbokwe wrote from Lagos.

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