Ever since Nigeria’s first and only Military President, Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida IBB, (the Maradona of Nigerian politics) dribbled himself into a cul de sac, and was compelled by the circumstances to “step aside”, ending his eight eventful years as our numero uno, critics have tried in vain to discredit his regime.
If you criticise IBB on account of poor or non performance, the truth is, no administration after him can honestly boast of half his achievements in infrastructural development.
If you re-echo the claim of “institutionalising corruption”, you cannot effectively counter his reported assertion that, compared to what’s going on currently, he and his lieutenants/government were saints.
The one area critics have ignored and which, to my mind, IBB cannot escape blame is his prolonged transition program (of doubtful sincerity). IBB’s transition which was characterized by banning and un-banning of key political actors most probably set the stage for the current brigandage in the political arena of Nigeria.
After IBB’s planned transmutation to a civilian president failed and he was forced to step aside, General Abacha who kicked out Chief Shonekan’s Interim National Government borrowed a cue and unleashed his own thinly veiled trasmutation agenda via another deceptive transition.
Cumulatively, these “transition-to-no-where” created doubts about the military’s commitment to handing over power to civilians and led to the withdrawal of surviving key political actors of the first and Second republics from the political process.
Little wonder that, when General Abdussalami came with his transition, most serious politicians, suspicious of his intent, stayed away while many civil servants who had previously shown interest in joining politics stayed off.
Consequently, all sort of dubious characters with nothing to lose and without the slightest idea of the social responsibility aspect of politics and governance contested elections and had power dropped on their laps on the proverbial platter of gold.
Such was the situation when the military, to the utter shock of the old brigade politicians, handed over to one of their own as president but with a substantial percentage of other elected officials of government being “trial-and-error politicians!
Having captured power unprepared, without an agenda and without knowledge of the basic responsibility of democratic government (of service to the people on whose behalf power is held), they simply set in motion a process of personal aggrandizement and self-perpetuation!
Governors took advantage of the enormous state resources at their command to emasculate both the legislature and the judiciary.
Also, through the “joint account” and with help from legislature, they simply added local government funds to their kitty!
With so much power and resources, it was easy to manipulate the system for their personal benefits. President Obasanjo paved the way with his strange “party-leader” coinage subjugating “party supremacy” to the whims of elected officials.
They destroyed internal democracy, and enshrined nepotism, imposition and impunity! While absolute loyalty and obedience was demanded of party members, the opinions, aspirations and contributions of same party members were totally disregarded.
All wise counsel and admonitions on the possibility of implosion were ignored due to power intoxication.
The rest, as the saying goes, is now history.
One would have thought that bitter lessons would have been learnt and definitive steps would have been taken to make amends, strengthen internal democracy and (as was promised) return the party to the people.
Alas! That was not to be!
In Kaduna State, as noted earlier, every political calculation gave victory to the PDP in the build up to the 2019 elections.
The APC in the state was ravaged by serious internal crises due to imposition and impunity. In addition, the know-it-all government of El-Rufai had nothing to show for its four-year reign except destruction and the spread of despondency across the state.
Unfortunately the PDP lost due to poor leadership, which was too incompetent to seize the advantages offered by the situation.
The process of nominating a flag bearer was marred by the scheming and plotting of a godfather which eventually weeded out the Wheat and left us with the Chaff. (There are two theories as to why he did what he did. Story for another day)!
Party members swallowed the bitter pill, resolved to close ranks and work together to rid the state and the people of a worse tragedy: the consolidation of crude capitalism and its bloodsucking parasites!
Unfortunately, the CHAFF cannot replace the WHEAT!
Both the party leadership and the pretenders ran the 2019 campaign in their usual ” cult-like” manner. Anyone outside their “cult” was given the “with-or-without-you” treatment.
Individual community leaders, groups and associations came to the campaign headquarters to show solidarity. They were shabbily treated by over confident jokers, urged on by praise singers who told them they were only waiting for swearing-in!
In the end, party leaders at the Local Government and Ward Levels were totally sidelined. Nobody consults them or sought their input.
Individual party chieftains known to be influential in their areas were also ignored.
Eventually, everyone withdrew into their shells and adopted the siddon-look approach.
Exactly what the government needed!
Wether we admit it or not, Mal Nasiru El-Rufai is an intelligent person.
Totally drenched in tactless, unsympathetic, the-end-justifies-the-means Capitalism if you will.
An “evil-genius” if you like.
But very intelligent! You can’t take that away!
In the last six years he has craftily reduced the state civil service to a shadow, destroyed public education and disrupted every facet of the state’s economic activity.
He has also set in motion, using state resources, a process of providing infrastructure needed to create a business empire for himself and cronies.
In the name of Urban Renewal, traditional businesses, business-areas and business men/women are being either destroyed or sucked into a conglomeration in which they are but slaves!
He has also brought the state down on its knees in debt!
Whomever takes over from El-Rufai as Governor of Kaduna State will realise it’s no tea-party!
Moreover, for Malam Nasiru, installing a successor he can trust is a DO-OR-DIE affair. Stories of the governor planning to go on study leave, etc are all part of the design to get opposition to develop over confidence -ala 2019!
Unfortunately, the PDP is again saddled with the very same incompetent and self-serving “leadership”, more interested in extracting RETIREMENT BENEFITS than party success.
And because you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, they appear bent on recycling the same ARROGANT MEDIOCRITY to confront such an exceptionally intelligent, utterly ruthless and deadly desperate opponent!