By Sonala Olumhense
It is about eight years since I first called the PDP the Profoundly Decadent Party.
It the party’s true mission was in any way a mystery to Nigerians at that time, all of the cobwebs have since cleared. If the party’s real character was something of a mystery to partymen who were just looking for a winner, it is all now as clear as day.
But the laws of physics teach that what goes up, unless snatched out of the air by an intervening force, will come down.
The laws of physics have parallels in politics. Among them, this one is indisputable: A political party confirms internal turmoil when its chairman writes to the party from his sick bed in another country to confirm internal turmoil.
Bamanga Tukur chairs Nigeria’s People’s Democratic Party (PDP). That does not mean he is the leader of the party, because nobody is quite certain who leads the party.
Last week, Mr. Tukur sent out a clarification of sorts. First, he announced he was alive. He was taking care of his health, he said in a press statement.
And no, he was not in Adamawa, his home state where he is trying to make his son governor. He was not in Abuja, nor in Lagos.
He was in London where he was taking care of his health instead of putting himself at risk in Nigeria’s ramshackle non-ambulances and hospitals, and he wanted to declare his love for the PDP.
“While I take care of my health, I urge party members to continue to support the National Working Committee (NWC) in its drive towards re-launching the PDP into a more formidable structure capable of winning and winning elections without stress,” he said, regretting that opposition groups were trying to destroy the PDP.
The following day, Olisah Metuh, the National Publicity Secretary of the party, snatched the microphone, calling on the press to help preserve its good name. All they had to do, Metuh told Abuja press bureau chiefs, was to skillfully examine their desks each day and make certain that “bad” stories about the PDP were killed on arrival.
Obviously, the PDP is desperate. The problem is that it is neither humble enough to admit it, courageous enough to fashion out a helpful work plan.
The reason for this is that the PDP’s biggest problem has always been its dishonesty. Bad enough in poverty, this ailment is a menace in the presence of riches.
That is why the PDP’s riches have yielded chaos the PDP’s riches cannot sell.
But is the party looking for sympathy, or for a solution? If it indeed seeks a solution, as both Tukur and Metuh suggest, I invite its leaders to take a sober look at its history.
The PDP’s “control” of Nigeria is a lie. Everybody within the party knows that. That explains why Tukur himself is now talking about seeking a structure that is “capable of winning and winning elections without stress.”
Take away the code language and Tukur is saying the PDP would like to win without rigging and manipulation. Rewrite his words in real English and he is saying that the party has falsified our history and compromised our development.
The evidence is everywhere, because rigged elections invariably lead to wrong policies and personnel. It also leads to the blind alleys of policies abandoned or not implemented. In English: abused process is justice denied.
The PDP is an institution founded on Rumour and Propaganda (R & P). That is why we hear endless clichés such as fighting corruption or transformation. The PDP has not honestly fought corruption for one single day in the last 14 years. All of that is R&P that every PDP government regurgitates and recyles.
As we speak, former President Olusegun Obasanjo is trying to trick the world by complaining that his protégée, one Mr. Goodluck Jonathan, is guilty of bad governance.
Really? Is Obasanjo not the one who superintended and consolidated the PDP’s ability to rig elections and spread rumors about performance? He did not permit a single honest national institution while he reigned as Emperor.
And let us remember—given that all of this is about looting the nation’s resources—that Obasanjo served as his own Minister of Petroleum Resources for eight long years. He was responsible for putting in place all of the malfeasance in that sector. Obasanjo not only abused the process throughout his two rigged tenures, he concluded by inflicting on Nigeria the disease that has our country rotting from the top.
Take a look at the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Obasanjo’s flagship propaganda tool. Did it fight corruption; and if it ever did, is it fighting corruption?
The PDP’s concept of government is that of a bank hold-up disguised as an ATM. In its hands, Nigeria is simply a bank where members of the party, their friends and their families go for free money. The problems rending the party apart are simply problems of greed and of too much money and power in too many awful hands.
As we speak, one of Tukur’s predecessors as PDP chairman, Vincent Ogbulafor, is undergoing a corruption trial, accused of trying to fleece the government of N170 million. Ahmadu Ali, as chairman of the party, appointed his wife to the chair of the board of a federal parastatal and his son to the board of the Nigeria Railway Corporation.
Tukur himself ought be on trial for receiving stolen money from the governors of Gombe, Bauchi, Adamawa, and Taraba last September, the sum of N250 million each as a ‘gift’ upon the launch of his biography. The governors took the money from their states, some of Nigeria’s poorest, and Tukur greedily pocketed it.
Speaking of unprincipled politics, let us recall that Ali was handpicked as party chairman just as Tukur was handpicked for the same post last year by Mr. Jonathan.
This is the road that Nigeria has travelled since 1999, a road in which the country has waded through miles of funds and opportunities but failed to achieve anything except wade through scandals.
Sure, there have are similar stories in other political parties, but it is the PDP which has led the way, including into endless darkness, as Nigeria’s “leading” party. We have no roads, but Mr. Fix-It Tony Anenih, in whose hands N300 billion disappeared as Minister of Works, is now chairman of the PDP Board of Trustees as well as chairman of the Board of Nigeria Ports Authority.
Anenih’s successor as Minister, Adeseye Ogunleye who was fired for corruption, was last week appointed by Jonathan as chairman of the Governor Council of the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta.
Nigeria is on track to miss every Millennium Development Goals target, but the other side of the balance sheet is loaded with scandals stretching from 1999 to this morning, including that of our political elite shamelessly seeking treatment in foreign hospitals.
These, briefly stated, are the Augean Stables Nigerians need to clean up. The task is not about winning elections, as Tukur said, or about saving the name of the party, as Metuh thinks. The PDP has no name worth saving.
On the contrary, the PDP is anti-Nigeria. If it does not go, Nigeria will.