By Sunday Dare
Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu
We have read with both amusement and disdain the recent press statement by Mr. Tony Okeke, the Acting National Publicity Secretary of the PDP. We note the venom in his statement and downright gutter language he employed in attacking the remarks made by Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, National Leader of the Action Congress of Nigeria. We are neither perturbed, disturbed or surprised at the depth to which PDP can descend in order to attack perceived enemies or tormentors of theirs.
But we wish to state that first, PDP needs to wash both hands before complaining the ACN has a speck of dirt on its thumb.
With all the troubles facing the government and the ruling party, the Acting National Publicity Secretary of that outfit took the time to lodge a complaint about Asiwaju Bola Tinubu exercising his right as a citizen and party leader to endorse Ekiti governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, as the party’s governorship nominee so that he might seek a second term come the 2014 election in that state.
The PDP voice box sounded off that it was wicked and undemocratic of Asiwaju Tinubu to state his opinion on a matter concerning the party to which Asiwaju belongs. We dare say if Mr. Okeke tendered such advice to his party leaders that the vociferous man would rapidly find himself among the growing number of jobless Nigerians walking the streets due to the errant policies of his party.
Since we have no desire to add to the ranks of Nigeria’s unemployed, we will help the man do his job better by teaching him a bit about democracy and party politics.
Asiwaju Tinubu is not a brick or a piece of wood. He is a person, a Nigerian citizen to be exact. As such, he has the perfect right to express his opinion on political matters and to endorse whom he may endorse for the position of the ACN nominee for the Ekiti governorship. In due course, Asiwaju will surely endorse who he would for other elective positions across the country in full excercise of his fundamental right. I predict Mr. Okeke will get acute indigestion from that act as well.
For Mr. Okeke to complain is to suggest that Asiwaju Bola Tinubu should remain silent. As such, Okeke shows his ignorance that the Nigerian constitution has enshrined freedom of speech as a fundamental right of all Nigerians, even us in the opposition.
For Mr. Okeke to suggest that because Asiwaju Bola Tinubu is a party leader he does not have the right to talk about a party matter is lunacy of the first order.
Let us explain to him how a democratic political party works. Party leaders are entitled to express their opinion and endorse whom they like. The matter does not end there. Of course, party members have the right to their opinion too but this enables them to weigh the opinions of their leaders. Should any disagree, they have the right to disagree.
Should anyone want to compete against the incumbent for the party ticket, they may. However, now they know they will do so without the help of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu. Far from being undemocratic, Bola Tinubu was being transparent. He did not disguise his belief. He openly expressed it so that all will know where he stands. If you want to do otherwise, you can but you do so knowing it will be minus his support.
This is an exercise of clear decisive leadership in fledgling democracy.
It is a starkly different picture than how the PDP operates. That party does things in the dark so much that when they are merely in the shadows, they think it is bright daylight. Before attacking the ACN, Mr. Okeke should reflect on how he came to be Acting National Publicity Secretary. It was because INEC ruled the convention which selected his erstwhile superior was a fundamentally flawed exercise. It was undemocratic.The ACN has never suffered such a ruling.
In the end, the PDP is frightened because they know Governor Fayemi has performed impressively and that they have no one to beat him. Their only hope is to create discord in the ACN. It will not work. Thus, Mr. Okeke should resign himself to minding his own house. Before complaining about the lone fly at our backdoor, he should worry about the decaying carcass in their front yard.
Dare is Special Adviser, Media, to Asiwaju Bola Tinubu
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