By Abdulwahab Oba
It is that period of time again when political diatribes becomes our daily meal; a time when even the neophyte puts on the garb of the wise and claim to be better than his master. But we are also comforted by the unrelenting verdict of history; that the boasts of men at the onset of a war is not enough to win them the victory. He who puts on the sword should not rejoice as the one who puts it off, so some of my friends told me.
I acknowledge the right of every Nigerian to choose freely who to associate with and with what political ideology, or leaning, to choose from. And I also acknowledge the need for such an individual, having made his particular choice, to campaign vigorously for its adoption by others, if they so wish. President of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki has made his choice and decided to pitch his tent with the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP. In making such a difficult choice, as a politician, he must have considered many variables and sure enough he listed several of such for public consumption in his lengthy statement announcing his defection from the All Progressive Congress, APC.
It would, therefore, be pretentious, and a very ridiculous one for that matter, for anyone politically active and knowledgeable, to claim ignorance of some of the key issues Saraki raised as factors that pushed him and his followers out of the APC. The most significant factor was the contempt with which the party he so much laboured for treated him and his constituency after winning the 2015 general elections. Those who followed his involvement in the said election would not dismiss his contention that he was unfairly treated by a party he supported all the way, both with personal resources and influence. Instructively, at the end of that poll, Saraki delivered Kwara state 100 percent to the APC. Lagos, where a national leader of the party holds forte could not be delivered in that manner; the PDP snatched some key House of Representatives and State Lawmake seats from the APC.
Those who want to crucify Saraki, like his former party is doing, surprisingly actively backed by its national chairman, a hitherto respected labour leader, for daring to take the Senate Presidency, are not promoting righteousness in the political system of this nation. They are saying it is right for a man to literarily work his ass out for the success of his party and not gain anything from that endeavour while those who did nothing come out to enjoy the spoils of war. Politics is war by another name. And when you win a war, do you leave the war leaders without a spoil? But, some of the supporters of perpetrators of subversion of democratic norms look the other way because they are benefactors of the injustice. Once again, I salute Barr. Femi Falana for rightly speaking out against nocturnal moves to impeach the Senate President. Many of our now exposed hypocrites dressed in a democratic apparel kept undignified silence because it was Saraki.
It was a mistake to have treated Saraki like a minor factor in the eventual success of the APC and I’m sure party leaders would accept this in private even if they can’t come out openly now to confess their error. The Saraki type of politics is ‘work and eat’ and I ask, is there any other better way to play politics of inclusion? I see that ‘other way’ also playing out in Kwara state today: a Minister of Information was appointed in 2015, ‘from Kwara state’ even though we know this man is more of a stranger to the state than otherwise; he has spent his time as Chief of Staff in Lagos state, his son today is a member of the Lagos State House of Assembly, and he is now the political leader of the APC in Kwara? “Na so we dull reach”? Is Kwara to become an appendage o? When his son finishes his term in the Lagos Assembly, would he then come down to become our representative? He surely has his bread well buttered, hmn? Yet the elders say “a ki je meji laba Alade”; it is greed/selfishness, and is not permitted to attempt taking a double ration at Alade’s farm. What of others?
What of our own Modibo Kawu, the boss of the National Broadcasting Corporation? No doubt, Modibo Kawu, formerly known as Lanre, is eminently qualified for the position. He’s a thorough bread professional. But where was he when Saraki was traversing the length and breadth of the land, spending his resources to promote the APC? My brother Modibo was busy consulting for the PDP. He was organising seminars for them on how to defeat the APC and actively canvassing for Jonathan. And then after the war had been fought and won, he suddenly comes out to be appointed into a sensitive position in the new administration while those who fought the battle with Saraki were left in the cooler to scramble for the crumbs. What a grotesque! What an unrighteousness could be worse than that, except for those who want the fruits of their labour to be reap by others? Thanks to our dear First Lady, who cried out to Nigerians that those whom she did not know during the daring days of the campaign were the ones suddenly popping up at Aso Rock. What happened? Who bewitched who to have brought that scenario?
Devoid of rationale for their confusion and ineptitudeness, they label Saraki has been ambitious as if ambition is now illegal among the human race. How many times did our President contest for the presidency before God and Nigerians gave it to him. Afterall, according to Marcus Aurelies “a man’s worth is no greater than the worth of his ambitions”. Anyone without an aspiration merely exists; such an individual is not living. And in any case, Saraki has attained the number three position in Nigeria today. The only political post ahead of him is the Presidency which if Allah wills, he can clinch. Otherwise fate can never be more kindly to him than what he has become today. So, agitation by Saraki for a better deal for the people of the state is clearly not for his personal gains but for those who toiled and laboured for the party in the state.
“Opa ta fina iyale, owa laja fun iyawo”; the cane with which the first wife was disciplined has not been thrown away; it is on the shelf waiting for the right time to be used on the new bride. That is the message to those paper weights gallivanting about today as ambassadors of the APC in Kwara State. If Saraki could be so treated shabbily by the APC, let no one rejoice that the same party is celebrating him or her today because like the leopard, this party won’t change its colours. I can bet on that.
My appeal to kwarans is for everyone us to look before we leap because once beaten, twice shy. There is a world of difference between a politician who spends all his time with his people and another who spends most of his time elsewhere. If they could do this to Saraki, they can do it to anyone else. Believe this, or believe nothing, to paraphrase one of the memorable titles of American crime writer, James Hadley Chase.
*Oba can be reached via e-mail:email@example.com