By IKE ABONYI
This story is original to a Russian author but retold by a German, Frederick Gietz. The Russian author told about the time he was watching some children at play. He asked them what is it they were playing, and they said, “we are playing war”.
He then remarked to them: “Why is it that you are always playing war? Don’t you know what a horrible thing war is? Why don’t you play peace sometimes?” The children agreed that they would play peace.
But then they looked at one another and started a small discussion among themselves and then everyone went silent. Finally, one little boy came up to the author and asked, Mister, how do we play peace?” Since penultimate Thursday’s bizarre ruling of the Port Harcourt division of Court of Appeal declaring by a split judgement that Ali Modu Sheriff and his gang of interlopers are the authentic leaders of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), reactions have been in torrents.
If the Justices who chose Sheriff group ahead of Ahmad Makarfi group as the authentic leaders are in touch with their surroundings they would have known by now that the path they took is just not the mainstream, even though we are told that law is an ass and that judgements do not have to be popular.
But any court ruling that is not intended to bring justice and solve problem is seriously lacking and defective and the Court of Appeal ruling on PDP is in that category.
But Political Musing today is not going to inhabit much on the correctness or otherwise of the matter. Rather, we are going to take a retrospective look at how PDP drove itself into this dyke.
It’s amusing how everybody is now talking about peace in the party when the party had carried on as if peace was not needed in their affairs. The children in the story above were always playing the war game because that is what they knew and were brought up with.
When attempt was made to make them play the game of peace they thought they could do it but discovered they could not because they were not used to it. The child who went to ask how to play was honest to reveal that they had reached a dead end.
This exactly appear to be the situation with PDP now struggling to make peace but found themselves only comfortable with crisis which is indeed their preferred turf. Remember one of their national chairmen described crisis in the party as a family affair.
It was clear by the children’s account that you cannot give what you don’t have and in the case of PDP because they are no children I want to add that you cannot eat your cake and still find it in your front.
One had thought that losing power after 16 years was enough punishment for the almighty largest political party in Africa but when they dribbled themselves into the Sheriff cage, it became obvious that God is not done with them yet after losing power at the centre.
Evidently, a contrite hearted Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State and his Rivers State counterpart Neyeson Wike have been transparent in their apologies to their members for leading the party into this Sheriff one-chance bus.
The duo understandably have been vehement in their efforts to oust Sheriff as his continued stay remains a huge political burden on them, but the truth is that PDP problem is a travel long started and Sheriff and his baggage were only picked midway.
History is a witness that President Olusegun Obasanjo indeed planted the seed when he stopped the will of the majority of the party members to have late Sunday Awoniyi as successor to late Solomon Lar as he instead literally handpicked the subsequent National Chairmen of the party from Bernabas Gemade, Audu Ogbeh and to the “garrison commander” retired Col Ahmadu Ali.
Since then the party lost the opportunity of taking its destiny in its own hand and became like a parastatal in the Presidency. A dangerous route the current ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) is also threading unfortunately.
Suddenly John Odigie-Oyegun has technically become the head of additional agency of Federal Government called APC. The death of President Umaru Yar Adua in 2010 did not help matters, rather it further twisted it.
The then National Chairman Vincent Ogbulafor who wanted to use the confusion created by Yar’Adua’s death to retrieve the power of the party from the Presidency, lost it when he made that his tactless statement about Presidency retuning to the North. He was booted out as dramatically as he was brought in.
Yar’Adua Presidency tolerated him apparently because his hands were full with his health challenges that eventually killed him. But soon after Goodluck Jonathan mounted the throne, Ogbulafor was thrown out.
When Jonathan brought in Dr. Okwesilieze Nwodo, the pioneer National Secretary of the party, the agenda was to reform and return the party to the dreams and desires of the founding fathers but Jonathan obviously lacked the kind of liver needed to push through such dream.
When Nwodo rolled out the machinery to return the party power and influence to its rightful owners, the people, using the e-membership registration that could have drastically removed the influence of the almighty governors, the forces led by the then chairman of forum of Governors and Rivers State governor Rotimi Amaechi revolted and intimidated the clueless Jonathan out of the project leading to the suspension of the e-registration as demanded by the governors even after the President had done a pilot registration of the programme in front of national media.
They went further to arm-twist Jonathan to dump Nwodo which he did. Political watchers believe that PDP’s sliding began with the removal of Nwodo.
The instability of the party under Jonathan could be measured by the fact that six National Chairmen served within his five-year reign.That is why many political watchers find it curious the fact that the court-imposed Sheriff is running to Jonathan for solution in the party crisis.
Jonathan who as President and commander in chief could not stand rampaging governors is being expected to do it now that he is virtually a “political vegetable.” It all shows how preposterous the PDP situation has become.
Even if we are to agree that Ali Modu Sheriff even with court backing is the worst thing to happen to PDP, truth remains that they brought themselves to this inescapable condition.
In all honesty, can we critically look at PDP as a party, analyse its activities and attitudes in the last 17 years whether in and out of office and say that they merit a good leader when it is generally said that the people get the leader they deserve?
Why should PDP deserve somebody better than Sheriff? Is it that they worked to get such leader or that they prayed for it? Is Sheriff not manifestly a righteous infliction of retribution on PDP? Is the party’s travail not a burden of its own nemesis? Are there any signs of penitent heart as a result? These are critical questions whose answers would determine the future of this great political institution.
That PDP issue is still being discussed emotively at national level is because there is no alternative. It’s odd that after all the minuses of PDP Nigerians are still sentimentally connected to it, why not when the ruling APC has shown it cannot provide the alternative. Why should they when it’s instead providing hiding rooms for the same PDP buddies.
With APC and PDP as the best road to grabbing political power in this land today, what other evidence do we need to see before coming to the painful but incontrovertible conclusion that our democracy is in a state of deep unconsciousness as a result of severe injury inflicted on it by our politicians?
But all said and done PDP leaders must save the party and keep its enviable history intact because even in power the ruling APC is just not an alternative. God help us.
Writes for Scan News Nigeria