A presidential death threat

Kenechukwu Obiezu

Kenechukwu Obiezu

Power is a transient force. This force which specializes in turning tables usually catches the clay of foot unawares. When it strikes with its customary ruthlessness, it usually leaves many flat footed, especially those who had allowed themselves to be lulled to sleep by the trappings of power.

In 2015, after sixteen years in the halls of power, the Peoples Democratic Party was forced to pick up its pieces which had been scattered in many directions following a shattering defeat at the hands of the All Progressives Congress.

The defeat, a first in the annals of Nigerian politics, was especially juddering given that it was wildly unexpected. While it was true that many Nigerians were disgruntled with Mr. Goodluck Jonathan and the PDP for their perceived poor handling of the affairs of the country, defeat was still considered remote given the bludgeon that incumbency is in the politics of Nigeria.

But defeat came, and proved especially agonizing on the back of an ill-advised boast from a member of the Peoples Democratic Party that the party would govern the country for sixty years. By 2015, it had only done sixteen years and by the time it was shunted out of power by the supremacy of the ballot box, it was left staring down the abyss of political opposition and oblivion it had neither nuance nor nose to navigate.

When in keeping with prodigious promises made on the campaign trail, Mr. Muhammadu Buhari began to embolden the country`s anti-corruption drive shortly after assuming office in 2015, many members of the Peoples Democratic Party who found themselves on the receiving end of uncomfortable scrutiny by the EFCC cried foul.

The anti-corruption war has since floundered, overtaken by parochial interests and Nigeria`s peculiar politics of patronage and peanuts. However, bad blood has continued to flow between the ruling All Progressives Congress and the opposition Peoples Democratic Party. While the APC in leadership has largely failed to provide direction for a country desperately in need of same, the PDP has largely failed to provide the kind of virile opposition that can inject fresh impetus into governance in the Giant of Africa.

Bilious barbs were recently traded between the Presidency and the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, and the contents of the barbs were comments ascribed to the latter in which it warned that if the situation of things in the country do not improve quickly and dramatically, an agitation worse than the October 2020 EndSARS protests could soon descend on the country like the pangs of childbirth.

Reacting to the stark warning, the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina penned a statement he titled “Destabilization: PDP Gives itself Away” wherein he warned that that the PDP will die as envisaged by one of its presidential aspirants if its only agitation for the country is an agitation worse than EndSARS.

In a country which reaps so many needless deaths every day, Nigerians can certainly do with one less death threat especially coming from a presidency that has largely failed to guarantee security for Nigerians beyond the Federal Capital Territory where the attraction to secure is selfishly clear for all to see. Mr. Adesina was also reported to have said that EndSARS signified murder, mayhem, mass destruction and even cannibalism.

The truth remains that the protests which erupted across Nigeria`s largest cities in October 2020 were unprecedented and shook a complacent government to its core. As with any other protests, there were infiltrations which degenerated into acts that do not become civilization or civilized citizens. However, those isolated acts of violence take nothing away from the fact that the protests were visceral responses from young Nigerians about the state of their country especially as it concerned the impunity and brutality of the police.

No matter the name the presidency now wants to call a dog in order to hang it, EndSARS was and remains a cry that came from the heart of young Nigerians against the horrible deterioration of their country under a political party which promised reform but had brought ruination instead.

The tragic massacre on the night of October 20, 2020 which halted the protests was clearly the descent of the iron fist of a government which saw the protests as nothing beyond orgies of murder, mayhem, mass destruction and even cannibalism.

Today, many of the probing questions posed by the young Nigerians who stood at the Lekki toll gate armed with nothing but the national anthem and the national flag on the night of October 20,2020 while a hail of bullets rained down on them from guns bought with tax payers money remain unanswered by a government long stunned into near silence by the sheer enormity of its incompetence and ineptitude. Those questions continue to be asked of Nigeria today, even from the grave.

It is true that in the course of sixteen years during which it refined the art of plundering the public purse, the PDP did not cover itself in glory. Its painful awareness of its own lack of moral authority would seem to explain the muffled response it always gives to national issues.

However, there can be no doubt that the sheer weight of pressing issues continues to bear down on Nigerians. These issues cannot be resolved by diversion or dissembling; they require ingenuity and integrity. So far, the two major political parties in Nigeria have shown that they are populated by men barren of both.

While they iron out their differences in pursuit of the national good or otherwise as they deem fit, both the APC and the PDP can spare Nigerians of the noise which nauseates the Giant of Africa.

 

 

Kene Obiezu,

keneobiezu@gmail.com

 

 

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