Many have asked for my analysis of the spiralling crisis rocking the governing Party of Nigeria, APC, at the moment. Any ardent follower of my column can predict that already. I’m a passionate and unrepentant supporter of President Muhammadu Buhari. I’m also an admirer of APC and its frontline national leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, because he and the party achieved the impossibility when the Party sacked an incumbent African President out of power. But I have this sneaky feeling that while APC prepared for that battle royale, it failed to plan for the aftermath of a monumental victory. This is the crux of the matter.
Anyone who cares to read more about my views should please Google two of my recent articles, ‘Buhari and the Burden of Expectations’ and ‘Before APC Falls Apart’. Both articles were written out of my grave concern for the future of a Party that has the unique opportunity of giving Nigeria a fresh lease of life but now seemingly lacks the capacity to hold itself together.
The first problem is people’s expectations of President Buhari. His biggest asset obviously rests on his personal integrity. Trouble is most people love and admire such men of impeccable character but are they themselves prepared to live and behave like him. I leave the answer to your judgment.
One of the things Nigerians expect President Buhari to do is fight corruption. This is based on many confusing and convoluted assumptions. General Buhari fought against corruption and indiscipline in the past so President Buhari should be able to repeat same. Trouble is, he was then a soldier with martial laws and powers but he is now a born again civilian politician. Two, they believe President Buhari should jail all corrupt people, if possible summarily. However, he doesn’t have such powers to intervene and interfere directly in a democracy.
Moreover good people don’t win elections without bad people otherwise Chief Abdul-Ganiyu Oyesola Fawehinmi would have been our President aeons ago. General Buhari contested thrice and failed thrice because he didn’t understand how to speak the language of the Mafiosi which the composition of APC apparatchiks helped him to activate and actualise this time around.
If you followed the APC Primaries like some of us did, you would have realised that it wasn’t as simple as it looked. That is a story for the historians. But it must be noted that the combined forces of some warlords made the magic happen. After the primaries, fears expressed by some powerful stakeholders had to be allayed for the campaigns to move on. The People’s General was consistently and persistently asked if he had the intention and temerity of probing past governments. It was a difficult question for any serious leader to answer but I think he answered it perfectly at Chatham House, London. He asserted that he would not probe the past but allow existing corruption cases to go on. He said from May 29, a line would be drawn and anyone who was found wanting will pay the dearly.
I expected APC to have come together to formulate a policy on how to fight corruption and avoid the pitfalls of the past. In my reckoning, one of the ways to start would be that traced and traceable proceeds of corruption be repatriated to government coffers and a small percentage given to those willing to cooperate and cough up their ill-gotten wealth.
I knew it would be total fiasco if APC decides to employ previous administration’s Kangaroo style of probing and prosecuting handpicked felons who may have stepped on toes. Anti-corruptions wars fell flat in the past because there was no clear-cut policy or uniform and impartial standards in place. The victimisation of villains is bound to backfire in a country where ethnicity and religion walk hand in hand.
That is why some of the indicted leaders of yesteryears have since bounced back. In fact some have re-contested and won elections and others are awaiting their turn. The only one in prison is bound to return soon to a tumultuous welcome from his people. President Umar Musa Yar’Adua was faced with such dilemma when it seemed some powerful Governors controlled his government. He was boxed in because he realised he would not have been the President without the generous contributions of those alleged bad guys and did not want to sound ungrateful. It is a delicate situation that may have resulted in a war of attrition via tit for tat thus leading to exposés across party lines. The solution was how to catch the rats without setting fire to the whole village.
Remember good guys don’t win elections here without the bad boys! It is the sad truth.
This best outside opinion was written by Dele Momodu/Thisday