For a nation still in relative cradle and in pursuit of development, to what moral extent is soulless politics permissible? This is the story of Nigeria, a country whose continued existence defies the projections of social scientists, a country that is, by all means, a breathing miracle for not yet being mired in mortal existential crisis. The country, however, is running out of grace, arriving at ultimate catastrophe with great speed, its final fall masterminded by a group of heartlessly selfish people.
They are the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, the political party in power for the first consecutive sixteen years in Nigeria’s fourth republic, known for its bottomless corruption. A party whose one of the three presidents within the period, carried away by the intoxicants of power, bragged that the party can be in power for a hundred years and never be removed by any opposition. They believed this and thus acted with impunity. Then came 2015.
Ousted from power by a coalition of determined opposition parties who formed a new party named the All Progressives Congress (APC), the PDP entered a four-year shock that, for the first term of APC in power, the once self-acclaimed largest political party in West Africa could not mount meaningful opposition. When 2019 came for another election, the APC rode to victory without significant upset. Before their eyes, the party became a shadow, occasioned by an apocalyptic exodus of members, the largest defection in Africa. How art the mighty fallen.
But as 2023 approaches, the empty party is summoning the last crumbs of political will existing within itself, this time adopting the darkest themes of politics, desperate to the point of destruction. For the PDP, a party aware that a defeat in the coming polls is the benediction of their existence, the end of an era fallen by arrogant incompetence, the 2023 election is, in a phrase invented by one of their presidents, “a do-or-die” affair.
This is why the PDP is sabotaging the country. From inciting violence to manipulating and orchestrating strikes just to grind the country to a halt, and to create false alarms that will make them find favour in the eyes of the electorates, the PDP is not holding back.
The most recent of this series of carefully planned dark arts, is the determination to heat up the polity and to divide the country and her people along religious lines, using the Vice-Presidential ticket of the APC as a guise. Using the media, most of which they control due to being the party that licensed them when in power, they sponsored dangerous narratives, sowed seeds of discord, and created nonexistent apparitions with the hope to scare Nigerians into chaos.
Prince Kassim Afegbua, a longtime PDP media interventionist who also served as a spokesman for the Atiku campaign in 2019, revealed this dark strategy and astonishing complicity of an organization expected to be both neutral and committed to peaceful co-existence in a recent press statement that went viral.
Titled “PDP behind CAN standoff against APC”, Afegbua alleged that the Christian Association of Nation, an organization whose controversial dabbling into politics in the past led to the exit of powerful and historic Christian bodies such as the Catholic Church in Nigeria, was being sponsored by the PDP to amplify dangerous religious rhetoric.
He said: “Let me state categorically and without any iota of doubt that CAN as a body is working for the Peoples’ Democratic Party.”
“They are being sponsored to sustain a political awareness that cannot pass any true test of ecclesiastical emanation. The PDP had earlier set up a committee to sustain these sentiments in the realization that it will weaken the APC and force it to rescind its well thought-out decision to choose a Northern Muslim as the Party’s Vice Presidential Candidate.”
“They are being funded covertly by PDP elements and my very reliable source confirmed a meeting held in Asokoro, at the home of a media mogul, few days ago, where a decision was taken to sustain the umbrage. I will mention names very soon if they refuse to desist from such satanic plots, just to score cheap political points.”
Curiously, neither the PDP nor CAN bothered to call Afegbua’s bluff or contradict his accusations with a denial or the familiar threat of legal action despite the national shock that greeted his damning allegations and the general anticipation of a response from the accused parties. They have, instead, remained mum – a diversion from a previous and well-established line of action that some may very well consider evidence of guilt, especially considering Afegbua’s extensive network in the PDP, a party he was represented in a very prominent position.
But the chicaneries of the PDP are beyond just religion. Having been in power and knowing what truly matters, the PDP decided to hit the significant nerves of the country’s wellbeing: the pipelines. In what is not merely a coincidence, the unrelenting oil pipeline vandalization going on in the country recently has been in PDP-controlled states.
Various reports exist, from media articles to court filings, across years showing a timeline of an unceasing PDP involvement in the sabotage and theft of the nation’s oil resources. In a June 14 2022 article on Tekedia, the report disclosed that the Public Relations of the NSCDC in Delta State, a PDP-controlled state led by the PDP’s Vice Presidential candidate, said that “Heads will roll, if the corps decides to publish the names of those behind crude oil theft, pipeline vandalism, illegally dealing in petroleum products, economic Sabotage amongst others.”
In another article on Sahara Reporters, a report revealed that “Jarrett Tenebe, a Peoples democratic Party gubernatorial candidate and a politically well-connected oil thief arrested by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) reportedly shocked investigators by revealing that he received cover from several senior government officials and top politicians, including Mike Oghiadomhe, a former Chief of Staff to President Goodluck Jonathan, Tony Anenih, chair of the board of trustees of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and Petroleum Minister, Diezani Alison Madueke.”
Today, news of ships ferrying millions of purportedly unaccounted crude are conveniently making their way to the press, much to the delight of PDP leaders and their henchmen whose daily tasks include the gleeful amplification and concoction of negative stories about the country.
It is impossible to line policemen to cover every inch of pipeline in the riverine areas. There is no security without citizen commitment. When state governments and higher-ups of a political party are accused of complicity in a systemic theft of national resources – particularly when the same officials are guilty of questionable display of opulence and with a long history of courting and enabling known vandals – then the riddle of the unabating persistence of the crime is solved.
Seeing chaos as a ladder, the PDP believes in deepening and broadening anarchy so that they can climb the heights of corruption and create a conduit for the infinite plunder of the nation’s commonwealth. For this, they occasioned insecurity, in one part creating it, and in another providing a conducive environment for an explosion.
As far back as 2012, a Premium Times article titled NSA Azazi blames PDP for Boko Haram attacks, revealed that “The National Security Adviser, Owoye Azazi, says the current escalation of insecurity in the country, particularly the rampaging activities of the dreaded extremist sect, Boko Haram, is traceable to some undemocratic practices by the political parties during elections, especially the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP).”
In 2019, patterns and trends of these devious schemes were beginning to reemerge, becoming so glaring that the Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, had to hold a special press conference to lament the looming danger.
“Never in the history of politics in Nigeria has an opposition party and its presidential candidate exhibited the kind of desperate tactics being deployed by the duo of the PDP and its flag-bearer, especially since President Muhammadu Buhari overwhelmingly defeated Atiku to win the 2019 presidential election”, the minister said, speaking very solemnly.
“Either by themselves or via their proxies, the PDP and its presidential candidate are doing everything possible to sabotage the Buhari Administration, generally overheat the polity and make Nigeria seemingly ungovernable, especially through their public utterances and their poorly-thought-out press releases before and after the 2019 general elections.”
Before concluding his speech, visibly heartbroken at the height of wicked politics being employed by the PDP, Minister Mohammed clearly made the connection in order to eliminate doubts as to the source of the country’s indiscriminately sponsored woes.
“For those who may be quick to accuse the government of crying wolf, the pre-election statement credited to the former Vice President, that unless Nigerians vote out the APC Administration, killings by herdsmen will continue and ultimately spark a series of ethnoreligious crises that will be irreversible, is looking more like a Freudian slip than anything else”, the minister said.
Today, the connections make themselves, not forgetting how, after the Kuje prison attack, information began to circulate that it was an inside job. Who and who are the inside men providing intelligence and funding for these terrorists? Nigerians must ponder on this, remembering how, who, where, and when the roots of today’s afflictions were planted.
If I cannot have you, nobody else can is a familiar threat issued by abusers to the victims of their abuse when they attempt to terminate the toxic and harmful relationship. Nigeria issued a divorce to the PDP in 2015 and instead of making itself appealing for a possible reconsideration, the party is behaving like an abusive partner; determined in its desperation to intimidate and compel Nigerians into returning to the toxic relationship or make their lives unbearable. It has vowed to stop at nothing. The only force strong enough to defeat this obvious enemy is unyielding patriotism and self-love. We cannot surrender to a campaign of terror and fear-mongering waged by self-serving and morally bankrupt degenerates.
This opinion article was authored by Albus Dauda