Following the back and forth between the All Progressives Congress and the Peoples Democratic Party over the latter’s apology to all Nigerians over their mis-governance while in power, the Buhari government, in one-upmanship crassness, released a list of “looters” who are alleged to have stolen the country blind. The APC and PDP end-game: as 2019 is around the corner, Nigeria’s dominant parties are playing a scatological game and using Nigerians as their dump.
The PDP “apologised” to get back into the good favours of Nigerians who yanked them out into political wilderness in 2015, not because they were truly sorry for the 16 years of our national life that they wasted before Nigerians cottoned on to their ways. If they were sincerely apologetic, their rituals of contrition would be less melodramatic, and would have included all the upper echelons of the party who contributed to running down Nigeria under their watch.
Why was it only the party chairman the one to apologise when he was not the only one who sinned? If the PDP was truthful, there should also have been some soul- searching, remorse, and an agenda for reparations considering how much they plundered the national resources. What exactly are Nigerians supposed to do with an apology that is not backed by concrete and meaningful actions? Despite its illogic, the apology had enough weight to at least rattle the APC. The APC, worried about Buhari’s dwindling popularity, thought Nigerians would be swayed by the apology. With sanctimonious righteousness, the APC warned Nigerians about the PDP’s past and present shenanigans; they quickly released a list of “looters” as a deal clincher.
The list was, unfortunately, underwhelming; it consists mostly of the names we have known, and some of them are even being tried in court presently. Who by now has not heard of the accusations against the likes of the party’s National Chairman, Uche Secondus; a former National Publicity Secretary, Olisa Metuh; Chairman of DAAR Communications, Dr. Raymond Dokpesi; a former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode; a former Governor of Niger State, Babangida Aliyu; some relatives of former President Goodluck Jonathan, and other familiar names of those who served in the previous administrations while under the banner of the PDP?
The APC updated the list with 23 more names that included former Governors of Plateau, Niger and Oyo – Jonah Jang, Babangida Aliyu and Rasheed Ladoja – respectively. The new list also includes the immediate past NSA, Sambo Dasuki, and former Petroleum Resources Minister Diezani Alison-Madueke. The Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, who has been at the vanguard of the “name and shame,” promised that their party would not stop talking about the past misdeeds of the PDP.
After the APC released its lists, spokesperson for former President Jonathan, Reno Omokri, countered and released his own list that consists of a former governor of Rivers State now serving as Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Amaechi; a former governor of Jigawa State, Saminu Turaki; a former governor of Adamawa State, Murtala Nyako; a former governor of Bayelsa State, Timipre Sylva; a former governor of Nasarawa State and current APC senator, Abdullahi Adamu; a former Ekiti State governor and current Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Kayode Fayemi; a former SGF, Babachir Lawal, and a former governor of Gombe State and APC Senator, Danjuma Goje. Having learned that the best way to respond to propaganda is counter-propaganda that is as vehement, the PDP muddled the APC’s show by thoroughly trivialising the so-called anti-corruption fight.
Since the APC has vowed to keep talking about the PDP’s past crimes, someone should ask them what the end goal is. What is the point? Are they trying to solve a problem, or they just want to score a political goal? If they want to solve the problem of corruption, then what good can come out of merely releasing the names of the alleged looters? How does naming people who will respond with vicious counter-attacks translate to a proper judicial process that tries, convicts, and punishes crimes? If the cases are in court and/or with the EFCC, why not leave them there? The job of the Presidency should not be to spectacularise corruption but to ensure the judiciary can perform its legitimate function appropriately. Have they ever imagined the psychological toll their frequent revelations of corruption take on Nigerians?
Naming and shaming alleged criminals in Nigeria has become so normalised that nobody is likely to lose sleep because somebody put their names on an indecorous list. None of the charades will stop those who will contest elections next year from offering themselves up as candidates for public services. The APC’s obsession with playing the politics of purity always ends up with their hypocrisy being thrown in their faces. Really, how did they plan to convince us that one side is made of incorrigible thieves while those under their watch are saints? How can you look Nigerians in the face and call your opponents looters when those who surround your government have been alleged to have done similar things?
I tried to tally up the amount that these groups of people have reportedly stolen, and it did not amount to as much as is claimed to be missing. For all the APC hustle, their allegations still largely border on the snippets looted by the foot soldiers of corruption. The names on the looters’ lists do not fully explain the billions of dollars that have been stolen either as oil theft, subsidy scams, tax scams, or the sleaze that reportedly goes on in the NNPC daily. All the names on Lai’s lists and what they reportedly stole cannot be the looting that has grounded Nigeria. There will be more if they look in the mirror.
Since Omokri’s counter-attack, other PDP members too have claimed innocence. As expected, they claimed to have stolen nothing; they are merely being hounded by a government that is trying to box its own shadow into a technical knock-out. Ironically, the APC members accused of corruption by the PDP have barely responded. It says a lot about the state of our polity that serving senators and members of an administration would be accused of stealing and there would be nary a response from the appropriate quarters.
Nigerians themselves are barely ruffled; they have cultivated a placid stance to manage the two parties without going crazy. What will be the use of outrage when we all know that in a few days’ time, all of these will blow away? The APC will find another mischief for the PDP to react to and the drama will just go on from there. While they are at it, the real losers will be Nigerians; they are the ones watching their national patrimony degraded and denigrated by these two rogue elephants fighting each other.
If there is any lesson in the entire drama for Nigerians, it is that 2019 is going to be bleak and unless there is something akin to divine intervention, there is really no hope that we will get anything akin to leadership anytime soon. Both parties are playing a game, trying to score against each other but both sides are too imbricated to be described as separate teams. They are all playing the same side and that is why they cannot score against each other.
Between both the APC and the PDP, Nigerians can confirm that both teams are a bunch of witless clowns, a band of unscrupulous looters, and they cannot be bothered to even take themselves seriously. Both sides can continue to release names of looters for all they like, one thing stands clear: when the history of this time is written, both the PDP and the APC will be indicted for the blood on their hands. Both of them will be found guilty of subjecting the country to their rapacious appetite. Both the APC and the PDP will go down in history with the ignominy they deserve.