BY ADEMOLA YAYA
AT the end of its National Convention where Senator Iyiocha Ayu emerged the National Chairman of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) held in Abuja on Saturday, 30th October, 2021, Iyiocha Ayu was quoted, in screaming headlines, “PDP’s back to rescue Nigeria,” “We’re On Rescue Mission to Unite Nigeria,” “Our party’s Successful Convention, Quit Notice to APC,” etc. If All Progressive Congress (APC) should go, PDP must never come back as decapitation can never be solution to headache. If we trusted APC and we’re let down, especially on security of lives and property, what sense does it make to trust PDP, the architect of the problems, in the first instance? Could PDP have become ‘born again’? While it is not an excuse for APC not to have corrected the past wrongs, it can’t be an opportunity for PDP to stage a ‘come back’.
If the truth must be said, there’s no government that has made National Social Investment Programmes as Buhari APC government. These are social welfare initiatives since 2015 supervised by National Social Investment Office like N-Power which provides young Nigerians with job training and education with a monthly stipend of N30,000; Conditional Cash Transfer Program, which is a direct cash support for the most vulnerable, helping to reduce poverty; Government Enterprise and Empowerment Program, a micro-lending investment program for entrepreneurs with target on young people and women with loans to start-up business; School Feeding Program, a bait to increase school enrolment and providing meals to school children especially the poor which provides automatic market to farmers and empowerment to women as cooks. However, only the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Farouq, could defend over N500 million claimed to have been spent to feed school children in Abuja, Lagos and Ogun States during COVID-19 lockdown in their houses.
Again, the collapsed rail transport system has been revived with modern train services while Second Niger Bridge and Lagos/Ibadan Expressway will be completed by 2022 aside various roads projects done by the administration. If those who want to kick APC out of government are the ones behind insecurity, they have been very successful as it is the most important area APC has failed Nigerians. Bandits, kidnappers, terrorists and cattle rustlers have taken over everywhere. Farmers have been kicked out of their farms, which has a lot of implications on the prices of foods and livestock as productions have stopped while ever growing population must eat. Hence, continuous prohibitive increase in the price of foods which put pressure on Naira as only production and productivity could strengthen it.Up till now; APC government has found it difficult to brand bandits as terrorists. Another APC failure is the increase in the price of petroleum products and electricity tariff. All these have added to cost of production that will be passed to the final consumers and eventual increase in the prices of goods and services that have made lives unbearable for the vast majority of the populace.
But, wait a minute! If raccoon is feverish, chicken should not be the announcer. We shall never allow PDP to use its bread mop up our stew again. Although corruption still thrives everywhere – in the government, private sectors, parties, organisations etc, we should not revert to an era of ‘stealing is not corruption’; where public institutions were deliberately weakened and compromised; substituting competence for political patronage; corruption with impunity. Dasukigate is still very fresh in our memory where $2.1billion meant for procurement of military equipment to fight Boko Haram insurgents were diverted for re-election of President Goodluck Jonathan. We cannot quickly forget 2009 when the military captured Mohammed Yusuf, the founder of Boko Haram and handed it over to the police who summarily executed him outside the police headquarters in Maiduguri under the guise of ‘he tried to escape’- the mismanagement that set a stage for a full blown insurgency. How do we forget so soon constant daily stealing of our crude oil and price hike and queue at the fuelling stations, especially during festive periods under the watch of Diezani Alison Madueke – the diva with million dollars bras?
If APC is a disappointment (as per internal democracy, fidelity to manifesto of promised good governance, e.t.c) and continues to live in denial rather than making restitution and reorganisation, PDP is not an alternative. That brings to the front burner the need for a third force with pro-masses ideology, programmes and policies that can rally round the poor who are the majority. With the massive support of the poor people, such a party will be viable enough to wrest power from both APC and PDP that have ruled and ruined us. Nature has been so favourable to us. Rain falls at its own time; sun rises and sets at its own time. We are blessed with vast fertile land that can grow cash and arable crops all the year round. We are blessed with numerous natural endowments that we don’t know what to do with them and blessed with fantastic population that can work and consume whatever we produce with virtually no natural disaster except the ones we manufacture by ourselves like floods and building collapse, among others. What is required is a clear headed leadership with correct principle and egalitarian ideology to drive the people in harnessing all these resources and potentials for development and prosperity of Nigeria for Nigerians, where majority will have better life and live a fulfilled life, where hunger, misery and penury will evaporate. Labour, pro-democracy groups, pro-labour organisations, etc should jettison their differences and break the ice in forming such a party instead of flashing us option between Satan and Lucifer.