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STRIKER: A Damning And Sustained Decline

  SINCE 1922 till date, there has been steady erosion in identity, principles, ethics and discipline of political parties in Nigeria. The recent decamping from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) by Femi Fani-Kayode into the All Progressives Congress (APC) is a high point in that history of decadence. In Pre-Independence times, despite the unifying mantra…”
Yusuf
September 25, 2021 12:39 pm

 

SINCE 1922 till date, there has been steady erosion in identity, principles, ethics and discipline of political parties in Nigeria. The recent decamping from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) by Femi Fani-Kayode into the All Progressives Congress (APC) is a high point in that history of decadence.

In Pre-Independence times, despite the unifying mantra of decolonisation and diverging fault line of ethnicity, political parties had clearly identifiable conservative, centrist or progressive tendencies and manifestoes, which were carried into post-independence times. Indeed, it was the struggle to muddle up and whittle down the clear ideological lines of the major opposition parties in bogus alliances with persons and groups within it that led to the crises that precipitated the downfall of the First Republic. Indeed, in his Lead Paper at the Political Parties Dialogue Series held in Abuja in 2011, distinguished Professor Adele Jinadu affirmed that “It  is  the  contradictions  unleashed  from  1962  onwards  by  this  federalisation  of  the  party system – the  declaration  of  emergency  rule  in  the  Western  Region  in  1962,  the  creation of  the  Mid-West  Region  in  1963,  the  1962-63  census  controversy,  the  party  realignment before  the  1964  regional  elections  and  the  1965  federal  elections,  involving  the  alliance between  the  NCNC  and  the  A.G,  on  the  one  hand,  and  the  NPC  and  the  rump  of  the NCNC  and  AG  in  the  new  NNDP,  on  the  other  hand – that  contributed  significantly  to the  political  and  constitutional  crisis  and  the  civil  unrest  of  October-December  1965, which precipitated the  fall of the  First Republic  in  January  1966.”

Thirteen years of military rule followed. Despite the distortion to public governance system and values by the dictatorial, unitarising and lawless military, the political parties that crystallised in the 2nd Republic (1979 – 1983) substantially maintained the standards of their progenitors in the 1st Republic: everyone knew the character and disposition of the National Party of Nigeria (NPN), Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN), and others where they came from and what they stood for.

By the close of 1983, the military struck again and stayed forcibly and more destructively till 1999 – 15 years of brutality, corruption, disorientation and distorted development. Understandably, the political parties that emerged from the ashes of military devastation of social life became shadows and distant echoes of their progenitors. The military had substantially compromised the civilian political elites and railroaded them into nepotism, dictatorship, corruption, megalomania, “settlement,” and kleptomania to the extent that the raison d’être for political party formation and party politics and democracy in general were tertiary considerations in the hurriedly packaged return to democracy.

Through various metamorphoses, today’s Peoples Democratic Party is as far from the National Party of Nigeria as the All Progressives Congress is far from the Unity Party of Nigeria! Nigeria has finally produced “conservative” and “progressive” parties, in same likeness, with manifestoes forgotten, service to the people immaterial and democracy only an exercise in power grabbing for personal and clique aggrandizement. Rather than progressing, society is not only stagnated, it retrogresses into barbarism – economically, politically, socially and spiritually. Sadder still for the “progressives” that had been busy admitting major actors that cannot sustain a debate without pulling out a machete or gun; people who have pending corruption and murder cases; and now joined in the inner political chambers by confirmed charlatan, perpetual liar, irredeemable double-dealer and traitor.

Historically, the darkest political hours are usually followed by a radiant dawn. It is up to the youths, who are trapped between six and half a dozen (the devil and the deep sea), to take up the challenge. Political parties are the vehicles for the delivery of democracy and its dividends – life more abundant for all. A hundred outrages like the #EndSARS combustion will take us no far. However, the energy, creativity, vision, organisation and mobilisation capacity demonstrated, if purified further and channelled into political party formation or interventions (along principles and manifestoes that clearly articulate a development agenda by likeminded fellows) can and will eventually save the day and take us to the promised land of “unity and faith, peace and progress.”

 

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