Friday, June 10, 2016

Multi-Partism As A Philosophic Construct

By Amor Amor
Like an inscrutable nightmare, the pon­derous mystery of the Nigerian national question, which is ultimately the nation’s enduring essence, is still at issue. Jolted by the scandalous and shocking dis­play of the obvious limitations of the human evolution, the unacceptable index of human misery in their country, and willed by the current spate of pain being inflicted on them by a stone-hearted old soldier and his quislings, Nigerians have been singing discordant tunes about the state of their forced union. This has further been exacerbated by disarm­ing pockets of inter and intra-communal clashes, ethnic cleansing by Fulani herdsmen, student unrest, rampaging madness of ethic militias and sectarian fanaticism in some parts of the country. There­fore, the matter for regret and agitation is that a supposedly giant of Africa has suddenly become the world’s most viable junkyard due to the evil mach­inations of a fraudulent ruling class and the feudal forces still bent on keeping the country in a perpetual state of medieval servitude.
Yet, the most disturbing irony of the Nigerian con­dition is that a multi-party democratic system made up of over fifty registered politi­cal parties enthroned by the civil society and the media with the support of a few pro­gressive politicians such as the late legal luminary, Chief Gani Fawehinmi, the great Yoruba leader, Chief Abraham Ade­sanya, Chief Ndubisi Kanu, Alhaji Balarabe Musa and a host of others, is gradually be­ing turned to a one-party state by a gang of confused politi­cians and discredited soldiers who call themselves “progres­sives”. After a keenly contested presidential election in which emotions rose to fever-pitch, a lot of unprintable and dam­aging words thrown into the bargain from all sides of the divides, rather than sue for a genuine reconciliation of all the contending forces, presi­dent Muhammadu Buhari and his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) started by criminalizing the opposition led by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) which was hither­to the ruling party. Rather than show magnanimity in victory as genuine progressives would do, extend the olive branch to the defeated, resuscitate and rejig the Inter-party Advisory Office and promote peaceful co-existence amongst the vari­ous political parties, ethnic na­tionalities, religious and other interest groups, the APC-led federal government did the op­posite.

Soon after its inauguration, the APC government, like a bull in a China’s shop, started embarking on the aggressive promotion of belligerence, acrimony and rancour; crimi­nalization, demonization, de­humanization, and demolition of the major opposition party, the PDP. While decimating their prime enemy, the APC was trying to lionize and can­onize its members in messianic emblems at the detriment of other politicians. The APC, in its smugness, self assurance and we-know-it-all bravura, is bliss­fully unaware of the fact it won the election not only for them­selves but for all Nigerians. The ruling party is sadly engrossed in the envenomisation, intimi­dation and balkanisation of the PDP, organized Labour, the intelligentsia and the critical elite that it has forgotten how to govern this complex nation. By trying to rubbish the sustained achievements of the PDP which succeeded in rebuilding almost all the broken segments of the national economy for sixteen unbroken years after sixteen consecutive years (1983-1999) of military gangsterism, rapac­ity and greed, the APC has, unknown to itself, committed political harakiri before all dis­cerning Nigerians and the in­ternational community which rated the country under former president Goodluck Jonathan as easily the biggest economy in Africa and one of the fasted growing economies in the world.

In the wake of Marxism’s historical failures as well as its continuing relevance to life under globalising capitalism, scholars are confused as to what kind of “democratic progressiv­ism” Nigeria is practising under the APC. Is it not surprising, therefore, that whereas the PDP, despite its obvious short-comings, tried to create and actually nurtured a competi­tive and level playing political atmosphere for democracy to thrive, which even resulted to the emergence of the APC in the first place, the ruling party is ironically doing everything within its powers to emasculate the opposition in order to turn Nigeria to a one-party state? The standard dramatic irony in Nigeria today is that of a class of people- an unequal yoke of ag­grieved individuals made up of expired warlords and frustrated pseudo-democrats-who have succeeded in capturing power by hook or crook or both but lacking the idea of how to use it to better the lot of the teeming masses. It is the irony of a char­acter taking an action which does not lead to applause. In spite of the invidious mouth­ing and media trials of the opposition by APC, it is now glaring to all Nigerians that these people have nothing to offer them except pains. If the survival quotient of Nigeria in all aspects of life averaged sixty per cent under PDP and it has plummeted to twenty after just one year of APC in the saddle, which between the two is a bet­ter party?

It is indeed apposite that the caliber of a party’s leadership defines its vision for the coun­try. Given their one year report card, the APC has in many ways exposed its unwillingness to govern the country transpar­ently, justly and in accordance with global best practice. It is hoped that the outpouring of grieve and condemnation by many Nigerians would give birth to a remorseful spirit among the top echelon of the party and serve as a catalyst for the APC to purge itself of its offensive image of messi­anic posturings in the interest of the party and Nigerians at large.

The APC, if it must avoid presiding over the liquidation of this empire, must emphasize the need for a thoroughly con­sidered approach to change- a perspective that sets the attrac­tion of potential benefits against the backdrop of potential harm, an approach that seeks a crea­tive balance between innova­tion and conservation. Official lying as state policy, the grow­ing gap between government promises and performance, the degrading monotony of pov­erty among Nigerians and the yearning gap between those in government and the gov­erned- these are the corrosive processes which are cumulative and mutually reinforcing in our society. Their compounded effects are declining confidence in government; a progressive inability to understand , con­trol and influence the forces that shape our lives, and a di­minishing sense of individual identity and significance. Left unchecked, these processes will eventually destroy both our ca­pacity for self-government and the human dignity and free­dom which are its chief ends.

The party in power should concern itself with the cumu­lative forces threatening to submerge the dignity and self-esteem of the average Nigerian and with the ways in which governmental policies could more effectively be directed to­ward coping with these forces instead of shadow-boxing. Our point of departure in the cur­rent attempt to reinvent Nige­ria must be anchored on a set of beliefs, which seem to me not only fundamental to the values of our society but implicit in a valid perception of what it is to be a human being. Foremost among them is the belief that every individual seeks a sense of personal dignity and worth. Each person gains this partly through the development and exercise of individual capacity, liberties and freedoms, partly through the sense of belonging and sharing that comes from participating in the society of others. In both cases, freedom to choose is indispensable to the opportunity to become a complete citizen of a given country. It is against this back­drop that we must insist that the APC liberalises the political atmosphere by allowing a virile opposition party to thrive and provide alternative and intel­ligent choices for the citizenry and the growth of our country.
*Dan Amor is an Abuja-based public affairs analyst (

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