By Clem Aguiyi
Though I listed the phone number on my page as SMS only, yet some readers will not heed to the notice. They would rather call to engage in word war. Over the years as a political writer, I have learnt to be patient with my readers and their reactions. Reason being; if, they will spend their money to buy the paper because of my column and patiently read through every single line of what I have written, I must also be a patient listener to those that summoned the courage to call me rather than SMS. No matter how tortuous the word war might be , I have learnt not to be irritated. From our disagreements, I have learnt a lot and also used the opportunity to clarify myself on some issues. It’s not every time that one is right.
Last week, one of my regular readers called to find out why I am not noisy about the 2023 election. He went on to speak on how both PDP and APC ruined the country. He spoke about his new political preference and what he considered a revolution that is about to happen upon Nigeria and why I must be ‘obidiently’ compliant.
First, I am not quiet about 2023. I have put down my thoughts on paper despite my occasional deviation paying tribute to my quintessential DR, a diamond and a one of a kind.
Every fair-minded person agrees that Nigeria is in ruins, and I mean ruined in every aspect. The current regime headed by President Buhari presents very poor image of leadership. The regime had no agenda to govern but to destroy and plunder, hence under their watch the entire system of network of administration is broken down; there is no trust between the governed and the government; the people’s confidence in the federation is broken; the trust in the judiciary and legislature are broken; the health and education system are broken and likewise the economy; inflation rate has jumped from 17.5% to 18.7% in just one month. The Naira is exchanging for N620 to $1. The economy and related financial systems , monetary exchange , credit management and fiduciary issues are completely broken and would require a keen professional restructuring for growth and market propelled management.
The listings of the challenges that we face are inexhaustive, but does that require a revolution or any violent intervention? Most revolutions end up creating disorder without actually solving the problems that propelled them . That’s one thing I have against revolutionary hypes.
I guess, I disappointed my caller as I politely told him that growing up, I wasn’t a very obedient child but a stubborn and critical thinker. I told him that as a competent adult, that I am a self-confessed reformist who believe that the daunting and enormous challenges faced by Nigeria today can be resolved through restructuring or reforms. All we need is that political leader with the capacity and will power to dare and do the right thing. AA will and Ifeanyi will be useful in this pursuit .
I told him that I endorsed Atiku Abubakar because of his commitment to reforms, and that those of us who calls for restructuring are united in our desire to live harmoniously in a society that works better and works for everyone.
Unlike the revolutionists who are hoping to insert themselves in chaos and ill advised secession , we the reformists are driven by the love and patriotism for the country hence the difference between the reformists and revolutionists.
They revolutionists said they are angry and I admit we are all angry and very angry by the consistent failure of the APC government and her inability to cure itself of glaring incompetent leadership. However, our anger as reformist is far distant away from breaking the country because of one incompetent leader that is even eager to go back to his native Daura on his expiring date.
As reformists, we believe most of the sixty-six items listed in the exclusive list have no business being there. We believe that the centre is overburdened and need to be divested of some powers, hence we are committed to devolving issues bothering on minerals and mines , internal security and state politics, law and order, communication , transport , environment and land matters to the concurrent list.
We are also committed to devolving such social and welfare issues like education, health, energy etc. , to the states and local governments. I told him as reformists we are committed to making Local Governments a true third tier of government with financial autonomy and renegotiation of the revenue allocation formula to enable States and Local Governments get more funding to cater for the developmental needs of the people, while the Federal Government retain the sole powers of quality assurance, policy standardization and implementation. These are some of the issues that Atiku Abubakar are committed to, hence he earned my endorsement.
I am also aware that Atiku as the PDP presidential flagbearer acknowledges the enormous challenge that is facing the country and if elected in 2023 will assemble a team that will reunite Nigeria and reflect our diversity. He has demonstrated this commitment to unity in his choice of Ifeanyi Okowa as running mate, a progressive minded Igbo from the South-South.
As South Easterners we must appreciate there is a whole future to rebuild and we need a bridge between us and our fellow compatriots. The onus is on us to eschew rancour and embrace other progressive minded persons from across the country in delivering a government where we can find accommodation with fellow citizens. As we transit from a post Buhari Presidency, we have a choice to embrace the cooperation of other citizens or continue waltzing without political sensitivity from an intolerably unwise conflictions between demand for a separation in one breathe and in another breathe a so-called president of Igbo extraction that does not engage or embrace the cooperation of other progressive forces.
I also rejected the thesis that PDP and APC are the same or that PDP laid the foundation that destroyed Nigeria. Those hyperventilating this false narrative are simply being mischievous so as to push through their own narrow agenda. In the first instance, there is no single major political player in the 2023 race for president that at one time or the other didn’t belong to either of PDP or APC. There is none of them that had not held political office between 1999 and now. So, if we want to blame our woes on past leaders, we shouldn’t be selective, otherwise we should be able to separate the good from the bad.
In 1999 PDP inherited a bad economy and conflicted politics as we have today if not worse. Between 1999 to 2015 we had a PDP that settled the national debt and now an APC leadership that is still borrowing and re-looting what they borrowed. We had a PDP that improved our economy to be the best in Africa and the sixth fastest growing economy in the word. Now we have the APC that in just seven years made us the poorest country in the world and left fifteen million children out of school while they payed money to terrorists that enabled them to restock and rearm to kill our people and soldiers.
As I write this opinion , Nigerians are eating from the waste.bins , over 3000 Nigerians have been killed by insurgents in the past one year and many more abducted for ransom . All public universities are closed by striking lecturers. No one knows when the striking lecturers will call off their strike so as to allow the students back to schools.
We had a PDP that stabilized the exchange rate at N160 to $1 in 2015 , and now APC regime where the Naira is crashing every other day peaking at N620 to $1. From every indication, PDP era was Nigeria’s golden era while APC is just an exhaust pipe of PDP.
The next election is clearly an election between the two established parties. That is PDP vs APC and we are left with no choice but to reject APC. Nigerians will be foolish to reward APC’s incompetence by re-electing them in 2023 or worse still elect a leadership whose leadership potential and capacity is questionable. No group or party should use our future for another round of political experiment . AA was in the 1999 team that did it before , and can do it again if given the chance .