And the birds come to roost
The 2011 elections have shown that the PDP still remains the only national party in terms of its wider spread and acceptance, for the progressives, it is time to return to the trenches and begin to mobilize to build a national party that could contend with the PDP in 2015 writes CHE OYINATUMBA
The results of the April Gubernitorial Elections across the states of the Nigerian Federation are pouring in. There are no earth-quaking results as the reality of the ethnic coloration of Nigeria’s political landscape since 1953 came to the fore once again. Nigerian political watchers after the Presidential Election of April 16th tried down playing the role of religion and ethnicity in the “overwhelming” victory handed to the PDP Presidential Candidate; incumbent President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan but the reality is out with the voting partern of the just concluded April 26th Election.
As foreseen, Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) took over the last fortress on their way to dominance of the Ooduwa States of the South West. Oyo and Ogun States collapsed and ACN added another feather to its cap. Apart from the South West (Yoruba States), the ACN did not win in any other state despite fielding quality candidates in other Geo-political zones. In South East and South South, their candidates did not make any wave as ACN was seen as a Yoruba party and the electorates could not understand why they should vote ACN.
Up North the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) was demystified and the truth that the CPC was merely a platform for retired Major General Buhari to contest was made bare. As at press time, the only state in the kitty of CPC is Nasarawa. Even the traditional strong hold of Buhari-Katsina State went to PDP; Kano failed to PDP, Kebbi went the same way.
In all these ethno balancing of sharing of spoils of politics, the South East went national by delivering PDP. The result of Imo is still hotly contested with APGA and there was no election in Anambra State. Enugu, Abia and Ebonyi went PDP. It is this national outlook of the South East that has been their undoing in the panel beaten ethnic mosaic called Nigeria. With the block uniformed ACN in the South East looking after the Yoruba interest, ACN will be a factor to reckon with when the national cake is shared at the centre. Who will speak for the South East?
Painful as these realities are, I urge the building of a national party which despite my displeasure is only PDP that has that outlook. Shouldn’t the progressives join PDP and transform it since going by the last elections; it was the only party that had national spread? If this nest of vipers (apologies to Wole Soyinka), will not be condusive for the progressives, can the progressives start building a national opposition movement rather than this last minute merger talks that had time and time again shown that parties are already ethnically/regionally entrenched that it would amount to hara-kiri for any party to be the junior in any merger talk just few weeks to election.
To avoid the repeat of April 2011 General Elections as the birds come to roost, the progressives should start now running after the black goat before dusk sets in by 2014 on the eve of 2015 Election. The progressives can beat all to it by grooming Sanusi Lamido Sanusi (Gov. of Central Bank) ahead of 2015.