Nigeria’s political landscape took a new dimension on the 6th of February, 2013 when four major opposition parties namely Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) and the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) announced the result of their merger that birthed the All Progressives’ Congress (APC). It was a remarkable and unprecedented achievement not just to the people of the opposition, but a large percentage of Nigerians who believed that a true opposition is needed to challenge the ruling Peoples’ Democratic Party.
During the build up to the 2011 general elections, a similar attempt by the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) to jointly present a candidate for the presidential election, failed due largely to what many described as the personal interest of individuals of the two parties which prevented them from forming a common ground. The result of that failure is the election of Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, whose government is now renowned for crass corruption, ineptitude and retrogressive leadership.
Reeling from the sad experience of that failure, the move by the CPC, ACN, APGA and ANPP to form a mega party was quickly dismissed by the PDP as an exercise that will never work. Calling the merger moves all sorts of names; the PDP said it will fail like similar moves failed since the advent of democracy in 1999.
It remained unclear why the PDP believes that any attempt for merger and alliance by political parties will fail, because it has always happened in the past, but events that trailed the announcement of the formation of the All Progressive Party on the 6th of February, proved that the PDP has no basis for such conclusion. As a matter of fact, it showed that the party merely just engaged in rhetoric. The truth of the matter was that the party is scared to its bone marrow that it began to engage in sinister moves to either cause confusion in the camp of the opposition or frustrate its plan to conclude a formidable merger.
Aside the psychological war fare that the PDP engaged in, one critical move it made that shows it is rattled with the merger of the four parties is the sponsor of a group known as the African Peoples’ Congress which shares the same APC acronym to apply to be registered as a political party with INEC, thereby denying the All Progressive Congress who had earlier adopted the APC acronym, the chance of registering with the same name. Except for the fact that people know the PDP for what they are, nobody would have pointed accusing fingers at the party, but revelations that were to follow shortly after the phantom APC unveiled its logo, flag and party secretariat in Abuja confirm what people had known all along.
First was a bombshell from Mr. Nwokorie Samuel Chinedu, the legal representative whom the PDP through its hatchet man, Ugochinyere Ikenga had engaged to register the party. Mr. Nwokorie said kenga paid him N30,000 before he filed the papers. The “client” paid him N50,000 later and gave him a Samsung Galaxy phone after the job had been done.
Mr. Ikenga himself, a youth activist in the Peoples’ Democratic Party is known to have done dirty jobs for the party hierarchy, either against perceived enemies within and outside the party. Two examples among the dirty Jobs Ikenga has done are his roles in the expulsion of Atiku Abubakar from the PDP in 2006 and the persecution of former Senate President, Ken Nnamani who agitated for a review of the provision in the party’s constitution which made the office of the Board of Trustees the exclusive preserve of former presidents and national chairmen of the party.
Nigerians had barely digested the revelations from the lawyer when strong evidences that the PDP is behind the phantom party surfaced. This time around, it was an email sent by leaders of the phantom party using PDP leaders email addresses. The phantom party obviously on the instruction of the PDP, in an attempt to pull a propaganda string, cooked an assassination alarm and mailed it to media houses alleging that it has uncovered plan by the opposition to assassinate some of its members. The mistake it however made was to copy the mail to top PDP leaders like Olisa Metuh, Baraje Kawu and John Odey.
While this was going on, some members of the Save Nigeria Group (SNG) said they’ve uncovered plots by a Director in INEC in connivance with the presidency of being the brain behind the registration of the phantom APC. The group alleged that it found fake documents which the phantom party had submitted for its registration in a hurried attempt to block the registration of the All Progressive Congress (APC).
Looking at this plethora of moves by the PDP to frustrate the efforts of the merging opposition, one can conclude that this are well thought out plans to throw spanner(s) in the wheels of the opposition All Progressives’ Congress. What was poorly done however was the execution of those plans that eventually boomeranged and exposed what would have scored them some points. Be that as it may, I believe the evil plots of the PDP may not have been exposed if not for divine intervention. All these revelations we have seen are not borne out of the brilliance or vigilance of those who exposed them, it is because God too is tired of the PDP. He knows how much Nigerians have suffered since 1999. He knows how much of our common wealth has been stolen and laundered out of the country. He knows how the common man has been deprived of basic necessities of life. He knows that the Peoples’ Democratic Party is a failed political party, which had not only deepened poverty in the country but had continued to marginalise the common man and that is why he exposed their efforts to scuttle the plan of the opposition which has promised to assuage the sufferings of the people.
One thing the opposition must learn from this however is that it must really step up its game. I believe the PDP will go down, but it won’t go down without a fight and that fight is going to be very dirty, so the opposition needs to really be at alert and ensure that whatever move it is making, that move is already two steps ahead of what PDP would do.
The political devils under the umbrella of the PDP have perpetrated the worst political evils as witnessed in the political history of Nigeria since the Second Republic. And if we do not destroy these evils, they will destroy us.
Abubakar Sidiq Usman is an Urban Planning Consultant; Blogger and an Active Citizen working towards a better Nigeria. He blogs on Abusidiqu.com and can be engaged directly on twitter @Abusidiqu