Back as One big, happy family! By Sanya Oni

I know that there are many Nigerians who will swear that the implosion currently rocking the Peoples Democratic Party of President Goodluck Jonathan is the long-awaited divine response to the anguished prayers of Nigerians for freedom. After 14-years bondage in the hand of a party sworn to serve citizens the cup of affliction till kingdom come, it seems that not even our prayer-addicted but by now traumatised fellow citizens would have anything left in their arsenal of good wishes for the party.

Going merely by indications at the weekend, it seems that those in the business of prayers still have a long way to go as far as the quest to rid the nation of the PDP yoke is concerned. I start with the so-called resignation of the treasurer of the Baraje-led faction of the PDP said to have been procured at the villa over the weekend. While the matter of how the nPDP treasurer, Malam Tanko Isiaku Gomna, found himself in the lion’s den would remain a matter of conjecture, it is good grief that the lone unwilling (?) guest at the villa didn’t have to suffer the pains of losing life or limbs. At least he was given the option to either resign from his beloved nPDP or forfeit his company’s contracts with the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency and the Federal Ministry of Works. Oh yes, he resigned with gusto –followed by a treatise rationalising his Pauline somersault with a pledge of allegiance to the Bamanga Tukur leadership and a clarion call on all party faithful to do the same! That was one down. I hear from the grapevine that many more surprise resignations are on the way.

That was however, merely one part in the two-part play staged at the weekend. Elsewhere within the same precincts of the Villa, a “ceasefire” was in earnest between the group of seven “rebel” governors, President Jonathan and the leadership of his faction of the PDP. By late Sunday night, a communiqué which suggested that the feuding parties may to have resolved to let Nigeria be, emerged. By the terms of the temporary truce, the parties are expected to sheathe their swords in the understanding that the issues in dispute are not necessarily irreconcilable. And just like that?

The army of volunteers and the not-so-well-wishers drafted into the party’s turf wars would by now be licking their wounds for their exaggerated expectation that their predicted implosion would create a reformed PDP. And this applies to those who have long sworn that things will never be the same again for the party; it is apparent that not only did they rejoice too soon, they suffered terrible underestimation of the power of the patronage machine in Abuja to force behavioural change. Nigerians have between now and October 7 to see how many would be left of the nPDP members when the machine is fully deployed as it would surely be.

Of course, the war was never about us in the first place. This was the point so beautifully made by my colleague, Segun Ayobolu in his illuminating back page column of last Saturday. It’s not about fixing our unworkable federal contraption much less about addressing those age-long economic strictures that continue to hobble the nation’s capacity to renew itself. It is not about the rot in our educational system that has left 10 million kids out of school; an educational system that continues to churn out barely literate graduates. It is not about defining Nigeria’s place in the sun among the mass in the 21st Century and beyond. It is not about advancing the cause of our collective security or such nobler goals.

It is none of those.

It is about the office of President and who occupies the office in 2015. That is what is tearing the PDP apart – for which Nigerians – treated as unknown equation by the PDP, have now been drafted to the role of cheerleaders.

The G-7 wants Goodluck Jonathan out. That seems fine, and it is entirely their business – not ours – at least not at this time. I believe they have done well in seducing Nigerians into taking sides in their bitter family squabble. In this, one must give it to the leading lights of the “rebellion” for their profound mastery of social psychology of the ordinary Nigerian – particularly his instinctive penchant to rise in defence of the underdog during moments of unrestrianed use of power as we continue to see in Rivers where the governor and his loyalists are under siege.

However, beyond the attempt by the G-7 to play the spoiler, where is their case for a different PDP that is less arbitrary less contemptuous of the people?

The prospect of a shrunk presidency in the event that President Jonathan decides to run is however more frightening. The issue clearly isn’t so much about the right of President Jonathan to run in 2015 but whether in the current circumstances, it is in the nation’s interest for him to run. I must say here that part of the unfortunate consequences of the PDP’s war of attrition isn’t just the diminished aura of the most powerful office in the land but also the diminution of its moral authority. Surely, the squandering of the pan-Nigerian mandate of 2011 for what is now a full-blown Ijaw Presidency is the stuff of which anti-heroes are made.

The bitter truth remains that those expecting the PDP to go the way of the fictional Humpty Dumpty are in for a rude shock; the party will pull back with or without Nigeria and Nigerians. As for Jonathan, he will run; the inexhaustible gravy in Abuja will ensure that every opposition to his running will be smothered just in time to ensure he enjoys his smooth sail. Win or lose; it does not really matter, at least not with the vote-harvesting PDP machine primed to deliver. Whichever way it goes, out nightmares can only continue.

It is something for those seeking to pray the PDP out of existence should ponder over. Didn’t the scriptures say that heaven helps those who help themselves? Who says that the battle to retrieve the dignity of the citizens from the PDP taskmasters could be achieved by wishing the party dead? And this in a multi-party democracy?

Nigerians ronu!

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In the beginning...Let there be Light http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japheth_J._Omojuwa

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