Change and Saraki’s Hail Mary Strategy -By Bámidélé Adémólá-Olátéjú

Filed under: National Issues |
Bámidélé Adémólá-Olátéjú

Bámidélé Adémólá-Olátéjú

 

This change means that we the people want the rules to apply. This change was deliberate. It occurred through elections. It happened because we have come to the knowledge of our power. We elected Buhari to make fundamental changes to our polity. We elected him to take a systemic break from our old crooked ways. The change we voted for is to combat systemic corruption and impunity.

The change we voted for on March 28, 2015 is a fundamental political change. The change we want and will get is the change in the basic character of our political system. What we voted for was not just an alternation of power between the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressives’ Congress (APC). This change means that we the people want the rules to apply. This change was deliberate. It occurred through elections. It happened because we have come to the knowledge of our power. We elected Buhari to make fundamental changes to our polity. We elected him to take a systemic break from our old crooked ways. The change we voted for is to combat systemic corruption and impunity. The change we want is for institutionalised transparency and accountability, with rules in place for politicians and high level public servants to submit themselves to full disclosure. The change we deserve is freedom of information, public declaration of personal assets, and open invitation to public scrutiny by political office holders.

What we are seeing in the APC is a party put together only for the purpose of winning the presidential elections and nothing else.

As it is everywhere fundamental change is occurring, varied arrays of colourful and colourless individuals will be thrusting themselves into the process, more than has been the case previously. We understand that. We know many of the individuals who coasted to victory on the platform of the APC benefitted from the Buhari surge. We know they can’t be cured of their old ways, at least not this early. We know they will jump in the fray with striking determination, considerable resources, and sometimes with notable skills to shape events in their favour. Most importantly, we know some of their moves will be largely unethical, if legal, and sometimes undemocratic. For these political gladiators, influence over processes of political change around them is a crucial part of the larger strategic efforts to mould a new national order to fit their individual and group strategic interests.

Those who detest Tinubu do not have his discipline, foresight and commitment to good governance. Neither do they have his dye in the wool qualities of made in America political hucksterism.

What we are seeing in the APC is a party put together only for the purpose of winning the presidential elections and nothing else. Many who decamped to APC saw the undercurrents of change and hopped on the train to reap benefits thereof, not because they believe in it. That is why competition for influence and position among its diverse actors whose interests and motives are more entrenched, in the old order of impunity, corruption and plunder, is so brazen and brutal. We should expect this because change is difficult, these actors will seek to truncate the process and if they can’t, they will seek to blunt its impact. Unfortunately for them, fundamental political change depends on the people first; and we are in!

Bukola Saraki, goaded on by six other Senators from the APC, is sticking to a winners-take-all attitude…he is adopting a Hail Mary strategy that can only lead to ruin in the long run. Increasingly, he is moulding himself in the image of the legendary Shigidi (god, made of clay) who does not know its limitations by insisting on taking a dip in the river. While trying to disgrace Buhari and subvert his change mission, to rubbish Tinubu’s political clout and pave the way for his presidential run, he’s forgotten he cannot rubbish the platform on which he stands and still be credible.

With swashbuckling arrogance, Dr. Saraki defied his party in an election he could have won nonetheless. Was that necessary? Yes! Because, he thinks he has a lot to prove. He thinks he has the political clout to warn anyone in the party that he is the true scion of Dr. Olusola Saraki. His supporters within his party sees it as their opportunity to assert themselves and cut Asiwaju Bola Tinubu to size. Are they entirely wrong about Tinubu? No, they are not. Tinubu thrives on politics and with a towering overbearing influence. His notoriety in involving himself in every political hack job is his greatest weakness. Is embracing the party we roundly rejected in March the best option for Saraki at this time? Is his ambition worth all the ruckus? Those who detest Tinubu do not have his discipline, foresight and commitment to good governance. Neither do they have his dye in the wool qualities of made in America political hucksterism.

I sincerely hope the Senate President can learn from history and the failure of his “former” party. The PDP got skewered not because of APC or anyone else. The party got into trouble because they did not see and feel the mounting discontent among Nigerians.

All things considered, the election of the Senate President is the first mistake of the Buhari presidency. All President Buhari needed to have done was to tell Bukola Saraki to behave before leaving for the G7 summit. He did not. He engaged his “I belong to nobody” doctrine with an indifferent body language. The result now is threatening the party’s survival. Bukola Saraki, goaded on by six other Senators from the APC, is sticking to a winners-take-all attitude, unless today’s meeting turns out differently. He is avoiding compromise and triangulation. Instead, he is adopting a Hail Mary strategy that can only lead to ruin in the long run. Increasingly, he is moulding himself in the image of the legendary Shigidi (god, made of clay) who does not know its limitations by insisting on taking a dip in the river. While trying to disgrace Buhari and subvert his change mission, to rubbish Tinubu’s political clout and pave the way for his presidential run, he’s forgotten he cannot rubbish the platform on which he stands and still be credible. His reputation is sinking and his permutations are remarkably wrong, except in his own eyes. President Buhari has four years to lead us and one mistake cannot sink him. Besides, he has a clear idea of what he wants to do, even if his silence and pace are disturbing. On the other hand, Asiwaju is a survivor, and at times of volcanic distortions like this, silence is a veritable strategy.

Change is here. It is business unusual. We the people will determine who will be the president in 2019! If Muhammadu Buhari chooses not to run, no amount of treachery, subterfuge or positioning will influence our choice.

I sincerely hope the Senate President can learn from history and the failure of his “former” party. The PDP got skewered not because of APC or anyone else. The party got into trouble because they did not see and feel the mounting discontent among Nigerians. When it was too late in the day, they struggled to retain power, they did their job, they plotted, they calculated. The only thing they did wrong was that they misunderstood the citizens whose vote they needed to stay in power. No one in the PDP factored the electorate into the equation. Today, we know the result. The political mindset of the Nigerian has changed and it is largely due to the ubiquity of information. It is not going to get any better for politicians. This, again, is what is wrong, in what Dr. Saraki is doing. We see him as a principal saboteur in our change process. His reputation is in tatters. It is hubris for him to think he can take on his party. In his mind, he is now above his party. Is he thinking about Nigerians? He cannot serve two masters. He cannot serve subsidy thieves and Boko Haram sponsors and us at the same time. Change is here. It is business unusual. We the people will determine who will be the president in 2019! If Muhammadu Buhari chooses not to run, no amount of treachery, subterfuge or positioning will influence our choice.

Bámidélé Adémólá-Olátéjú maintains a weekly column on Politics and Socioeconomic issues every Tuesday. She is a member of Premium Times’ Editorial Board. Twitter @olufunmilayo

 

Comments

comments