WEEKEND ARENA

There is FFK-Spirit in every Nigerian

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After one whole week, FFK has refused to stop trending? Quite unlike Nigeria, where something happens to displace another within a few days, only for everyone to return to probably a trivial one, like the drama in BBN or Tonto Dike, Prince Kpokpogri and their voice notes. Ours is a country of drama, indeed!

But FFK’s defection (I choose to call it ‘migration’ sha) to APC has held sway. I see traits of it as rejoinders, news stories, cartoons and the social media is awash with such. It is a pointer that Nigerians are yet to come to terms with the nature of leadership they have, and it surprises me because whoever is stung by a bee needs to run when he sees a big house fly. What FFK did has always been there and will always be here. Our mentality and psyche as a people support it. In some climes like India, it is called Aya Ram, Gaya Ram politics-meaning (I have come, I have gone). There were traits of it in UK but mostly in the 19th century and one recent(?) in 1933. But all those defections were about policies, because people join politics over there to pursue ideologies. But Nigeria is not India or UK and will never be. Our politics lacks ideology. Our politics is fuelled by ‘wetin-man-go-chop’. So it surprises me that people are outraged that an FFK, of all politicians, moved to another party. If APC loses power tomorrow, and ADC clinches it, many of them will leave APC and ‘migrate’. Migration should be the word, because they are in search of greener pastures. The only Nigerian politicians who justify their stance in opposition are usually those who have a base that can still fuel their outlandish material needs. That is why you are still seeing people in opposition. Why would they decamp when they are in opposition as governors or as heads of juicy agencies? Let them get a hint that their days are numbered and that being in opposition would not avail that leverage, they would announce a migration to ‘align their followers to the benefits of the centre’, as they say. Google the reasons given by Ayade and Umahi and see the similarities.

Looking at this phenomenon with a bit of introspection, there have been evidences of lack of principles in our politics since 90s. History has not forgotten that Alhaji Babagana Kingibe was elected as a Vice President of the country on the same ticket with MKO Abiola and when the heat was overwhelming with hopes of realising that due mandate diminishing, he migrated to the ruling party (military) and accepted a ministerial appointment! As if that was not politically grievous enough, a few years down the line, Kingibe, was bestriding a government in power as the SGF; and his name has been popping in and out as a presidential hopeful. Since 1999, one can count the politicians who have exhibited uncommon principle in remaining with a political party against all odds. There are just arguably a few of them. Top on that list are Ogbonnaya Onu and Bola Ahmed Tinubu, whose case is special because he was in power though in opposition.

So when I hear people getting alarmed that FFK defected (sorry ‘migrated’) I imagine they are just expressing their disappointment at the promises of a politician bearing in mind that he was alleged to have said that he would rather die, than join APC. I do not think that FFK did so under oath when he made that comment, but we know of politicians who had sworn to defend the Constitution of the country and are doing otherwise today. For those counting on the promises made to them by FFK not to join APC, some people also promised they would uproot Boko Haram, repair the economy, rebuild hospitals, schools, and stamp out corruption if elected…has it happened? Has the heavens fallen? Has there been any commensurate outrage?

What we are experiencing in our politics is so simple to discern. The ideology is to do get into power and make as much money as possible by looting the treasury. And in order to perpetuate this ideology, the ruling class is fighting hard to keep power away from the people. They are doing so by making sure electronic voting or collation would not happen here. They are colluding to make sure there is no transparency in the system because that way, they would always import thugs to do their bidding for a token. As it is only Nigerians can liberate themselves. The politicians who would do so, would probably have to be imported the same way we import effective drugs for treatment.