Although I do consider APC a very poor example of grace and finesse in its rhetoric, I strongly believe that PDP’s unguarded outburst should not be encouraged in our polity.Ogbuagu Anikwe
I am embarrassed by the statement credited to the Chairman of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mazi Uche Secondus, in response to Tuesday’s Supreme Court judgement on the 2019 Imo State governorship contest. What I saw in the statement were wild, angry, and unrestrained punches being thrown carelessly at everyone but the party over the sacking of Sir Emeka Ihedioha as governor of Imo State.
I am at a loss here. Why berate Chief Justice Tanko Muhammed? Why threaten fire and brimstone should PDP lose outstanding election petition cases the way it lost Imo’s? Although I do consider APC a very poor example of grace and finesse in its rhetoric, I strongly believe that PDP’s unguarded outburst should not be encouraged in our polity. Why attack the person of Justice Mohammed? There were four other justices on the panel – and they all sided with the lead judgement, so why single out and censor only one or two? Why not attack their collective judgment instead and leave out subjective, ad hominem comments? If PDP must attack the men who sat in judgment, why not show reasonable people – and Nigerians are generally reasonable – why in the party’s view any of the judges delivered what it considers an asinine judgment? Could the party not publish the positions taken by members of the SC panel and then sponsor informed legal critique on each one, with a profile of the judge attached to the piece as a record for posterity? In other words, take the positions canvassed for each judgement to the cleaners, as is already being done by citizens in the social media. I guarantee that this will pain and jolt the judges much more than the shedding of crocodile tears and threats of future violence. It is also the more civilized thing to do.
I pity the opposition party because it is neither proactive nor strategic in its approach. However, I consider that this matter goes beyond PDP to Nigeria’s survival as a democracy. Anyone with a vested interest in the survival of this democracy should help the opposition party get its acts right, so that our country will hopefully halt its current slide into full blown dictatorship and oppression. We need to encourage the PDP to begin saying and doing things that will earn it respect of the people at this moment in time, even if the party is unwilling to make a serious bid to take over the reins of governance in 2023. This we can do by helping the party to promote two imperatives: respect and fight for the people; and respect and fight for the judiciary.
PDP is still the party of the people in Imo, because it has a simple majority in the State House of Assembly. It is possible to build a working partnership with APGA legislators (AA lawmakers being APC members by another name), a coalition that becomes a formidable block to effectively check creeping executive lawlessness and financial malfeasance.
The judiciary support is the more straight-forward task. Current appointments being made and the manner that judges are intermittently harassed and threatened will not lead to complete independence of action for the judiciary. Judges need not be cowed by the intimidation because their tenure is assured, and each has retirement packages that should not make them worry so much about tomorrow that they will seek to compromise us today with their earthly judgements. If we appreciate the constraining atmosphere under which they work, we should carefully weigh our responses to wearisome judgements on a matured, civilized and restrained scale. They are one of us. They are oppressed too.
For the people, I hereby propose Imo State as a test case of what an opposition party can do to promote “respect and fight for the people” imperative.
PDP is still the party of the people in Imo, because it has a simple majority in the State House of Assembly. It is possible to build a working partnership with APGA legislators (AA lawmakers being APC members by another name), a coalition that becomes a formidable block to effectively check creeping executive lawlessness and financial malfeasance. With such a legislature in place, no new Governor will easily steal a lot or engage in unchecked frivolous spending of public funds. For this strategy to work, PDP governors nationwide can help by voting funds to support the Imo Legislature in their effort to institute good governance that serves the interest of the people of Imo, rather than the interest of outsider godfathers and insider fortune hunters. The funds voted to support the work of Imo legislators will be money well spent in the defense of democracy in Nigeria in general, and to promote an independent arm of government that helps to restore sanity to beleaguered State in particular.
Imo State has suffered enough through bad leadership. If good leadership will not come from the executive, the Imo legislature of today has a rare opportunity to take up the role. Should they do this, Imolites will rise to their defense, without being prompted by Secondus, or anyone else, to fight the ravages of serial executive otokokos. Enough of angry statements; this is one of the best strategies to plot a seamless recapture of tenancy at Douglas House in 2023, not ineffective truculent statements. The people are keenly watching to judge whether PDP’s angry statement is based on perceived loss of privileges by its members or whether it reflects genuine disappointment that the party was not allowed to “rebuild Imo” for the common good.
Put on your thinking caps, PDP. Politics is still a game that we all need to strive hard to elevate the level of play, especially by showcasing principles and values that encourage and give hope to the people who brave the elements to cast their votes for better life.