Let me attempt to outline what I see as some of the common mistakes the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) made in the past and is still making. One, from all indications, the APC didn’t know it was going to win the general election. Now, this sounds strange but politicians don’t run for office necessarily to win. They could just do it for the sake of gaining some popularity or trying their luck. Not that the hope of winning is not always there but in most cases, politicians just take the plunge and hope that it comes out well. They are the ultimate gamblers, taking a dive into the dark recesses of the game of power. Business men don’t do that. They make their market surveys, study the wind like good sailors and make calculated risks. Not politicians. The more slippery the terrain, the better for the gladiators. A councillor would run for the office of the chairman, knowing he stands no chance. A commissioner would put up his poster, announcing he wants to go to the senate, even when there is no clear path to victory. An out of work businessman would stake out his neck for the governorship, even when there are clear signs of failures ahead. But for them, it is the soul of the game. And so the motley crew who set out to wrest power from the behemoth called the PDP only tried their luck. They probably hoped that they may win some states and more congressional seats here and there. You couldn’t blame them if that was all they hoped for. They were up against a formidable opponent, who had sworn to be in charge for sixty years.
Many people, outside the political circle also thought the APC wouldn’t make it: The pattern was an all too familiar one. The government in power normally holds all the aces in terms of the instruments of coercion that could give it victory over any opponent. So, the APC, like the Israelites of old filing of Egypt, took on Pharaoh himself not sure if they would live to tell the story.
The mistake they made is that you don’t underestimate the power of a wish. Be careful what you wish for. The bumbling youngster, who announces he wants to become governor may just beat the incumbent. That councillor, who strikes out from his hideout to run for office may just win. APC, therefore, came almost unprepared as it probably didn’t know it would actually win the derby.
But if APC was even prepared for victory, it certainly didn’t know what it was up against. Either they didn’t know the depth of the challenge they were inheriting or they thought the solutions were simple. It was another error. So, up till now, the APC is still running around in circles explaining this to Nigerians. Truth is that they actually inherited an Aegean Stable. The country was reeling from all sorts of insecurity; the cloud of an impending recession was on the way; the global meltdown was getting real and monumental amount of monies were disappearing. But back in the sweet days of the campaign, the APC was almost oblivious of all that. The mantra of change took centre stage and everyone was lost in its haze.
The next mistake was eventually winning at the polls and then embarking on a blame game and wasting precious time. For a while, the APC, revelling in its new found victory, continued to behave as if it was still campaigning. There were unnecessary defence rhetorics. The party’s mouthpiece kept sounding as if it was still marketing the party months after a resounding victory. It had time to even have a parley with the electorate and tell it about the enormity of the challenge. It didn’t do that. Rather, it directed attention to the outgoing ruling party and tried hard to demonise it. Eventually people started asking questions, wondering when the blame game would end. At a point, Nigerians stopped caring who caused the mess and just wanted to see the changes they were soundly promised. They almost reminded the APC that the former ruling party was out.
As it stands, many Nigerians are beginning to ask more questions, concerning the path of the ruling party. The new error the APC is making is a certain persecution-mentality that makes it think people are unjustly accusing it. The result of this is many party chieftains now want to fight back. Simple and healthy criticisms are not welcomed. Fear is promoted to silence the opposition. If you raised a contrary opinion, it’s either you are corrupt or a defender of the corrupt. Again, it is either you are a hater or some medieval bigot who doesn’t want anything good for his country. To avoid all of that, many now just fold their hands and watch. The fear of physical harm is even real.
Unfortunately, a scared populace is not the same as a satisfied one. They may have actually surrendered as helpless victims. They are now in a “siddon look”mode, almost getting anaesthetised. Yet, a government that can’t stand scrutiny is setting itself up. Sometimes, the best lovers a man has got are his critics. Woe betides the man or woman whom everyone is frightened to correct.
Another mistake is the in-fighting. With the economy in doldrums and the whole world hoping that Nigeria would somehow lead Africa out of the woods, it is amazing that the biggest activity of the APC is how to deal with some big wigs within its folds. This has dragged on for months now and many are wondering if this is the most important preoccupation of a party in government.
The ruling party still has many months to prove to its critics that it is here to really provide the change. Many Nigerians are still hoping that it would soon turn around and bring back the good times. After all, it has all it takes: a fantastic structure, the good will, an honest president and our collective prayers that the rain falls.
Next week: Common errors of the PDP.
The day ex-IG Tafa Balogun stole the show
By Christopher Oji
Hate him or like him one thing is certain; no one can dispute former Inspector General of Police (IGP) Tafa Balogun’s indelible performance as the helmsman of the nation’s police.
Hailed in the media as super cop, during his tenure as the IG, Balogun, was credited with several achievement both in terms of institutional reforms and operational efficiency of the force.
At the closing ceremony of the 11th Biennial Police Games, held at the main bowl of the National Stadium, Abuja, Balogun stood tall among his colleagues, including the chairman of the Police Service Commission (PSC), Sir Mike Okiro, as he was being ushered to the podium by the immediate past IG,” “the IG we trust,” “The IG we Love,” etc., rent the air as an elated Balogun waved to acknowledge cheers from the officers and men of the rank and file led by Arase.
Inspite of the acrimonious manner he left the force he saved with all his vigour, every officer in the arena agreed that Balogun’s record as IG is yet to be rival by any of his successor.
Among his achievements, Balogun introduced female officers into the Mobile arm of the force. Until Balogun’s era, the mobile wing of the force generally regarded as the strike force of the police, it was solely a men’s affair.
In addition, he established the Mobile Training School in Ila Orangun, Osun State and the Police Computer College in Abeokuta, Ogun State.
As daring officer, Balogun personally led the operation that dismantled the popular Okija shrine in Anambra State and the Cross-border banditry which led to the arrest of an alleged major sponsor and receiver of stolen vehicles from Nigeria.
“Armnani Tijani” who was boated in Cotonou.”
Retired Commissioner of Police, Aghanya Ebezimako, summed up the atmosphere of the action this: “In all the police functions that I have attended, including the last police games, burial of the late IG Sunday Adewusi, it was thunderous ovation for Balogun by all ranks he appeared. This is a manifestation that he is loved by a majority of serving and retired policemen.”
On his performance as IGP
Ibezimako said: “Balogun is a leader with guts and intimidating personality. Balogun is a good listener; he commands you when you project the image of the force. He stands by you when he assigns responsibility to you. When you make genuine mistake, which is common in the police force, he never abandons you.”
Another retired CP, Fulani Kwajafa, described Balogun, as a personal friend with an excellent performance as IG.
A retired Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Kieran Dubari, described him as fine officer and a great team player who always carry everyone along in his policies and programmes. “IG Balogun is a totally detribalised police officer. His policies favoured majority of officers,” he said.
In his remark, former Commissioner of Police Lagos State and retired DIG Mr. Mavel Akpoyibo, described Balogun as one of the most intelligent officers the force has ever produced.
Several other top notch police officers poured unreserved encomiums on Balogun, destifying to his professionalism and kindly disposition to all.
“The former IG was an operational and proactive office with uncommon knowledge of the law and police duties.
“During his tenure as IG, he terminated stagnation in one rank for many years. He left a legacy of efficiency, hard work, resourceful an goal-oriented policing. He brought reforms to the force that everybody can attest to as legacies of his administrative savvy. He was everybody’s IG and a first class crime buster. The police will never forget Balogun due to his contributions to the security of the nation,” he said.
Corroborating Akpoyibo, Bayelsa Governor Seriake Dicson, said he would have left police force, a frustrated man due to stagnation if not for Balogun that promoted him.
Widow of the first indigenous IG, Hajiya Amina Kam-Salem, made a passionate appeal to President Muhammadu Buhari for a presidential pardon for Balogun.
Hajiya Kam-Salem who described Balogun as her son said the former IG still has a lot to offer the nation, especially in the face of security challenges the nation is currently facing.
According to her, Balogun had done the uncommon during his days in the force and could do more if given the opportunity.
“Such gesture by the President would motivate him to contribute towards tackling the various security challenges facing the country, including police reforms.
“Balogun is a seasoned policeman
MY family will remain grateful to him for his generosity to us when he was IG between 2002 and 2005. We left office in 1975. Balogun came in as IG 27 years later. There were other IGs before him, they did not remember me and my children until Balogun came on board. The police authorities owed me several million of naira from contract for supplying food stuff to the police college.
“It was when I cried to him that he ordered that I should be paid.”