True. The All Progressives Congress’s wishes were horses on Tuesday. And they triumphantly rode on them. It was one of their best of days in recent times. They coasted home in sweet victory all the way.
True again. This time around, they got serious. They worked hard for it. They burnt so many midnight candles of different shapes and colours. They had nightmares; but still dug deep.
It was not a labour lost after all. The end justified the means and they are better for it. They genuinely asked for it. They got it in rich abundance and good measure.
It was politics at its near best. Their brilliant permutations, plots and intrigues were not in vain. They raked in what they wanted. Apparently, they got more than what they bargained for and were happy for it.
The APC had it real good through and through. It couldn’t have been anything better. They couldn’t have wished for more. It was a successful outing on the eve of June 12.
It came at a time when May 29 yielded its position to the rightful owner of Democracy Day, June 12. President Muhammadu Buhari actually took the shine off of ex-Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo, Umaru Yar’Adua and Goodluck Jonathan. They were careless with that golden opportunity until they lost it. And they would secretly nurse their regrets forever.
But for once, the APC turned a new leaf. They were wise enough to pick useful lessons from their blunders of 2015. They refused to repeat an ugly history; instead, they learnt from it.
They read the awful writing on their cracked wall correctly. Through the faults of theirs, they learnt their lesson the very hard way. But it invariably paid off handsomely.
Tuesday, June 11, 2019, was a day like never before. APC would savour it for the next four years. They would talk about it and hail it. They made a clean sweep of the topmost leadership positions in the National Assembly (NASS). They made a mess of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The opposition party’s latter-day strategy came crashing like a house of cards. Their strategy could not hold water, it fell woefully to superior firepower. It was such a bad moment for PDP. They would lick the wounds for a very long time to come. PDP fumbled that Tuesday, particularly in the Senate.
The situation on the eve of June 11 was frightening. It was a playback to the eve of the June 12, 1993, election. There were ridiculous and opposing court orders. In the evening, one court order opted for open ballot for the NASS leadership elections. In the early hours of the next day, a counter-order insisted on secret ballot. The latter order subsisted.
Notwithstanding, APC upturned the table and changed the narrative. It had it so smooth and good. The PDP had no viable alternative than to cue in. All the promises of the previous days fell flat. The PDP has nothing to hold onto. It was the real loser.
Its members openly defied it. They did not display any iota of respect for the party. The PDP was left in the harsh cold. Its members made personal gains through private negotiations.
The heroes are: Ahmad Lawan, Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege, Deputy Senate President; Femi Gbajabiamila, Speaker, House of Representatives, and Idris Wase, Deputy Speaker. They are the raves of the moment and to be watched in the unfolding events of the next four years.
The results of the elections were potent and spoke volumes: Lawan, 79 votes, his opponent, Ali Ndume, 28. Omo-Agege, 68 votes, his challenger, Ike Ekweremadu, 37. Gbajabiamila polled 281, his opponent, Umaru Bago, 76 votes. Wase was affirmed.
Their victories were more than landslide. They were in the realm of “moonslide.” The kind Umaru Dikko promised us in 1983, but never was. Dikko, director-general, National Party of Nigeria (NPN) presidential campaign organisation was stopped from doing that on December 31, 1983. That day, the military knocked off our democracy the second time. And the then Major General Muhammadu Buhari reaped bountifully from it. He was Head of State.
That “moonslide” came live and direct in the National Assembly on Tuesday. All eyes saw it, so smooth and seamless. It was near perfection. An exact opposite of what was predicted days before.
Tragically, the late-night moves of the PDP were utterly rubbished. The party gave support to Ndume and Bago without a firm grip on its members. It was one political blunder too many. The party came into the chambers glaringly divided. It depicted how divided the party was when it went into the presidential election.
PDP miscalculated on Tuesday. And they paid heavily for it. The endorsement of Ndume and Bago was their greatest undoing. It was belated and naive. It lacked understanding of the situation on the ground.
That some of its members even nominated Ndume worsened the already hopeless situation. It made APC to sing to victory effortlessly. That was the tonic APC and its candidates needed. And it was given almost without asking. APC grabbed it with all its heart.
All the same, the PDP in the House of Representatives still saw sense in displaying some maturity. Those members need to be commended. They chose not to waste precious time and resources. They allowed the affirmation of Wase as Deputy Speaker.
It freed members from going through another rigorous but obviously needless exercise. Kudos to ex-Speaker Yakubu Dogara, the mastermind of the initiative. He refused to follow PDP senators-elect, as it were.
Now, that the APC has had a clean sweep on all fronts, executive, legislature and judiciary, there should be no excuses this time around. Nobody to blame for lapses and failings; no more whipping boy.
APC has practically taken over from itself. It handed over to itself. We would vehemently ever than before detest buck-passing. That ugly era is long gone. The last four tears, we grudgingly granted Buhari the benefit of the doubt. That luxury is also no more. He over-used his goodwill, if there was any.
True confession: Our expectations are not as high as they were in 2015. We, too, like APC, have picked useful lessons from our mistakes. This time, our request is simply: We insist no more blame game. It is as ordinary as that.
Let us put that behind us. APC has all the instruments it wanted on the tips of its fingers and at its beck and call. They were freely given. No hindrance, no obstacle. Let the party hit the ground running even now!
Gbajabiamila put it succinctly in his acceptance speech. Very apt: “Honorable colleagues, there’s much work to be done in such little time. Let’s roll our sleeves and get to work. Nigerians are waiting. God bless you all.”
He spoke our collective mind. The oracle has spoken. And he has spoken well. Nothing to add, nothing to subtract!