“The zoning principle, which was publicly reinforced last year in Port Harcourt, had affirmed the South-West as the zone to produce the National Chairman. This binding proclamation was based on equity, fairness and natural balance. But this old, legitimate and morally sound micro-zoning principle has now been trashed, flung into the gutter by very little men. The Yoruba people are now being brazenly insulted. The very traditional fibres of our founding fathers are now being trampled upon, debased and soiled by external forces and mercenary traitors within. It appears the PDP is now bent on self-destruction. It has obviously allowed money moguls to dictate its thematic largeness. The party has lost its soul. It has traded the finer principles of democratic guidance and equity for the squalid, dirty and shameful resort to mercenary agenda, where nothing matters save the putrid, oafish gains of the moment. I cannot be part of this screaming aberration. And as the Atona of Yorubaland, I do not expect any well-meaning, well disciplined, forthright, sincere Omoluabi of Yorubaland to continue with this deceit and shameful theater.”
– Commodore Olabode George, former PDP Deputy National Chairman
As other party members were celebrating their victory, the ex-naval officer continued his lamentations and venomous curse on the party: “Since the ancient days when the Yoruba people began their historical challenges on the plains and the hills of Ile-Ife, we have always been defined by our instinctive integrity, our methodical industry, our consistent loyalty and our steadfastness in protecting and defending the truth.”
In other world working democracies and better organised societies, retired Commodore Bode George would by now be spending time in the naval colleges, researching and impacting on the nation’s naval cadets. The cadets would be very keen to learn from his experiences and tour command as an officer who served the Nigerian Navy. Whatever, I am not sure if Bode George, like many of them Admirals, Commodores and Captains, ever commanded any ship. Like most of our men of the armed forces, including countless Generals, the top brass saunter away on retirement from the waters, the barracks of the chain discipline and prefer rushing into the byzantine balconies of Nigerian party politics.
In his own description of Nigerian ground politics, the philosopher king from Agodi, Chief Bola Ige, took his time explaining it all when he stated that the jostling and showboating among Nigerian politicians have one end game. He tagged the end game as “come and chop!”
Elsewhere, we had specifically noted that elections in Nigeria have been transformed into some malevolent profitable industry. Party devotees look forward to the presidential, state and local government election. Indeed, writing on the PDP … The Burden of Africa’s Greatest Political Party, we noted that, “for more than two decades it has been in power, it focused all its energies in winning elections, without giving the same attention to the act of government. The PDP does not recognise the difference between winning elections and running governments. The party cannot point to any solid legacy after those locust years in power. It becomes an unforgiveable sin to the suffering people when it is recounted that the PDP government and the President were wallowing in oil windfall. In those years, the country was unable to provide power for the Nigerian industries. Nigeria, under the PDP, was incapable of establishing any modern cross-country railways. There is no operating Nigerian shipping line and foreigners, including the efficient Ethiopian Airlines, dominate the Nigerian skies.
“Under the PDP the only thriving industry in Nigeria is elections, local government elections, state and federal elections all year round. Most of the brilliant legal luminaries rotate from one court to the other prosecuting or defending election petitions. The whole of the country’s judiciary has abandoned criminal cases and millions are in prisons awaiting trial. The legion of cases involving election petitions postpone the freedom of many other Nigerians. Meanwhile, students, teachers, traders, farmers and even the police are mobilised away from their trade to play determined roles in servicing the only thriving industry in the clime. But elections are only a process to the democratic end of upgrading the people’s standards of living.”
I was not at the Eagle Square convention centre last Saturday when a member of Nigeria’s wasted generation, Uche Secondus, was returned once again as the chairman of the PDP. I am afraid to observe that all the concerns and predictions as noted by Ambassador Toyo while proclaiming her fears on the integrity of the PDP exercise have come to pass. The pre-ordained names and list as arranged in a particular order surfaced. She talked about the illiteracy of the delegates and she was afraid that they were incapable of recognising the correct spellings and names of the candidates on display and wished there were photographs of the candidates on display at the booth. That was not the first time we are seeing this type of ‘Abuja list.’ We are no longer flummoxed to hear that most of the delegates were illiterate. The same thing is happening now in most of the states controlled by these emperor governors. Most of the local government chairmen and councillors who were the governor’s pick did not ‘break primary school slates.’
While I do not believe that George would have been the right chairman of this party, not only because he belonged to the wasted generation, we are happy that George has seen the injustice that was born with his party. We also observe that this is not the first time that a Yoruba leader is calling on Oduduwa to come down to judgment, following betrayal of the Yoruba by the other two contending groups in the Nigerian federation.
In Awo, the Issues and Answers, by Peter Enahoro, the Guardian, May 12, 1987, and also quoted in Panter-Brick, Nigerian Politics, page 15, Chief Awolowo’s speech to the meeting of the Western Leaders of Thought, May 1, 1967, the Sage stated, “we have been asked among other things to shake off the shackles of the Hausa-Fulani oppression. It is not denied that five years ago some Yoruba leaders allowed themselves to be used as pawns on the chessboard of two crafty players, each of whom erroneously believed it was his destiny to dominate the Nigerian peoples. For the best part of those five years, the Yoruba people knew neither peace nor happiness. Since January 1966, however, the crisis, which was imposed on the Yoruba people of Nigeria, had spread with increasing venom to other parts of the federation. What the rebels in the Eastern and Midwestern states are now asking us to do is to allow the waves of holocaust with which the areas temporarily under their control are afflicted to be reflected back to Yorubaland. We will do nothing of the sort.”