Vanguard (Lagos)

20 January 2013

Nigeria: PDP Crises the Ties That Bind - How Quest for Wealth and Power Hold Politicians Together

Elementary Lunacy the idea that the insistent repetition of a process can lead to a completely different outcome! We can leave psychologists to determine if that form of lunacy is elementary or not. But it is pure lunacy.

Nigerians who continue to wonder aloud why the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, with its regime of crises has not crumbled need not wonder at all. It will not. The ties that bind the leaders of the party are such that the party members and leaders can continue to suffer serial folly.

The ties that bind the leaders (and even owners) of the party can be encapsulated thus: wealth, property and power. That is what binds them together. Mind you, some other political parties, too, do have them.

To understand the mentality of PDP leaders (and by extension, the typical Nigerian politician) you need to understand their perception of wealth and power and the relationship that exists between both.

It was Andrew Chua who wrote that "some have said that Wealth is Power. But it is equally well-known that Power brings Wealth. So what is the relationship between these two objects of desire? Which brings which? Which is the chicken and which is the egg?

When we combine the definitions of Wealth and Power, we get the correct perspective to view these two subjects. The truth is, Wealth is ONE TYPE of Power. Wealth itself can also be traded for other types of power. You can use wealth to influence those in positions of authority, through both legitimate lobbying and corruption. So the question of 'Do you want wealth or power?' is in itself faulty.

Wealth is one type of power. It's like asking if you prefer apples or fruits. A better question would be 'Do you prefer Wealth or Authority?' Maybe this is what people really mean when they ask the afore-mentioned famous question. Now we are correctly asking if you prefer apples or oranges. And of course, like choosing between two different species of fruits, the answer comes down to personal preference".

For those who own PDP, they want all. And any which way, the one brings the other. But which one first! Both; depending on the status at the point of entry.

And because they want all, they create all manner of confusion in their bid to get all.

Even the simple matter of laid down procedure by their own hand is treated with scornful disdain. That is why the aggregate of litigations from internal crises of all the political parties in the country during the 2011 elections are just about half of what was generated by PDP's shambling approach to the observance of its own rules.

Today, intrigues and surfeit of distractive tendencies to good governance have become the hallmarks of PDP. Not that the other political parties conform to a modicum of decent conduct in their activities too, the one-chance problem Nigeria has found itself in, and which is the vehicle of PDP, is that just as both Olusegun Obasanjo and late Umaru Musa Yar'Adua spent more time attempting to resolve intra-party crises, even President Goodluck Jonathan, too, now spend more time interfering via subterfuge in the affairs of an already shambolic party.

But at every turn of the road when PDP's detractors profess that the party would collapse, it bounces back in its own way.

So, how do PDP leaders do it?

The ties that bind them are wealth and power. The roots of the dog-eat-dog syndrome that manifests in every aspect of PDP's modus operandi can be located in the quest for and retention of wealth and power. From elbowing one another out of electoral contests, to breaking limbs and bruising heads, to inflicting maximum embarrassment, and allegations and threats of assassination and assassinations, leaders of PDP, nevertheless, still find common ground.

And that is why every contestation for power is derisively termed a family affair. Members of that family run on the steroids of distrust for one another and treachery against same. Most of the leaders must of necessity swim or sink with the party; the few who have tried to break away have almost always become targets of anti-corruption agencies. A few have been killed mysteriously and not one of the murders has been resolved.

The latest round of acrimony in the party, made worse by the crisis in its Adamawa State Chapter revolves round the issue of following due process of its own laid down rules which are obeyed in the breach rather than observance.

Pray, Olagunsoye Oyinlola, the party's National Secretary, who was sacked by the courts penultimate Friday, emerged in a manner that was at once flawed and improper - at least that was what the court pronounced. By the same token, how did Bamangar Tukur, the chairman, emerge?

How did President Jonathan become the party's candidate for the 2011 election? Though there are a few good men in that same conclave, those who own the party must have their way always. And that is why Nigeria is where Nigeria is - because those who own PDP and who have owned Nigeria since 1999 rely on the pursuit and retention of wealth and power.

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