Primaries blues!

[FILE PHOTO] INEC Chairman, Prof Mahmoud Yakubu

With INEC’s definitive stance over APC crisis-ridden Zamfara State, the curtain is drawn on the first phase of the political contestation which promises to be fierce indeed once the campaign whistle goes out next month. Rehearsals have begun. You can trust him, never non-plussed Lai Mohammed is warming up for the inevitable trading of tackles. He has fired the first salvo to test the waters. I am sure he knows he will meet his match this time around in Kola Ologbondiyan, and in suave Atiku Abubakar, sure of his onions, personally accepting the gauntlet. And at the cerebral level it appears it will be a duel between Peter Obi and Yemi Osinbajo, both delights to listen to. That phase is already being foreshadowed. Osinbajo is crisscrossing the land from Osun to Enugu, from Enugu to Gbagi in Ibadan and there to Kaduna mostly under the auspices of Bank of Industry, alias BoI, and sometimes alone to gladden the hearts of market women with Trade Money carrots. Peter Obi takes you on a panoramic tour from California to China, punctuating every sentence with facts and figures on developmental economy, the turf in which he is in his element.

Analysts are showing they have their maps ready and calculators close by. Bookmakers will certainly come into the fray later. Analysts are putting states against states, and matching zones against zones in their computation. They are doing their arithmetic, and it is in the figures I have my anxiety. According to figures Kayode Fayemi, the Returning Officer for APC, announced with glee on Saturday night, 14, 842,072 (14.8 million) members of APC voted for President Buhari, giving him the nod to stand for re-election for a second term. When the announcement was made, it was greeted with deafening ovation, “A.P.C!!!” and the retort equally thunderous, “Progress!” No one in the crowd felt uneasy and wrinkled his face in disbelief. This is suggesting that the APC is boasting of a numerical strength in excess of 15 million. There would presumably have been some members who did not participate in the affirmation voting because Buhari was the sole candidate and probably felt there was no need. In 2015, the total votes garnered by Candidate Buhari from all over the country were 15,424,921 (15.4 million). The votes came from APC members and non-APC members who simply went out to perform a crucial civic responsibility of determining into whose hands they would like to entrust this country for peace and development of the land as well as their own, joy, happiness and progress.

This can be compared with the total nomination delegates’ votes of 3,221 at the PDP convention Sunday morning of 07 October. PDP was reputed to be the largest party in Africa only four years ago. Of the figure, Atiku polled 1,532. The votes were by delegates. Literature on the numerical strengths of the party is difficult to come by, indeed of the two main parties, and so it is easy for the APC to claim the humongous votes came from the state branches and that the Convention in Abuja only put the figures together to arrive at the total. In Nigeria, what qualifies a person to be a card carrying member of a party is foggy. Are the members financial members as it was in the First Republic, especially in the Action Group and the NCNC?

In a study done by Dr. Jeremy Liebowitz and Dr. Jibrin Ibrahim titled “A Capacity Assessment of Nigerian Political Parties: Democratic Governance for Development Programme, UNDP, January 2013”, Ibrahim argues that “In terms of membership, it is clear that party members are active only during elections.” The report further states, “Most parties do not rely on regular members.”

Contrast this with what obtains in the developed democracy of the United Kingdom. The membership strength of the Conservative Party is 124,000 while that of Labour is 552, 000. Liberal Democrats boasts of 101,000 and the Green Party, 41,000; UKIP, 21,000 and Plaid Cymru, 8,000. Tory membership fee is 25pounds sterling while that of Labour is 48pounds sterling. Tory generated 1.5pounds sterling in membership fees in 2016 while Labour collected 14.4million pounds sterling. The Tory party relies more on donations from corporations during elections. They are the owners of the party to safeguard free market economy.

What each member of our parties contributed to qualify to vote at conventions we may not know. During the Ekiti governorship election, Dr. Fayemi got less than 190,000 votes as keen as that election was. But the same APC gave Buhari 700,000 votes to support his renomination. In the Osun governorship election Gboyega Oyetola garnered 254, 000 votes from APC and non-APC members. But APC alone gave Buhari 500,000. These have to be stated so that Nigerians can be on the alert in order that the country is not plunged into avoidable chaos by desperadoes during elections next year, for the formidable candidates of the two main parties, Buhari and Atiku, are equally matched.

In the last two months or so, this column has dabbled in political controversies and has expressed strong views on social discourse. In the months ahead when the country slips inexorably into the heat of politics, when political agitation and contestation will have reached a saturation point, the column will have no choice but to discuss politics and political trends. It is the way to be relevant to a large extent in these desperate times. Even then, my participation in political controversy has to be considered within the context of the objective of this column which is to discuss life and existence, and by so doing, awaken the urge in man to seek higher values in life which alone lead to joy, peace, progress and prosperity. This column, it must be made plain, is not the source of what emanates from this page, but draws from that knowledge which gives a conspectus of all life, the manual of Creation.

Politics, important and all pervading as it may be, is only an aspect of existence, and available only here on earth and in the dark regions of the Beyond, practised by those seized by a propensity for power which they carry with them from this earth. As enlightenment spreads, we will come to realise that leaders are not electable. They are sent. In the democratic order prevalent in the world today, leaders only rise through the ranks of the electorate which is unhelpful in facilitating the attainment of the purpose of existence on earth and will necessarily change in the future. The essence of justice demands that this column should speak out even in the area of politics. How does one explain, for example, the political developments in Lagos State? I am refraining from commenting on the Osun election for now because a tribunal is already in place there hearing grievances.

I keep wondering whether it is not strange to raise a contender and subject an incumbent governor to a primary election. To remove a governor, the disagreements must be very fundamental, indeed. A governor is a property of the public. The public ought not to be put in the dark on what the real issues are apart from speculations in the media, social or mainstream media. Some accounts say Ambode was rude to some of the city fathers among them Femi Okunnu, one-time Minister of Works; and Musiliu Smith, retired Inspector-General of Police and now chairman, Police Service Commission. Ambode’s media handlers were not smart enough to move quickly to debunk the stories of discourtesy to such respectable figures then flying all over the place. He himself was less than diplomatic in the handling of the health and medical history of his opponent. Such stories are usually only whispered to enterprising reporters. It does not ever come directly from a governor so that he can have an escape route in the event the claims turn out to be false. Now, Jide Sanwo-Olu denied ever entering Gbagada General Hospital how much more being rehabilitated there. His defence of a charge of misconduct in America was equally stoutly and convincingly rebutted.

Having said that I must state that there ought to have been in place a solid mechanism to handle and resolve differences between party leaders and a governor, who is himself a party leader and the advertised face of the party. Are there no periodic meetings of party leaders, of the state’s working council meetings where views are freely exchanged and complaints laid before a governor? Ambode must have lost a great number of Lagosians particularly in the area of roads disrepair and environmental degradation. A great deal of energy is expended on gigantic projects while there is total collapse of infrastructure in some other parts.

Even then, everywhere in the world where incumbency is tenured, it is a convention that a governor is allowed to run his full terms. The only contender he worries about is the Opposition candidate and the verdict of the electorate at the polls. Such was the situation with our past leaders: Sam Mbakwe; Lateef Jakande (LKJ); Bola Ige; Jim Nwobodo; Bisi Onabanjo; Adekunle Ajasin; Solomon Lar; Clement Isong; Ambrose Alli, all of the Second Republic. In the Fourth Republic Rotimi Amaechi; Odili; Bola Tinubu; Segun Osoba; Lam Adesina; Bisi Akande; Orji Kalu, Adefarati; and Niyi Adebayo waved their party’s flag to go in for second terms unchallenged within their parties. In the class of Babatunde Fashola, Adams Oshiomhole; Aliyu Babangida; Sule Lamido; Ailero Adamu; Shekarau; Markaffi; Makura; Kayode Fayemi, Rauf Aregbesola, and Bukola Saraki; Olagunsoye Oyinlola and Gbenga Daniel all stood unchallenged for their second terms, although there was reluctance, superlative a governor as Fashola was universally acclaimed to be, to field him by his godfather. Why should that of Akinwumi Ambode be different? Is his crime so grave that the party cannot take the risk of seeing him fly its flag one more time? George W. Bush went for the second term without any challenger within the Republican Party; Ditto Obama, unhindered within the Democratic Party. Angela Merkel has just gone in for her third term in Germany. Mr. Trump is rehearsing for his second term. He addresses rallies here today; rallies there tomorrow. The convention is to invest faith and confidence in the incumbent, wrap him up with unalloyed loyalty, love and support as leader of the party in his domain. It leaves a bad taste to publicly humiliate a governor the way Ambode has been brought down.

Justice is justice in any area of human endeavour. It is love and justice that drive the world, nay the universe, indeed the whole of Creation. Not to support justice unequivocally is to invite injustice on oneself as every activity of man, good or bad, is a seed planted, which after it has gone through the normal process of germination, growth, flowering, blossoming and maturation, ripens in multiple fruits which return to the grower for compulsory harvesting. This is a phenomenon observable in Nature from the Ancient of Days. Every plant, every animal yields to this phenomenon. Everything that is formed bows to the mechanism. Everything that is animated. It is the same uniform laws that form the whole of Creation, and since man is a creature, he cannot escape being touched by these immutable principles. The man as we know him follows a cycle of development from cradle to the grave, that is from when he appears as a baby, unconscious of its environment, unable to recognize anybody even though it is alive. It grows gradually until it begins to flower and it becomes conscious of itself. Sense of shame develops and he dreams dream.

He sees the world upside down and an irrepressible longing to overcome it and right wrongs develops. He moves to the year of his full estate when he develops a choleric temperament urging him to action. His blood radiation changes. From there, after crossing some more intervening gradations, he reaches the age of reflection, a period he is old physically and his movement becomes slow; the fire and agility of the youth are gone. These are observable traits to the developmental cycle of man brought about by radiation emanating from matter through animation of the animistic and spirit in all of us.

The spirit itself set out as an unconscious spiritual particle. It develops gradually through experiences and through being fed with teachings of Nature, and later with splitting of Truth brought by Teachers of Mankind and the Prophets, then through revealed Truth brought directly from the All Highest, by the Lord Jesus Christ, the Love of God. Thus if a spirit comes to a right and necessary recognition, and keeps to the teachings, he develops from unconscious to self-conscious, from a spiritual seed to a fully developed human spirit—the true human being, now mature and clarified to return to the Spiritual Realm, Paradise, his origin and home.

The point being made is that it is the one uniform law that permeates the whole of Creation, bringing about developmental processes: birth, growth, flowering, maturation, fruit-bearing, fruit-ripening and harvesting. Our activities, speeches, thoughts, and deeds go through the same processes being our seeds. The time of harvesting will depend on the nature of the seed. Vegetables are harvested before maize. If injustice is a seed, it follows that the harvest is certain. Those who support injustice may thus be said to be deceiving themselves. Justice awaits everyone. The Lagos City fathers and political party overlords cannot be too careful. They must assure themselves that they have been fair and just to Akinwumi Ambode. Deviation from order is disorder.

As we may have observed, all developmental processes are quickened these days. The acceleration is brought about by increased Light pressure whose Rays have now encompassed the whole earth, awakening all that slumbers in each of us to face judgment. Thus will it be fulfilled the promise that in the Last Days, all that is dead will be awakened to face judgment. The judgment, as we are permitted to now know, has indeed begun, albeit in its early stages. The generality of mankind will probably sense it unmistakably when it reaches a boiling point and it is palpable.

Evil receives intensification in the judgment through Light pressure of the Holy Spirit, the Justice and Power of God Almighty, so it can exterminate itself. Those who are good are being strengthened. And separation is taking place. People of the same nature are being grouped with their own kind. All aspects of life are touched and affected by the New Times. Purification is raging in every land and there is nowhere to hide! Not even within political parties.

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