Gov. Bala Mohammed And The Dysfuntionality Of Our Political Parties – By Doyin Okupe

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It is interesting that the leading political parties in the country, the APC and PDP, are completely silent and totally disconnected with the serious national challenges facing the nation.

Politically, this is an incongruous aberration.

Political parties are platforms where ideological positions, well-articulated socio-economic propositions and clearly defined political agenda for national well-being, growth and development are made manifest, and pursued with serious vigour and sincerity.

In Nigeria however, this is not the case. Our political parties are mere platforms where strange bedfellows come together “united” only for the purpose of seeking political offices, to satisfy personal or sectional interests.

Once parties are formed and people get into government and others plan to fulfil personal ambitions and goals, national interest is subdued or at best become co-terminal with that of pre-dominating influence or power block within the party’s hierarchy.

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In the APC, the controlling power block is predominantly the North. So, within the APC therefore all national issues are already settled in favour of the North. Southern leaders are expected to conform and comply.

This is why, even though the idea of restructuring the federation is one of the pillars of the APC’s manifesto, yet nobody dares pursue this matter for as long as the northern leaders in the APC are not favourably disposed to that consideration.

It is for this reason that the state of insecurity in the country, especially as it concerns the Fulani herdsmen, is never discussed publicly by most southern leaders in the party.

Here I must make exception and commend Governor Akeredolu, who had often times stood solidly in defence and interest of the interest of his constituencies, be it regional or state. And to a lesser extent Gov Fayemi of Ekiti State.

Basically, the problem here as elsewhere is the fear of losing national support and relevane by southern politicians.

In the PDP, the situation is a bit different, more complex or amorphous.

There is no clear leadership in the PDP. Therefore, on the surface it will appear that there is no clearly dominating sectional interest. Of course, this is not true.

In the PDP, the reign of President Goodluck Jonathan has somehow dimmed the leadership interests and effective control of the Northern leadership within the power hierarchy.

Experienced northern politicians do not waste political resource or energy on shadow boxing. So, they remain in the lurk, unperturbed and vigilant.

When the real contest for the ultimate gold emerged, the north sprang up and within the twinkle of an eye and in absolute smoothness took charge in Port Harcourt during the presidential primaries, and installed their preferred candidate, albeit a popular one.

Powerful governors in the south had before then installed the chairman of the party with no opposition from the north, who knew from experience and relying on superior power of maneuverability cooperated with the southern leadership.

Despite all the above, all the southern leadership know and recognise where the ultimate power of the party resides – in the north. It is for this reason that the PDP leadership has the unwritten rule of not commenting publicly on religious or ethnic issues that arise within the polity.

That is why Governor Bala Mohammed of Bauchi state, who as a matter of fact, is like a close junior brother of mine with whom I have had intimate relationship since the 80s, will make such a disappointing statement he did on the issue of Fulani herdsmen’s carriage of assault weapons.

It is for the same reason the PDP as a party will not comment publicly on this development. This is in order not to split the party or cause disaffection within its rank and file.

Any party that will be split by speaking the truth or any party a section of its leadership must be made subservient to others within the party cannot be said to be national parties. Neither can they be relied upon to cater for the overall interests of ALL.

True, equitable, just, patriotic and responsive political parties are yet to be born in Nigeria.

SO HELP US GOD.

*Okupe is a former presidential spokesman

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