“One of the deepest mysteries of modern Nigeria is how so big a country, filled with so many well-educated people manage to spend so much time getting nowhere…The military depredations…. would matter less…but Nigerian democracy, when occasionally it surfaced, was never a shining example of the genre.” – Economist of London
Thinking and tinkering about the title of this week’s article brought up a peculiar episode that took place when this columnist was a teenager living with his senior brother and guardian. As the last born, there was a wide age gap between this columnist and his first born (brother). The place of abode was the city of Ibadan at that time in the early 70s. My guardian was a lover of football but definitely not in love with pool betting. Those years were the hey days of Rangers International Football Club, Enugu; Kano Pillars Football Club, Kano; Mighty Jets Football Club, Jos; WNDC (later IICC Shooting Stars) Football Club, Ibadan, etc. This columnist and guardian would listen to radio commentaries of football matches with the trio of ace commentators: Ernest Okonkwo (of blessed memory), Tolu Fatoyinbo and Emeka Odikpo displaying and depicting fitting narratives of the matches as if listeners were literally present at the various stadia watching the game!
On a particular day after listening to the commentary of a football match, a well-known cousin to one of our neighbours, came to our abode – “face–to–face” room designated apartment with a coded message. He first intimated his cousin with it. He then came with his cousin, an elderly man, held in reference for his maturity on issues, by my brother and guardian. What was the coded message about? It was about three coded winning numbers! My guardian was unmoved and unfazed by such too good to be true winning numbers. He made light of it as he was not used to betting. Our elderly neighbour convinced my brother to play with not just any amount but a big amount as he would win big. My guardian gave it a thought and trial by consenting to his counsel and staked with an amount that was not as high but sizeable. We were all looking forward to the outcome. Saturday came and all the three numbers were indeed, according to the permutation, successful winning numbers. My brother was so elated and was expecting the windfall! He was already planning and making projections regarding how he would expend his new fund until something unexpected happened! Our neighbour’s cousin walked into our apartment in a despairing and dejecting manner. What happened? He came to tell an awful story of how he failed to take the game to the Face -to – Face Pool Betting collation centre after collecting the money to play the game from my brother (guardian)!
Seemingly, hell was let loose!! There was a pandemonium within and around the house as my brother was ready to do everything possible to collect his full returns on his purported investment as he had made some postulations going forward into a new phase of life. It was a hope dashed as community of friends and neighbours prevailed on my brother to ensue and pursue peace in allowing brotherly love continues! He acquiesced even though amidst angst. The import of this story: may the hopes of many followers going into 2022, having been persuaded by pastors, prophets, clerics, imams, relatives, friends or events of 2021, be not dashed as it took place in the episode aforementioned. Follow me.
APC and PDP: Possible implosion in 2022?
This year is a year of the primaries preceding the elections of early 2023. In essence, much of the political activities that will shape and show how 2023 will fare will take place this year. How prepared are our political parties? How prepared are the followers? The two major political parties, All Progressives Congress (APC) and People’s Democratic Party (PDP), are embroiled and enmeshed in intra-parties’ spar and squabbles, the end of which, if not checkmated and crippled could be disastrous for both parties. Worse of the two is the ruling APC. It is already being scrolled on the screen of the grapevine that the party’s national convention may no more hold in February as was earlier scheduled. If it is true, then, the Governor Mai Mala Buni-led Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee of the party has failed the party. The 13-member committee, seemingly strange to the APC constitution, was inaugurated on 25th June 2020. It was initially set up to be ad hoc in content and colour.
Presently, one and half years, the extraordinary and apparently ‘plenipotentiary’ committee is waxing stronger by the day! Should the convention date be shifted again, then, it could be projected that the controlling and commandeering cabals in the ruling party is hell-bent in holding the party by the jugular playing defensive, akin to the game of football in the dying minutes! Who knows, the Buni – led ubiquitous committee may draw out the joker of consensus candidacy thus vetoing any election via direct or indirect primary even as Mr. President asserted on his Channels TV interview of 5th January 2022 that there is a third route – consensus candidacy. Followers are watching and warming up to this political brinkmanship peculiar to our nascent democracy. This columnist will like to remind, apparently admonish, the APC founding fathers that the same way PDP was drunken with power in 2013 to 2014 that led to its implosion, the APC is heading to that inglorious route and it seems speedily as the clock ticks in 2022. However, PDP founding fathers could do themselves some good by seeking rapprochement through calming frayed nerves of members. In addition, these fathers of the party need to do a re-branding peradventure the party will be sellable to the followers in 2022. Whether these chieftains of the party consent or controvert this columnist’s counsel is better tested in the party carrying out an independent inquiry or research study to decipher and discern the thoughts of the followers in the polity as par the standing and status of the party.