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06 May Written by  Japheth Omojuwa

The Change We Need

Many Nigerians have their hopes completely rested on 2015. To these ones, 2015 will be that year when the country will finally get it right. One can be hopeful about 2015 but one should not expect too much from the political class. This class has failed the nation too many times to now be seen as our redemption. Nigeria’s redemption lies in its people and the political party that puts the people’s interests above its parochial interest will be the party that represents the people’s quest for change.

The existing collections of political parties are failures. They fail at the very thing for which they ought to succeed: democracy. None of the current political parties is truly democratic. The Action Congress of Nigeria (CAN) and the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) pride themselves as the parties of progressives. But are they? The ACN has never been democratic. The words of one man, Senator Bola Tinubu, are the beginning and the end, the rule and the law. He single-handedly anointed Babatunde Fashola (SAN) as his successor in 2007 and that was the end of the competition.

This was the most pronounced of his many interventions. Many members of the ACN have come to know and accept that if Senator Bola Tinubu is not in support of your candidature at the party’s primaries, you are most likely to lose out to his choice. In the case of Governor Fashola, Tinubu’s choice has proven to be spot on but party democracy cannot depend on the whims of one man.

The case of CPC cannot be stressed: Gen. Muhammadu Buhari almost equals the CPC in deed and in truth. Other opposition parties are just a microcosm of what these two big opposition parties represent. That is the reason why the big opposition will always be seen like another version of the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP).

The PDP does not have as much incentive to democratize as the other parties. It has run the government since 1999 and so must see its ways as the right and best way to hold on to power. Nigerians are desperate for change in 2015. They want a new deal and a new order. They want to see that the economy is not only growing big foreign reserves and serving the interests of a few, but they also want to see that growth in their own fortunes. One cannot claim to be that new order in 2015 and then look everything like the old.

There is the All Progressive Congress (APC) seeking to position itself as the party that Nigerians have been waiting for. The APC is made up of the same elements that our people have come to see as being “the same.” The APC like any other political party that wants to run and win the 2015 elections on the platform of change must offer that change beyond its name and rhetoric. It must begin with what sets it apart from the norm and the crowd. Until Nigerians see a marked difference between one major political party and the other, they will continue with the familiar evil. The parable of the known devil and the unknown angel applies here.

This is the change our people want to see and the party that best represents it will be the trusted one going forward. Democracy must be central to the workings of the party. No party must be seen to belong to a person or a group of people, say governors. There must be a clear vision and a clear direction for its achievement. Members must be registered and the process of becoming a member must be transparent and non-tasking.

The voice of the majority of members must mean more than the whispers of a powerful few. Every member of the party must be equal and this equality must be translated at the primaries and other processes of engagement of the party. Merit must be the norm, not the exception. Parties that come with ethnic hues will die on arrival. We are past that puerile stage. Everything that serves the interest of a united Nigeria where the prosperity of the people comes first must be put in place.

When 2015 comes, Nigerians will not be looking for just another of the same, they will be looking for another of a different kind. Whatever political party evolves to meet these expectations will be the change we need!

Dog