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23 Dec Written by  Japheth Omojuwa

Time for Us to Play the Proud Damsel

My thinking can be faulted but I cannot be faulted for thinking. Not like I had to really think much about this current tidal wave sweeping Nigerian politics though. Since 1999, we've never really had mainstream political parties that were bound by ideology; we've only had parties bound by the selfish interests of most of the individuals involved.  

Despite these interests, never in the history of the country has our politics been defined not as much by the desires of the main actors for power for self or region as it is about preventing the re-election of an incumbent. Forget the names of the main political parties in Nigeria today, as all the major parties are united by a common theme: Goodluck Jonathan.

The politics of 2015 is not as much a politics of the People's Democratic Party and the All Progressives Congress as it is about the politics of those who want President Jonathan to continue post-2015 and those who want him out, latest by the 29th of May 2015. Note that there is nothing to say they don't want him out even before then.

The President, it would seem, has provided a platform for his antagonists to unite and the strings of their unity is cutting across several political fabrics. When you see pictures of Gen. Ibrahim Babangida and Gen. Muhammadu Buhari smiling at the camera after what you'd have to believe was a successful attempt at forming alliances and pictures of Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo and Asiwaju Bola Tinubu just feet from each other, just days after the former had accused the latter of compromising his own political party in the 2011 elections, you just know the political dynamics indicate the president may be swimming against a major political tidal wave by the time the elections come in 2015.

This is not something to excite the ordinary Nigerian. It may look like change but it is only a movement within concentric circles. The centre has not changed; it is still about the interest of the elites and not that of the people. For instance, take the exchange of letters between President Goodluck Jonathan and ex-President Obasanjo, you’d see that to these supposed leaders it is much more about personal interests than about the interest of the country.

Chief Obasanjo blatantly accused the current President of things he, Obasanjo, was guilty of as president. Many have said one must take the message and ignore the messenger but in this instance, Chief Obasanjo isn’t only the messenger, he is the essence of the message, and he is the message itself.

As for the president, one needs not look too hard to know he is probably the biggest reason impunity has become the order of the day. Corruption is very much comfortable in our country and as long as the president continues to pretend this is not the case, we will continue to read about these shameful stolen funds day in and out.

Both the president and his former godfather are the reason we are in this mess. The very first of the duo to admit his role in this mess will come out the less of two evils. The president on his own part is bound to be distracted from the business of Nigeria in 2014 as he battles for his political future. 2014 looks like a wasted year before it has even started. Nigerians of course are part of the mess either as active participants or as passive conspirators.

APC looked like it would be the one reason Nigerians can hope again. But APC has since shown it wants to play the game according to the dictate of the elites and power brokers. You can’t blame them for that but you cannot at the same time look at people like us and say APC is the change Nigerians desire.

May be it will take on that form sometime but it is increasingly looking like what Nigerians used to fear: the old gang that decimated our people’s destiny. You can’t blame them too much, politicians are about power, leaders are about change. Some politicians are leaders and some leaders are politicians but being one doesn’t equate to being the other.

At this point, our people must avoid taking sides. We are far from having a people’s party. Forget the Labour Party, it is a joke. But it is not too late to influence the political process. It is not too late to make our voices count. We cannot continue to wait for 2015 when our country is daily rotting away. Our first mistake will be to make it easy for any of these parties. Nigerians must learn to be the proud damsel.