By Dele Sobowale
“At a glance at Exhibit A11 (result of the election), you can observe that the election was not conducted in substantial compliance with provisions of the Electoral Act, 2010.” Justice Ambrosa, nullifying the Rivers State Governor’s Election, Saturday, October 24, 2015.
On the face of it, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has not lost and the All Progressive Congress, APC, has not won in Rivers State yet. The Election Tribunal merely ordered for a fresh election to be conducted. But, if the Tribunal’s decision is upheld by higher courts, then another election will take place. For now, it is anybody’s guess regarding the person who will emerge as governor of Rivers State.
However, several issues would follow from the former election being nullified. In fact, one could write six columns and not exhaust the infinite possibilities. So readers would permit me if only a few are discussed. As usual, pardon me for a slight diversion. It will assist in putting the situation in which the PDP and our nation Nigeria increasingly in focus.
“It is the loser who finds the horrors of war on his very doorstep”. Phocion, 402-317 B.C, Athenian General and Statesman, in Plutarch’s AGE OF ALEXANDER. VANGUARD BOOK OF QUOTES, VBQ p 139)
Phocion was, to me, one of the wisest men in public life. Plutarch remains in the front ranks of the world’s greatest historians. His works which were required reading in the history course I undertook in my third year on the Hellenic Age, made you feel as if you were there on the scene. Phocion was a master at advising his people not to engage in war until they have considered the consequences of winning or losing. When, sitting President Jonathan and his wife became combative during the campaigns, they certainly never thought of losing the election. Furthermore, when the election results were announced and Jonathan gallantly accepted the results, it never occurred to him that he had virtually knocked the nail of the coffin of the PDP. Henceforth, Jonathan, whoever remains in PDP and their associates will feel the lash. As another sage had told us, “For every folly of their [political leaders], the [Nigerian supporters] feel the lash.”(VBQ p 61). Despite his braggadocio, Mr Nyesom Wike must be deeply disturbed.
First, he must remember how with the backing of the former President and a complaisant Commissioner of Police, the former Governor was held hostage in his own state. Jonathan is quietly hoping that his successor would not move against him. So, in the event of a new election, the last person he should expect in Rivers State to campaign for the PDP is Jonathan. Mrs Jonathan will probably not be present also. The last time she stormed Rivers State to campaign, it was with a battalion of the best shots the Nigerian Army could deploy – ably supported by thousands of police officers, armed and hooded DSS men, as well as a generous supply of Local Militia (thugs if you can’t understand “English”). It was intimidating enough to keep Governor Amaechi indoors for days. The man was aware of the consequences of losing his life to an “unknown” soldier. If Mrs Patience Jonathan ever considers repeating that trip, she will arrive Portharcourt without a single police officer to welcome her.
That is a long route to our destination. But, it is designed to tell Mr Wike that his salvation lies in the courts – Appeal and Supreme. Only if the courts rule that he won the last election will he be temporarily out of danger – for his political and his real life. It is not clear if the man realizes that the two have become inextricably linked. If he loses the appeals and steps down, he might not even contest the re-run election. Why, you are probably asking?
Mayhem in Rivers State elections in March and April topped those of all the other states. Dozens of lives were lost and accusations are pervasive that it was all orchestrated by the ruling party. Several people might be arrested and detained before the next election holds. If you are thinking “It can’t happen here”, then you must have a very poor knowledge of Nigerian political history. Rivers State and Akwa Ibom State have become the first tests of strength by the two leading political parties. Politics and war being related (“War is the continuation of politics by other means”, Karl von Clausewitz, 1780-1831), every General wants to win a war. That was why Obasanjo told us the unpleasant truth that winning “is a matter of life and death”.
The PDP went into the last election with a Commander-In-Chief, C-I-C, who had not developed the “killer instinct” – which often makes the difference between winning and losing. He will watch from the sidelines as a real General leads his troops to battle. As General George Paton, 1885-1945, said before his American troops destroyed the Germans in North Africa, “I feel sorry for the [PDP] already; they will soon taste [APC] firepower and many will not live to tell the story.” Jonathan, a weak leader and “general”, not only led his troops to defeat; he has left them at the mercy of their enemies.
Should Nigerians rejoice? Certainly not. Jonathan also left us with the possibility of a one party nation in a short while. And one-party nations soon degenerate to one-man polity. So we are all in trouble.
MYTH OF PARTY SUPREMACY IN NIGERIAN POLITICS – 2
Part one of this series was published last week. Ordinarily, the series should continue uninterrupted. But, the Tribunal verdict on Rivers State governor’s election as well as the confusing decision with regard to Akwa Ibom State had opened the real possibility that those states might turn to APC. In that event, we are gradually moving to one-party nation. DANGER!!! The first thing to go under a one-man autocracy is Party Supremacy….
To be continued…