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Ostrich Body, Chicken Head - Big Party, Little idea.

By Chris Onyishi

Published  October 5th, 2009

First it was the then, Sidon dey look, Mr. Bola Ige of the blessed memory, who made us understand - during the administration of the Ota Engineer – that Power situation in Nigeria would become a thing of the past in six months. Like a snail crawling up the trunk of a banana plant, the six months elapsed and there was nothing that showed that the power situation had taken a positive turn. He sought another six months to no avail until he was moved to ministry of Justice where he actually should have been made to supervise in the first place.

I can’t remember exactly the succession pattern, but I remember, vividly, that then one Mr. Lyel Imoke came on board as the power chief. To my greatest amazement, Mr. Imoke was quoted as saying that the power situation in Nigeria would take fifty years to stabilize. Meanwhile, Mr. Bola Ige did hint us that he did not understand the enormity or obstacles on the way before his promise to revive power in six months. But what is not arguable with Late Ige’s six-month promise was his understanding of the need for immediate and urgent attention that power requires as the bed rock for any other meaningful development and his good will for Nigeria. At least he had a dream, but what would you ascribe to Imokes utterance about 50-year-power-theory. Was he thinking of going back to invent electricity or what?

Mr. Lyel Imoke was later to be rewarded, for that obnoxious 50-years-power-stability-theory, with the governorship of Cross River state by Prof. Iwu’s INEC. What came to my mind at first when I heard that one Mr. Imoke had secured the governorship ticket of Cross River State was to find out if he was the same Power-play Imoke. When once I discovered it was the same person, I then reasoned that Cross River people want to be in the dark for 50 years or for at least 8 years when Imoke would be sitting in as their governor. I did confirm this assertion when he worn a second time, which means that the Cross Riverians have confidence in him despite his power-stability-theory. But this is assuming that electorates determine who leads them in PDP version of democracy in Nigeria.

That PDP is the biggest party in Africa is not in doubt. What is in doubt is whether there is up to one percent of all these people who make up this “big party” that have any idea as to make Nigeria great.

I see in PDP a bird with the size of body of an Ostrich and a head of a chicken. Or how else could you visualize a party that has held down over one hundred and fifty million innocent people for over 12 years, in a democracy, without any hope of even a dim light at the end of the tunnel.

But the greatest shock of it all is how they keep wining more converts from the political sphere – the types of Ohakim and co - and worst still is hearing their leaders brag that PDP will rule Nigeria for the next 50 years. I ask what the basis for saying fifty years is, why not hundred or thirty. Is it when we all would have been dead or what? Are they proud that they are ruling well or are there any magic that will be performed that requires fifty years to happen?

I did lament when the University Guru of Chemistry was imposed on us that I did not see any capacity in him to remedy the rot which the President, of the Third Term fame, had inflicted on Nigeria and Nigerians. Somebody who came in with the notion of 7-8 point agenda has not by the turn of 24 months shown any progress in even half an agenda. And by the way what is his priority on the so touted 7-point agenda. Does it occur to him and his team that a litany of agenda is not worth anything if there is no priority of execution? Common sense shows that without sanitizing the nation of corruption, there will not be any trust in the positive direction and we cannot say corruption is any way tackled by this administration.

If I were one the five bank chief executives recently given a knock by the Sanusis, I would simply find a comfortable ground to decamp to PDP and I would be certain that President Yar’ dua will grace the occasion and all the noise of misappropriation of funds would coalesce into political size for the already bloated PDP. As a matter of fact, I have always compared the size of PDP with the size of corruption in Nigeria. And whenever I hear that one Ohakim is decamping, I only imagine that corruption has garnered support or that corruption has been threatened with two options of to move and associate with its bigger brother or to stay where it is and be seen as the real corruption.

And while we are sanitizing, or “de-corrupting”, the polity, the economy needs some boost the type that can only be brought about by stable power which the President’s party man – Mr. Imoke – has promised will only come about in the next fifty years. So what exactly are we talking about?

The party maybe the “biggest” in Africa, but I do not see the advantage in this size when there is no cohesion in the thoughts of the constituent members of this “bigness”. Or do they want us to see some connection between Imoke’s 50-year-power theory and the rule-for-50-years theory by the PDP kingpins, or do we call them top dogs.

Is it not incredible that in a country where the current President and the Education mister were once, and may still be, members of the academia in the nation’s highest institutions of learning are supervising almost 16 weeks of no academic activities? And they still go about celebrating their wedding anniversaries and giving out their daughters - for marriages - with colossal amounts being squandered in the process. Some of us know how wealthy these people were when they were teaching in the institutions.

I now agree that you may, with little effort, bring the monkey out of the jungle but you may never succeed in bringing the jungle out of the monkey. A party is worth nothing if it cannot engineer any meaningful social-political and ideological mechanisms that will engender growth for mankind in its political sphere and beyond - in a democratic setting, no matter the size. And a party that only boasts of size - and not mental sophistication - can only be equated to a big bird with the body of an Ostrich and the head of a chicken. And this is more reason I feel ashamed seeing some politicians I had thought had a better idea decamp into and flock with PDP on well orchestrated ceremonies.

If I were a politician, I would be leaving PDP instead of joining it now. I would be ashamed that my party has never had focus – and I did not know - and would not be, or offer me, a fertile ground for me to achieve my goal of leaving a legacy for our future generation. But this is if my mission in politics, originally, was to advance the cause of the human race.

If you have a big for nothing party housing big for nothing politicians, what you get is the semblance of a big bird of Ostrich size body with a chicken size head and the resultant effect is that a nation remains stagnant for as long as this big bird buries its head in the sand dunes of the desert while its big body is on the surface, either pretending, assuming or thinking that the hunter will not see it.

Chris Onyishi
Lagos, Nigeria


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