Key Battles PMB Must Win


He who rejects change is the architect of decay. The only human institution which rejects progress is the cemetery. ~Harold Wilson

Throughout history, change, of any definitive status-quo, has never come easy. Change is always resisted especially by those rabidly opposed to its undefined outcomes for different reasons. Indeed, individuals and nations have gone to war to resist change throughout history. Even so, change, like the inevitable transition between life and death, remains the only constant factor in our lives. It is the interlude that is open to debate. What we do within the same interlude not only determines the quality of the change we desire, but also, unfortunately, reflects the doggedness of our resistance to it.

To millions of supporters of the All Progressive Congress (APC), who celebrated widely across the country when President Muhammadu Buhari was elected President last year, no one should understand the significance of change better than the Chieftains of the party. But the reality has not reflected anything close to their enthusiasm for a rapid departure from the decadent ways of the deposed People’s Democratic Party (PDP).

Today, almost a year into the presidency of Muhammadu Buhari, millions of Nigerians who could hardly wait to see the back of the PDP in 2015, have been forced to go on the defensive in their support of his administration since the turn of the year. That is simply the plain truth. Anyone who is trying to tell the president a different thing is not helping his cause. Even the APCs youthful supporters in the social media appear to be losing their enthusiasm to defend the change mantra with their typical effervescent swagger presently.

By contrast, their PDP counterparts seem to be relishing the negativities attributed to the APC with their ‘we told you so’ innuendoes.  It did not matter that the international oil glut and its attendant negative effects on the domestic economy and social conditions were not created by the APC. It mattered even less that it was not the APC government that failed to diversify the economy or shamelessly refused to save for the rainy day.

To the PDP and their allied supporters of the old order, the change initiatives the president has warned will take time are meaningless and they appear eager to exploit every misfortune to discredit the current administration. They want Nigerians to focus only on the epileptic power supply experienced in recent times; the high cost of forex and the rampant insecurity in the land especially the frequently reported clashes between farmers and Fulani herdsmen.

The latter, of course, suits the PDPs well-rehearsed strategy of exploiting ethnic and regional tensions for political capital. It backfired last year, but in their desperation to malign the APC, the PDP, and its supporters appear not to have learnt any useful lessons. The calculation is that if the APC ‘change’ disposition could be significantly discredited before its programmes begin to bear fruit, the better it would be for the PDP ahead of the next elections in 2019.

For that reason, the whitlow of the Southwest, Ayo Fayose, could go to any lengths - even the ridiculous extent of denying the abduction of the Chibok girls – to smear the current administration. A series of seemingly uncoordinated events are also threatening to eclipse the massive successes of the military against the Boko Haram insurgents in the North East.

I have already mentioned the suspicious frequency of the reported clashes between farmers and Fulani herdsmen, but mention must also be made of the resumed militancy in the South-South and the heightened rate of kidnappings across the country. No one should dispute the fact that after sixteen years of unrestrained debauchery in the highest offices in the land, the PDP has more than enough resources to inflict maximum damage to the ongoing efforts to clean the Augean stables.

For PMB and his administration, regaining the momentum especially in the realm of public perception is crucial. Sadly, we have arrived at the junction where his good name and solid intentions are no longer enough in the face of the saboteurs he is currently confronted with. The traitors have no intention of playing by the rules. It is now time for PMB to show his sterner side. The gloves must ultimately come off. He must win a series of battles before he has the chance to implement the lasting change he promised.

The first battle the President must win is the virtual Civil War in his own party the APC. It is now apparent that a majority of its members merely rode to power on the crest of Buhari’s overwhelming popularity but never truly believed in his leadership principles or the change he promised Nigerians.

And the battlefield for this particular battle is undoubtedly the National Assembly (NASS) where Bukola Saraki is presently ensconced like a Pharaoh. He leads a renegade group of Senators and lawmakers who routinely defy the position of their own party. He also conveniently masks his naked political ambition under the guise of protecting the independence of the NASS.

The president should know that the fight against corruption means nothing to this bunch. Their antecedents clearly suggests that if there is one thing they dislike with a passion, it is the notion of transparency and accountability. If the president is not prepared to fight dirty, then he must get an enforcer to do the job for him. There is too much at stake here.

Next, PMB must find a way to fish out Tombolo from his hole in the creeks of the Niger Delta. No matter what he says about his inclination to embrace peace the evidence on the ground suggests that the exact opposite suits him best. Besides, the existing status-quo has denied him the use of his private Navy and his lucrative contract patrolling oil pipelines. Unless he is speedily apprehended, we may as well brace ourselves for prolonged fuel crisis and disruption of essential gas supplies to our power stations.  

Next, it is worth reminding the president that his signature war against corruption will only begin to make sense when some felons begin to take up residency in Kuje prison. As PMB knows all too well this battle is at the heart of almost everything that has gone horribly wrong with the nation and he cannot afford to fail. The war against corruption is vital because of its impact on the overall health of the economy, development of critical social infrastructure and, of course, insecurity brought about by rampant unemployment.

Obviously, the fight against corruption is dependent on other factors beyond the control of the president and we need to appreciate that. The battle the president must win here is how to get the judiciary to reform itself while also hoping that the Nigeria Bar Association finds a way to purge itself of the rogue lawyers that continue to cast a slur on their noble profession. 

The final battle is one PMB can win easily because it occurs right under his nose. He must summon the courage to summarily sanction any of his political appointees proven to have engaged in any acts of impunity. Acts of impunity irreparably damaged the PDP. It risks doing the same to the current administration if left to fester.