Nigeria: Looking back, moving forward

The All Progressives Congress (APC) and President Muhammadu Buhari, who rode to power on the crest of a promised change, presented change and redemption to Nigerians and promised action in a few months of getting to office. Nigerians at home and in the Diaspora as well as the international community, embraced the party due to its promises, only to be later told how such promise would be difficult to achieve, because another party had been in power before them. Today, the APC continues to look backward and blame the past while the proverbial ship heads for an iceberg.
No sooner had the APC government assumed office than it began to give excuses and seek understanding for the failure of its hurriedly-put-together plans to transform Nigeria in three months. They told the world of marshaled plans and well-thought-out policies that will reform the land in six months but five months into office, it is still all talk and no action. So, someone must take the fall. Who else but the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)? Yes, the PDP must be the culprit. It must take the blame for the poor economy headed by a government without economic direction; a government that, contrary to promises, has not given a clear-cut plan of how it will run the economy. 
At the rate that the APC is going, PDP has been given a life; it is now a man walking on two legs and breathing and not a political party peopled by individuals of different idiosyncrasies and predilections. But who is PDP? Which state is it from and is it true that it destroyed Nigeria? These questions have made it imperative to do a holistic analysis of the question: Who destroyed Nigeria between 1999 and 2015?
Nigeria had three presidents between May 29, 1999 and May 29, 2015, namely; Olusegun Obasanjo, the late Umaru MusaYar’adua and Goodluck Jonathan. Of the three, Obasanjo spent eight years in office between 1999 and 2007, Yar’adua spent three years from May 2007 to May 2010, whileDr Jonathan spent the remaining five years. Today, Obasanjo has denounced PDP to become APC and Buhari’s navigator to office. Similarly, of the three vice-presidents during the 16 years, Atiku Abubakar spent the most number of years in office between 1999 and 2007. He not only moved to the Action Congress (APC’s foundation members’ platform) while in office in 2006, he also aspired to rule Nigeria on APC platform in 2014 and is a member of its Board of Trustees.
Between 1999 and 2015, Nigeria had six Speakers of House of Representative including SalisuBuhari (June -July 1999), Ghali Na’abba (July 1999-June 2003), Aminu Bello Masari (June 2003-June 2007), Madam Patricia Etteh (June 2007-November 2007), Dimeji Bankole (November 2007-June 2011) and Aminu Waziri Tambuwal (June 2011-June 2015). Of all the six former Speakers, four are now members of APC, with a combined period of 12 years in office.  Masari and Tambuwal are now APC governors of Katsina and Sokoto states, respectively.
Nasir el-Rufai was Director-General of the Bureau for Public Enterprise and Secretary of National Council on Privatisation between 1999 and 2003; he later became Minister of the Federal Capital Territory between 2003 and 2007. By virtue of his office, Atiku Abubakar was the chairman of NCP between 1999 and 2007 and both men supervised the privatisation of public companies for the period. They are now APC members; el-Rufai is even the governor of Kaduna State.
Danjuma Goje was the Minister of State for Power between 1999 and 2003, he was later Gombe State governor for two terms. Rabiu Kwankwaso was Minister of Defence between 2003 and 2007; he later became Kano State governor for eight years. Both men are now APC BoT members and Senators. Samuel Ortom served National Auditor of PDP for not less than four years and later as Minister of State for Trade and Investment between 2011 and 2015 and he is now governor of Benue State on the platform of the APC.
Between 1999 and 2015, Gombe has had three governors, Abubakar Hashidu (4years), DanjumaGoje (8 years) and Ibrahim Dankwambo (5 years). Both Hashidu and Goje, with combined 12 years, are now members of the APC. In Kwara State, all governors since 1999 are APC members except the late Mohammed Lawal who ruled under APP.
In Anambra State, former Governors Chinwoke Mbadinuju (4 years), Chris Ngige (3 years) and Peter Obi (8years) held sway. Mbadinuju and Ngige are now APC members. Similarly in Benue State, George Akume was a PDP governor between 1999 and 2007. Today, he is a senator on the platform of the APC.
All elected governors of Osun State till date are APC members. Also in Ekiti State, of the 16 years, PDP’s Fayose only had four while Niyi Adebayo(4years), Segun Oni (3 years) and Fayemi (4 years), who are BoT members of the APC, had 11 years. In Rivers State, APC’s Rotimi Amaechi was not only governor for eight years out of the 16, he also served as Speaker for the other 8 years on the platform of PDP while Plateau State governor, Simon Lalong was also a PDP Speaker during the Joshua Dariye administration. The list is endless.
For 16 years, most of these individuals mentioned and others, including the APC National Leader, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, held office across the country and contributed to the decline of the country and its economy or can anyone say that everything is perfect with Lagos where the APC has held sway for 16 years? Though most of these people were, at one time or the other, indicted for corrupt practices and fraud while in office, they ‘navigated’ their ways into the APC and became celebrated saints as if changing parties meant changing souls.
Though Nigeria forgets things quite easily, I doubt if we can forget so soon that it was Bukola Saraki and Amaechi, who as Nigerian Governors Forum chairpersons, moved for the sharing of the Excess Crude Account among states, and went to court,forcing Jonathan to bowto their needless pressure. In fact, theyalso pushed for the sharing of the Sovereign Wealth Fund but were resisted by Jonathan. Today, Saraki is not just an APC Senator, but Senate President, while Amaechi is a minister. 
Without any doubt, the continuous claim by the APC and Buhari’s administration that “PDP destroyed Nigeria” for sixteen years only shows that the present administration is yet to understand the problem of the country and an indictment on all those that held one office or the other since 1999, especially at the federal and state levels. Sadly, the president and his party have depended on these destroyers to get into office and one can only wish him luck and urge him to save Nigerians the excuses and focus on the job he was elected to do.
Let me illustrate this with an interview with a Jewish Leader on what blacks can do to experience change. “Blacks must take responsibility, blacks must unite and vehemently fight corrupt leaders who run down their country and pass the buck. Let us stop buck passing and face reality.” Finally, my take is that a man can change his garments as many times as he chooses, but he still remains who he is before the change, or who he is after the artificial change. Let us therefore focus on individuals and identify those who have by their actions or inactions brought our beloved country to her knees and deal with them according to the laws of our land. What we need today are men of integrity, irrespective of their political party affiliation. God bless Nigeria.
Aina writes from Abuja.


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