Nigerian Primaries, Cloaked Daggers And Politics Of Atrophy By Austin Isikhuemen

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Learn about the party primaries in Nigeria, ahead of the general election in 2023. This article is been republished with permission from the writer, our big brother, Mr. Austin Isikhuemen. Earlier, we interviewed him about the history of the Amedokhian people of Uromi. You can listen to the interview below (in Esan language). Join our Content Creation Academy

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Back to the article: Primaries, Cloaked Daggers And Politics Of Atrophy By Austin Isikhuemen

The party primaries for Nigeria’s 2023 general elections are done and dusted. Or are they? Some parties have submitted dummy running mates hoping to replace them with real ones later on.

They are said to be consulting endlessly and making use of a loophole in our electoral law and INEC guidelines to use full-grown Men as placeholders. These Men are adept draughts players, giving you one to ‘chop’ while targeting your four! So, shall we call the candidates that will be chosen and presented to INEC later by APC and Labour Party (LP) as live running mates?

If so, you would be forgiven to call Masari and Okupe ‘dead’ running mates! Since another name for a dead body is a cadaver, calling them ‘cadaver running mates’ would also be apt.

Now, let’s get serious. Is it a sign of what is to come that a ruling party cannot choose a Presidential running mate in the time allotted without the use of extra time?

Is this a foretaste of the lethargy, indecision, and pussyfooting that is awaiting Nigeria should they win? And why is Labor Party also taking this rickety wagon that may arrive late at its destination? Theirs though is a bit understandable.

This is due to the need to align and realign forces with similar tendencies like kwankwansiyya movement and like minds from across the firmament to get a fighting chance.

The primaries in PDP and APC have shown that money politics is alive and well and is metastasizing in readiness for 2023. Can you imagine that becoming a delegate became a shortcut to millionairehood?

The hundreds of naira you get when a few US dollars are converted made this even more so. Let no one deny.

Because, somewhere in the north, a delegate who keeps his promises was alleged to have brought his share home and spent N12m on ‘empowerment’ for his constituents at the end of his party primaries.

So, those denying can go into the water body one Oba once recommended for those who vote against his wish.

It was more pathetic for the ruling party. Considering that one of the planks they have stood precariously and, sometimes ludicrously on, is anti-corruption, it is sad that they deployed the same ‘evilous’ stratagem to produce a Presidential candidate who is expected to fight the scourge.

As the Esans say, it should not surprise anyone that the fly will always vote for the man with a purulent sore!

The cynicism was taken to absurd proportions when they dragged the EFCC into the fray to give a fraudulent process a façade of integrity. They said EFCC was brought into the convention to ensure there was no corrupt activities and no money changing hands to influence outcomes.

So, Nigerians are to be regarded as daft enough to believe that the money would be shared in the open for EFCC to see? Or were the EFCC operatives made pecuniary delegates too? Or was this a clever maneuver to make that anti-corruption body with a daunting mandate an extension of a political party?

So, who was caught at the convention? How do you bring the operatives to the convention carnival after the dough has been disbursed at night at various hotels and you expect them to catch the offenders?

Those I saw at Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja that morning shopping for very expensive shoes did not even wait for the vote counting to finish before they left the venue and went on a spending spree.

At the time our flight left for Lagos, vote counting was still on, but the branded party delegates were more than 30% of the full plane’s passengers. The bazaar, for them, was over and the loot needed to get home fast and safely.

Cloaked daggers? They were aplenty and in full use. Those who hated Wike’s guts and temperament were almost losing out on the running mate race.

Wike was coasting home to victory and the committee set up by the NEC led by Senator Ayu, a former APC member had voted 17-3 in favor of PDP’s most stable, reliable, and viable militant combatant. His supporters must have been singing ‘half a loaf is better than none.

Wike had previously been worsted in the dollar fight with an Intels-empowered Atiku. So, Ayu and some dark forces who did this abracadabra can be sure Wike will exact his pound of flesh with huge implications for opposition politics in Nigeria.

I have seen congratulatory messages from some inhouse political foes Wike has hurt before like Secondus or those he has helped but had had a fracas within the recent past, like the Edo State Governor and his youthful Deputy.

Their congratulatory messages were full of disguised vitriol against Wike, if you read between the lines. I watched Kassim Afegbua’s interview on Channels TV yesterday and his analysis and position foretell what is to come.

Unfortunately. Jagaban’s juju must be active, throwing the enemy’s household in disarray. No. Not so fast. Gentleman Okowa is in the midst of a storm. Why host a meeting in your home to take a sibling’s position on an issue but go to the village square and play on the opposing side?

These are not my words sir. That’s what Kassim said. Betrayal gets a mention too many times these days in the South-South.

The Jagaban Borgu’s tongue-in-cheek rebuke couched as ‘I forgive you’ to Lawan, was well deserved. His return to the red chamber is as sure as the election of a Saudi Pope.

It was said that the International Conference Centre summons by the Jagaban, allegedly, no less, to APC senators at the time scheduled for their inauguration in 2015 that led to Saraki’s unexpected emergence was to anoint Senator Ahmed Lawan.

He waited 4 years and he was still railroaded into Senate Presidency by the same forces, for his impeccable yes-sir-master qualities. To be announced as a preferred candidate to his mentor and promoter in a game that was clearly a determinant of now-or-never proportions in a man’s so-called life ambition was going to be the humiliation of gargantuan proportions.

It was interesting seeing an epic battle and seeing who blinked first. The Nasarawa consensus potentate ought not to have raised BAT’s hand. His own dagger was uncloaked but only blunted by a superior force.

The third force, and the smaller parties in some way, displayed some ideals that are in short supply in the two big parties. The pervasive corrupting influence of money. They did not share money in LP we hear. Mr. ‘aka gum’ of Anambra did not bring and did not share dollars or naira, yet he emerged victorious.

That is a good thing. The contrived maneuver to upstage him – Peter Obi – by some forces also had the coloration of money and other forces at play.

Now before singing hurray for all the smaller parties to whom we can run to seek alternatives to the two cannibalizing dinosaurs, Dr. Kingsley Moghalu, the debonair, suave, intelligent, and experienced technocrat and future prospect for a better Nigeria, got edged out through foul pecuniary means.

Allegedly, as the learned wigged fellows would say. He has since resigned from the contraption that dealt him a fraudulent hand, damaging their brand in no small way. So, where do we go from here?

The lack of intellectual rigor and so much pedestrian verbiage being bandied about really makes you wonder whether Nigerians are ready for a change that would transform this country for good. Our choices, exemplified by these primaries, indicate otherwise. Primordial politics still hold sway.

Ethnic, religious, and regional considerations still seem to trump our desire for greatness. The road not taken can only hurt us all. Not even those benefitting from this malaise can exempt themselves from being casualties in the long run.

If your kids cannot come back to Nigeria even for your burial, because their safety cannot be guaranteed, or you have to live in Dubai or UK all the rest of your life, or you lose your privacy because armed guards have to accompany you even to the toilet, then you are a loser.

Not the winner you think you are because you stole our commonwealth and have a private jet whose parking fees can run a local government council. Life is more than dollars and Naira. Didn’t MKO choose his mandate over his wealth and didn’t he leave them all behind?

Nowhere, 18 June 2022 – Austin Isikhuemen

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