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Turncoat politicians and the integrity of the anti-graft war

Turncoat politicians and the integrity of the anti-graft war

The anti corruption crusade of the present government may soon be discontinued or rather is presently being viewed by many as an instrument of coercion aimed at undermining and muzzling up the voice of the opposition. Regrettably, any democracy bereft of dissent is an aberration. However, the way and manner our politicians have been decamping to the ruling APC leaves much to be desired. Most of these decampees are those already indicted by the anti-graft agencies or are apprehensive of the discovery of one or more skeletons in their cupboard. The smart thing to do to evade being caught in the anti corruption saga is simply to decamp.

But Politics has been variously defined as the agglomeration or universe of the ideas, concepts, thoughts and activities of a geopolitical entity or a state. These thoughts and concepts as espoused and propounded by political ideologues and thinkers find expression in the activities of politicians or men of the state who wittingly and at times unwittingly find themselves operating in line with thoughts of these social thinkers. The choice and or adherence to a particular school of thought is sometimes referred to as principle and this forms the basis for the alignment of men of identical principle to form political parties. A political party becomes therefore not an epicurean social club, rather, a forum of men of state with a similar vision of transforming the society. Hence while the Aristotlean schools of thought may stress hereditary leadership, Plato’s may insist on garnered qualification; this way the political society is giving broad latitude of choice between the various schools of thought as manifested by the political parties. That is why we have a pleuthora of political parties in the advanced democracies though not all of them are of national prominence. In the United States of America, aside the well known duo of the Democratic Party and the Grand Old Party, GOP a.k.a the Republican party, there are many others most of whom have never contested an election not to talk of winning same at all the three levels of government, ditto for good old Great Britain that has had power rotating between the Tories, the Liberals and the Labour parties. In those climes, it is easy to identify a politician as belonging and espousing the creed of a political party. This plurality and tacit principled politicking was bequeathed us by our erstwhile colonial patrons.

However, directly shown the apron-strings of the British and dumped the Union Jack in favour of our national flag, the political culture took a new stance. It could be argued that before independence, the nationalists appeared to be united against a common foe, i.e. the colonialist but when the Brits left our shores, a scramble for supremacy and replacement of the erstwhile over-hold by the champions of the major ethnic nationalities who were apprehensive of any of their peers rising to dominance and maybe, begin to lord it over them. This ethnocentrism which easily overwhelmed the political culture reared up its ravenous jaws in Western Nigerian House of Assembly when ethnic sentiment led to a yet to be rivaled mass carpet crossing in the annals of Nigeria political history. This historic massive decampment of elected NCNC members of the Weston House overnight to the Awolowo and Yoruba-led Action Group, AC left Rt. Hon. Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe of Igbo origin and his NCNC in the cold, thereby robbing them of the opportunity of ruling Western Nigeria.

This sowed the seed of suspicion and created the tradition of decampment.  It has however, continued from the First through the Second Republics to the present era. Today it is common practice for an elected office holder to dump his party for another while still holding onto office in abnegation of the desires of the constituents who elected him; ditto for other political leaders. This is so because there is no longer any principle guiding the operations of the individual political parties. Indeed party A is as good as party B just as both are blood brothers to parties C and D. That is perhaps why the politicians have no scruples about changing their parties at will without consulting or feeling the pulse of those they purport to lead.

More worrisome is the current trend of decampment where it has glaringly become clear that the decampees do so to postpone or escape the doomsday or to obviate victimization by the powers that be. Pundits explain that it has become a political hara-kiri for one to criticize the policies of the current central government as one risked a trumped charge being slapped on him or the DSS and EFCC will indict him for the guilt of spending money given to him to expend for the express purpose of an election. We are waiting to be led to the statute books where campaign spending has become a crime. It is instructive that while party officials are being harangued for campaign money, the national chairman of the party has by implication, been declared innocent of campaign spending; just as senior INEC officials are being dragged about for electoral bribe, the INEC chairman is left untouched. Who indeed is fooling who? It is pertinent to note that after the media trials, nobody has so far been convicted in the anti graft war; never mind about the refunds and the plea bargains brouhaha.

Does it now translate that corruption is synonymous with the opposition or better put, is membership of the Peoples Democratic Party, the erstwhile ruling party now the major opposition, equivalent to being corrupt? If the answers to both posers are in the affirmative, then it becomes understandable while former PDP members are decamping to the ruling APC to evade being hounded and harangued by agents of state coercion for one financial crime or the other or for just being rich. Then it is high time our local political operatives down the rung were told the home truth to quickly decamp from the PDP to the APC or they will be thrown into gulags who taking part in sharing of the PDP campaign funds. There is now real tension in Enugu and other places with the decampment of such heavies such as Jim Nwobodo, Sullivan Chime and whiz-kid Andy Uba among others. There is now a popular saying that the fear of the anti-graft war and consequent crossing over to the APC is the beginning of conventional wisdom. But again, who really is being fooled?  This brazen political melo-drama has cast a very big question mark on the integrity of the Buhari administration’s anti-graft war as it appeared skewed and geared towards the muzzling up of the opposition, meanwhile, corruption thrives and grows higher under Buhari’s nose; witness the activities of the grass-culling SGF and the Ikoyi- gate scandal of the NIA DG, which observers insist are just tips of the ice berg. One should whisper to the embattled SGF, if indeed he is a Nigerian as is being mooted, to rush to his state APC office and make fantastic donations and declare the opposition dead, ditto for the NIA boss, this way they would be absolved of their sins, by the APC sanitizing

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