APC and PDP in governance: What difference?

It was the late Nigerian playwright Ola Rotimi who first tickled my poetic imagination on objects, parts or things that look alike or seem different but indeed are the same. This came in form of a wise saying, that linguistic form which the African skill for imaginative communication had perfected along with proverbs and aphorisms before ‘Westernisms’ caught up with us. I had just been introduced to the play The Gods are not to Blame as a sophomore at the University of Jos. A character posed the question to the unfortunate King Odewale and his wife Ojuola: what is the difference between the right ear of a horse and the left one? No difference, I dare say. They are similarly shaped and perform the same auditory functions even though they are located on two different sides of the face.

However, this aphoristic question cannot be applied to dogs and monkeys. For, in spite of the fact that both are animals they are different types of animals. Okot p’Bitek the Ugandan poet wrote in Song of Lawino that the ‘graceful giraffe cannot become a monkey.’ Furthermore, we cannot ask, whether figuratively or otherwise ‘what is the difference between a Rolls Royce and a Beetle car;’ they are both cars but cars in different categories, in terms of pricing, prestige and general construction. If you arrive at Dangote’s office or Mike Adenuga’s residence in a ‘Tortoise car’, the security men would not bother to entertain enquiries from you. Just drive home and return in a Mercedes 600 car and watch the difference! I remember once when a young man asserted ‘all women are the same’ and another man countered ‘all women are not the same; my mother is not a prostitute.’ Hehehehehe!

All of these thoughts came to mind recently while I pondered on the fate which has befallen the APC as the ruling party in Nigeria. About three years to the day after the APC swept into power at the national level and in some states, we are beginning to wonder whether there is indeed any difference between the APC and PDP. It is true that APC did not present any strong ideological manifesto that is patently different from what PDP had to offer; neither did the PDP ab initio but what is happening currently in the country under APC is pregnant and is nursing a baby at the same time! There is a feeling of deja vu! Both parties promised the good life not on any sound economic or political framework. The party men were men ‘wey sabi road’, as they often claimed. Alas the road the PDP ‘sabi’ led the nation and the party itself into the abyss of defeat and despair.

Deep thinkers and writers have ruminated on the difference between APC and PDP as political parties in the political landscape of Nigeria. APC as we know swept into power largely on the integrity of the flag bearer, Candidate now President Muhammadu Buhari. The nation was inundated with stories of great pilfering of the national wealth that the people rose en masse to say ‘enough is enough’. The APC vowed to fight corruption to a standstill and exterminate the vermin that is Boko Haram. I cast my mind back to Chief Awolowo’s Unity Party of Nigeria, Aminu Kano’s NEPC, and the National Party of Nigeria (NPN) led by Chief Adisa Akinloye in the Second Republic. I also remembered Tunji Braithwaite’s political party Nigeria Advance Party (NAP) which laid some claim to mass orientation and emancipation of the people. What about Fela Anikulapo’s Movement of the People (MOP)? Even Fela wanted to liberate the masses from the stranglehold of oppressors, though he refrained from bringing the capitalists into the discourse. Was he a capitalist himself?

Chief Awolowo promised free education at all levels and indeed in the UPN States, education became free, with open access to millions as the Action Group had achieved in the old Western Region. The NPN countered UPN with a ‘Qualitative education for All’ slogan which was a subtle indictment on the ‘poultry shed’ schools which were established in some of the states. The bottom line was that all the parties tried to present ideas or concrete promises to which they would be held accountable.

The punch line for APC was the fight against corruption. Of course everyone lapped it up, particularly the international community. For, corruption had become an industry which fed on itself and which had become institutionalised. Muhammadu Buhari made it clear that if we do not kill corruption, corruption would kill the country. And so the journey began. Sadly, the President’s men did not, could not buy into the anti-corruption mantra for reasons that have become clear – the current political system thrives on official corruption.

The irony of it all was that the hierarchy and active agents of the APC were once principal characters in the pantheon of PDP deities. These were deities who fed fat on the spoils of office as a way of life. Before long what happened in the house of goat became manifest in the house of sheep. The left ear and the right ear had become one. This became evident when naming looters became a ding-dong affair recently. Nigerians are not amused. And it is a serious matter. I would like to believe that the politicians are looking for a way out of the mess they have found themselves in.

A horse has two ears. As far as I know all animals which have ears have two; not one. With APC and PDP Nigeria has one ear. It is the struggle for a second ear that we must embark on. Isn’t this contradictory? Two ears of the same animal? Well, when the second real ear comes, we would be able to listen from both sides of the divide. For now, our two political parties are of one shade. They are amusing, aren’t they? They provide entertainment. Yet we didn’t elect them to entertain us. We elected them to develop the land. We are now saddled with dancing Senators, miracle-seeking Ministers, and statue-creating Governors. Added to this group are the people who elected them and will re-elect them again next year. In our quaint form of democracy, some of us are telling some persons not to run. The APC is being advised by some past leaders not to field the current occupant of Aso Rock. Advice can come from anywhere; but I thought we should be getting ready to vote in or vote out the ear that has a defect. Whether at State or Federal Level therefore the APC and PDP are birds of the same feather, no, birds of identical plumage that is why they flock together!

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