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Embattled Uche Secondus was elected the PDP National Working Committee chairman after a bitterly contested election held at the Eagles Square, Abuja on 10th December, 2017. Staunchly backed by PDP governors ably led by Rivers State’s Nyesom Wike and the then Ekiti State’s Gov. Ayodele Fayose, Secondus trounced three other contenders, scoring 2000 votes. One-time Minister of Education, Prof. Tunde Adeniran, came a distant second with 230 votes, AIT’s owner, Raymond Dokpesi, scored 66 votes while Prof. Taoheed Adedoja, another one-time Minister of Sports and Special Duties, scored zero votes. Nine aspirants earlier cleared for the contest withdrew before the D-Day when it became clear to everyone that the election would merely be a coronation; those who withdrew included Chief Olabode George, ex-Gov. Gbenga Daniel, Mr. Jimi Agbaje, and ex-Gov. Rashidi Ladoja.
Wike and Fayose rallied (or is it railroaded?) their colleague-governors into Secondus’ corner. Fayose snubbed his fellow Ekiti man, Tunde Adeniran, and “Lagos boy” Olabode George, the benefactor without whom he might never have become governor, because of the political permutations that reportedly paired Sokoto State’s Gov. Aminu Tambuwal and Fayose as the PDP presidential and vice-presidential candidate respectively for the 2019 presidential elections. Man proposes, circumstances or, better still, God, disposes. So, as God would have it, veteran presidential candidate and former vice-president, Atiku Abubakar, later, in October 2018, stole the thunder from under the belt of the Wike/Fayose/Tambuwal group by clinching the PDP 2019 presidential ticket, beating Tambuwal, Senate president Bukola Saraki, ex-Gov. Rabiu Kwankwaso and other contenders to the trophy. When Atiku chose ex-Gov. Peter Obi as his running-mate, not only did the Wike/Fayose/Tambuwal group lose every foothold in the PDP 2019 presidential ticket, the South-west, which should have produced the PDP chairman had Fayose not pushed the slot away from the zone for his own personal aggrandisement, also lost out on all fronts. It lost the PDP chairmanship to Secondus; it also lost the PDP presidential running mate slot.
Things have, however, fallen apart between Secondus and Wike. The PDP gladiators are back in the trenches once again. New alliances have emerged. As in the past, the name of the game is personal interest. Carol Moseley Braun says “There are no permanent friends or permanent enemies, just permanent interests” Patience Johnson, in “Why does an orderly God allow disorder?” situates it in politics this way: In politics, no permanent friends, no permanent enemies but permanent interest”. Like in most things Nigerian, this definition of the place of interest in politics is carried too far. Selfish interest determines the political behaviour of many Nigerian politicians. Conversely, in other climes, this quote is meant to emphasise the supremacy of national interest over the interest of individuals. One-time Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Benjamin Disraeli, once said: We have no permanent friends. We have no permanent enemies. We just have permanent interests”. The widely touted American master of shuttle diplomacy, Henry Kissinger, put it this way: America has no permanent friends or enemies, only interests”. Carried further afield, we can quote Carl Schurz’s “Our Country! In her intercourse with foreign nations may she always be in the right; but right or wrong, our country!” In Nigeria, it is not about Country but about the individual politician’s stomach and pocket!
That is why alliances shift easily at the least of excuses; that is why defection and carpet-crossing is rampant and follows no ideological or sensible pattern. That is why comrades turn coat again and again; and this morning’s bosom friends become inveterate foes before dusk. And the game of musical or barber’s chair continues ad nauseam. This is what is playing out at the moment in PDP’s “Night of the Long Knives” The PDP ship rocks hither and thither and the opposition party flounders as no love is lost between Secondus and his erstwhile god-fathers. It’s payback time for Wike et al. French philosopher, Jean Jacques Rousseau, is right, then, when he said: “The strongest is never strong enough to be always master unless he transforms strength into right and obedience into duty” As he fails to have his way this time around, Wike must be rueing what hit him as he returns to the drawing board. And as Secondus, the poster boy of 10 December, 2017, desperately clings unto straws to escape being booted out of office in ignominy, he must have begun to understand that power is transient and that those who ride on the tiger’s back unto power risk ending up in its stomach if they try to disembark. There are always useful lessons to learn by the men of power, one of which is: Of what use is power when you cannot be the master of your own actions?
Another lesson is that what goes around comes around, as sung by Justin Timberlake. “Rain-maker” Majek Fashek said no one plants cassava and reaps cocoyam. Scripture confirms that whatsoever a man soweth, that he shall also reap (Galatians 6:7). Five years ago some PDP stalwarts sowed the wind; today they reap the whirlwind (Hosea 8:7).
On “The travails of Sunday Igboho”
I just hope and sincerely pray that in some quiet corner, there are a few Yoruba men consciously thinking out and actively pondering options for the actualization of this dream of a Yoruba nation. It’s okay to dream but we need to do more. We need to point out the steps it will require for us to get there. Daniel learnt from “Books”, specifically the Prophecy of Jeremiah, that there shall be a 70-year prophetic interlude to the building of the Jerusalem temple and the restoration of its walls. And then he began to pray and fast. Then God gave him a far more profound vision of what would transpire not just for his day but that will also remain relevant even to our own time now. I pray that as many as know God and understand His ways will rise as Daniel of old and pray to God to raise us a Leader, a Saviour who will show us the way to go! He himself must first set the example by following God. And that he cannot do unless he first knows Him and can hear His voice. Having suffered this long, we cannot afford to be misled. Only a leader who knows God and knows the way along which we should go will suffice to lead us through. God be merciful to us and send us this deliverer! – Niyi Beecroft.
On “NYSC: Any relevance in today’s Nigeria?”
I actually do not see the value this country is deriving with its continuous funding of the NYSC. Nigeria is rather funding the corruption of the civil servants managing the scheme. Were we in a country led by competent presidents, the scheme would have been scrapped to allow the money being wasted on kits for the youth corpers, feeding and management cost, etc to be diverted into the economy to expand our carrying capacity and create opportunities to absorb these fresh graduates in direct and indirect employment. Look at the Police Force, for example: The money we waste running the NYSC in one year is enough to build 500 additional police stations nationwide, equip them, and create opportunities to absorb at least 50,000 new police personnel in one year and if we do this progressively over five years, we would have succeeded in building an additional 2,500 police stations as well as recruit 250,000 more personnel into the Force. We would thus have improved the carrying capacity of our police force; creating employment and securing more areas in the country to create an atmosphere of peace and tranquility for citizens to thrive. I think the tragedy of this country is its continuous romance with incompetent people who always get elected as president! +234806 675 9838.
Please Sir, don’t let them scrap the NYSC! It was while I was serving in Lagos that I met some of my friends who have really supported me morally and financially. I think the NYSC should be reformed. There is no point posting people to places – whether far or near – where there are threats to their lives. People should be posted to suitable establishments where they may likely get job opportunities. The practice of making people do what they did not study (such as Banking and Finance graduates being posted to teach in schools) should be discontinued. My Name is Yemi Michael. I hold a Bachelor’s degree in History and Diplomatic Studies from the Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago Iwoye, Ogun State. I graduated with Second Class Upper. I also hold a Master’s degree in History and Strategic Studies from the University of Lagos. I am a writer and one of your fans. I read this column regularly.
It is “time up” for the NYSC! It is just a question of time. Most importantly, it is true freedom and realization of the right to self-determination that will surely heal all the wounds foisted by the fraud called Nigeria! – Mike Igbokwe.
The scheme has outlived its usefulness – Olumide Lawal.
No; there is no more relevance for the NYSC in today’s Nigeria. The scheme must be scrapped! – 0813 680 0006.
Yours was a brilliant write-up on the continued relevance of the NYSC! I spent well over N100,000 on flight tickets alone when my daughter was posted to Yola. I had to use the little connection I have to get her reposted to Oyo State because of insecurity in the land. I once suggested to a cousin who works with the NYSC that prospective corps members should be posted to the state nearest to their state of origin for now until Nigeria is cured of her many ills. – Oshodi Damola.
Your write-up on the NYSC was as if you opened my mind to say what I felt about the scheme! Truth be told, the NYSC has outlived its usefulness and is now just a waste of national resources, which benefit few greedy fellows. Each year, the scheme enriches a new set of millionaires that parade themselves as helping the nation in line with the NYSC’s objectives. But if we look carefully, we will find out that the purpose for which the NYSC was set up has already been defeated. Year-in, year-out, reports of calamities through natural deaths, accidents, missing corps members, kidnappings, etc besiege the scheme. Insecurity that has enveloped the country has added to the irrelevance of the scheme. Why put these children in harm’s way? At the end of the day when they are through with the programme, there is no job for them! The one year being wasted can be used to acquire additional and more beneficial skills outside of their academic training. The National Assembly should cancel the programme. In the interim, let the Corpers serve in their home state to reduce the hazard of long travels. – Afolabi Badru.