Chief Abia Onyike, spokesperson for Alaigbo Development Foundation (ADF), has dismissed governors elected under the platform of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) who are defecting to the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) ahead of the 2023 general election as people without conscience, noting that they are failed politicians running from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Ebonyi State governor, Dave Umahi; his Cross River State and Zamfara State counterparts, Ben Ayade and Bello Matawalle, are the three PDP governors who have so far defected to the APC.
Their defection, as well as those of a number of senators, members of house of representatives, among others, who have also joined the ruling party, had prompted speculation about potential mass exodus from the opposition party, but Onyike a member of the party, argued that it’s unlikely that such mass exodus would happen.
The former commissioner for information in Ebonyi State, who spoke in an interview with our correspondent at the weekend, accused the APC of destroying the country, noting that President Muhammadu Buhari, whom he accused the party of imposing on Nigeria, has destroyed the spirit of oneness in the country.
“I don’t think that we should have any fear of Nigeria becoming a one-party state, it is the fear of the unknown and some skeletons in some of the politicians cupboards that is making them to defect to the APC. You know, the point is that political parties in Nigeria are not founded on ideology, but self and parochial interest. So the defections have no ideological basis. The calculation is ahead of 2023 and has no bearing; it is not a reflection of the general feeling of Nigerians towards the ruling party,” Onyike said.
“But my take is that before 2023, there will be further alliances and realliances. Even those who have defected may also have course to look for another political platform if they don’t eventually get what they are looking for.
“But like I said, Nigeria cannot become a one-party state. The governors who are defecting to APC are failed politicians. And they are not reading the political barometer correctly, because the APC is a dying political party. And no amount of defections from other political parties into it can salvage the situation. It is a party that will crumble suddenly. You will witness how it will happen.
“APC is a party that has no conscience; a party that has created political disunity even within his own ranks, a party that has tried to destroy his spirit the unity and oneness in Nigeria. It is party that has destroyed the judicial foundation upon which Nigeria is governed; a political party that brought a president that it cannot control and that party is watching helplessly as the country degenerates into something that looks like a civil war. There is insecurity and lawlessness everywhere.
“Now, the murderous activities of herdsmen cannot be checkmated by the country’s judicial system and the security forces because we now have a maximum leader and a dictator that the party foisted on Nigeria as president, and they can’t control him. So, that party is on its way out and Nigerians cannot tolerate them in 2023.”
Onyike emphasised that, “the governors who are defecting from the PDP to the APC are people who have lost their conscience. They want to run away from the EFCC. The governor of Ebonyi State, for instance, is running a highly corrupt and oppressive administration. He wants to run away from the EFCC. He has for instance, set up a university of medical sciences named after him; a university that was built with N3.5 billion public funds. Now he wants to convert it to his private university and he is already fixing the fees at N5 million, claiming that it is going to be the best medical university in Nigeria.
“So, the governors that are defecting are mostly people who have no value. Look at Ben Ayade for instance. Nobody will listen to them in 2023. The Nigerian people will chart their own course.”
According the ADF spokesperson, the governors’ defection is another evidence of lack of politics of ideology in the country, as according to him, for many politicians, it’s all about winning elections. He argued, however, that the APC will not be able to impose itself on Nigerians in 2023 because the scenario is different from what obtained in 2019.
“The defection is politics in Nigerian style. There is no ideology. But it won’t be easy for them to rig the election in 2023. In 2019, the scenario was different. Buhari was trying to go for a second term, so that was a different scenario. In 2023, he won’t be going for a second term, therefore, who is going to be the rallying point of the APC?
“They will not be able to rig the election because the APC is not united. Who are they going to rig the election in favour of? What is it that will be the uniting factor in APC? What is it that will make people to come together to rig elections? There are a lot of contradictions that they must resolve first before they begin to think about going into the election in 2023. You see politics is not as easy as people think.
“The Nigerian people want a situation where the electoral process can be more open and more democratic. The people in the national assembly, as agents of the hegemony we have seen in Nigeria, are trying to block the passage of the electoral bill which has provided for electronic transmission of results. They will one day regret their actions. Those who are playing that role or setting the clock of democracy backwards in Nigeria will one day regret their actions.”
Onyike, however, pointed out that given the trajectory of Nigeria at the moment, elections should not be the preoccupation of politicians, but how to save the country from collapse.
According to him, the fact that politicians are already concerned about 2023, shows that they are people who are bereft of ideas, and have no interest of the country at heart.
“The Nigerian political class is bereft of ideas. And that is why they are acting with impunity. The country is seriously threatened and some people are even of the view that we may not be able to hold on till 2023, and in spite of the situation, the politicians are concerned about elections. We see series of struggles by self-determination groups calling for secession; asking that they want out of the Nigerian federation. And you have a situation where insecurity has engulfed the entire nation. Abuja is being surrounded, then in spite of all these, people are talking about elections,” he said.
“But it is normal with politicians. Even before the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the political leadership of the old Soviet Union were still talking about elections. But in 1991, the union disintegrated into 15 independent republican states that are now existing on their own. So it is always the case.”