Editor's note: Tunji Adegboyega in this piece analyses the recent apology rendered to Nigerians by the largest opposition, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Adegboyega also highlighted a few things the party should have done before sending its apology.
It would appear that many Nigerians that had reacted to the so-called apology by Prince Uche Secondus, chairman of the former ruling party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), concentrated so much on the aspect of restitution, I would rather beg to differ. If Secondus tendered anything at the public discourse on contemporary politics and governance in Nigeria, organised by the party in Abuja on Monday, with the theme:
“Nation Building: Resetting the agenda,” it was not an apology but an apology in reverse.
After carefully reading the news reports, it occurred to me that it was not much of an apology but more of a scathing criticism of the Muhammadu Buhari administration.
While I am not saying the administration has lived up to the expectations of Nigerians, it does not lie in the mouth of the PDP to pontificate on that, having presided over Nigeria’s affairs for 16 years, now better described as the years of the locust, and posting the unenviable record that has impoverished this country.
Even what the former president, Goodluck Jonathan, who was in Sierra Leone to monitor the presidential election run-off when Secondus was tendering the so-called apology said showed the former ruling party did not meet to agree on the apology.
As Secondus was ‘apologising’, the former president was busy lamenting what he sees as smear campaign against him by the Buhari administration.
If Dr Jonathan sees the criticism of his person or government as an attempt to “impugn” his name as he claimed, then, what is Secondus apologising for? So, the former president expected the Buhari administration or Nigerians to be singing his praise or what?
We acknowledge his conceding defeat after the polls, and that is part of what has qualified him to be in Sierra Leone as election monitor. But that is not to say we would not continue to remember how his government led us to this sorry pass.
Clearly, if the PDP had held a family meeting before Secondus’ ‘apology’, they should have reasoned that nothing should be allowed to taint that apology if really it was an apology from the bottom of the hearts of its chieftains who ruined the country’s economy and consequently the future of millions of Nigerians.
Unless it was the media that abridged Secondus’ statements, and rather emphasised the other aspects of his speech at the event, then we can see through the deceit in the so-called apology.
Hear him: “I am the very first to admit that our party, the Peoples Democratic Party of Nigeria, made many mistakes. Consequently, we were roundly sanctioned by Nigerians occasioning our loss at the polls in 2015.
“Let me seize this opportunity to apologise to Nigerians unequivocally for the several shortcomings of our party in the near and far past. It was all part of an evolution process without which there can be no maturity.”
Apart from these quotes, the other aspects of his speech dwelt more on scathing criticisms of the Buhari administration.
What readily came to my mind was that the PDP only wants to take advantage of Nigerians in next year’s elections once again.
Personally, I do not blame Secondus; it is because the Buhari government has not been able to do the rightful with the PDP stalwarts, many of whom, I repeat, should be cooling their heels in jail.
The ex-convicts among them who should be covering their faces in shame even turned up for the event and got red carpet reception for coming back home to the nest of robbers, which tells us how shame is in short supply in the former ruling party.
Now, let’s try to analyse Secondus’ statements: “The PDP has embarked on a rescue mission, and together we will salvage this nation back from the grip of the incompetent All Progressives Congress, APC.”
If what the PDP has left as legacy in 16 years was its best, then with what is it going to salvage the nation? PDP should first salvage itself.
Can a leopard change its spot? As a colleague said, the party’s stalwarts are too well fed – protruding bellies, rosy cheeks - to play the role of opposition.
That is why they have been wobbling and fumbling like a baby trying to put on his shoes all by himself in their attempts to wear the opposition shoes.
You can’t compare them with people who had been in the trenches for the better part of their lives as opposition spokesmen.
How can a party that had the opportunity of ruling the country in 16 years but frittered it now be talking of salvaging it? A proverb in my place says you have to look at what the person promising to give you a cloth is wearing before knowing whether to believe him or not.
But Secondus, who is no longer comfortable with his party’s second position, is not done yet: “Three years down the line and about 12 months to the next general elections, what is the state of our country?
All gains have been clearly eroded through an acute lack of understanding of the intricacies of governing a complex state as Nigeria.” Hen? Did I hear Secondus right? What gains have been clearly eroded? Can PDP be talking about gains, when they had crude selling at some of the highest prices in the better part of their time, yet could not boast of any meaningful development?
Secondus should not make me open my mouth o, because if I do, this country would burn! He was even at a point talking about voting in the PDP next year because the party has experience. If he should be told, Nigeria does not need the kind of experience that PDP has. In this case, such experience is an added disadvantage.
If this is the way PDP feels like apologising for the grievous harm its members did this country, then they should pocket their apology. For the party’s apology to be meaningful, it must come from its heart of hearts.
That is to say; those who stole should first make restitution by returning what they stole to the country’s coffers.
When Secondus said “our currency has been recklessly devalued from N199 in 2015 to nearly N500 a dollar before it came down to about N365 only due to an increase in oil prices and not any significant thing done by this government,”, he was only being economical with the truth. When PDP chieftains, their ministers, wives, etc. were stealing dollars and President Jonathan was alerted then, what did he say?
Did he not shrug it off by saying if they ever stole that much, America would know? Was the then president, instead of fighting corruption, not busy drawing a line between stealing and corruption?
At any rate, where did the party get the dollars the then president was allegedly distributing on the eve of the 2015 elections? Was it not Nigeria’s money, if true? Are these not the contributory factors responsible for our weak naira?
Haba Secondus! APC may not have met the expectations of Nigerians so far; but that is not to say PDP is the next thing to look forward to for salvation.
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Nigerians are not the proverbial drowning man that would not mind clinging even to a serpent for help. At any rate, was Secondus not a part of the team that led us to this mess?
But if the PDP is truly penitent, its leading lights, including some of its past chairmen, must be ready to prostrate at the Eagle Square in Abuja and Tafawa Balewa Square in Lagos, as well as in the other geopolitical zones and remain in that position until Nigerians tell them to get up. No good father will deceive his children.
So, as Papa that Deceived Pikin, the PDP elders must be ready to dance naked in market places in the country’s six geopolitical zones. They and their children committed the crimes for which millions of Nigerians are now suffering.
Eni bi’mo oran lon’pon. (Will someone help me translate this?)
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