By Toyin Falola
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.
– James 1: 2-3
I want to join the teeming number of people who have taken the time to celebrate the greatness of one of Nigeria’s tireless intellectual labourers and reformers of our time as he turns 70 this week. Indeed, seventy years has been a long time coming for our professor, and when you consider his over three decades of commitment to academic excellence, you will discover that his life has been nothing short of exceptional. Dasylva rejected the comfort of the privileges of working at a bank; he declined an appointment as a state commissioner under military rule; he turned down many opportunities and, voluntarily, he entered the vineyard of labour and toil. He joined in the morning, suffering all day. Others joined later. And as the others who joined late received greater blessings, some moving to Aso Rock, some to Lekki Phase-This and Lekki Phase-That, Dan-bin-Silifa, his Aboki name, fatigued and broken, began to complain. His rebuke was recorded by his mentor and companion in Matthew 20: 1-16:
‘These last worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat.’ But he replied to one of them, ‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong; did you not agree with me for a denarius? Take what belongs to you and go; I choose to give to this last the same as I give to you. Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or are you envious because I am generous?’ So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”
Dasylva retired from the University of Ibadan at 70, with a send-off served with the delicious meals of strike and hunger, pain and anguish. I heard the voice of Chris Ngige, Nigeria’s Minister of Labour, the doctor who practices politics, saying:
Take the poverty that belongs to you
Vacate Sokoto Street and go to Oluwatosin Close
Purchase your generator and diesel
I choose to give to this last Area Boy
The same as I give to you.
Am I not allowed to do what I choose with the Niger Delta revenues that belong to me?
Or are you envious of Senator Lagbaja because I am generous?
So the last olodo will be first, and your UI, the best and the first, will be the last.
The “last” will not be your portion.
It is well!
For many people, when they turn 70, they sign off from a battle well fought and hope that those behind them continue to tread the path they have blazed. Given Professor Dasylva’s penchant for going above and beyond, I am sure he is doing more than this. This great man is still young at heart and has so much impact to make in the lives of those around him. I believe he still has a lot of enlightenment and illumination to bring to African literature and culture. So, while we celebrate him as a septuagenarian today, we are also certain this is a new phase of his life in which he will keep his tap of wisdom open for us to draw from, drink from, and make ourselves better.
As torrents of congratulatory messages flow in for Dasylva, I do not believe mentioning everything can ever summarise his iconic impacts on African culture and knowledge, nor can we subsume his academic excellence under a few pages of literature. His 70 years on earth have been what everyone wishes for. His 35 years in the service of academic excellence and reformation make his life desirable, and it is one thing we cannot all stop talking about. In Yoruba colloquialism, when you refer to someone as igi iwe, you are saying that that person has maintained a high level of scholarship and has been found qualified to lead others in the same light. You are saying he has grown, planted scholastic roots beyond ordinary imagination, and spread his branches to give room for others to grow. This igi iwe rightly describes my good friend, Olori’nla, with his academic sagacity and the continued leadership and mentorship efforts of others who are driven towards widening their scholarship horizon.
However, considering how well the amiable professor has raised the standard, I am tempted to call him Iroko, that is, one who has transcended humankind’s ordinary life and is now in a category of his own, setting standards, breaking his own established standards, and setting more for those following his footsteps to draw inspiration from. And Dasylva is not just an inspiration for his protégés, those of us who are his peers also occasionally tap from his wisdom in countless deserving situations. If I can recall, there are no instances where I called on him that he would not be eager to contribute his support and give words of wisdom.
In the years I have known Professor Dasylva, his literary prowess has always been well-talked about, a factor that continues to benefit him and those around him. His mastery in the classroom is one thing we all envy. I had earlier read a statement from one of his former students about how incredible the mode of teaching Dasylva adopts in his classroom is, a style that deliberately ensures that everyone is carried along and made to get the total value and appreciate the beauty of literary work in his class. This former student explained how Professor Dasylva, while teaching “Unseen Poetry,” drew a well, a bird, and other characters illustrating what the poem signifies. He did this to pass a strong message to his students that he welcomes going the extra mile as long as those under his tutelage are getting value and becoming a better version of themselves. The interesting thing about this is that this situation occurred when Professor Dasylva started his lecturing career at the Oyo State College of Arts and Science (OSCAS). If not anything, this testimony tells us that Professor Dasylva has been a refined man who has always put the interest of the scholarship of his students at the forefront. He adopts this method, alongside other interesting and captivating teaching modes, to give the best of himself to his students and peers. Today, he is revered by hundreds of students who have passed through his tutelage and mentorship.
Only a few people like Professor Dasylva have committed a good part of their lives to defending African culture. Dasylva does not just exemplify the African way of life; his life demonstrates that he is an enigma whose behavioural attitude cuts across traditional and contemporary African lifestyles. He has made enormous contributions to Africa in different ways, and his name will continue to ring a bell in years to come. Aside from being an African literary talent, he is also the coordinator of the Ibadan Cultural Studies Group, where he has devoted efforts towards promoting African excellence and rapport with other continental cultures worldwide. His unashamed support for and pride in African culture is also why he is the convener of one of Africa’s most prominent Pan-African conferences, the Toyin Falola Annual International Conference on Africa (TOFAC) and the African Diaspora. As the one in whose name the conference is being held, I can boldly say that no one else could have been a better fit into the role of convening Africa’s brightest minds to discuss Africa and the African Diaspora than my great friend, Ademola.
Sometimes when you consider that someone has spent more than three decades imparting lives and widening the horizon of scholarship, you pause to ask whether there are any other contributions to be made, especially towards the progress of academics in Nigeria and Africa. The great thing about Dasylva is that he is an all-rounder, and from whatever angle you want to approach his impact, there will always be a ton of things to point at. He is an academic intelligentsia and an activist whose drive has birthed some great reformations in today’s institutions of learning.
A year or two ago, Professor Dasylva documented and sent for publication the perceived ills in the Nigerian university system without caring whose ox was gored. All he wanted was for sanity to be restored among academicians and the university system. Aside from this, I recall reading about how he rose to the occasion when it was time for his institution of teaching, Adeyemi College of Education, to have a union. Professor Dasylva himself recounted how the absence of a union for college lecturers created a vacuum when he was a lecturer at the Adeyemi College of Education and how, in conjunction with other positive thinking leaders in the academics, they were able to form the College of Education Staff Union (COESU), a union, which today, defends the rights of colleges of education staff while maintaining the standards of teaching and learning in the different colleges of education around the country. Indeed, his exploits as a reformer will continue to remain outstanding.
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As a Yoruba man, Professor Dasylva’s representation of the omoluabi phenomenon, even under severe pressure, should be studied. He is not just an enigma in that stance; he has shown over the years, through his charisma and professionalism, that all that defines the omoluabi phenomenon can never be found short in him. I read a story where Dasylva narrated his role in the actualisation of the June 12, 1993, general election mandate suppressed by the late General Sani Abacha. He revealed how he was never moved by the dangling of political positions in the face of activists seeking the June 12 actualisation. He recalled how, in order to maintain his integrity, he severed his relationship with a former activist who had jumped ship to be part of the oppressive political class of the Abacha regime. Obviously, one only needs a quick peek into Professor Dasylva’s activism to understand how maintaining his integrity–a conclusive proof of his omoluabi – is important to him.
Given Dasylva’s personality, one could go on to recount his remarkable life and outstanding contributions to academia, African literature, institutional and national reforms, and the betterment of the lives of those around him without running out of what to say. Professor Dasylva will continue to inspire everyone, far and near.
Ọmọ Akin, as you begin another phase of your life, I pray you continue to soar high among the stars in academic scholarship. I am no poet like you, but perhaps there can be one useful line in my amateurism:
With strength, power and wisdom
In your lessons and teachings
You taught about sacrifice
Forest of a big head
The trunk that carries the Olúmọ rock
Phloem of àgbo
Cambium of ọfọ̀
Sapwood of ògèdè
Heartwood of ọ̀rọ̀
Egbà mí o!
Falola is a Nigerian historian and professor of African Studies. He is currently the Jacob and Frances Sanger Mossiker Chair in the Humanities at the University of Texas at Austin.
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Obama, Clooney, And Gates Should Include Witch Persecution InTheir Campaign
By Leo Igwe
The Advocacy for Alleged Witches (AfAW) welcomes the collaboration between the foundations of Michelle Obama, Amal Clooney, and Melinda French Gates to end child marriage in Africa. These foundations have committed to ending this practice within a generation. This initiative, announced during their recent visit to Malawi and South Africa, demonstrates the urgency that such a harmful traditional and cultural practice demands. Child marriage is a sore on the conscience of humanity. It violates the health, rights, and well-being of women and girls. Culture, tradition, or religion should not be used to excuse or justify practices that undermine the humanity of women and girls. So it was a great relief to know that these influential women would be working together to combat this menace.
At the same time, AfAW wants to draw the attention of Obama, Clooney, and Gates to another practice that is undermining the rights of women in Africa: witch persecution. Witchcraft accusation is pervasive in Malawi and other parts of the region. Witchcraft accusation is a gendered phenomenon that predominantly targets women and girls. Those accused of witchcraft are tortured, banished, or murdered in cold blood. In Malawi and other parts of the region, accused women are raped, stoned to death, or lynched. Many accused women are banished and forced to live in make-shift shelters called witch camps in Ghana’s Northern region. In Malawi and the Central African Republic, the accused are imprisoned, or flee to live in prisons to avoid being killed. Rooted in traditional and cultural beliefs, witch hunting is another vicious phenomenon which they said would not be eradicated.
This misperception should be rejected and discarded. This mistaken assumption has prevented international organizations including the UN from treating the problem of witch persecution with the urgency that it deserves. This misrepresentation has made the world ignore and look away while women and sometimes girls are accused, abused, abandoned, or savagely killed in the name of witchcraft. As in the case of child marriage, the Advocacy for Alleged Witches believes that witch persecution can end within a generation. The problem can be solved or resolved in a matter of years. AfAW is working and campaigning to rally national and international political will against witch hunting. That was why the organization announced in 2020 a decade of activism against witch persecution in Africa.
AfAW urges Obama, Clooney, and Gates to join efforts in stopping witch persecution of women and girls. They should know that the girls they are trying to save from being married away as children could end up being stoned to death or buried alive for witchcraft. Obama, Clooney, and Gates should include witch-hunting in their campaign because the practice is rooted in gender injustice and misogyny. The foundations should know that women are likely to suffer child marriages when they are young and witch persecution when they are growing old. So they should not focus on one and ignore the other. To effectively protect and defend the rights of women and girls, they should tackle both child marriage and witch-hunting . The foundations should commit to ending practices that violate the rights of women, whether they are young or old, children or adults.
Dr Igwe directs the Advocacy for Alleged Witches, which campaigns to end witch persecution in Africa by 2030.
Powering Prosperity: Unlocking Nigeria’s Potential Through U.S. Partnership
By David Greene
Nigeria is on track to be the world’s fourth-most populous country by 2050. It already has the largest economy in Africa and, with 60 percent of its population under the age of 25, it stands on the threshold of a demographic dividend that can dramatically transform its economy for the better. Nigeria’s strategic partnerships are essential in harnessing this potential, and the United States is playing a leading role. As we near the six-month mark of President Tinubu’s administration, our relationship has emerged as a key for success. One year ago, at the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington, DC, President Biden renewed our commitment to deepening engagement across the continent. Here is how we are doing that in Nigeria – working in areas that matter most to everyday citizens, such as growing the economy, strengthening democracy, improving health outcomes, ensuring security, and addressing the climate crisis.
Nigeria’s economic potential is vast, and with the right macroeconomic framework, a sound fiscal strategy, and a strong commitment to rooting out corruption, it can become a preferred destination for foreign direct investment. American investors and companies are eager to engage with Nigeria, and the United States government is doing its utmost to build our bilateral trade and investment ties.
Consider these examples: We have joined forces to accelerate Nigeria’s digital transformation, with investments from U.S. tech giants such as Microsoft, Cisco, Meta, Google, and Starlink. This partnership has built a platform to train unemployed and underemployed women and youth. Moreover, it has been a catalyst for quality investment, accounting for more than a quarter of all venture capital flowing into Africa.
Collaborative efforts in agriculture further underscore our commitment. For example, the U.S. Department of Agriculture recently dedicated $22 million to strengthen Nigeria’s cocoa value chain, supporting more than 60,000 cocoa farmers, processors, marketers, and other agribusiness service providers in what is Nigeria’s #2 foreign exchange-earning export. From tech to agriculture, these steps go beyond statistics. They translate into tangible outcomes: good jobs, seed money for new ventures, and higher-value agricultural exports.
The United States is also a steadfast partner in strengthening Nigeria’s health sector. With World AIDS Day – December 1 – approaching, it is worth recalling that over the past two decades, PEPFAR, the leading U.S. initiative to address HIV/AIDS, has invested nearly $8 billion in Nigeria, providing more than 1.6 million individuals with life-saving HIV treatment. In response to COVID-19, the United States donated more than 44 million vaccine doses, helping the Nigerian government approach its target vaccination rate of 70 percent of the eligible population. Partnerships like the U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative, with an annual budget of more than $71 million, have reduced child death rates and strengthened health systems.
Those investments are just part of our overall development assistance to Nigeria. In fiscal year 2022 alone, the U.S. government allocated over $1.2 billion dollars in such support. These funds provide humanitarian assistance, and improve health, economic development, education, social services, democracy, human rights and governance, and peace and security.
In the latter two areas – democracy and security – we aim to support an inclusive future where Nigerian citizens’ votes count and translate into responsive governance, and where they can live in peace. We are a steadfast partner in seeking to strengthen election processes that will enhance accountability to meet citizens’ expectations, and pursuing innovative projects to help communities resolve differences without violence. Through cooperation with and training of Nigeria’s military and police, we are building more capable forces. Collaborating with civil society, law enforcement, and the judiciary, we are confronting the security challenges that stand in the way of economic growth while upholding a shared commitment to human rights. Initiatives include building Nigeria’s counter-terrorism capacity, bringing technology to courtrooms and case-management systems to help in the administration of justice and reduce pre-trial detention, and supporting efforts to enhance accountability and transparency in police forces.
Our partnership to address the climate crisis reflects our mutual recognition of this challenge, and our respect for Nigeria’s role as both an energy producer and a country profoundly impacted by the effects of climate change. In the leadup to COP28 – the 28th Conference of Parties to the UN Framework Convention for Climate Change, which begins this week – the United States and Nigeria are aggressively seeking solutions. For example, U.S. support for Nigeria’s leadership as a Global Methane Pledge champion has led to action that is reducing greenhouse gas emissions for the benefit of all.
These programs and cooperative efforts advance a joint agenda that is built and driven by the highest levels of our leadership. President Biden met with President Tinubu in September, and numerous senior U.S. officials have come to Nigeria in recent months to confer on meeting Nigeria’s energy needs, driving U.S. trade and investment in Nigeria, and strengthening our law enforcement cooperation. These engagements strengthen our ties, address Nigeria’s pressing needs, and tackle shared challenges.
Ultimately, realizing Nigeria’s potential hinges upon enhancing its fiscal and economic health – and capitalizing on its strategic partnerships to build on that foundation. The opportunity has never been greater. Nigeria, with its youth, energy, and entrepreneurial spirit, is poised to seize this moment. We commend the government for its bold actions thus far to try to move the economy to a more solid footing. The United States is your partner in that effort – through investment, better security, a stronger workforce, and resilient institutions – that benefits all Nigerians and expands prosperity for both our peoples. Our journey ahead has its obstacles, of course. But together we will find a path toward a shared prosperity.
. Greene is Chargé d’Affaires, a.i. United States Embassy Abuja.
End Of Progressive Politics
By Salihu Moh. Lukman
The National Working Committee (NWC) of the All Progressives Congress (APC), on Wednesday, November 22, 2023, announced the dissolution of the Rivers State Executives of the party at all levels and appointed a seven-member Caretaker Committee led by Chief Tony Okocha to steer the party’s affairs in the state for the next six months. Interestingly, Chief Okocha who is alleged to be a supporter and political ally of Mr. Nyesom Wike led a delegation of Wike’s loyalists on a courtesy visit to Dr. Ganduje on Thursday, October 6, 2023 where he was reported to have alleged that Chief Rotimi Ameachi, former Governor of Rivers State (2007 – 2015), former Minister of Transport (2015 – 2023), APC Presidential Aspirant for the 2023 general elections and founding member of the APC, worked against President Asiwaju Bola Amed Tinubu in the last election.
Even without these allegations, it is public knowledge that Chief Amaechi has taken a backseat. Apart from Chief Amaechi, many other APC presidential aspirants for the 2023 elections have taken a backseat largely because President Asiwaju Tinubu has not demonstrated any interest to work with them. In the specific case of Chief Amaechi, his political rival in Rivers State, former Governor (2015 – 2023), Barr. Ezenwo Nyesom Wike, since the 2023 general elections has become a strong ally of President Asiwaju Tinubu. Being a strong political ally, Barr. Wike is today the serving Minister of FCT in President Asiwaju Tinubu’s cabinet, if you like the 37th State Governor in Nigeria.
Without any reservation, the reality of Barr. Wike who is a member of the PDP serving in APC Federal Government led by President Asiwaju Tinubu suggests some strong backdoor political negotiations. What could be the details of the negotiations? Could it be that typical of Nigerian politics, APC is negotiating to get Barr. Wike decamp from the PDP and join the APC? Is the APC conceding to hand over structures of the party in Rivers State to Barr. Wike? Even without probing deeper into all these issues, already, some APC leaders in Rivers have opportunistically begun moving their support from Chief Amaechi and now aligning with Barr. Wike. For instance, on Thursday, October 26, 2023, Chief Victor Giadom, APC National Vice Chairman South-South and a long-time ally of Chief Amaechi led a delegation of APC leaders from Rivers State on a courtesy visit to Barr. Wike.
Given all these unfolding developments in APC, it is very clear that the NWC decision, dissolving Rivers State Executives of the party at all levels, is preparing the stage for the emergence of Barr. Wike as the new leader of APC in Rivers State. With Chief Okocha, who is alleged to be a political ally of Barr. Wike given the responsibility of serving as Caretaker Chairman, it simply means that all the new emerging executives for APC at all levels in Rivers State will be Barr. Wike’s supporters. And since Chief Ameachi is a political rival of Barr. Wike, all Chief Ameachi’s supporters must be expelled from the APC.
This is the dirty politics at play in Rivers State. It is very shocking, coming from leaders of a party envisioned to be progressive. Ideally, progressive politicians are expected to be committed to issues of justice and equity. This would require that when there are allegations of anti-party activities against leaders and members, such allegations should be properly investigated. At a personal level, I am one of those who demanded that the NWC should invite the attention of the National Executive Committee (NEC) of APC to review the 2023 general elections and investigate cases of anti-party activities by leaders and members of APC. The inability of Sen. Abdullahi Adamu as the National Chairman to consider many of these demands as part of the requirement to restore constitutional order in APC and return the party to its founding vision was responsible for all the disagreements, I had with Sen. Adamu.
Instead of restoring constitutional order and returning the APC to its founding vision of becoming a progressive , under the leadership of Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, dirty politics of expelling political opponents has taken over. The APC NWC is now abrasive, it takes decisions based on convenience without reference to provisions of the party’s constitution. Simply because allegations of anti-party activities are made by a political opponent who is today the sweetheart of President Asiwaju Tinubu, the allegation is confirmed and all party leaders associated with the alleged person are equally guilty and therefore stand expelled. This is most unfortunate and seriously heartbreaking for all of us who are loyal APC members and look forward to the leadership of President Asiwaju Tinubu for our hope to be Renewed.
As a loyal party member who is strongly committed to progressive politics, my expectation is that provisions of Article 21.3(i – vi) shall be invoked to investigate the allegation of anti-party activities against Chief Amaechi by the NWC. This should have started by appointing a fact-finding committee to examine the matter and report to the NWC. Eventually, given that there are enough grounds to establish a prima facie case of bias by the NWC given that at least one of its members, for whatever reason, Chief Giadom, is biased, in line with provision of Article 21.3(v), the NWC lacks any jurisdiction to decide on such a matter.
The sad reality of all these unfolding development is that, although Article 21.4(i – x) makes sufficient provision for appeals by aggrieved members, with organs of the party frozen and only the NWC functioning, decisions of the NWC are supreme. This simply means a return to former President Olusegun Obasanjo era of garrison politics. How could this be happening in APC with President Asiwaju Tinubu as the leader? Is President Asiwaju Tinubu not a progressive politician? Or did he just use the acronym (progressive) to achieve his life ambition of becoming the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria?
It is very troubling to ask these questions, largely because these were questions, we asked when former President Buhari was the leader of the party, but we were ashamed to accept the harsh reality that our elected leaders, and by extension our party, have failed Nigerians. As loyal party members, we had the hope that the emergence of President Asiwaju Tinubu as the new leader of our party would correct and heal all our troubles. When President Asiwaju proposed Renewed Hope as his campaign slogan, party members welcomed it with the belief that we were returning to the founding vision of the party, which would rekindle the era of progressive politics in the country.
Being someone who professes to be a disciple of the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo, one of the founding fathers of our great nation and incontestably the forebearer of progressive politics, we had no doubt that the leadership of President Asiwaju Tinubu would return APC to its founding vision. Part of the expectation of many of us in the APC was that at the minimum internal debate within the party will be strong and decision-making process in the party will take its bearing from positions being canvassed. The first shocker was when after the resignation of Sen. Abdullahi Adamu and Sen. Iyiola Omisore as National Chairman and National Secretary of the party respectively, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje emerged as the nominee of President Asiwaju Tinubu, taking away the position of National Chairman from North-Central to North-West in a very crude way.
Apart from violating an internal zoning agreement within the APC, moving the APC National Chairman from North-Central to North-West in the manner that it was done was simply contemptuous of the people of North-Central. This is the kind of decisions that can only be taken under a military rule. Having taken such a decision, one expects a review of the internal zoning arrangement within the APC to attempt to pacify the people of North-Central. At the minimum for instance, the position of Deputy Senate President, which is currently being occupied by Sen. Barau Jibrin who comes from Kano State where Dr. Ganduje comes from should have been moved to North Central. Instead, it is just business-as-usual.
Again, at a personal level, I cannot but ask the question, did President Asiwaju Tinubu support the removal of Sen. Adamu simply because he wanted to impose someone like Dr. Ganduje as the National Chairman of the APC simply because he needed someone who will not say no to him even when it means destroying the party? Could that be responsible for why President Asiwaju Tinubu has become completely inaccessible to virtually all party leaders? If President Asiwaju Tinubu is commencing his leadership tenure by embracing garrison politics, what will be the coloration of his leadership by the end of his tenure in May 2027? Given such a circumstance, will he be aspiring for a second term?
Perhaps, it is important to recall that former President Obasanjo pretended to be a democrat throughout his first term. The organs of the PDP during his first term were very functional and fully in charge. The dynamics of negotiating a second term in 2003, which compelled former President Obasanjo to have to subordinate himself to former Vice President Atiku Abubakar were mainly responsible for the high level of political intolerance that characterised the second term of former President Obasanjo between 2003 and 2007. As an administration that was intolerant, it became more and more unpopular. Being intolerant, it blocked almost every opening for internal debate within the PDP. Imposition of candidates for election took over. Consequently, winning elections was all about vote buying, rigging, manipulating elections, and writing results.
No need to revisit all our ugly electoral past. But APC won its popularity and won the 2015 general elections incontestably because Nigerians trusted the APC when it came with the promise of change. Certainly, under the leadership of former President Buhari, both as Nigerians and members of APC, we were highly frustrated that the promise of change didn’t manifest itself strongly such that the problem of imposition of candidates by political parties, especially by our own party APC is minimised. If anything, instead of changing Nigerian politics, what we witnessed between 2015 and now is that our promising party, APC, has changed to become PDP incorporated in every respect.
If anything, the decision of the NWC dissolving Rivers State executives at all levels confirms this reality. If allowed to stand, stage-managed congresses will be organised to produce new party executives at all levels who will be loyal to Barr. Wike, the new APC leader in Rivers State. Accordingly, in 2027, Barr. Wike will produce the APC Governorship candidate for Rivers State. Since Barr. Wike has already fallen apart with the current Rivers State Governor, Chief Siminalayi Fubara, the prospect of Chief Fubara coming to APC is foreclosed. Therefore, the strategy of APC in Rivers State for 2027 will be to further fragment the people of the state. Rather than working to unite political leaders in Rivers State, based on which APC being an envisioned progressive party will be seeking to unite Chief Amaechi and Barr. Wike to be members of APC, President Asiwaju Tinubu’s garrison politics will only seek to take advantage of the current division between Chief Amaechi and Barr. Wike. In addition, Barr. Wike will have to incur the political cost of separating from his political godson, Chief Fubara. Even if Chief Fubara achieved all that needs to be achieved as Governor of Rivers State, President Asiwaju Tinubu’s garrison politics will emasculate him.
For all these to be imagined under the leadership of President Asiwaju Tinubu, who is regarded to be a progressive politician and a descendant of Chief Awolowo will make Chief Awolowo to turn in his grave. Even Chief M. K. O Abiola would have difficulty relating with many of the political decisions taken by President Asiwaju Tinubu in the last six months. At this rate, President Asiwaju Tinubu is practically pushing Nigerians to bid bye bye to progressive politics. With such a reality, it simply means, the structures of APC in FCT will also be dissolved to produce new APC leaders at all levels of the party who will be loyal to Barr. Wike. And any state where APC is led by people who might have opposed President Asiwaju Tinubu will similarly be dissolved. Once the circle of imposing stooges as APC leaders at all levels is completed, which started with imposing Dr. Ganduje as National Chairman, the next level of imposition will spread to all other democratic institutions to guarantee the supremacy of garrison politics, which will then affirm all the political choices of APC under the leadership of President Asiwaju Tinubu, whatever that means.
This is anything, but progressive politics. With a garrison brand of progressive politics, problems of political divisions in the country will be entrenched. Addressing challenges of marginalisation, inequality and above all welfare of citizens will not be a political priority. At this rate, it will be safer for the country to conclude that APC, as it is constituted today will be incapable of meeting the expectations of Nigerians. Renewed Hope has invariably produced Dashed hope. This is very unfortunate. APC under the leadership of President Asiwaju Tinubu, as it is constituted today, wasn’t the APC we sold to Nigerians both in 2015 and 2023.
Something must be done urgently to arrest the current drift towards garrison politics in the name of progressive politics. It is either APC leaders take the needed steps to call both Dr. Ganduje, the APC NWC and President Asiwaju Tinubu to order by restoring constitutional order and returning the party to its founding vision of progressive politics, which should be about unity of party leaders and Nigerians, or the party can as well declare an end to progressive politics in Nigeria. So long as the decision of the NWC to dissolve all party executives in Rivers State at all levels is allowed to stand, it simply means that anyone who is alleged to have worked against President Asiwaju Tinubu during the 2023 elections is expelled from the party. With such a declaration, the culture of imposition of candidates at all levels will take over APC. Consequently, elections will not be about the votes of citizens. Winners in elections will only be produced through rigging, vote buying and other manipulative strategies. The earlier every genuine APC leader comes to terms with this new reality and begin the process of mobilisation both within the party and at wider levels of national political mobilisation, the better for the survival of democracy in country. A stitch in time, saves nine!
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