My prophecy for 2011
I had cause to say last week in this column in a piece entitled Let us brace up for eight years of Yar'Adua that unless an act of fate happens, nothing on earth will stop President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua and the PDP from coasting home to comprehensive victory in the 2011 general elections. I said that there is nothing on ground now and I wish to reiterate here that there is no indication whatsoever that in the next two years, something monumental will happen on the political scene to shake the dominance of the PDP.
If anything, the fortunes of that formidable party will further improve with more governors, chairmen of local government councils, councilors and states and national legislators decamping from other parties and swelling its ranks and sharpening its wining edge and ways.
For example, given the very effusive praises that Edo and Ondo states' governors Adams Oshiombhole and Olusegun Mimiko heaped on President Yar'Adua for obeying his rule of law mantra and ‘allowing' the judiciary to declare them as governors, I will not be surprised in the least if in the next few days they too join the bandwagon of decamping to the PDP.
This week, I wish to say here that unless an act of fate happens to prevent elections from being held in 2011, we are going to witness a very interesting manifestation of this our very amazing ‘home-grown democracy'. The PDP is going to teach the world what I call ‘True African democracy'. After all, the PDP is the largest political party in Africa and probably the third largest party in the world after the Communist party in China and the Congress Party in India and so it must have some bag of tricks to teach some people a thing or two.
"Mr. Idang Alibi, please spare us all this preamble and go straight to your prophecy. We are all waiting for it. What does your crystal say about elections in Nigeria in the make or mar year of 2011?" I can hear some one ask.
Let me make a confession. Although I am prophet, I am not specifically called to the office of political prophecy but having been a keen student of Nigerian politics for over two and a half decades now, I can see clearly what will happen in 2011.
A foretaste of what will happen in 2011 was given last week in a very significant news story which ought to have been put on the front page but which one apparently mentally fatigued editor inexplicably buried in the inside page. And what was the news item? To settle what is obviously an embarrassing Executive Siblings wrangling between Kwara Governor Bukola Saraki and his dear sister Senator Gbemisola Saraki who is angling to succeed her brother whose tenure will end in 2011, the Kwara State strongman, kingmaker and determiner and decider and settler of political events, Chief (Dr.) Olusola Saraki, the Oloye himself, told the nation that this week he will announce who the governor of Kwara State for 2011 will be.
My prophecy therefore is that the year 2011 in Nigeria will be a year of Great Announcement. Those who wish to hold elective offices will no longer be selected, appointed or allotted or zoned an office as has been much of the practice but will now be ‘announced' by godfathers and political fixers so as not to waste anybody's time, energy and money. This will be so wise and considerate of our leaders.
One smart and patriotic man, most certainly from the PDP, is going to come out with the idea that in view of the global economic recession and the insurgency in the Niger Delta region that have adversely affected Nigeria's economic fortunes, it will not make much sense to continue to spend billions of scarce Naira for elections. He will say that since the beginning of this home grown democracy in 1999, the country must have spent close to 100 billion Naira on elections that have neither been adjudged free nor fair nor credible by any one, native or foreign, so why should any one even bother about holding more elections which will not be hailed as meeting the standards of elections in other countries?
He will say also that since the beginning of this Fourth Republic to date Nigeria has lost about 20 billion Naira worth of property to election-related violence. Over 10, 000 lives must have been lost and over 20,000 persons must be suffering permanent deformities as a result of election violence. What is the sense in continuing with elections when the cost in material and human terms is so high?
He will also argue that since Nigerians have shown in a very overwhelming manner that they feel very safe to entrust their destiny in the hands of the big umbrella, the PDP, in preference to other 53 parties, as shown clearly in the fact that the PDP is in effective control of 30 of the 36 states of the federation, there is no great need to go to the pools to indicate any further preference. The people have already spoken that it is PDP they want and there is not much sense in the party pretending that other parties should participate in the process of electing, sorry selecting, officials. The Central Working Committee of the party will therefore summon an extraordinary meeting in which the INEC chairman and other carefully selected ‘stakeholders' will agree on a list of all men and women who should fill positions right from the presidency to the councilor in the ward. INEC chair Maurice Iwu will be mandated to just announce the names of those arrived at through that consensus-building stakeholders' meeting.
Some one will volunteer the opinion that it will be important for the PDP to give the impression that democracy is alive and thriving in Nigeria so it will be tactical for the PDP to concede Lagos and Ekiti to the AC; Anambra to the APGA; Abia to the PPA and Kano and Yobe to the ANPP. This gentleman will be shouted down. In order not for him to be marked down as an anti-party agent and denied the largesse of the party, this gentleman will quickly plead that he was merely trying to pull the legs of others. Every one will express relief at his volte-face and continue with the serious business of sharing and announcing offices on hand.
I prophesy that come the very important year 2011, one north east governor will announce his wife as his successor; his octogenarian father as secretary to her government and his son as the mother's commissioner for finance in a novel form of constitutional nepotism.
I can see clearly on my crystal ball I therefore make bold to further announce that one departing governor from the north central zone of the country will announce his son in- law as his successor. When a hue and cry arises about this he is going to wonder whether his son in-law, an adult and a bonafide citizen of the state should not be governor on account of his marriage to his daughter. When did being a son-in law to a departing governor become a hindrance to the ambition of any one? He will ask in righteous indignation.
I am not boasting. But with the deep political insight I have let me further prophesy with every authority at my command that in 2011, a PDP big wig who lives in Abuja but teleguides everything in his local government area in a south-south state, is going to make his crooked but loyal cook the chairman of his local government area. This is to ensure uninterrupted supply of his favourite wine Moet and to also guarantee the endless supply of a bevy of the most delectable ‘sweet sixteens' who will massage away the pains of his old age. The cook is from another state of the region so people are going to engage in loud murmuring and grumbling about the decision of this political godfather which will surely deny a son of the soil the opportunity to occupy this most strategic position. The man will call the political ‘stakeholders' in the local government to try to convince them (of course with wads of mint-fresh Naira notes) that he has brought a stranger from another place to govern their LGA to portray his people as a liberal and accommodating people. The people will applaud him as a living legend endowed with enormous political sagacity and resolve among themselves to learn to live with the crooked chairman. This is because Nigerians rarely protest anything no matter how outrageous and unprincipled the act may be. They only know how to applaud everything done by their ‘leaders'.
I have said it that the year 2011 will be a year of great announcement. And the nation will have very many shocking announcements. In one place, a prostitute will be announced as representative of the people in one important position. In another, it will be a notorious armed robber who will tell everybody that he has turned a new leaf. All of these and many more inanities will happen. Let us be prepared to accept them. After all it is in our character to accept anything, just anything done by pour leaders to ‘move the nation forward'. 2011 will be a year of announcement. Personally, I am dying of waiting to see what will happen in that great year.