Kato Buying Kato: The story of party primaries, by Aliyu Dahiru Aliyu

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Writing on politics is boring. That is why I spent more than one month without placing my opinion on any table in this time of political brouhaha. Politics is a game of blinds and few people that can see with only one eye. To be party activist is to live all your life with multiple personality disorder or suffer from duality complex. To write on politics especially in Nigeria is to waste your ink. By politics here I don’t mean the philolosophy of governments that medieval and contemporary philosophers wrote on. By politics I mean the battle for office by power mongers. Don’t read Aristotle’s Politics and expect the war for votes and political brouhaha you always hear our politicians do.

Let me start with APC primaries. The one that even the wife of President Buhari said there were lots of blunders. Some people say that she only came out angrily to her twitter handle and rained curses on APC primaries because her brother was denied a platform to snatch the office of the Adamawa government house from incumbent. Even if we may agree with this assertion to some extents, but we all know APC primaries are threats to democracy. In Kano for example, the state I live, there were system of mathematical exponential progression in counting “katos” on the queues. Footages of the primary “selections” show how counting starts from 1, 2, 3, 4 and quickly jump to 10,000…30,000 and to 47,000. In one video I have, in less than two minutes the super counter counted close to 50,000 heads on the queue. What a super computer in human form!

Let’s not talk on Zamfara, the field of blood. The APC primaries in the state was so tense and bloody between the Governor Abdul’aziz Yari and collection of G8 against him.  Zamfara is one of the most backward states in Northern Nigeria that suffers not only poverty but bloodsheds and illiteracy. Politicians in the state exploit religious loopholes and manipulate the poor people of Zamfara since 2000. The then governor Ahmad Sani Yarima who introduced Shari’a in the state laid the foundation upon which all other politicians depict their political struggles as cosmic war, between satanic evil party and good Islamic party. A friend of mine from the state told me that political campaigns are opened with Qur’anic verses so as the blind and ignorant followers would think that it is a political jihad. This is how the G8 successfully manipulate the poor Zamfara people. This doesn’t mean that I’m behind the incumbent governor who wants force his candidate against the wish of some Zamfara people, but the G8 methods in using religion to attract sympathies is totally wrong. We are still watching this movie. Let’s go to another scene.

Kaduna, there is war between Governor Nasir El-rufa’i and Senator Shehu Sani. The governor promised that the senator will never sit on senatorial chair again. National headquarters of APC is behind Senator Sani while the governor is against him. I’m watching this struggle for power with keen interest. The poor people to be represented have no voice. In this context let’s copy from Marx with little changes: The modern [political class] that has sprouted from the ruins of [old military class] has not done away with class antagonisms. It has but established new classes, new conditions of oppression, new forms of struggle in place of the old ones. The poor is still poor and getting poorer; the rich is still rich and getting richer. The poor has no voice, directly or indirectly. The voice is the voice of the elites. The interest is the interest of the power holders. Where is the voice of the poor people of Kaduna in this war between Shehu and El-Rufa’i? It is nowhere to be seen.

Back to Kano, my city my state. I witnessed the game of APC primaries in the state. My house is in the most populous local government in Nigeria, Dala. To my ultimate surprise, although I belong to one of the most densely populated area, I could not see movements of people that could indicate a major event was taking place. Everything was going on as usual without even a traffic jam. I became baffled and perplexed when I heard that close to three million Kano people voted for Buhari in the APC presidential primary election. From where they got these people is the most intriguing question. Who are these powerful computers that could collate, count and produce results of more than three million people across the vast and distant 44 local governments in less than 12 hours? I think INEC should hire them. They are far ahead of computers. The mathematical system of counting using geometric progression didn’t stop at the presidential primary election, it went to the governor’s and counted 2.7 million!

Let me not waste your time reading the uncountable sins of APC. Let’s move to PDP. In the party’s primaries, though far better than that of the APC but here it is “kato-buying-kato”. The just concluded presidential primary election which gave Atiku Abubakar a platform to go against Muhammadu Buhari is an epitome of delegate-buying. The delegates that people believe will vote for a candidate that can change The Change, went and filled their pockets. Everywhere you go, there is no one talking about the power of Atiku beyond the power of his pocket. The man is wealthy business tycoon. Yesterday at one “Indomie” joint close to my house I heard someone saying that Atiku can buy Nigeria, not only Nigerians!

In Kano state, the incumbent APC governor denied PDP a venue to conduct their primaries. A video circulating on social media shows a policeman saying that Ganduje sent them to stop PDP by will or by force. Kwankwasiyya used that opportunity, moved to the house of their grand patron and selected their candidate in the midnight of that day. This frustrated the other PDP factions. The other candidates said they didn’t know about it. The national body of the party, through its spokesman Shehu Kura, said the primary election was null and void. They said they would resolve the issue in Porthacourt after presidential primary election of the party.

One thing I know is that all these power tussles within and without parties have little or no interest of the masses in their minds. Party leaders are power mongers. Our politicians are mere investors who put money so as to get much in return. APC and PDP are mere names. The faces behind the parties are alike. I’m not saying that all politicians are devils, but you can’t count saints among them with your fingers. The dilemma here is, most saints don’t want join the parties of devils. They want to form a weak party that can’t win even a word councilor. Another problem arises when they join the parties of the devils. They quickly change from saints to devils. In this kind of paradox, it is better to be part of the third force. Accept the philosophy of Plato and join politics. If saints are not joining politics the devils will always be leaders.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @aliyussufiy