The problem with the existing political parties in Nigeria is their lack of ideologies or political leanings. There is no difference in ideologies whatsoever. Because of the absence of a clear difference in ideologies in our various political parties, you can’t really tell, for sure, what a politician stands for based on their party affiliations.
Senator Shehu Sani and Governor Nasir El-Rufai could not be any more different in their style of politics and ideologies, yet, they’re in the same party. What about Senator Sani Yerima and Prof. Osibanjo, what do they have in common and why are they even in the same party? Do you also see any similarities between Atiku and President Buhari? Why are they in the same party in the first place?
A political party is usually formed by men and women with very similar ideologies; it is formed by a group of people with very similar views on how a country should be run — it’s economy, foreign policies, security, religion, education, etc. Some of these ideologies may be very conservative, and others, more liberal. Some, we may hate and others, we may love. But that’s exactly the point. We want to be able to love or hate a party based, purely, on what it stands for, not because it has one man we all admire. I want to be able to look at a political party, see if what it stands for closely aligns with my principles and ideas of how I think a country should be governed, and then make a conscious decision to vote for their candidates based on that.
Also, having political parties with clear ideological divides means that people intending to join politics would be able to join parties whose political leanings closely align with theirs. This would give party membership a lot more meaning and value.
Ask any PDP or APC supporter why they support their party? I can guarantee you, their reasons would not hold water. This is why I think we should cut former Vice President, Abubakar Atiku some slack. The man is playing his politics within our existing party frameworks and what he’s done is nothing new in Nigeria’s young democracy.
The funny thing is, Atiku’s biggest critics are mostly Buhari’s biggest fans, and yet not many politicians have changed parties within a very short period of time more than Buhari. As a converted Democrat, he went from ANPP (formerly APP) to CPC and then to APC. He did all these because of one thing — to become President of Nigeria.
President Buhari had a goal and that goal was to become the commander-in-chief of his country, that was why he left ANPP for CPC and later merged with a conglomerate of political parties to form the All Progressive Congress. If it is ok for President Buhari to shop around (from party to party) for the presidential ticket, why shouldn’t it be for former Vice President Atiku?
Some of you may argue that Buhari did what he did because of his love for Nigeria. Atiku’s supporters can also argue the same.
Some politicians may have joined politics to help bring about positive change in society, but scratch the surface and you’ll see how ambitious and desperate many of them really are to win elections — let me be clear, there’s absolutely nothing wrong in being ambitious or wanting to become President of your country. It’s a nice feeling knowing that the history of your country will never be written without you in it. It’s even better when you manage to leave behind a good legacy.
Atiku has the same goal Buhari once had and he’s been hopping from one party to another in order to achieve it. Since our political parties, for now, are just a band of rich people with lots of money to throw away without any real structure or ideas, he may be welcomed back into the folds of the PDP. Soon after that, he will start making some-good-and-some-fantastic-and-some-empty promises; then share some food and some money; then spread some propaganda and win some sympathies, and finally (probably) become the next President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
This may sound like a mirage but it is very much possible. Stranger things have happened.
Mr Ahmed, a Software Engineer, is based in Watford, UK.