“The devil you know is better than the angel you don’t know” – Unknown
This age long adage is used to denote that the evil person you know very well is a lot better and less dangerous than the stranger who professes to be an angel. I will be applying this veritable assertion to our political terrain where there has been a long standing battle between younger and upcoming political parties to upstage the People Democratic Party (PDP) who have held the reigns of government since the inception of the Fourth Republic which started in 1999.
I ponder on the moral justification that these “other parties” have to actually think they deserve to replace PDP at the pinnacle of governance. I’ll be beaming my lens on the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN).
The ACN in recent times have been the party with the most realistic chance of mounting equal fire power with the big guns of PDP. A merger with the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) headed by General Muhammadu Buhari, a consistent presidential aspirant since 2003, held much promise to provide the much needed matching challenge to the seeming invincibility of the PDP when it came to Presidential Elections. However, things went awry at the last moment. Rumours even abound that the leadership of the ACN purposefully sold out its own presidential candidate, the young and dynamic Mallam Nuhu Ribadu to support what appeared to have been the popular choice at that time. Forgive me, I digress. That’s a topic for another time.
ACN won the hearts of millions of Nigerians and justifiably so. The administration of Babatunde Fashola and more recently, Comrade Adams Oshiomole became benchmarks for development. The cliche of “Fashola is working” became very popular across Nigeria. In fact, at a time, I seriously considered running a personal campaign for Governor Fashola for President come 2015. But shockingly, I’m beginning to have second thoughts.
You might say like every other Nigerian, my opinions are fickle. I won’t argue with that but it is justifiably so. How could a man who had a hitherto brilliant record soil it all now? Yes, you know what I’m talking about. This mess with NMA which resulted in the sack of 788 doctors.
Until now, Fashola had endeared himself to Lagosians and many Nigerians for the development oriented posture of his administration which I dare say is unrivaled. He is a credit to the legal profession for his giant strides in reforming legal infrastructure and framework in Lagos. But why did he have to screw up with the doctors?! No one ought to understand better the implications of a health crisis than a governor who pays attention to development. No one ought to know better that a governor who is a lawyer and holds the highly coveted title of SAN that the NMA is a lawfully registered Trade Union and that organizing strikes is one of the legal tools available to it for collective bargaining?
Fashola’s response on this tiresome issue has not been encouraging despite several calls by the NBA, Civil Societies and other well-meaning individuals for him to reinstate the doctors and get back to the dialogue table. He went ahead to hire new doctors. Isn’t this dictatorial? Is your ego now bigger than the health and well-being of Lagosians? Lagosians have died because of this ego of yours; Lagosians who don’t have the funds to fly their sick fathers…mothers, brothers, sisters and children out of the country for treatment. When you were asking for their votes last year, your were the meekest of humans. Oh, I get it…your ambition for a second term has been fulfilled so now you don’t care. Issorai…
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think there’s a soul alive that hates the cancer called PDP more than I do. But I wonder…I just wonder; would ACN be any better? If somebody as educated and progressive as Fashola could ignore the cries of Lagosians who are dying everyday because he wants to prove a point…whatever that is, then I guess here’s another testament to how much we value the sanctity of life in Nigeria. If Boko Haram should throw another bomb somewhere and it causes fatal casualties, what is the moral justification to condemn their acts when your own action or inaction yields the same result?
Nigerians are calling on you Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola to come to your senses and end this impasse. Even if your party, the party that we hope will unseat PDP someday, has decided to keep mum on the subject…
Malcolm O. Ifi.
Follow Malcolm on twitter @saymalcolm