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“the Spirit Of Error” In Nigerian Politics, By Reuben Abati - Politics - Nairaland

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“the Spirit Of Error” In Nigerian Politics, By Reuben Abati by zik4ever: 7:43am On Oct 17, 2018
About this period, four years ago to be precise, I had gone to visit a notable politician and a member of the Peoples Democratic Party. Politics was very much in the air then as is the case now, and my host was neck-deep in it all. He was a major grassroots politician and a man of experience, who brought into party politics so much enthusiasm and elan. I observed him at very close quarters and it was right to conclude that he was one of President Goodluck Jonathan’s unwavering supporters. Publicly, he gave the impression that he had held down his state, and even a substantial part of his region, for both the party and the president.

He reportedly ran a strong grassroots political structure which included traditional rulers, students, market women, religious leaders and the ordinary people, who on election day were expected to vote en masse for the ruling party and put the then emergent and assertive All Progressives Congress and its leaders to shame.

During elections season, there are persons like that in every political party. They are the people on the field. They take reports to Abuja, give feedback to the party at the national level and shuttle between their states and Abuja. They attend every major campaign. They say the right things. They pump up party leaders with adrenaline. When they do a calculation of the party’s chances and how happy the electorate is with the leadership, you would feel like celebrating even before the polls. The really talented ones among them are, for the want of a better term, charmers or perhaps illusionists. This particular politician, who shall remain nameless, is experienced and talented.

We got talking. He asked me: “Reuben, what do you think of the PDP’s chances in the 2015 elections?” I told him everything looked good and that the party would retain its majority status in power. I reeled off the achievements of the Jonathan administration. The APC challenge? I dismissed the APC as a party of propagandists. “Those people? They will win in a few states, no doubt, but they can’t take the Presidency…” When you are around politicians and you listen to them everyday, you are very likely to believe them and even begin to sound like them. Loyalty is also important, but this was not just about loyalty. I felt the president’s good performance deserved to be rewarded by the Nigerian people.

“I don’t see us winning”, my host responded. I was shocked. I almost fell off my seat. I wasn’t too sure that I heard him well. I asked what he meant by that. The party primaries had been concluded. Turn-out at campaigns was beginning to build up. The state governors were all upbeat, or so it seemed. The traffic of politicians to-ing and fro-ing the Villa was so much there were hold-ups at the gate.

“We are going to lose”, my host repeated.

“How?”

“I will tell you”, he said. “I have been in politics for years, and I have learnt to study the art very well. I can tell you that five months before any election, you can easily tell if your party is going to win or not. It is not even a matter of analysis. As a politician, you will know – from what the people say, from listening carefully to your followers, from watching the body language of the international community, and by just generally looking beyond the façade. I don’t see us winning.”


“Yes, spirit of error. I have been around long enough to know when a political party begins to fail and when it begins to lose the people, and even its own members. That is where we are, everybody is just making mistakes.”


“But the ruling party looks good to me or am I missing something?”

“Yes, you are,” he affirmed.

He then proceeded to offer a state by state analysis of the party, painting a picture of grievances over party primaries, the imposition of candidates by the party’s National Working Committee, a growing pattern of deceit, the ethnic and religious division between the North and the South, and how the PDP had lost many of its faithful members. He went on:

“I don’t deceive myself. Many of those governors you see who are promising heaven and earth, you will see that when the time comes, they will not deliver. There are many aggrieved persons staying back in the party who will not lift a finger to help the party. The people who have been badly treated during the primaries, and they have been ignored, nobody is listening to them, they will claim to be working for the party, they may even collect money but from what I see, it is only if a miracle happens.”

“This is serious”, I said. “But sir, why don’t you take this up at the highest levels, since you are convinced that the enemies are within”.

“I won’t call them enemies. I think it is something even more serious. When people join political parties in Nigeria, they expect to gain something in return. They want to be rewarded. They may follow a leader but you have to settle them. I think the party and the government have been overtaken by the spirit of error.”

“Spirit of error?”

“Yes, spirit of error. I have been around long enough to know when a political party begins to fail and when it begins to lose the people, and even its own members. That is where we are, everybody is just making mistakes.”

A few weeks later, I saw the same man, back-slapping at party campaigns, hailing the president and other party leaders. I was confused. Obviously, I thought the spirit of error had disappeared and there was renewed hope for the party. I called the man aside out of curiousity: “Sir, what happened? Is there hope now?”

“I am a politician,” he said. “Every politician is an optimist. It is not over until it is over.” I didn’t get a chance to ask him again about the spirit of error. But his prediction turned out to be prophetic.


I may see the need to visit that senior politician again to give me the benefit of what old men see sitting down, which younger men may not see even when they are standing.


I believe that history is about to repeat itself in Nigerian politics. The ruling party, the All Progressives Congress is exactly where the Peoples Democratic Party was in 2014/2015. APC leaders are making exactly the same mistakes. The PDP, which appears to have learnt some lessons, is suddenly a re-energised party and with the emergence of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar as its standard bearer and Peter Obi as running mate, the same Nigerian people who thought the PDP was bad are now turning around to say the PDP should be forgiven. All sleeping cells of the PDP across the country are suddenly awake. The umbrella is up again, the rope that tied the broom together is loosened.

The success of the PDP in the last few months does not necessarily owe itself to any ingenuous strategy on the part of the leaders of the party, however, but more to the many unforced errors, and own goals, by the ruling party and its government. The government at the centre has lost the plot. When these days, its foot-soldiers and spokespersons argue that members of the PDP are corrupt, the quick response by even the worst critics of the opposition party, PDP, is that they can’t see any difference between the APC and the PDP. Some even insist that the PDP is better. In three years, the APC has frittered away its goodwill. The same international agencies and platforms that used to promote the administration have turned their back on it. Internally, the party has been overtaken by all kinds of little Hitlers who have no qualms imposing their will on others and trampling upon the letters of democracy. This much was put on embarrassing display during the recent gubernatorial election in Osun, and the party’s primaries across the country, but notably in Lagos, Osun, Rivers, Delta, Imo, Zamfara, Ogun, Oyo and so on. In 2014, five governors walked away from the PDP. In 2018, many leaders of the APC have also taken a walk. The PDP told its disaffected members – “good riddance.” The APC is also singing the same song in 2018.

In 2014/15, the APC’s selling point was President Muhammadu Buhari. He was promoted as a nationalist, a man of integrity and a reformed democrat. He promised to fight corruption and the people hailed him. They were tired of the PDP. They wanted change. Many believed in him as the messiah who will turn Nigeria around. Close to four years later, President Buhari is now at that point where most Nigerian leaders find themselves, covered by that standard, unscientific excuse: “the good man who is surrounded by bad people, bad advisers and bad politicians.” The economy under his watch is slow and unproductive. In three months, the country’s debt profile has jumped from N22.4 trillion to $73.21 billion and the country wants to borrow more. His administration usually blames the previous administration. Many Nigerians no longer consider that a good strategy. They are similarly skeptical about the war against corruption.

This last point is well illustrated by the recent announcement of a plan to effectuate Executive Order No 6, under which the government proposes to place a travel ban on some yet unnamed and undisclosed Nigerians. Under the Order, the government seeks to stop persons indicted for corruption from travelling abroad, and to attach their properties. The argument by government spokespersons that they are relying on a judgement by Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu of the Abuja Federal High Court has been exposed for what it is: a lie, a ruse, an attempt to misinterpret the court, knowing that the judge is not likely to engage in a market-place explanation of its own ruling. That was the same thing they did at the 2018 NBA Conference, when they said the rule of law could be violated and that the Supreme Court had given them the right to do so in the Asari Dokubo case. This is not good for the state of our law.

The Court was clear: the attorney general of the federation can apply Executive Order No 6, only through the instrumentality of a Court Order. By by-passing the Court, the executive arm seeks to be the judge, the jury and the executioner in its own case. It usurps the roles of the judiciary and the legislature, and serves notice of a return to dictatorship. The Order, as proposed, has been correctly described as a reincarnation of the notorious Decree 2 of 1984 and a violation of Section 41 of the 1999 Constitution.

The newspapers published a list of 50 names but the executive has since announced that it has not published any list, but the people concerned know themselves. How? The combined effect of this opaqueness is that the government has imposed a regime of fear on the people. A secret watch-list which can be applied at will is an act of intimidation against the Nigerian people. It is reckless and unwise, because political intimidation is the worst, most brazen form of rigging! In an election season, it is scary. As a strategy, it makes no sense. At a time when the president and his party need the people’s votes, an open subversion of the rule of law is not a good method of votes solicitation. Whoever chose this time to take Nigeria back to 1984, has only strengthened the resolve of those who are already whispering that a second term for President Buhari would translate into misery for Nigerians. Executive Order No. 6, rather than further advance the anti-corruption war, has merely promoted fear and intimidation as instruments of governance. This is one more major error by the Buhari government. I may see the need to visit that senior politician again to give me the benefit of what old men see sitting down, which younger men may not see even when they are standing.

The Persecution of Ike Ekweremadu

While writing the piece above, I kept receiving on my phone what’s app messages attacking Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu. I am sure other Nigerians would have received the same hate-message either on whatsapp or through other media. Ekweremadu is pointedly accused of being the brain behind the Igbo drama over whether or not Peter Obi is the fit and proper person for the position of running mate to Atiku Abubakar, on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). While other Nigerians have settled that matter and concluded that Peter Obi is in order, and that Igbos deserve to be Vice President of Nigeria and even President in due course, the Igbo elite, playing well-known stereotypical politics, are trying to create a little self-serving show of their own. They don’t need it. They should look at the bigger picture, and stop behaving like a child that lost a promised candy.

The persecution of Ekweremadu is unfair and undeserved. Ekweremadu, yes, has been council chairman, Secretary to the Government of Enugu State, a Senator since 2003 former Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament, and two-term Deputy Senate president, and one of the persons on the Atiku shortlist. He deserves to be celebrated and not be used as a scapegoat for the discomfort of other persons who lost out in the race. Ekweremadu himself has said that he is in support of Peter Obi. So, who are the agent-provocateurs out there in the East? Ekweremadu was for a while the last man standing for the PDP and Ndigbo. He is paying a heavy price for this. He has been brutalized.

The ruling party attacked him with the police and the EFCC. He was accused of having properties. They are charging him from one court to another. His emergence as Deputy Senate President and his loyalty to Senate President Bukola Saraki made them unhappy. When the PDP seemed to have completely lost its bearing, Ike Ekweremadu stood firm. He deserves recognition for this. The political jobbers who are trying to set him and Peter Obi on a collision course even before the 2019 elections are enemies of Ndigbo. The urgent task before the Igbo elite is to seek those who are trying to divide them, the mercenaries among them, and the need to protect the larger Igbo interest. Both Ike Ekweremadu and Peter Obi deserve the support of the Igbo elite, not a squabble of the villagers.

Reuben Abati, a former presidential spokesperson, writes from Lagos.

https://opinion.premiumtimesng.com/2018/10/16/the-spirit-of-error-in-nigerian-politics-by-reuben-abati/

21 Likes 4 Shares

Re: “the Spirit Of Error” In Nigerian Politics, By Reuben Abati by CROWNWEALTH019(m): 7:45am On Oct 17, 2018
I took time to read every letter, buhari will go to the morgue after 2019

22 Likes 1 Share

Re: “the Spirit Of Error” In Nigerian Politics, By Reuben Abati by baliyubla: 7:50am On Oct 17, 2018
You have made sense Dr. Abati, just as Jonathan's team never believed they would lose at exactly 4 years ago, now the dullard and his team are fooling around dwelling in the spirit of error. Buharis brain will be formatted by February, after Atiku massacres him at the polls.

13 Likes 2 Shares

Re: “the Spirit Of Error” In Nigerian Politics, By Reuben Abati by truthfulparrot(m): 7:53am On Oct 17, 2018
I supported Buhari in 2015, but like I always say I am not a Zombie. Buhari woefully failed to live up to expectations. Infact it is very glaring that he is fast losing support as people with common sense are seeing his hypocrisy and incompetent.
PMB went off the mark when he delayed for six months before choosing his cabinet. The most annoying thing is that he sorrounded himself with people of shady characters and failed to act desisively when his aides were accused of corruption.
His fight against corruption is now a laughing stock. He committed a great blunder by treating corrupt members of APC with kids gloves and using sledge hammer against the opposition.
Efcc as an institution has been grossly compromised. How do you explain the fact that Efcc alledged that Obanikoro took N4.7b from former NSA and gave N1.3b to Fayose and N1.3b to Omisore. Is it not ridiculous that Obanikoro and Omisore are not being harrashed because they are now friends of APC?
PMB performance on the economy is very poor and callous.
If the truth must be told, PMB will not win again in a free and fair election. I listened to a radio call in program this morning and I was supprised that most of the people from the north that called in are very dissatisfied with PMB performance.

31 Likes 5 Shares

Re: “the Spirit Of Error” In Nigerian Politics, By Reuben Abati by HisRoyalHardnes(m): 8:05am On Oct 17, 2018
The Umbrella has risen to rescue Nigeria from lifelessness.

Be Atikulate 24/7.

11 Likes 1 Share

Re: “the Spirit Of Error” In Nigerian Politics, By Reuben Abati by Scandinavian02: 8:09am On Oct 17, 2018
This is not the news of the moment. Nigerians are only interested in the following for now:

#Gandujegate
#Atikulate
#Buharism

Like for Buhari and Share for Atiku

10 Likes 29 Shares

Re: “the Spirit Of Error” In Nigerian Politics, By Reuben Abati by Racoon(m): 8:09am On Oct 17, 2018
“I will tell you”, he said. “I have been in politics for years, and I have learnt to study the art very well. I can tell you that five months before any election, you can easily tell if your party is going to win or not.

It is not even a matter of analysis. As a politician, you will know from what the people say, from listening carefully to your followers, from watching the body language of the international community,

Atiku/Obi 2019.Nigeria get involved.

10 Likes 2 Shares

Re: “the Spirit Of Error” In Nigerian Politics, By Reuben Abati by Dee60: 8:10am On Oct 17, 2018
It is the same spirit of error that makes power to always go towards a particular section of the country while the others are happy to always be vice.

The same spirit of error is making the people demand for the return of Corruption!

The spirit of error makes the people to send their children to war on behalf of politicians while the politicians keep their own children abroad and away from thuggery.

The spirit of error make people to sell their votes for as low as 500 Naira.

The spirit of error delivers the primaries to the highest bidders!

Perhaps, we should be calling for prayers and deliverance from this spirit, so that politicians will start to behave.

3 Likes

Re: “the Spirit Of Error” In Nigerian Politics, By Reuben Abati by wakes: 8:10am On Oct 17, 2018
spirit?
Re: “the Spirit Of Error” In Nigerian Politics, By Reuben Abati by ArmaniUhuru: 8:10am On Oct 17, 2018
"Both Obi and Osinbade are good but When it comes to economy there is no way you compare a man who owns a bank, the largest mall in West Africa, a brewery and other successful businesses; who has run a state government successfully, leaving zero debt and a flourishing state economy and educational sector with one whose understanding of economy as head of the economic team is sharing 5thousand in the markets."

Truth is bitter

9 Likes 1 Share

Re: “the Spirit Of Error” In Nigerian Politics, By Reuben Abati by LibertyRep: 8:11am On Oct 17, 2018
The greatest damage a person can do to himself is self deceit.

PMB is already demystified, the fortune of APC is dwindling and the earlier they realize, the better for them.

5 Likes 2 Shares

Re: “the Spirit Of Error” In Nigerian Politics, By Reuben Abati by Melison(m): 8:12am On Oct 17, 2018
Am coming
Re: “the Spirit Of Error” In Nigerian Politics, By Reuben Abati by kgr8mike(m): 8:13am On Oct 17, 2018
Thank God this man must go.
Re: “the Spirit Of Error” In Nigerian Politics, By Reuben Abati by Pavore9: 8:13am On Oct 17, 2018
"The urgent task before the Igbo elite is to seek those who are trying to divide them, the mercenaries among them, and the need to protect the larger Igbo interest. Both Ike Ekweremadu and Peter Obi deserve the support of the Igbo elite, not a squabble of the villagers"....hmm

2 Likes

Re: “the Spirit Of Error” In Nigerian Politics, By Reuben Abati by Bethel4Life(f): 8:13am On Oct 17, 2018
cheesy
Re: “the Spirit Of Error” In Nigerian Politics, By Reuben Abati by LordGuru: 8:14am On Oct 17, 2018
True.
Re: “the Spirit Of Error” In Nigerian Politics, By Reuben Abati by Dacronym(m): 8:15am On Oct 17, 2018
Error everything about you ppl is Error!



I have affordable Customised Jerseys for sale
See Siggy
Re: “the Spirit Of Error” In Nigerian Politics, By Reuben Abati by Omeokachie: 8:19am On Oct 17, 2018
"The combined effect of this opaqueness is that the government has imposed a regime of fear on the people. A secret watch-list which can be applied at will is an act of intimidation against the Nigerian people. It is reckless and unwise, because political intimidation is the worst, most brazen form of rigging!"


Nigeria must be rescued from those bent on destroying it.
Rescued from those whose unemployed children can suddenly crash N50m okada without explanation on where they got the funds from.

5 Likes

Re: “the Spirit Of Error” In Nigerian Politics, By Reuben Abati by ogunnoikitaiwo(m): 8:19am On Oct 17, 2018
yes the spirit of error and stupidity is when you are shouting Biafra for 4years,PDP for 9month and Etikulated since 10days nw..that means there mumu have PhD... pls don't quote me...

3 Likes

Re: “the Spirit Of Error” In Nigerian Politics, By Reuben Abati by emmaitive(m): 8:23am On Oct 17, 2018
Hmm
Re: “the Spirit Of Error” In Nigerian Politics, By Reuben Abati by opalu: 8:27am On Oct 17, 2018
I read every word there. Bye Baba

2 Likes 2 Shares

Re: “the Spirit Of Error” In Nigerian Politics, By Reuben Abati by israelmao(m): 8:29am On Oct 17, 2018
Error approved by some elites and poor masses in 2015 is haunting like a ghost today.
Re: “the Spirit Of Error” In Nigerian Politics, By Reuben Abati by mikaael(m): 8:39am On Oct 17, 2018
LibertyRep:
The greatest damage a person can do to himself is self deceit.

PMB is already demystified, the fortune of APC is dwindling and the earlier they realize, the better for them.

Pls don't let them realise....God will not let them realise...away with them
Re: “the Spirit Of Error” In Nigerian Politics, By Reuben Abati by Minjim: 8:39am On Oct 17, 2018
When its all said and done . Buhari will still win come 2019.
Because we refused to see other options asides the two major parties.
So if Buhari had failed its Pdp I will now vote among about 90 political parties?
Our choice is not restricted to Apc or Pdp. We have better patriotic ppl in other political parties.
Despite Buhari's failures many ppl will still prefer to vote him than give power back to Pdp who are only pretending to be repentant because they dont have accesses to loot again. They claimed regrected their errors but most of them are still in court claiming innocent. None returned their loots. I for one , I'm not fooled by Pdp and I know many who arent too. Those. from the East may be for abvious reasons.
16 years is quite a long time for me to get over the pains that Pdp caused of which the ripple effects are still apparent

2 Likes

Re: “the Spirit Of Error” In Nigerian Politics, By Reuben Abati by sarcasticdude(m): 8:42am On Oct 17, 2018
It seems to me like some section of the country aint happy with atike's vice being an easterner,Bros why una hate igbos like this na??
Re: “the Spirit Of Error” In Nigerian Politics, By Reuben Abati by mceze(m): 8:46am On Oct 17, 2018
Guaranteed20:
See below prove

You are an id*ot...Scammer
Re: “the Spirit Of Error” In Nigerian Politics, By Reuben Abati by jaxxy(m): 8:51am On Oct 17, 2018
Ruben plenty talk no action. I’m no longer a Ruben fan bt this is a power write up. Must read!

The same fate that befell Pdp is applying to Apc now. If u can read the signs u can tell.

1 Like

Re: “the Spirit Of Error” In Nigerian Politics, By Reuben Abati by Splashme: 8:54am On Oct 17, 2018
Interesting piece

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