SHERIFF, THE PDP, THE JUDICIARY AND US by Otu Ita Toyo

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The Sheriff phenomenon in a shell represented the proverbial object in the auto mirror. Not only was it a realistic kinetic force of political interest, it was self inflicted and remained throughout the drama, always closer than it appeared in the political mirror.

When the PDP trio procured the services of Alhaji Sheriff, whose defining qualification was more of that of a political party undertaker, having contributed to the _death or hospitalization_ of at least two parties. A visibly successful political contractor with rumored links to Boko Haram, he is reported to have caught the attention of the PDP gubernatorial scouts, by the proof of ownership of four ptivate jets, rather than his character and talent in party administration or social arbitration. Every practiced observer could infer even back then, that in going for a Sheriff, a man known for his record of party hopping, they had matters other than democratic restructuring and stabilizaion of that defeated organisation on their mind.

With his unstable political record and shifting nationality, Sheriff was a practiced disaster just waiting to befall any Nigerian political party, most if not all of whom are noted for acute _ad hocism_ as their default administrative mode.

On hind sight, Sheriff was just the very type of typical decisions and choices of the PDP which drew nurturing from the gross impunity which characterised the state of party capture. This was an acknowledged and flagrant way of life and standard operational practice of the princes of that party at the time. They all had pieces of the party as private estates which they kept ran by extreme coercive manipulation.

One would have thought they had learnt a lesson from the defeat.

It is comical to read late euphoric expressions of bordering on a sense of attainment by a welter of the PDP community in their reaction to the judgement of the Supreme Court, instead of a full throated repudiation of their errant and undemocratic footprints on the sands of the Nigerian polity. But for sheer Providence, their latest example of corporate mischief nearly translated into a suicidal expedition. It is the height of self deceit to look for scapegoats for their 18 months of attempted political self immolation.

The truth is that the PDP bears all the blame for their anxious season and if they are well advised, will attempt a quiet self cleansing ablution, rather than go on a binge of scapegoat hunting and hypocritical posturing as pseudo victors, in a battle it waged against itself.

Treating the judgement of the Supreme court as anything other than a lucky wake up call from a self induced nightmare is comical.

The Supreme Court, fresh from a series of ignoble judgements and extremely embarrassing disclosures of unsavory goings-on within its ranks seem to have woken up to its responsibilities as the ultimate balancer of the national power equation and guarantor of national stability, at last.

Soon that court will give it’s reasons for the judgement but it does not much matter. They rose up to the occasion through their nationalistic intervention. Nigeria, Nigerians and the polity have been rescued from a decent into unmitigated anarchy by saving the PDP from itself. The court gave us another chance to redeem our democracy by trying to balance the dynamics of governance by encouraging the revival of a strong alternate platform. Any other verdict would have been a national disaster.

The more amusing interpretations of the celebration by the hitherto factionalised political party is that of the Makarfi group who left the court behaving as conquerors. Conquerors of what? Someone should remind them that only the PDP was in bed in that curious litigation and therefore the party can not in any logical sense celebrate a victory over itself. This crazy notion persists in much of the largely mundane attempts to elevate the court case and judgement onto a platform of critical national political cum national event rather than an official rap in the knuckle by the learned judges delivered to an errant organisation and it’s mischievous members. Period.

This judgement is important to the extent that the leadership of the PDP can purge themselves of their seige mentality and open up the party for fair competitive interplays by capable and talented citizens rather than the brutish practice of capturing the machinery of the organisation for distribution to their sycophantic but largely uncompetitive minions. This management by stealth, capture and siege is widely held to be one of the reasons which generated the quiet revolt against the party nationwide (except in parts of the country where it held the electorate fugitive to its violent and undemocratic electoral and economic proclivities). Now, they have a chance to give the slumbering APC their own wake up call. The competition is good for the polity and country.

That calls for more than the customary name calling and gossipy propaganda which pass for party positioning and attempt at image polishing by reverse postulation that we have witnessed thus far.

Political parties have a lot to do in this season of discontent. The electorate is primed and will vote for the party with the most to credits in mass emancipation from debilitating diseases like poverty, joblessness and ignorance. They will most likely vote for credible and knowledgeable individuals who will engage in the imminent national debate for re-federalising our republic. This is what the people have taken from that judgement. Not a licence for another round of looting of the public treasury. Something, which from prevalent evidence, politicians, mainly of the PDP suasion, (largely because they were in serial occupation of the centres of power) and their appointees and cronies seem to have mistaken for their job description.

Let the judgement be seen for what it really is, a chance to restructure and rebuild the polity, our country, and the political parties.

TotalChair

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