By Dirisu Yakubu
The next cycle of general elections may be a little over two years away but for players in the field of politics, 2023 is as close as the next couple of weeks or months. With eyes on the ball, plotting, scheming and strategising on where and how to position themselves to score self-serving goals; they plan ahead of time, aware that a minute lost may be herculean to regain.
Senator Rochas Okorocha, lawmaker representing Imo West on the platform of the All Progressives Congress is an A-lister politician; a man not afraid to let the cat out of the bag in the oft-cloudy game of incessant permutations politicians play with the rest of us in this part of the world.
Okorocha has shown over time that he is not a man afraid of testing the waters no matter how murky. When the national leadership of his party in controversial circumstances pitched tent with Hope Uzodinma in his quest to pick the Imo governorship ticket in the 2019 election; Okorocha settled for his son in-law, Uche Nwosu and bankrolled his electioneering campaigns on the platform of the Action Alliance, AA and damned the consequence. Although, he was sanctioned with a suspension, he returned into the party’s fold having demonstrated that courage is a constant ally of his.
Only recently, Okorocha gave a glimpse of what is to be expected when in far away Rivers state, he called on great men in both the APC and the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP to come together and salvage the country in the interest of Nigerians. In his words, differences in political affiliation should not be allowed to downplay the significance of altruistic congregation of like minds, nothing that the two parties in the land today, house both the good and the bad as it were.
“In this dispensation, there are many bad people in APC, many bad people in PDP. The good people of APC and good people of PDP must come together for the purpose of making Nigeria great. I could imagine where I join forces with Wike. Governor Wike, this is my hand of friendship. Let us bring all like minds, all great people of Nigeria. Rather than complaining, let us come together to make this country greater and greater as it should be.
“What brought me here today is not party but love and friendship. I am not PDP, I am APC but the time has come when we must break the jinx of party division and embrace brotherhood and friendship and be able to state what is good and what is bad. A bad man is a bad man whether he is in PDP or APC,” Okorocha said shortly after commissioning the Rumuche/Rumuakunde/Ohna Awuse link road in the Emohua local government area of the oil-rich state.
Ever since the “my people, my people” ex-governor said this, tongues have been wagging as to the possibility of a third force to rescue Nigeria out of her current challenges. To a school of thought, Okorocha is probably disappointed with the turn of things in the past few years and reasoned that neither APC nor PDP as they are currently constituted, holds the key to unlocking the nation’s undeniable potentials. It seemed an indictment on his party too.
In a chat with Saturday Vanguard on the matter, immediate past Secretary General of the Arewa Consultative Forum, ACF, Anthony Sanni, said Okorocha must come up with the kind of alliance he wants of the two parties, to be taken seriously.
He said: “I do not understand the nature of the alliance he is talking about. This is because we are operating a multi-party democracy which, because of absence of national consensus on solution to national problems, allows political parties to represent distinct methods of solution as contained in the party manifesto which the political parties use and canvass for electoral mandate. That is how democracy works. I therefore do not understand how his version of alliance between the major political parties can be for effect.
“May be, he is looking at how the two major political parties of Prime Minister Netanyahu and General Gantz are doing in Israel. But that was because none of them could form government on its own. So, let Sen. Okorocha tell the nation how the alliance of the two major political parties can work.”
Ace activist and co-founder of the #BringBackOurGirls, BBOG movement, Aisha Yesufu on her part, argued that what Okorocha suggested was nothing new, as politicians have always had cause to come together regardless of party platforms.
“The political class is made up of the same people. We have always said that APC and PDP are the same. It is the same ideology (if any), governance model what have you. They have always aligned solely for their interest. The problem is the Nigerian citizens that continue to divide and fight themselves on behalf of the political class. Nothing is surprising or new here because this is what they have always done.
“What is important is for Nigerians to come together and focus on entrenching people who have competence, capacity and character in public offices. We need people who are creative, innovative and aware that power comes from the electorate. These are the kind of people we need to lead us at all levels. We must do away with issues of religion, tribe, gender, age and things that have always divided us in the past.
“We must not forget what happened during the EndSARS protest and how the power of unity, organization and strategy was displayed. Let’s come together and work for a common goal of birthing a country where the child of nobody can become somebody without knowing anybody,” she stated.
It is not clear what the future holds politically for Wike after his second tenure expected to come to an end in 2023. And as he continue to insists that there are PDP stalwarts who romance the ruling party at night; it is left to be seen if he would heed the call of Okorocha to align with forces of like minds to push for a new Nigeria. Some may consider the message even if, based on recent antecedents, they ignore the messenger. It’s game on!