Whither An Alternative? By Sola Ademiluyi

The defection of Rotimi Amaechi and four other G-7 Governors to the All Progressive Congress did not come as a surprise to many. His running battle with President Jonathan was sure to end in this current schism. Amaechi is a man of many firsts. He was the first Speaker of a State House of Assembly to hold the position for eight years. He was the first person to be elected Governor without contesting an election and he is the first to decamp from the ruling party to the opposition in the South-South geo-political zone. The implication of this move saw a decimation of the number of PDP legislators in both the Senate and House of Representatives. This is quite interesting as it would be curious to see if the APC can actually have a foothold in the oil rich state in the future.


A major problem of the Nigerian polity is the lack of an ideology of the political parties. Politics is largely driven by personalities, religious and ethnic sentiments as opposed to issues, ideas, vision and a lasting legacy. Ideology, unknown to many is not restricted to the political sphere. It has economic, cultural and developmental perspectives that could have a positive effect on the polity and economy. Some examples would suffice: The Republican Party or the Grand Old Party (GOP) has a conservative ideology – liberals in it are in the minority. The implication is that if a GOP member sits in the oval office, companies involved in stem cell research, embryo cloning, bio technology would not get adequate government support to back their economic agenda. Researchers, academics and stakeholders in this sector would suffer a setback as well as it has a ripple effect. The progress of the Gay Rights Activists in the United States for instance is largely as a result of the presence of a liberal Presidency. By extension, it would open up a vista of opportunities for those who provide surrogacy and invitro fertilisation services. There will be a paradigmatic shift in the manner of advertising and public relations because of the need to imbibe the culture of diversity and inclusiveness. The educational curriculum would have to be altered to accommodate the ideological leaning. In the United Kingdom, the Conservative Party is known for its free market and not too friendly immigration laws.


The reason why London is the economic capital of Europe is because of the vision of the former British Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher to create a Financial Hub. Her vision was backed by her party and this has made the city the first port of call for foreign banks, insurance companies, securities trading firms, discount houses who want to spread their tentacles in Europe. Trade unions are weakened under any Conservative Party leadership because of the Iron Lady’s defeat of the coal miners’ strike which lasted between 1984 and 1985. The defeat set the precedent which the party currently follows. It was under the Iron Lady that the use of visa to enter the UK by Commonwealth countries started in 1987. It is not surprising that their immigration laws are not so friendly. The Labour Party condemned Thatcher’s visa imposition decision and pilloried the recent decision which was rescinded to impose a 3000 pound bond on citizens from six Commonwealth Nations visiting the country. Immigration relaxation is a cardinal policy of the Labour party. This will influence the decisions of migrants, businessmen and even asylum seekers who want to migrate there. There is a nexus between economic development and the polity as a result of ideology which acts as a compass or guide.


What is the ideology of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party? What is the ideology of the All Progressive Congress? What is the ideology of the others? It is not clearly defined. Why would an investor come from the West or Middle East when there is no ideological sustainability that would protect his business interests? The constant public policy flip flops are as a result of the ideological dearth. APC apologists may scream blue murder at the emergence of Chief Willy Obiano as the Anambra State Governor. The fact is that their defeat is a concomitant effect of their lack of any ideology that the masses or elite can identify with. Why would I vote a party who deported my brothers and sisters from the nation’s economic hub and offered a half-hearted apology for reason of political expediency? Why would I vote a party whose national leader seems to be on an imperialist expansion quest? Why would I vote a party who did not caution a serving governor for publicly insulting a hapless widow – the irony is that he is a widower himself? Why would I vote a party whose governor pursues an elitist agenda that renders the hoi polloi permanently economically destitute in the name of a mega city agenda?


It is not enough for governors to decamp and possibly run back to their original parties when the heat cools off. It is not enough to use alternative platforms to massage bruised egos. If the opposition is to wrestle power from the ideas and morally bankrupt ruling party, it has to be on the basis of a carefully crafted ideology that can cater for a wide range of interests for the common good.



A major problem of the Nigerian polity is the lack of an ideology of the political parties