Wednesday, 20 January 2016

IS THIS CHANGE OR HAVE WE BEEN SHORT CHANGED?

Benue state was not left out of the change revolution that characterised the last general elections; the PDP that had held sway for 16 years was replaced by the APC in an election that was rightly described as historic. Replacing an incumbent was as far as many people believed, an impossibility, till it happened even at the centre of government.



Factors that enabled this historic event in Benue state included the h of the APC presidential candidate Muhammadu Buhari and the corruption and impunity that characterised the 16 years of the PDP especially the last administration of Gabriel Suswam which owed state workers huge salaries up until it left office. In a state mostly populated by civil servants with many other people relying on them, such a voting pattern was expected.

So immense was the anger and contempt for the PDP that many proclaimed that no matter who contested on the platform of the PDP they would rather vote for his or her opponent no matter who it was. This led to many politicians who thought winning elections would be a walk in the park, to loose such election to their utter surprise, while those who were sceptical of their chances easily won their elections.

Before the elections where held, something sudden and unexpected happened that changed the face of governorship elections .The candidate of the PDP, Samuel Ortom, who lost at its party primaries skipped the PDP and speedily became the consensus candidate of the APC in process most people described as undemocratic and fraudulent.

Senator George Akume , who is believed to have engineered this move was heavily criticized for rubbishing the image of the APC and the change it stood for. Samuel Ortom, who was a minister and PDP state secretary amongst other positions, during the highly criticised 16 year reign of the PDP thus became the governor of Benue state by the wind of change that had gathered during those 16 years..

Hon. Emanuel  Jime, the most prominent candidate of the APC ,before Ortoms un ceremonial entry into the party, who had campaigned vigorously and who it was believed would become the ultimate candidate of the APC, has since withdrawn his case from the tribunal and settled accounts with Ortom and his party. He had earlier gone to court challenging the legitimacy of Ortoms candidature in the APC.

The case of the PDP candidate TerhermenTazor, has recently been dismissed by the court. Now, honesty and courage are a rarity in our clime and time, especially admits a long standing culture of oppression, poverty and worship of money, power and all those who believe they posses it. So it won’t be found amongst many.  As an active supporter of the APC and the possibility and need for progress and change I would be betraying  my conscience if I pretend as if all is well with this newly acquired change of ours.

Many of my comrades in this struggle some of whom have found themselves in or around government will choose to keep mute lest the food fall from their mouths, some others will keep mute out of fear and others still for the things they still hope to benefit from the government, theirs is a different story.

What needs to be said and done however is known, it is the courage and will to say and do it that is as scarce as good roads in Nigeria. Benue state does not belong to any one group of people, to say it is our turn to eat now defeats the whole idea of democracy. As the APC government, led by Ortom, which rode on the idea, that people where tired of the old way by which things where done began its tenure, familiar scenarios, names and tunes began to play out in the polity, creating a feeling of déjà vu in many minds.

People began to see a pattern that was not very much different from what they had rejected not so long ago. Names of people, who like the governor, where part and parcel of the government, that had reduced the state into chaos began to resurface. People became suspicious of the change they had voted for. Some people were quick to remind them that they were earlier warned that this could happen.

It is actually too early to tell how this journey that has just begun will end, but it is common knowledge that a mans roads today, have a connection with his destination tomorrow, people who had criticised the past government on account of its impunity and corruption have suddenly found themselves in positions where they have ironically began to defend the same absurdities they criticised in the not too far past.

It has become very difficult as many had earlier warned to differentiate between the PDP and the APC, as time flies by, it is becoming clearer that our problem is not of political parties but of men, honest, true, courageous, Patriotic and selfless men. Our problem is a problem of awareness, will and knowledge.

If we as a people will experience true change, we must elect men not parties, irrespective of affiliations, whose main purpose in politics is to serve. Men who can stare evil in the face and fight it, men who will not succumb to the pressure of people, nor the temptation to abuse power and steal public funds. Men who posses an unflinching passion, to see that all their people down to the last woman and child in the most remote village reap the dividends of democracy.

For now we can’t help the feeling that we have been here before, we can’t help the feeling that a certain group of people, have used our contempt for evil and corruption and our desire for change to acquire political power for reasons that are quite different from ours and quite similar to those of our enemies. We sincerely hope to be proven wrong by this administration, we sincerely hope we will wake up from this bad dream because this  situation has left us with more questions than answers, we are yet to be certain if we as a people have been offered true change or  have just been short changed.

AHILE KASHAMI AHILE, BENUE STATE, MAKURDI, 08135465364.  



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