Is there anything wrong in forming a government of national unity? I think otherwise. The call for participation in the government of national unity and its acceptance by the other opposition political parties should be a good development. Why? It should allow people of various persuasions to rub minds together freely and without any bias. But what do we normally have?
The government of national unity has always aimed at political offices sharing arrangement, nothing more! It has never been called to address the problems of the common man but to assuage political opponents who might be very critical of government. This is the crux of the matter.
In 1960, the agreement between NPC and NCNC was aimed at sharing political offices to stabilize the government. In an attempt to partake in the sharing of offices, the late Mr. S. L. Akintola, deputy leader of the AG and Premier of Western Region disagreed with his party leader, Mr. Obafemi Awolowo, to team up with the NPC-NCNC controlled federal government. He thought that remaining in opposition was detrimental to the progress of the then Western Region.
But all those principal actors involved in the shady deal, except Mr. Azikiwe who escaped death, were swept away by an unexpected national tide, the January 1966 coup d’etat. Even Mr. Awolowo and his allies who opposed such the tricky invitation had to languish in jail for years, after being convicted of “planning to overthrow” the government. His party, the AG, disintegrated into factions thereafter.
In 1979, the “unity” government formed between NPN and NPP also allowed both political parties to share offices among themselves, with the former having the lion’s share. Following the disagreement between the NPN and NPP about two years later, the latter pulled out of the government. But some members of NPP who had been serving as ministers, board chairmen, etc chose to remain with NPN, they defected. NPP was again fragmented. Instead of gaining more grounds, they started to lose even in areas previously under their control. The loss of Anambra to NPN in 1983 governorship election is still fresh in our memory.
Abacha’s military junta attempted it in 1995 after his sacking of the then Interim National Government. He invited some members of NADECO to form his “unity” government. Initially everybody applauded his regime for the initiative. Soon after that, disagreements set in based on his refusal to actualize the “June 12 mandate”. Those members of NADECO holding political appointments found it difficult to resign from the government. Consequently, they were ostracized by the other main NADECO group.
NADECO had been fragmented again. The effect of the division is still apparent till today. For instance, Mr. Ebenezer Babatope, a core member of NADECO, has not been able to find his way back into the fold of his co-compatriots. He has to swim along with the republicans but not with his former conservative comrades and democrats. There are many of them in the same situation today.
The attempt by Mr. Obasanjo of PDP to bring the late Mr. Bola Ige, a NADECO chieftain and a core AD member, into his government in 1999 meant the beginning of the crisis in AD. Instead of the AD gaining more states and positions in 2003 elections, the party lost almost all five (Ekiti, Ogun, Ondo, Osun and Oyo) states to the PDP leaving only Lagos state for her control.
The party was further attenuated when the PDP invited the chairman of AD into her government after the 2003 general elections. Selection of a new chairman was problematic for the party. The AD became so fragmented that even Osun State to which the chairmanship of the party was later zoned could not agree on which of her two illustrious sons, Messrs Bisi Akande and Ifeoluwa Akinfenwa, should held the party. The AD split into three factions: AC, DPA and AD. At the end of the 2007 general elections, whether flawed or not, the AD had lost all grounds and seemed to be in comatose now.
Even the ruling party, the PDP, did not find the association easy. The influx of strange bedfellows created misunderstandings. There was a report that the late Mr. Sunday Afolabi, then an Internal Affairs Minister and a member of the ruling PDP, insulted the late Mr. Bola Ige, an AD member co-opted into the ruling PDP administration, over how to share certain things, most likely money.
Not only that, the PDP itself became riddled with internal crises of monumental dimensions. Party chairmen were changed at short notices, some through intimidation, some others through petty politics. It spread into the national assembly too. Members started finding escape routes out of the party. Some teamed up to form new political parties while some other joined forces with some existing ones. Consequently, the party has become weakened.
Otherwise, how can anyone explain the present search for a government of national unity from a formidable political party, the PDP, that swept the presidential polls overwhelmingly by about 70% in the April 2007 election while at the same time securing a mandatory one-third win spread in 32 out of 36 states?
Similarly, the party had a “landslide victory” of about 80% each in the governorship and national assembly elections. Would it not have been much more appropriate for the PDP to go ahead with her programmes and manifestos; having being “fairly and duly elected” (apology to Mr. Yar’Adua) by Nigerians? Guilty conscience is at work!
Are we not being proved right that the polls were falsified and did not reflect the wishes and aspirations of Nigerians irrespective or tribe, party, religious, age, class, etc? Would it not have been better then to call for early polls to correct the errors inherent in the April 2007 elections? The practice worldwide is for government to have credibility. A lot of groups have called postulated between six and eighteen months for conducting credible elections.
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Henry DALLAS, USA/NIGERIA June 30, 2007
Again, we have to stop the sentiments of the just concluded election and move the country forward. Once, again, even, in the most tiny setting- the family unit; people have different opinions of how the family should be run, this utimately leads us to dispute, dialogue and resolution.
We can't stop looking for our glory now because our fathers missed the road. The journey continues, we have to keep getting better.
The church will always continue to disintegrate and re-integrate, that's just the process of life.
Again, the democrats has always disagreed with the republicans, yet they all continue to participate in the government. PDP, alone can't steer the boat, all hands has to be on deck.
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