To what extent can the statement made sometime ago by President Goodluck Jonathan that ‘Democracy would have collapsed in Nigeria without the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)’ pass the test of a true statement?
To a lay man, that statement can’t even stand the test, let alone pass the test of a true statement. Thus since a lay man couldn’t have seen the statement beyond its ordinary meaning, because he couldn’t appreciate it further, then he would simply consider it a fallacy – having seen it as lacking the ingredients of a true statement. But students of literature who have a deep knowledge of the concept of literary appreciation would categorise the statement better. They would immediately place the statement into the category it appropriately belongs; Irony. Yes, irony.
Therefore to good students of literature and literary minded people, the answer to the above question isn’t far-fetched. The statement as uttered by Mr. President was true only to the extent that it was an irony. Though the President himself, being a science student, might not agree that his statement was ironic since he ‘probably’ meant what he said, only literary people who could juxtapose the statement with the reality on ground – what the PDP has turned our democracy into – know that his statement was nothing but an irony.
Figuratively interpreted, the statement made by the President simply means ‘democracy would have flourished, and our people would have enjoyed dividends of democracy better without the PDP’. This would be the correct interpretation of that statement. That our democracy has not collapsed isn’t because the PDP, as the captain of our democracy ship is steering the ship well, but because we have all resolved not to allow the ship to sink. Should the ship be allowed to sink then the consequence will be disastrous for all and sundry.
In reality, our democracy hasn’t collapsed due to our resolve to be patient, to endure all the wobblings and fumblings associated with it so we don’t use our legs to destroy what we built with our hands. The Nigerian people, especially those of us who were involved in democratisation struggle knew what we went through to have the current democracy in place. And we know that the struggle for liberty isn’t a tea party.
If the Nigerian people have been patient with the wishy-washy manner in which the PDP is running the affairs of this country, it doesn’t mean that they are satisfied with the PDP government. It’s just that there is a general consensus among us to nurture this new baby (the current democracy) and see it grow to maturity so it doesn’t die untimely like the ones we have had in the past that were short lived. Thus for the PDP elements to be attributing the survival of our democracy to their party is tantamount to suffering from delusions of grandeur.
The PDP must be suffering from delusions of grandeur to believe that a party that professes ‘do or die’ election as its central philosophy is responsible for the survival of our democracy so far. It must be suffering from delusions of grandeur to believe that the party that has not been able to solve our energy problem for thirteen years of democratic rule is the one that has not made our democracy to collapse. Of course it must be suffering from delusions of grandeur to believe that a party that has failed to show capacity to tackle the cankerworm of corruption has helped in stabilising democracy in our fatherland. What an irony?
What’s more? Isn’t it delusion of grandeur that will make a party that has enjoyed the benefit of being in power 13 years and with nothing to show for it to believe that without it, our democracy would have collapsed? Under the watch of the PDP, democracy has assumed a new name – ‘kleptocracy’ – as corruption goes on unabated. Criminality has become the order of the day as insecurity has built a permanent abode in the country.
Further, and sad enough, many of our able-bodied people have turned to beggars and scavengers due to lack of job. Everyday we live in abject poverty amidst plenty. Unemployment is pushing our youths to seek refuge in foreign lands while Nigerian nationals who have made it in the Diaspora are afraid of coming home to invest because the environment isn’t conducive. Isn’t it only an insane person that will come and invest in an atmosphere of insecurity and lack of power?
Quite unfortunate, however, that in spite of all this misery and degradation wrought on Nigerian people by the PDP, Mr. President could be saying that his party is the best thing to have happened to our democracy. What a reckless statement?
By Kola Odepeju