By Uzor Maxim Uzoatu
Let’s play politics – party politics, that is.
No less a worthy than Aristotle stated that man is by nature a political animal, and who am I not to obey the great philosopher by playing my own politics on this page?
But then, the older master to Aristotle, Plato made bold to stress that poets should be banished from the republic.
It is as though I am in the middle of nowhere, but the point really is that, with all their knowledge, Plato and Aristotle could never have imagined that contraptions like People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and All Progressives Congress (APC) could ever have emerged as political parties in a democracy.
So, let’s leave sound minds like Aristotle and Plato out of this crazy matter for it is a twice-told story that in Nigeria things change only to remain the same.
APC is a clone of the PDP.
This is a self-evident fact that does not need any political theory from any Ancient Greek philosopher or modern Nigerian politico to prove.
In short, it can even be said that the APC has successfully kidnapped the PDP, and kidnapping happens to be all the rage these days.
The PDP used to pride itself as “the largest political party in Africa” but the APC has now brazenly kidnapped the same title.
It is in the matter of the kidnap of schoolchildren that the APC has comprehensively proven that the party of change can kidnap more than the ancient regime of the PDP.
Let’s take a quick trip into the kidnapping escapades of both the PDP and APC to illustrate that the massive kidnapping of students is a major landmark achievement in the present tense of Nigeria.
Back in time, when the PDP reigned supreme, in the darkling hours of April 14 and 15 of 2014, 276 students of Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok in Bornu State, were carted away in one fell swoop.
The unfathomable kidnap made the then president, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, to look very clueless as his APC antagonists had vociferously pontificated.
All makes of activists took to the streets with the slogan “Bring Back Our Girls”, BBOG, for short.
Amid all the confusion, the authorities of the Chibok school were summoned to Aso Villa but only the solitary figure of the school principal showed up, which prompted the then First Lady, the inimitable Patience Jonathan to pose the immortal question: “Na only you waka come?”
Unprintable adjectives were deployed in the media against President Jonathan by ill-assorted activists, and the call for the ouster from power of the man from Otuoke made every jumped-up rabble-rouser quite popular.
The man named Goodluck had somehow turned luckless before our very eyes, and thus General Muhammadu Buhari was ushered to power on a platter of praise songs and soft soap.
The APC has ever since conclusively proven that it can beat the PDP in every material particular – from fuel price hike to Naira depreciation!
Before I am accused of veering off-point, I hereby stay the course on the matter of kidnapping in which the APC has given the PDP a black eye in horrendous beating-up!
The current blockbuster happens to be the kidnapping of 317 students of Government Girls Secondary School, Jangebe in Zamfara State, on Febuary 26, in this year of Our Lord.
The Jangebe kidnap was preceded only some days earlier, on February 17 to be precise, by the abduction of 27 students at Government Science College, Kagara, Niger State.
It cannot be forgotten in a hurry that on December 20, 2020, some 80 schoolchildren of Islamiyya School, Mahuta town in Katsina State were duly kidnapped.
The Chibok heist in the PDP era pales in comparison to the December 11, 2020 abduction of 344 students of Government Science Secondary School, Kankara, Katsina State.
It is crucial that I should not let this kidnapping bazaar unscramble my fat head, so let me stop on the note of the February 19, 2018 abduction of 113 students at Government Girls Secondary and Technical College, Dapchi, Yobe State.
Nobody is today interested in organizing Bring-Back-The-Girls parades because the game-plan is no secret: the bandits do the kidnapping and the sheikh arranges the negotiations while the politicos pay the ransom.
Jonathan and his PDP were given a bloody nose for saying “stealing is not corruption”, but in the present tense of things it’s all praise for the slogan: “Bandits are not criminals!”
Back in 1729AD, Jonathan Swift made “A Modest Proposal” that the children of the poor should be sold as food to be eaten by the rich.
My own modest proposal is the patriotic call for the government to set up a Ministry of Kidnapping Affairs and Ransom Payment through which ransomed schoolchildren should be served a la carte to the idle rich politicos.
Let’s all raise our brooms for the unconquerable APC!
—Uzor Maxim Uzoatu is the author of God of Poetry, Satan’s Story, A Play of Ghosts and The Missing Link. A 2008 Caine Prize for African Writing nominee, he wrote the text for Scottish photographer Owen Logan’s caricature of Michael Jackson’s visit to Nigeria entitled Masquerade. He lives in Lagos and is married with children.