So PDP apologized for ‘mistakes’ it made before it was swept to the dustbin three years ago. Its National Chairman, Uche Secondus organized a forum for its waning members in Abuja and there, he tendered the apology. Good. So PDP has become a reluctant late convert to the general thinking in Nigeria that it vandalized and laid prostrate a well-endowed country for 16 sorrowful years? We remember that this despoliation was largely responsible for the comprehensive electoral defeat the PDP suffered three years ago when as a ruling party, and armed with stupefying warchest and an elaborate and hugely financed strategies including a whopping $2 million hacking contract to Cambridge Analytica to hack then presidential candidate, Muhammadu Buhari, the party lost woefully in an election that was revolutionary in every aspect.
Since after it was sent off power, Nigerians have been heckling PDP to tender unreserved apology to Nigerians for its egregious sins against the country. Even as this was the principal reason for the defeat it suffered in 2015, PDP had rather elected to live in denial. It had dodged and parried in attending to this demand and has always come out with a riposte of how its reign in Nigeria brought heaven down on earth for Nigerians. It had rather buried its head in the sand, thinking perhaps that with the famed short memory of Nigerians, they would soon forget its gigantic sins. It had operated on the feeling that it is Nigerians’ words against their members’ and every time they were demanded to do this needful, PDP members had replied that Nigeria had its best feel while it was in power. By this, PDP lived up to the perception Nigerians have of it and its 16 years. Even as this negative perception led to its loss of power, it feigned ignorance of this fact and persisted in its obdurate and arrogant attitude.
Then from nowhere and with the 2019 general election fast creeping in, the PDP apologized. By the time they tendered this apology, Nigerians have ignored the party and its entrenched unrepentant disposition to their demand. But then, PDP was feeling the heat as its image worsened and it became notorious as a recalcitrant and hardened villain that is impervious to amendment. Again, the PDP faced a hugely depleting house with its members deserting in droves, its fortune dipped as it lost many of the governors it had even after the mishap of 2015. All over the country, Nigerians reacted to anything PDP with a thinly disguised disdain. What remained of PDP merely waffled through a hugely tele-guided convention, which itself, led to more desertion and huge crevices. By the time its regular boasts of harvesting from its long-neighed but fast receding implosion of the APC turn to distant mirage and with the approach of 2019 seeing it as a very poor match to the ruling APC, no one needed to tell PDP that there is indeed fire on its troubled mountain. So from nowhere, and after long period in grandstanding, PDP offered what many see as an effete, hollow apology for its ‘mistakes’.
Many Nigerians see the PDP apology as a spurious afterthought that is dotted with many huge gaps. Many ask what the party means by ‘mistakes’ when Nigerians’ demand for apology from the waning party is premised on very clear and identifiable grounds to wit; audacious corruption, failed leadership, impunity and deliberate shipwreck of the Nigerian state. The feeling is writ large that if PDP is indeed sincere about apologizing for its sins, it should be unambiguous and pointed instead of hiding under a lurid concept of undefined ‘mistakes’. Most Nigerians say that what they are demanding apology from PDP for is far more grievous and serious than mere ‘mistakes’. Nigerians are demanding apology for the larcenous purloining of the Nigerian treasury that happened under PDP. Nigerians are demanding apology for the clear cases of vandalism that happened under PDP. Nigerians are demanding apology for the very many cases of impunity, lawlessness and gross illegalities the PDP made a central canon of its 16 years governance of the country. Nigerians are demanding succinct apology for PDP’s supervision of the nation’s infrastructures for a whole sixteen years while indulging in free loading of the resources of the country. Nigerians are asking for apology for the widespread insecurity the PDP levied here and which grew to an intractable leviathan in its 16 years in power. Nigerians are demanding for apology from PDP for treating a huge providential oil windfall as a booty to be shared to its members and standpatters. Nigerians are demanding apology from PDP for carrying out the most horrendous assault on the electoral system through a sustained election-rigging scheme that ensured the country was robbed of the right leaders to drive its progress.
There are many other sins for which Nigerians defied a huge deployment of money, intimidation and manipulation to send PDP out of power three years ago. These are clear-headed and deliberate crimes that should not be muddled under a vacuous ‘mistake’ so as to plead for another chance in power when the blisters for these many crimes still fester on Nigerians. These are not issues PDP can brush through by a hollow, five seconds apology. These are issues that have to be called by their real names and a contrite and deep apology offered for. These are not issues that could be played round in a dubious crave for a fresh chance in power, for that is what PDP’s so-called apology was meant to be.
Apology, for it to be true, must flow from a sincere, contrite, humbled heart. It must be deep from the heart and while it must be accompanied by a sincere resolve to sin no more, it must have a follow-up; restitution. By restitution, it is meant that the apologist must, as much as possible, make amends for the effects of his bad acts. In this case, it meant that PDP must return the egregious loot it stole here, heal those it wounded through its acts of impunity, restore the setting it scrambled through acts of illegality and lawlessness, among other rehabilitative acts the PDP needs to do for it to convince Nigerians to accept its apology.
With the afore-mentioned, is the same PDP that indulged in very childish and clearly hollow means to discredit the anti-corruption war by engaging in hot argument on whether its members stole, even in the face of damning huge evidences, sincere in its apology? Is the PDP whose members now manufacture looters lists at will because they were demanded to return what they stole, the ones that has shown that it can turn from its sordid ways? Is the PDP which had embarked on incredible means to ridicule the war against corruption so as to show that corruption cannot be defeated the contrite and humble repentant we need to forgive and turn a blind eye to its huge crimes while in office? Is the same PDP that now indulge in shameful contestation of the free apology and confession of one of its Leaders, former Deputy Senate President, Ibrahim Mantu, of how they used to rig elections to favour PDP, contrite as to offer any genuine forgiveness from Nigerians? Is the same PDP that continues to engage in its well-known sly and perverse ways to deny its many sins ready for genuine repentance? Is the same hardened PDP that still cannot point to any worthwhile project it did with hundreds of trillions of Naira oil windfall while insisting it never looted the treasury genuine in its make-belief apology? The answer to these and many more posers that are not put up here is that PDP is the same hardened, unrepentant, corrupt brood of power mongers that reduced Nigeria to a huge wasteland from which President Buhari is rescuing us through honest, sincere and prudent deployment of the scarce resources he has. Which PDP offered apology, if I may ask? Is it the same PDP, whose Leader Goodsday Orubebe said has crossed from pride to shame? The same PDP, which, in the aftermath of its dubious apology, has been behaving like soiled pigs, deeply entrenched in mud and splashing everywhere with mud to get others as soiled as it is?
With all these, it is certain that PDP’s apology is a huge sham that is notorious for the many things it left unsaid. It is certain that the so-called apology is a sham deployed to con gullible Nigerians of their votes and lead us to what will certainly be a more tortuous journey in misrule, corruption and impunity. PDP’s apology did not flow from a contrite and repentant heart. There is no genuineness and no sincerity in it. It is another of the well-known PDP tricks to dupe Nigerians. When we see a true apology, we will know from the subsequent actions and dispositions of the apologist. For now, what we see is the same old, crooked PDP whose post-apology actions and utterances have become more hardened, more unrepentant and more crooked. When we see a true apology, we will know.
Peter Claver Oparah.