“What goes around comes around” is the summation of how the law of karma, (also known as the law of cause and effect) works. Those who subscribe to it believe that whatever we do or say, for good or evil (karmic credits or karmic debts), determines what will happen to us in future. While there is no exactitude on how or when karmic reactions will appear in our lives, subscribers to the doctrine believe that it is inevitable that we must harvest our karmic credits or pay our karmic debts. As the American inspirational speaker and lawyer Iyanla Vanzant, beautifully put it, “Life will let you get away with something for a while, but sooner or later you will pay the price. Everything you do in life causes the effects that you experience. When you get the bill, be prepared to pay”.
My decision to use the law of karma, rather than a game of musical chairs, to interrogate the current gale of defections hitting the APC is deliberate. In contrast to the law of karma as explained above, a game of musical chairs as an idiomatic expression refers to a situation in which people or things are moved, shuffled or re-arranged from one position to the other. It is a rapid change or confusing activity. If we call the gale of defections hitting the APC (after the PDP had suffered a similar fate in 2014) a ‘game of musical chairs’, we pass no moral judgment on the players, but merely surmise that the game is probably the same, just a mere shuffle. But when we talk of karma, we remind the power wielders and brokers of today of the inevitability of a payback time for their ‘sins’, power-drunkenness and overreach – if they will care to recall the fate of others before them who similarly forgot about the transient nature of power. There are some relevant observations here:
One, when in the run-up to the 2015 elections, some senior PDP members began defecting to the All Progressive Congress which had just been formed from four legacy parties – Buhari’s Congress for Progressive Change, the ANPP, ACN and a rump of APGA – they were all welcomed into the fold as ‘progressives’ (the way the PDP is welcoming the defectors today as ‘true democrats’). Just as Aminu Tambuwaal, a PDP man was elected Speaker of the House of Representatives against the wishes of his party with the support of the opposition members, so was Bukola Saraki, an APC man elected Speaker against the wishes of his party. And because karmic debt is rarely proportionate to the original sin, the APC not only had to deal with the ‘treachery’ of a Senate president elected against its wishes but also the ‘treachery’ of Speaker of the House of Representatives (Yakubu Dogara), who was also elected against its wishes. Had the APC been humble enough to recognize that the defections were probably its karmic debts it would have handled the issue more differently rather than from a moral high ground as if it never ‘sinned’.
Two, there is rightful condemnation of the current use of state agencies like the EFCC and the police to harass opponents. In Benue state, we are told that seven members of the State House of Assembly, protected by the police, are trying to impeach the State Governor Samuel Ortom – apparently for annoying the powers that be by defecting to the PDP. We also read that the police not only blocked what they thought was Saraki’s convoy but also laid siege at the residence of Ike Ekweremadu, the Deputy Senate President, in a bid to torpedo their plans to announce the defection of members of the Senate to the PDP and also to remove the Senate leadership. The plan failed. But the use of state agencies as extensions of the government in power predates the Buhari government. Under Obasanjo for instance, both the EFCC and the police were used to perpetuate all forms of impunity, including intimidating state legislatures into carrying out illegal impeachments of State Governors. The police were also used to provide cover in the abduction of a sitting Governor, Dr Chris Ngige, in 2003.
Remarkably Ribadu, who, as EFCC chairman, was Obasanjo’s attack dog, turned from being a hunter into the hunted during Yaradua’s government. He was not only demoted from being an AIG to a DCP but eventually dismissed from the police. Though Goodluck Jonathan did not use state agencies with the same level of impunity as Obasanjo did, his government was not completely innocent. For instance, when Tambuwaal decamped to the APC his security aides were promptly withdrawn. Similarly, the DSS, became more or less an extension of the information and propaganda division of the ruling PDP. Its spokesperson Marilyn Ogar was one of the first people the new Buhari government moved against. Most of those who were used or over-reached themselves in their functions have lived to tell their stories once power changes hands. Unfortunately, power wielders and brokers tend to behave like the Bourbons in France – they learn nothing and forget nothing. The truth is that if the PDP wins in 2019, it will not take any magic wand to know what will happen to the most loquacious and cantankerous defenders of the government or those who, out of zeal exceeded their remit. If PDP wins, it will also produce its own power-drunk individuals, who will forget the fate of people like them or that paying one’s karmic debts is an inevitability.
Three, because the people defecting from APC (essentially the same forces that led the gale of defections from PDP to the party) are largely motivated by their personal ambitions and interests rather than any higher ideal, the PDP, which despite its weaknesses, is the closest approximation to a true national political party in Nigeria, has also become a Special Purpose Vehicle – just like the APC was at birth. It has become an agglomeration of different characters united by one common goal – to see Buhari defeated in 2019, just as their own goal in 2015 was to see Jonathan defeated. Largely because the APC was a Special Purpose Vehicle – it found it difficult to manage the internal contradictions in the party or evolve into a true political party in the technical sense of the word. PDP may be a beneficiary of the current defections, but because the defections have also turned the party into an SPV, the fate of the APC also awaits it, sooner or later, whether it wins the 2019 election or not. The consolation for the party now is that the former PDP members who recently defected back to the party will remain with it until at least after the 2019 elections – whether they are able to actualize their own political ambitions in the party or not. They simply cannot afford to eat their vomit at this time. They will also do all they can to see Buhari defeated, knowing that a second term for Buhari will be a bad omen for them.
Fr Mbaka and his predictions
I am a little confused by the recent prediction (or is it prophesy?) by Fr Ejike Mbaka, the fiery preacher and Spiritual Director of Adoration Ministries, Enugu. It should be recalled that in the run-up to the 2015 election, Fr Mbaka correctly predicted that Jonathan would lose the election to Buhari. In January this year, it was widely reported that Fr Mbaka advised Buhari not to run for a second term or he would be “disgraced”. He was reported to have tipped Governor Ibrahim Dankwambo of Gombe state as the man to take over from Buhari.
However last month – barely seven months after his prediction that Buhari would lose if he runs for a second term – the Catholic priest appears to be hearing a different tune from God. On the gale of defections hitting the APC, the Daily Post of July 26 2018, quoted the preacher as saying that “the defected senators are coming to destroy Nigeria more.” He was further quoted as saying that the defections will be like a “kindergarten until Buhari delivers Change he promised…. So if Buhari messes up I will be directed by God to tell him, ‘Buhari where is the change you promised?’”
It appears that in the new ‘prophecy’ Fr Mbaka, (if he was correctly quoted), is no longer definitive that Buhari will lose in 2019 if he presents himself for re-election. Rather he appears to be making Buhari’s defeat conditional on his “messing up”. I thought if one hears from God, one will speak with the specificity and consistency of a statistician?