Can There Be A State Of Sustainable Political Equilibrium?


By Leye Igbabo

Henry Louis Le Chatelier, a French chemist devised a principle known as Le Chatelier’s principle. It states thus ” When a stress is applied to a system at equilibrium, the equilibrium will shift in a direction, to partially counteract the stress”

Le Chatelier was trying to explain the unsustainability of a state of equilibrium because one of the reactants will always alter to generate a shift from such state of equilibrium.

Juxtaposing this principle with one of the universally accepted maxims of political engagements, which says “there is no permanent friend or enemy in politics but permanent interest”, it can be safely argued that a state of equilibrium, as it is in Nigeria, cannot be maintained or
sustained in political parties no matter how hard the operators attempt to do it.

This is so, because political parties are made up of different groups with different interests who only deliberately and consciously so, submerge or collapse their various group interests into a single political interest with the sole purpose of properly coordinating and ultimately acquiring political power for the use of the different groups that make up the political party.

After the acquisition of such political power, each group within the party expects political patronage almost immediately. And since there is no way all interests can be accommodated at one particular time, any group which feels or perceives that its group interest is being kept in abeyance or not being reasonably attended to, at any such time becomes uncomfortable and exhibits readiness to cause crisis while trying to demand for recognition and protection of its group’s interests within the larger political interest.

It is an unassailable fact that in politics especially as being practiced in Africa, the holders of positions in the power structure determine the location and distribution of economic resources and political rewards. Politicians would therefore have to choose between crossing the carpet to join the ruling party or suffer such temporary exclusion and lack of access to resources available within the polity.

This being so, cross carpeting also helps to further swell up group interests within the party. It usually takes place during electioneering campaigns and/or immediately after winners have been declared in elections. This is because Nigerian politicians from any party that is removed from power, cannot just afford to temporarily miss or be denied perks and patronage often associated with and available in any political party in power.

In a political system such as ours, where undue importance is attached to political patronage or perks, politicians will most probably not think twice before they switch parties in the direction of the one who dispenses such patronage. The accompanying consequences of cross carpeting is that group interests within a political party will be unduly swollen up thereby overstretching the already saturated political interests within such party.

At that level, too many interests would be chasing few patronage and since it is crystal clear that all interests can not be accommodated at once, the groups which interests seem to have been benched become agitated and spoil for war that may later snowball into major crisis that will shatter and scatter the very foundation upon which the platform is built.

To a keen observer, there seems to be a new variant of cross carpeting now where a politician will be in one party and getting appointment in another party. Nyesom Wike, the immediate governor of Rivers State under the platform of PDP and who, up till now, is still claiming to be a member of PDP is now serving as a Federal Minister in APC government of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

To the consternation of members of some groups whose membership are never in doubt as far as Ondo APC is concerned and who are still battling for recognition and consideration within the APC family, the sudden announcement and appearance of Hon Victor Kolade Akinjo who at least for now, is a member of PDP, on the NDDC Board, actually ignited fire that was put out only after the nominee of the PDP extraction was stepped down from the Board. This is the instance of the new variant of cross carpeting in observation. I know Hon Kolade Akinjo and his own “group” will not be resting on their oars.

Still juxtaposing Le Chatelier’s principle with political engagements, when interests falls upon interests, the party, at some point, will be copiously stressed and will be unable to attend to all the interests at the same time. One or two of such groups which feel marginalized at such particular moment will alter the equilibrium condition of the party and that will see them carrying their bags and baggage and jump into another waiting political vehicle thereby rendering the preceding one fragmented, incapacitated, depleted and desolated!

PDP had had its own fair taste of this bitter pill.

Due to influx of political big wigs and indiscriminate show of support and solidarity, there was an humongous swell in the rank and file of PDP at a particular time. Chief Vincent Ogbulafor, a former National Chairman of the party momentarily boasted and declared in 2008 that the party would rule for sixty years before they could even talk of losing elections! But when interests begat interests and the party could no longer accommodate them at a time, the same accumulated interests got the party bursted and busted such that in barely sixteen years of its grip on power, it was swept off almost seamlessly by a lame, disjointed, incongruent, and hurriedly packaged APC which at that time, could best be described as an assemblage of strange bedfellows or a marriage of convenience!

As it appears now, APC would soon have its own taste of the bitter pill and that may likely begin with the Ondo State chapter of the party as we approach the 2024 Governorship elections in the State.

Immediately after the February 25 Presidential Elections and eventual declaration of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu of APC as the winner, the party began to witness a flurry of defections for reasons earlier stated above. The ripple effects reverberated to Ondo State APC such that all manners of defections including those stage-managed, began to happen. Those who have no legs to carry themselves are begging passers-by to help them to get to their APC destination. Those who have even left PDP as far back as 2016 regrouped themselves and claimed to be newly defecting!

But should this worry any discerning mind in the slightest way? The answer is capital NO.

This is because as they are reacting to the electoral victory of APC and unwilling to suffer temporary exclusion and lack of access to resources available within the polity, they are also indvertently stressing and unduly overstretching the already saturated interests within the party which, in the contemplation of La Chattelier’s principle, will soon cause alteration in the party’s organizational structure and also encumber its modus operandi as it approaches the state of a political equilibrium that can never be sustained.

The signs are clear.

As soon as the Governor of the State, Arakunrin Rotimi Akeredolu SAN went on medical leave, and transmitted power to his Deputy, Lucky Aiyedatiwa, the tranquil and peaceful nature of the State was wilfully altered until the arrival of the Governor after three clear months of medical sojourn in Germany. There existed polarisation or let me say that artificial polarisation or imaginary enmity was created between the Governor’s kitchen cabinet and the “camp” of the Deputy. On the arrival of the recuperating Governor, one of the first assignments was to wield his big stick as the authentic Executive Governor to strangulate and castrate the office of the Deputy Governor by dismantling almost all, if not all aides attached to his office. Now the next stage is to use the stick to kick him out of office on trump-up charges.

But if you think the deputy governor has no helper or is not as cunning as the former deputy governor Alfred Agboola Ajayi, who according to them, in spite of his subtle nature, he was still “shredded” at last, then we all can wait for what will happen in the Ondo 2024 gubernatorial election. By then, we will possibly know that still water can actually run deep. Already, the embattled deputy governor is getting unsolicited support from those who view his current ordeal as undeserving.

Do we talk about the ousting or technical knockout of the old political strategists, giving way to young and barely noticed politicians who are now being appointed into juicy and enviable positions of authority? The current Minister of Interior, Olubunmi Tunji Ojo, who I learnt is a young but dynamic, ebullient, compassionate and highly resourceful personality, is rapidly evolving/emerging as a new power bloc. Few days ago, another young element, Comr Olawande Ayodele Wisdom was announced as a Minister-designate. The old political warlords must be having uneasy calm by now, not the type that lies the head of those who wear the crown but in the mind of those who are feeling annihilated.

Prince Ademola Adegoroye was almost forgotten in the political trenches until help came his way and was made a latter-day Minister in the twilight of President Buhari’s administration. He hardly garnered the required strength and vitality from political asphyxiation before the whistle blew signalling the end of that administration. The office perks which were drizzling and about to be heavily flowing, ceased abruptly at the blast of the whistle! But he had tasted power and he already knew the difference between being benched and holding a juicy position. He would have loved that he was given a second chance having tried his best to make some meaningful impacts during his short stay in the power corridors. He must have lobbied too but clearly now, to no avail.

What about “awon agbalagba to ju agbalagbi lo”? I am talking about the much experienced political master planners like Chief Alex Olusola Oke SAN, Sen. Donald Omotayo Alasoadura, Hon Isaacs Kekemeke, Ambassador Olusola Iji, Hon Tayo Oluwatuyi and a host of others who have stayed a little bit longer in the trenches and on the benches? Invariably, age seems to be going unkind to them too. There is another Prof Borrofiice Ajayi in a corner who was a three-time Senator representing the Ondo North Senatorial district at the Upper Chamber of the National Assembly. He has acquired so much wealth that can make him creat a new ruling house. I like to believe that he, too, is not leaving anything to chances because politicians don’t easily give up ambitions.

By the time these forces and other yet to be identified ones realign having observed that they are no longer needed or recognized in their present place of abode, and as consideration of their interest cannot any longer be guaranteed, they would join the next available political vehicle in a bid to relaunch themselves into political relevance and consequently pierce and injure the soul of the party leaving it in severe pain to bleed and relapse into a state of coma!

Those who have decamped to the party will then be pressing one button or the other to make a u-turn to the PDP which they had earlier forsaken. This is the ugly and grim picture of Nigeria’s political space that has no door to shut against serial cross-carpeters!

The clear benefit for the then reinvigorated PDP is that it will again take over the reins of government while APC takes turn to leak its wounds and then begin to re-strategize for a come back again after PDP would also have reached its state of political equilibrium and consequent alteration of its organizational structure, encumbrance of its modus operandi, piercing through its bones and marrows because certainly, the state of political equilibrium can hardly be maintained and sustained, as it is in Nigeria.

A word is enough for the wise!

Leye IGBABO writes from Ifedore Local Govt Area of Ondo State.

Views expressed by contributors are strictly personal and not of Precision Online Newspaper.

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