By Inuwa Bwala
The battle for control of the soul of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP in Borno state has been long and bitter. The gladiators may have changed over time with alignments and realignments of forces but the pitch remains the same.
With every election since 1999, the fortunes of the PDP have continued to dwindle, with each succeeding era becoming worst than the previous one.
1999 was not good for the PDP in Borno, 2003 was worst than 1999, while 2007 was a waterloo. 2011 was very bad, and 2015 worst than 2011. The current situation is even grim, and there serious indicators of the worst outing ever by the party in Borno.
It is no longer news today that the leadership crisis in the PDP, in Borno spiralling the congresses and primaries for elective positions have pushed the party to the cliff edge.
It may be recalled that in the 2011 elections when the PDP would have made the difference when they went for Mohammed Gon, some party stakeholders still worked against the party, owing to internal wrangling. Combined with the forces of the people’s preference for the more youthful and intellectually vibrant Kashim Shettima, the PDP kissed the ground before the APC.
Again in the build up to the 2015 governorship elections in Borno state, two candidates, Muhammed Imam and Gambo Lawan laid claims to the ticket, which led to a bitter legal battle Gambo Lawan was eventually declared the authentic candidate by the Supreme Court. It was however rather too late in the day for Gambo Lawan to make any impact. Imam and his supporters, including his godfather, Ali Midu Sheriff, chose to remain passive and uncooperative to Gambo Lawan’s quest.
The APC virtually mocked the PDP and fortified her campaigns, which was built around the personality of Governor Kashim Shettima. The PDP lost the election and all other elections in the state rather woefully to the ruling APC. The rest is now history.
Political alignments and realignments may have taken place since the last elections, which saw Ali Modu Sheriff, Mohammed Imam’s benefactor in 2015, coming together with Gambo Lawan in the APC. Each one of them may have their own sinister agenda in the APC, but the bottom line remains that the PDP cannot still get it right, even if the duo tries to sabotage the APC from within.
From all indications, the PDP has become rudderless, even with the entry of Senator Abba Aji, at the eleventh hour to seek for the central Borno Senatorial seat. Abba Aji may not add the requisite value, needed to reposition the PDP in Borno, capable of upturning the apple cart.
While both Ali Modu Sheriff and Gambo Lawan appear estranged in their new party, the APC does not seem to be losing sleep, as the PDP as a party remains embroiled in crisis where in which the party parades two candidates for all elective positions; no thanks to the equally two sets of party leadership in the state.
It does appear that as a party, the PDP does not seem to have learnt any lesson from the 2015 palaver nir all past failures and may be heading to the obvious in 2019.
Today Mohammed Imam and former minister of power, Muhammed Wakil are in yet another legal war, claiming legitimacy of the governorship ticket.
That the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Botno State does not have substantive candidates for any position, is a further confirmation of what somebody said in 2011, that the party is a perpetual loser, as far as elections are concerned in Borno state.
Whatever becomes the verdict of the courts on which of the factions in the Borno PDP is authentic, the fact remains that the events of 2015 is likely to play out, and the PDP in the state will remain fractured, and it’s fortunes doomed.
Perhaps, the biggest blow to the PDP in Borno is the fact that, all those who joined have left and even those who choose to remain have long since despaired.
The APC candidates seem to be making inroads as they prepare for full blown campaigns, while those of the PDP have been in suspense and morally downcast, awaiting what the courts may say.
Besides the problems the PDP seem to be facing, it is also obvious that the people of Borno have already made up their minds to identify with the centre, if only to avoid past experiences. This resolution may have sealed all political permutations.
Inuwa Bwala writes from Abuja.