Gale of defections from PDP to APC: Wrong signals for Nigeria!

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  • Why Buhari may not survive the surging tide

 

 

By Ohia Israel

 

Hardly had the Presidential Candidate of the All Progressives Candidate, Muhammadu Buhari, won the 2015 Presidential election, than the members of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP to defect to APC in droves. This developing trend within Nigerian politicians has shown that Nigerian politicians are only in politics to feather their nests.

The gale of defection as gathered started barely two weeks when the APC won the Presidential election. As it is, high ranking and high wired PDP members have been decamping in their numbers to the APC.

In his remarks last week, Niger State Governor stated that it is as unfortunate and complete lack of political ideology the defection by some members of the party, adding that the defectors are suffering from poverty of integrity, morality and principle. Aliyu said: “I would rather resign from politics than defect.

“Those defecting from the PDP, based on the outcome of the Presidential and National Assembly elections, lack principles of integrity and morality; they are, indeed, stomach politicians.

“For principles of integrity, morality, we have chosen to remain in PDP. I heard people insinuating that I have dumped my party for the APC. It is a lie; I will never do such a thing.”

Leading the pack of defectors is the former National Legal Adviser of the PDP and gubernatorial candidate of the 2012 election in Ondo State, Chief Olusola Oke, who  led a contingent of old members, mainly from the South Senatorial District, to decamp to the APC.

As it is Olusola Oke led the contingent of politicians from his senatorial district to pitch tent with the APC at the party’s secretariat at Oyemekun Road, Akure, the state capital. Oke said: “I resisted the wind of change that was blowing, until it was almost trying to blow me out.

“Now, I have surrendered; I can resist no more, and I have come. I have come over, not because the PDP lost election, I have come over because the wind of change that is blowing across Nigeria must blow in Ondo State.”

Oyo State was also greeted with the gale of defection, thereby aggravating the general fear about Nigeria inching close to a near-one party state after the APC had raised the bar on virility of opposition at the national level.

A serving member of the House of Representatives, two former members (PDP and Accord Party), a PDP gubernatorial aspirant and a women leader, former local council chairmen of the PDP and thousands of their supporters yesterday defected in Oyo State, claiming that their future political destinies would be better served under the party.

They are Afeez Jimoh, Folake Olunloyo-Osinowo, Tayo Sarumi, Dr. Azeez Adeduntan, Chief (Mrs.) Ayoka Lawani, Mr. Waheed Adeleke, former Chairman, Iseyin Local Council, among other party leaders from the Accord, Labour Party and PDP. They joined the party at an event held at the Mapo Hall in Ibadan.

Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State, his counterpart from Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, who represented Buhari and the National Leader of the party, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, received the defectors.

Also Kwara State Chapter of the party suffered loss as three former executive members announced their defection to the APC, citing alleged insincerity of the leadership. They also alleged that inhuman treatment was meted out to them and their political mentor Gbemisola Saraki, who reportedly defected.

In a press conference in Ilorin, they said their continued stay in PDP would render them politically irrelevant and thus rob them of the opportunities to contribute their quota to the development of the state and her people. Over 100 members of the PDP in Gombe State also dumped the party, just as former Katsina State military administrator, General Lawrence Onoja (rtd) and former governorship aspirant, Dr. Mathias Oyigeya, crossed to the APC in Gombe.

Others who dumped the PDP at an event which took place at Jesus College Otukpo, include Chief Agbo Oga, former Chief of Staff to Senate President David Mark, Chief Mike Iduma, former state chairman of the party, Major Lawrence Ugbo (rtd), Peter Ochijele, former member of the State Executive Council, Chief John Ochoga and former Chairman of Local Government Service Commission, Mr. Mike Inalegwu.

Others are Mrs. Theresa Ikwue, former Agatu and Okpokwu Local Council chairmen, as well as Chief Inalegwu Ode, former Chief Press Secretary to the governor. Among PDP members received by the leadership of the APC in Gombe are personal and special assistants to the state Governor, Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo.

Others are a member of the PDP Elders Committee in the state, Alhaji Ibrahim Zamfara, two serving members of the State House of Assembly, member representing Yamaltu/Deba Federal Constituency, Shuaibu Galadima, Majority Leader of the State House of Assembly, Mamman Alkali, among others.

Meanwhile, barely one week after the All progressives Congress (APC) took over control of the Federal Government, series of defection has hit the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Edo State as former governor of the state, Professor Oserheimen Osunbor, Provost of the Nigerian Army, Brigadier-General Idada Ikponmwen are the latest high profile members of the PDP in the state to have moved with reports of more to join the bandwagon.

In a news briefing where he announced his defection, Ikponmwen said: “Democracy is all about the people and thrives best only where the people can choose their leaders, reserving the right to change them when desirable and contributing at all time towards good governance.

“Now that Nigerians have demonstrated their choice, it behoves all well meaning people to give full support to our chosen leader.” He told his numerous supporters that they should give his new party and government the same level of support they have offered the PDP.

This may not be the best time for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Imo State also  as numerous leaders defected to the rival All Progressives Congress (APC) ahead the April 11,2015 elections.

The defections which may have been reinforced following the defeat of President Goodluck Jonathan at the Polling booth by the rival All Progressives Congress, Gen. Mohammadu Buhari, in the March 28 Presidential elections

As gathered from findings by this medium, shows that the entire structure of Owerri Zone Political Leaders Forum (OZOPOLF) cutting across the 9 Local government Areas of the zone and Diaspora has sealed a deal with the State’s APC led government.

Indeed, the speculations have finally given way as the Leaders of OZOPOLF, Chief Charles Amadi, President and Secretary, Bar Kingsley Ononuju, finally embrace the APC ahead guber elections.

Also caught in Sunday’s defections include two PDP governorship Aspirants, Chairman of Contact and Mobilization Committee, Chief Jerry Chukwueke, and Owerri-West born, Bar Bethel Nzimako. The rest are the PDP Majority leader in the State Assembly, Bar Ngozi Pat- Ekeji and the husband, Chief Ethelbert Okere, Hon Nkem Nwankwo and others.
The defectors in Adamawa State made their plans known at a press conference in Yola, the state capital.

For instance, in Adamawa, Zwingina, Hong and host of others also defected while addressing the press on behalf of the defectors, Zwingina said:

“After careful identification of the best in the current circumstances facing the state, we came to the conclusion that Bindow’s victory will pave the way for the desired restoration and positive change for the peace and development of the state.”

He explained that following the undemocratic tendencies of the candidate imposed on Adamawa State, by the PDP the serving senators under the party formed alliance with major stakeholders in the party to rally around the ambition of Senator Muhammad Umar Jibrilla Bindow.

The defectors alongside thousands of their followers said their choice of APC’s candidate was reached after careful scrutiny identify him as the best candidate for the job hence their total support for his ambition.

Zwingina noted that what motivated them to join APC was premised by the desire to address the myriad of challenges being faced in the state which include economic underdevelopment, insecurity, lack of infrastructure and political instability among others.
In his remarks, the Director General of Bindowo Campaign organization, Alhaji Abdurrahman Abba Jimeta, commended the defectors for their move adding that Adamawa indigenes will remain grateful to them for their courage to leave what he described as the “sinking PDP ship that wreaked havoc on the state for the past 16 years.”

The truth remains that this is certainly not the best of time for the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as most of its members are leaving the umbrella in droves. The party which touts itself as the biggest political party in the black world has lost it numerous big wigs signaling that things will never be the same again.

Many have blamed it on the dwindling fortunes of the party which reached a head with merciless defeat of its presidential candidate and President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan by the candidate of the opposition All Progressives’ Congress (APC), General Mohammadu Buhari.

It could be recalled that as the General Election drew closer politicians who are dissatisfied with the outcome of primary elections in their party and who were determined to do anything to win voters’ confidence to be elected decided to switch over to the opposition. A case in point was in Benue State, when it was clear to the former PDP National Chairman and senator representing Benue North East, Chief Barnabas Gemade realized that the ticket for the contest in PDP has been handed over to the incumbent governor, Gabriel Suswam, he quickly pitch tent with APC where he defeated Suswam in a landslide.

However, as time passes, more things change, loyalty begun to change and change of position became the order of the day. As the clock ticks towards the General Election set for March 28, campaigns are replete with phenomenal factors witnessed in the past four contests.

There is no doubt that the country’s political landscape has, in the past months, lent credence to the often-quoted aphorism, that politics is the art of the possible and a game of interest.

Political observers have said the recent defections were expected but certainly not on the large scale as it is happening right now. It shows that most politicians in this part of the world are ideologically bankrupt and preoccupied with the immediate gains from the party at the centre.

The recent defections have also thrown the political class off balance given the personality involved and the reason adduced by the decampees necessitating their actions.

Political analysts have said that with the recent gale of defections hitting the PDP in large scale, the April 11 contest may just be a work over for APC in many states of the federation. At most the PDP may put up a little resistance which will certainly not hold any political water given the fact that most of its foot soldiers have left the circle to seek solace in APC which is better positioned now to butter their bread and guarantee their political future.

Looking at the way PDP chieftains from across the country are dumping the party for the All Progressives Congress (APC), it shows that the party’s days are numbered.

In Jigawa State chapter of the PDP become hard hit with a former governor of the state, Saminu Turaki, the current Deputy Governor, Ahmed Mahmud Gumel dumping the party at a ceremony in Gumel at the weekend. Pundits have said that this singular act has left Gov. Sule Lamido in the cold. Many PDP loyalists in the state are now viewed as political orphans and PDP as a party that will soon sink into oblivion.

According to an analyst; “These defections in the past one week may as well indicate that, none among the defectors can match the Shakespearean attribute of “Constant as the Northern Star”. It is a clear display of ideological turncoat and moral bankruptcy that are associated with Nigerian politicians.

One analyst aptly said that what is unfolding in the political landscape is what we have witnessed in the past elections- defections, smear campaigns, and flamboyance, claiming that there is nothing new with the recent defection, but faulted the speed it was going.

After the presidential election, where APC trounced PDP, politicians have been hopping from APC to PDP, in what is clearly a singular desire to be part of the system and partake in the sharing of national cake if it will still be business as usual.”

Speaking further the analyst said; “Observers, who believe these actions, are too suggestive to be ignored, have therefore, been shooting from all angles maintaining that something must be done to control party defections as it does not help our nascent democracy. Expressing their displeasure over the spate of defections in recent times said is capable of turning Nigeria into one party state which abhors democracy.

The bottom line is that there is no honesty in Nigerian politics, never have and, probably, never will. My instinct tells me that it is done for pecuniary gain rather on principle or national interest.

Finally, defection is not new. Nigeria political history has peopled its pages with cases of defection in our political activities right from independence. Many politicians defected in first and second republic which has become a topic for historians.”

“What is so worrisome these days is the rapid and frequent cross carpeting of very senior PDP who suppose to constitute a shadow cabinet that will be watchdog to APC.

It is scary though. If things continue to go this way, in the next few years, all the politicians from the opposition would one day cross carpet to the ruling party and there would be no opposition in the country, which might result to one party government. Since people have started decamping without the President-Elect being sworn-in, only God knows whether there will be PDP after May 29.So where is Nigeria Politics taking us? Are we really seeing just innocent cross carpeting or is this the slow return of another round of One-Party State? Only time will tell,” a political analyst said.

According to another analyst, he said; “Can the APC stem the inevitable re-creation of its identity that will occur when besieged by the PDP politicians by being discriminating of who it accepts and whose membership solicitation it turns down? Or such selectiveness is purely unrealistic given the present constitution of the Nigerian political structure? Numbers win elections but where the numbers are without a thought process independent of “stomach infrastructure”, is Nigeria the better or worse for it?

Apart from the horde of nameless and faceless masses who defect in their thousands every other week, there are known ones like a former Governor of Edo State, Prof. Oserheinmen Osunbor; Kwara State’s Senator Gbemisola Saraki; Governor Sule Lamido’s deputy, Ahmad Mahmud. In Plateau State, the governorship candidates of Labour Party, Ambassador Bagudu Hirse, and that of the Mega Party, Mrs Elizabeth Yilse, defected to the APC. Also in the same Plateau, former Governor Chief Joshua Dariye; a former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Gen. Jeremiah Useni; in Ekiti, a PDP chieftain, Ayo Arise, is defecting to the APC too and this is not an exhaustive list of those who are already jumping out of the PDP ship. By the time you conclude this piece, you might have heard of another group of professional defectors who are doing their thing, unconscionable and unashamed. They will not even wait for the ink on the parchment used to draft the PDP political
obituary to dry before they cross over to where the grass seems greener,” the analyst said.

Another analyst also has this to say about the recent gale of defections; “For instance, it is important to note that Nigerian politicians has no santity and can never be idealistic; in Ex Governor Ibrahim Shekarau of Kano State contested for the Presidency on the platform of ANPP against President Jonathan of PDP. So did Nuhu Ribadu of ACN. Today, Ibrahim Shekarau is a Minister in President Jonathan’s cabinet & a member of the President’s party & Mallam Nuhu Ribadu is the PDP’s candidate for governorship of Adamawa State. How many were killed because of them in 2011?

Again, President Obasanjo and Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu were thought to be sworn enemies. When President Obasanjo took over South-West Nigeria in 2003, Gov. Tinubu became “last man standing” against him in ACN/Lagos. Today, Obasanjo is Tinubu’s “Navigator” & Tinubu was a treasured guest at Obasanjo’s birthday. How many died believing they were enemies? That’s a rhetorical question we can’t answer. A record of criticisms and character assassinations went down on the newspapers.

 

A lot of people got aligned and entangled in the rivalry. It is widely believed that Olusegun Obasanjo premiered the movie of rigging in PDP coupled with some failed projects like the National Identity card, Halliburton, power project, his rumoured indiscriminate financial interests in some telecommunication companies in Nigeria like MTN, his genocidal act at Odi etc but today he is with the party tipped for the positive wind of change in Nigeria.

 

Is this not an indication of a
continuation of the values of the past?;     Former Governors, Engr. Segun Oni and Dr. Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti used to be political foes and now they belong to the same party. Both are alive as friends & some folks had died fighting for them; Former Governor, Olagunsoye Oyinlola never saw eye to eye with Governor Rauf Aregbesola. Now, they belong to the same party, some people died for both.”

“Moreso, the present Governor of Ekiti state Ayo Fayose is another case in hand. History has it that he defected to the People’s Democratic Party from the Labour Party in the past. Power interests caused him to leave again for PDP. He left for the ever-open doors of the PDP where he won as the Governor of Ekiti. This man posed more threat to APC than Goodluck Jonathan himself. He sponsored newspaper publications, childishly mocking the APC.

 

He granted shameful interviews to attack the personality of Buhari. Most of the videos are on social media, he swore with his life that Buhari would never win the presidential election in Nigeria. He delivered all the 16 local government areas in victory to Goodluck Jonathan and heavily victimized APC members. It will amaze my readers that this great antagonist called Ayo Fayose was the first governor in Nigeria to congratulate Buhari on his victory even before INEC officially announced the election results. He
recently shunned a meeting of PDP governors with President Goodluck Jonathan, raising the rumors that he could defect to APC; also another notable figure is the Governor of Rivers state, Rotimi Amaechi.

 

The controversial governor who became the governor of Rivers State through Court ruling in October 2007 after he was controversially substituted before the election also joined the train of politicians that defected to APC late last year after irreconcilable differences with the presidency that lasted for months amidst conflicts and tension that almost consumed Rivers state. Probably the truth behind the ‘change’ slogan is the change of party. Under normal circumstances, the same set of nonchalant company workers over time with the same orientation of lacklustre attitude will always come up with the same poor results no matter the trial opportunities given to them. Bad vessels contaminate good contents.

But dear readers, is this the reality of the CHANGE? This tastes like the same old wine but in a different golden bottle; same old poison but in the container of a potent medicine. What difference does it make in the real sense? The appearance maybe different but the output is the same.

What about the case of Tom Ikimi? He was a force to reckon with in APC. Due to an unfulfilled interest of his personal ambitions as against the general will of the people he fronted with, he decided to move on. Even before he planned to dump the APC, Nigerians had expected that the former Minister of Foreign Affairs during the regime of the late Gen. Sani Abacha, Chief Tom Ikimi, would soon return to the PDP following his failure to realize his ambition of clinching the APC’s national chairmanship slot. Ikimi, who is believed to have no particular conviction, had also traversed the defunct APP, ANPP, ACN and APC.

Political observers maintain that General Mohammed Buhari and the APC must be weary of these political prostitutes jumping from PDP to their party as “they are neither patriotic nor friends, they are only political nomads who jump from one grass to another in search of greener pastures”.

 

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