By Sanusi Muhammad
It was on bright Thursday morning, precisely on September 20, 2018, history was made. It was the day, the Rt. Hon. Speaker of the 8th House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, finally but painfully called it quits with the party, he along with others founded in 2014. It was a new beginning in his political journey to serving humanity on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) that he along with others co-founded in 1999.
Although, he cannot be called a new comer into the PDP, it was the party that provided him its platform in 2007 to actualize his ambition of serving the people as a lawmaker. It could be recalled, that despite the strength of the wind that blew across Bauchi state in 2007 that brought the defunct All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) to power, Dogara was not carried away by the wind. He won the election on the platform of PDP that was swept out of power by the wind.
Today, with his defection back to the PDP and the gubernatorial candidature of Senator Bala Muhammed on the platform of the PDP, it signifies a new beginning for the party in Bauchi state if carefully managed. Despite its defeat at the 2015 general elections, PDP has another golden opportunity to remake and redeem its battered image.
Obviously, the epileptic service delivery in Bauchi state by the ruling party (APC) is not pleasing the majority, and unknowingly to the electorate, that is one aspect of the claimed change spiced with deceit they voted in 2015.
As usual, in the election, the majority had their way against the interest of the minority that was determined to maintain the status quo. It was that majority opinion through the ballot box that scripted and implemented the APC victory that is now worrisome.
Within three years, majority of those who painstakingly voted APC in Bauchi state are openly expressing regret and tired of the tricks and manoeuvres attending the operations of the ruling party under the excessive lordship of party goons. Arguably, an average indigene of Bauchi state is distrusting the APC and that is why many are now rooting for a clean break from the mess. Indeed, many of APC leading members are leaving no one in doubt of the capacity of the party to wreak evil on the polity at state and national levels. While the APC is bleeding internally and gasping for oxygen to survive beyond 2019, PDP is beginning to turn a new leaf. There is no doubt that the aspiration of those Senators has a huge work to do if it truly means to reverse the dismal moral ranking of the PDP.
Whether the aspiration succeeds in remolding the party depends on the ability and capacity of those entrusted with the task of shifting away from the odious past that was orchestrated by the charlatans. A past so bad that tested and respected politicians were denied a level playing field to exercise their rights.
From general assessment, despite the unruly description of the PDP by Professor Wole Soyinka as a “nest of killers”, there has never been anything wrong with the rank and membership of the party. All transgressions attributed to the party in the past had always been carried out by a small clique loyal to the former power brokers. The party’s inglorious role in past elections and its misdeeds in governance if any have always been as a result of the failure of leadership at all levels, particularly those who controlled the levers of public funds to be persuaded by state interest. It was a cleaving to narrow minded personal interests by some party leaders that gave the party its odium and bad reputation. I can attest to the fact that there are several individuals with impeccable moral and character credentials in the PDP and the other parties including APC behind the aspiration of those Senators. For instance, no one can doubt the impeccable character of the pillars piloting PDP affairs in Bauchi state, all of whom are respected politicians. But such fellows were sidelined by the aggressive and mindless do-or-die politics of leaders of the past who ensured that their mindless cronies were chosen to occupy elective offices. The people can recall with nostalgia how erstwhile leaders of the PDP murdered democracy within the party. They virtually imposed their cronies for elective positions, a situation that paved way for Isa Yuguda to be a governor in 2007 on the platform of opposition party, All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP). The hold of the exited governors (Mu’azu & Yuguda) on the states’ party executive was total and stifling. Any party member that challenged the authority of the governor was simply booted out and even got de-registered from the party.
Democracy was flourishing in the PDP at inception, but as soon as the 1999 elections were concluded and the party made a fortune, some self-styled leaders came with their pugnacious personalities, democracy decamped and pugilists, desperadoes and plunderers overcame the real politicians who founded and labored for the party. That was the beginning of the dark days for the PDP and one prays that the wicked era has ended with the exit of the garrison commanders and their miscreants. No one can doubt that the 2015 event s were a thorough routing and humiliating defeat of the once vibrant and formidable political force! Most PDP contestants lost their deposits, clean and clear.
From records of the past elections, PDP in Bauchi state must have by now known the meaning of acute unpopularity and citizen disdain.
Funny enough, the two former governors who governed on the platform of the PDP for nearly 16 years, attempted to be in the senate but were defeated by protest votes. They might have assumed that they were disliked mainly by opposition then, but probably, by now they might have realized that they were disowned by their very political family (PDP) not by opposition alone. The very party goons they depended upon to control the party showed them the red card tactfully.
As they say, the chicken went home to roost. They disappointed and diminished every single person who assisted them into office, so they can now know the taste of their own concoction.
However, one hopes that the PDP in Bauchi state will move to the scene with full determination of a rescue mission in the overall interest of the state. It is necessary and urgent that PDP pays heed to the concept of equality of all members. A situation where we exchange one task master for another set of tyrants will not be good enough.
The gubernatorial candidature of Senator Bala Muhammed is a patchwork representing various interests and that is as it should be in democratic politics. Supporting his candidature to fruition is a task on the shoulders of patriots of the ailing state irrespective of party affiliation.
Muhammad is the Editor-In-Chief of an Abuja based weekly, Pointblank
By Sanusi Muhammad