by Amanze Obi
We have been told that after months of horse-trading, some of the G-7 Governors of Niger, Sokoto. Jigawa, Rivers, Adamawa, Kano and Kwara States have finally decided to join the All Progressives Congress (APC). That puts paid to the worry of some of us that they have lately turned beggarly. Observers have wondered why the G-7 governors were incapable of taking the bull by the horns. It was worrisome that they were looking forward to reconciling with the parent body even when they had been dismissed as prodigals and rejected by the leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
It was even more worrisome to read the other day that the Abubakar Kawu Baraje-led faction of the PDP was scampering for cover. Its National Publicity Secretary, Eze Chukwuemeka Eze, had alleged that Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, the National Chairman of the PDP, had concluded plans to expel frontline members of the splinter group from the party. The new PDP, we were told, was ill at ease with Tukur’s plan to expel its members. It, therefore, called on some founding members of the PDP, such as Alex Ekwueme, Atiku Abubakar, Olusegun Obasanjo, among others, to intervene. What that means was that the factional members were afraid of expulsion. They wanted somebody to prevail on Tukur to save them from the impending onslaught.
That sounded cowardly, didn’t it? It smacked of infantilism. It showed that even though the new PDP was interested in grown-up doings, it did not actually want to grow up. It was still looking up to godfathers and henchmen to help it face the task it imposed on itself. What a pity!
While the factional group wallowed in this self-imposed infantilism, its condition helped us to appreciate why it had refused to stand on its own. Apparently owing to lack of self-confidence, the splinter group was clinging tenaciously to the parent body. It did not want to stand alone. It probably did not have the wherewithal to go it alone. It, therefore, found relevance and succour in remaining an appendage.
This level of dependence can, sometimes, border on imbecility. Inability to think or come up with fresh ideas that can launch one into stardom can be debilitating. It can lead to paralysis of will. This paralysis can, in itself, lead to inaction. The new PDP under Baraje suffered from this affliction. If it were not so, the group would have left the PDP before now with the hope of leaving a deep crack in its ranks. The essence of forming a splinter group or creating faction in any organisation is to weaken the parent body. Any faction of a group that believes in itself usually ends up decapitating the main body. When this happens, the original group, if it wants to remain alive, woos the splinter group back to its fold. Under such condition, it is the breakaway group that dictates the tone and conditions for reconciliation.
No doubt, the Baraje group within the PDP tried its hands on relevance outside the umbrella of the original PDP but it failed severally. That was why Tukur was poised to bury the body.
The problem of the splinter group was worsened by the suspicion that some of its members, particularly the G.7 Governors, were playing hide and seek. Those of them, who are convinced that they cannot make any impact outside the PDP fold developed cold feet. They slowed down the pace of the rebellion. They did not want to make a death dash. They indulged in all manner of subterfuge in order not to be dragged into the pit of hara-kiri. This tendency manifested recently during the meeting of the Chibuike Amaechi-led Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) in Sokoto.
As the prevarication within their rank persisted, I pitied those, who could not but carry on with the push. They are the likes of Murtala Nyako, the Governor of Adamawa State. He is in a ding dong affair with Tukur, who also happens to be his kinsman. Both are struggling for the soul of PDP in the state. As governor, Nyako is supposed to be in charge of the party machinery in his state but Tukur stripped him of such powers by installing elements, who do not know the governor. The way it is, Nyako cannot even install a councilor in the state through the PDP machinery. That is a bad way to deal with a governor.
Nyako, in return, has stopped at nothing to reverse the situation but he has failed serially. For him then, the battle of the splinter PDP is an unending one. Our worry then was: Why was Nyako not thinking of another option in the face of the apparent failure of G.7 Governors and the Baraje-led splinter group? As governor, Nyako is supposed to have a reasonable level of confidence in his ability to win votes in his state. His popularity or acceptability by the people of the state should speak for him. In other words, party affliliation should be secondary. If Nyako has confidence in his abilities, therefore, he should call the bluff of Tukur, quit the PDP and join a new party. From there, he would square up with Tukur at the polls. If he wins over Tukur by producing the next governor of the state and a majority of House of Assembly members, then the state would, seriously speaking, be at his disposal. If Nyako succeeds, he will be the toast of friends and foes alike. He will become the beautiful bride of the politics to come. He will be sought after at the state level and at the centre. That way, he will establish his political relevance beyond doubt. That is what we expect from Nyako under the new arrangement.
This is also our expectation from Chibuike Amaechi of Rivers State. His battle with President Goodluck Jonathan has gone so messy it has become necessary for them to test their powers on the political field. The challenge before Amaechi is two-pronged. One, he has to survive as governor. He must continue to ward off impeachment moves directed at him. Two, he has to produce his successor. If he does, he will also be firmly in control of Rivers politics. Some of those who are opposed to him will creep back in the middle of the night. He will even become a political colossus in their eyes. Such a feat will also put him in a position of influence. He will become the toast of his admirers and traducers alike. I believe that Amaechi is ready to take the bull by the horns. He is determined to do the final battle with the Jonathan Presidency for the soul of Rivers State.
Amaechi should simply let PDP go. But what he should not let go is Rivers State. Amaechi has to work towards ensuring that the state is not taken away from him, regardless of the political party he is associating with. This is the challenge before him.
This latest development has practical implications for the polity. It has made the battle of supremacy between the PDP and APC more pointed. It has also redrawn the political map of Nigeria. APC is now being credited with 18 states while PDP is left with 16. This means in practical terms that the APC is better positioned than the PDP. The assumption here is that the governors of the seven affected states will deliver their parties to the APC. That is the hope. That is the expectation.
This state of affairs is likely to send jitters down the spine of the PDP. It means that the party must work extra hard to remain in charge. While we expect this, it must be noted as well that some of the governors are not necessarily the true face of the states they control. Some of them may not make a reasonable impact in the new coalition.
Whatever the situation, the defection of the G-7 governors and the splinter group within the PDP, has redefined the battle for 2015. Indeed, the battle now has a new name. it is called the supremacy contest.
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Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.