By Jude Ndukwe
In recent times, members of the NewPeoples Democratic Party, nPDP, bloc in
the ruling All Progressives Congress,APC, have been agitating over what
they consider a gross shortchange andmaltreatment of members of their bloc
in the power equation in APC.
As one of the legacy parties thatformed the APC in 2014, the nPDP is
supposed to control a major stake in APC asthey boast of arguably the
cream of political giants in the current rulingparty and that is apart
from their number considering that they pulled asizeable membership from
the PDP to APC.
Ordinarily, in normal politicalsettings, that should have been an
advantage to them. It should have given themthe leverage to negotiate
their ways into relevance. But we are in abnormaltimes when raw strength
overpowers number and when strong men ride roughshodover institutions. In
such times, negotiations are unwelcome and accommodationof divergent
interests is alien.
Unfortunately, members of the nPDPwere coming from a system where balance
of power was key and consideration forall interests was on the front
burner of statements and actions of both partyand government. It is too
strange to the Kawu Baraje-led nPDP that they havefound themselves in a
party and government that treats its own as trash andcares less about the
delicate issues of power balance among its members in away as to reflect
Although some might argue thatthe nPDP members are holding important
appointive and elective positions likethe Senate President, Speaker of the
House of Representatives, governorshippositions, key ministerial
appointments etc, the truth of the matter is that amajority of the office
holders would rather have not held such positions thanbe as troubled as
they are today.
While other more organizedpolitical parties and a more sensitive federal
government would be happy tokeep these positions, the APC has been acting
as if these positions are held byopposition members. They have become the
most virulent opposition to themselvesand unleashed all manner of
political cudgels on their own even before thisadministration effectively
took off. The APC seems to be the only politicalparty where the ruling
party is also the most vicious opposition party.
While the CPC bloc which wasPresident Muhammadu Buhari’s bloc has carried
on like the Alpha and Omega ofnot only APC but also Nigeria, they act like
a like a people whose words arelaw and who must not be questioned. Most of
the hard-line approach andstrategies of this government are products of
the CPC bloc of APC. As it is,the ANPP bloc has been swallowed and they
have almost become extinct both inname and in character.
The ACN bloc which was led by theformer governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju
Bola Ahmed Tinubu, has also been cut tosize to the extent that no sooner
than the president appointed Tinubu to head areconciliatory committee of
the party to bring everyone back on board and samepage than the crises in
the party assumed hydra-headed dimensions to the pointwhere different
interests today can no longer be effectively reconciled.
Simply put, APC is a party wherethings have indeed fallen apart!
Today, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, theimmediate past governor of Kano State
cannot as much even try to visit hisState because the incumbent governor,
Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, has decreed so.This has lingered for so long; yet,
neither the president nor the party couldwade in to this anomaly and bring
it to a halt. Today, Kwankwaso is on exilefrom a State he was governor for
8 years and only handed over 3 years ago.Kwankwaso delivered the Kano
which became pivotal in deciding who won the 2015 presidentialelection.
But today, he cannot even visit that same State.
Dino Melaye, the flamboyant,boisterous and outspoken Senator from Kogi
West, has had his own more than fairshare of troubles written, initiated
and executed with ruthlessness by agentsof the APC-controlled federal
government. It is the general belief that Dino’stroubles started when he
supported the emergence of Bukola Saraki as presidentof the Senate against
the wishes of some cabal in the presidency and the party.
In addition to that, Dino hasbeen at loggerheads with Yahaya Bello, the
governor of Kogi, his home State.His contributions on the floor of the
Senate which come across as beinganti-establishment but seen by neutrals
and a majority of the people asexceptional boldness to speak against the
anomalies of government even if suchills are caused by his party, and at
the risk of an easily predictable witchhunt.
The story of Dino’s travails iswell known to everyone.
Senator Suleiman Hunkuyi has hadhis properties demolished in what many
believed to be a politically motivatedaction by the governor of Kaduna
State. Senator Shehu Sani is being hounded formurder. Senator Isah Misau
is being harassed and intimidated. Rotimi Amaechi’swings are being
curtailed. Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State is sodisenchanted with
how things have turned out in APC that his eventual defectionback to PDP
is believed to be just a matter of time.
Alhaji Atiku Abubakar has sincereturned “home” after seeing, according to
Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, that theAPC is a “party of lies and
Matters got to a head and leadersof the nPDP bloc in APC had to write a
letter to the president and leadershipof the party reeling out a retinue
of grievances that must be addressed if theymust continue to remain in
APC. Although the vice president has been detailed tomeet with the nPDP
leaders on the issues they raised, political observers saythat rather than
delegate this assignment to the vice president, the presidenthimself ought
to have taken the matter more seriously by meeting with the nPDPmembers.
This action of delegating that important assignment to the vicepresident
considering the calibre of people that make up the nPDP means thepresident
is carrying on as if the nPDP do not matter in the equation ofthings. And,
of course, the APC has loudly demonstrated this over time.
The question most people areasking is, how long will the nPDP continue to
endure unending humiliation oftheir members in a party that would never
have come to power but for theirintervention? President Buhari had earlier
contested the presidential electionthree times and failed three times
until a coalition that saw other majorparties including the ACN, ANPP and
the nPDP come together in a formidable showof strength that ousted the
gargantuan PDP who also made the mistake, althoughon a lesser scale, which
the APC is making today, by taking critical leadersfor granted and
allowing them to leave “for free”.
With these persistingpersecutions which nPDP members are facing in the
hands of the government theycontributed immensely to put in place, isn’t
it high time they fought back? Theearlier they do that the better for not
only their political careers but alsotheir constituents.
There are several legislativeinstruments which the Senate and the House of
Representatives can deploy tofight the executive and drive them back to
their own half of the field. Thetruth is, in politics, you cannot wield
the enormous power which thelegislature has and still be this docile or
allow the institution to be thisridiculed by agencies of government
continually. If you do, then you get badlybruised if not totally
obliterated. It is always better to stand fighting thanto kneel succumbing
even without throwing a punch.
Saraki though has been draggedfrom pillar to post by the executive for
what many think is because he defiedit to become senate president, he has
nonetheless taken the persecution thrownhis way with political equanimity.
He has been the restraining force behind aSenate that would have loved to
bite more than it barks; a stabilizing factorin the management of the
delicate balance of power between the executive andthe legislature. Yet,
he is a man marked for the guillotine even if that meansridiculing the
institution of the Senate, emasculating it and bring it down toits knees.
Apart from this, members of thenPDP should show their strength by leaving
the APC with their members and joinforces with other parties to contest
the presidency against Buhari next year.It is very clear that APC has not
only failed them but has also failedNigerians since they left the PDP for
the APC with the socio-economicdevelopment of Nigeria in mind.
At this stage, there seems to beno redemption for the APC. It is obvious
that it is a party of strong men andweakened institutions. Fortunately,
despite the continued intimidation ofNigerians including the judiciary,
the so called strong men are daily beingdemystified and mocked by
Nigerians for their inability to pursuesocio-economic development of the
country with the same energy and enthusiasmthey pursue perceived political
It is time for Saraki and co topull the rug off the feet of APC and cause
the final cataclysmic implosion of aparty that seemed to have been formed
to fail from inception. With theshambolic congresses recently organized by
the party leading to bloodshed inseveral parts of the country, the
continued killing and sacking of villages byherdsmen without resistance
from government, rising rate of kidnapping andother violent crimes, it is
obvious that the APC does not deserve the cream ofleaders in the mould of
the nPDP and there is no way the party would win nextyear’s election no
matter their antics if the nPDP members leave.
The truth is, if APC returns topower, things would only get worse as it is
generally believed that they haveshown a lack of knowledge and capacity to
run a country like Nigeria with allits complexities. A party that behaves
the way it is behaving now when it is inneed of a second tenure ticket
would behave worse if they return to power. Forthe sake of Nigerians who
cannot afford another round of intimidation,harassment, selective
obedience of court orders depending on the ones thatfavour them, assault
on the legislature and the judiciary, loss of jobs intheir millions,
insecurity and other national malaise bedeviling the nation, itis a duty
to God and service to man for members of the nPDP to call it quitsand pull
out of APC now!
—email@example.com;Twitter: @stjudendukwe; 08023140065