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PDP: Are the Cookies Crumbling?

07 Sep 2013

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Bamanga Tukur


It did not quite require a clairvoyant spirit to know that the fate befalling the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was sure to come. The signs have been there all along. They became even more defined since the Headmaster-like National Chairman called Bamanga Tukur took over the leadership of the party. Ever since he came in, the fortunes of the PDP has been heading southward. But either he doesn’t care whether the party sinks or remains a ‘behemoth’, or he is reading the handwriting on a wrong wall.

His threat to declare the seats of the national lawmakers—senators and House of Reps members, who have lined up behind the New PDP shows that Tukur is either determined to rock the party to its base or that he is so politically naïve; either way, his competence and leadership acumen is called to question.

As a party chairman, has he taken into consideration the constitutional provision of declaring a lawmaker’s seat vacant? The lawmakers in question did not defect in the strict sense of the word. They only joined a faction of the party. Does the constitution empower Tukur to declare vacant the seat of members who alligned with a faction within the same party? Does the fact that the rank of those aligning with the New PDP is growing by the day not tell Tukur that something is wrong with his style?

After the drama of last Saturday when seven state governors under the platform of the party, plus former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, walked out of the Special Convention ground, and announced a parallel PDP, one would have thought that Tukur, will introspect and seek ways of rapproachment. But no, the old man called a world press conference last Wednesday, and unleashed tons of threats that can only deepen and widen the many cracks on the wall of the PDP.

Having been a governor in defunct Gongola State, Tukur is yet hanging on to the old order and seems to have scant regard for the present crop of governors. Thus, he tries to intimidate, cow and even harass the governors like a Headmaster menacing over a timid school boy.

His quick resort to suspending governors (Wamako, Amaechi), and members (remember the Uba Brothers) etc, even with the flimsiest excuse betrays his impatience with democratic ethos.

Were it not so, Tukur should have been worried that under his leadership, the party is not only losing steam and frontiers, it is indeed disintegrating with sure and steady steps. Does Tukur and indeed the rest of the PDP interpret correctly the implication of the breakaway faction?  Tukur plays inhibitive politics. Else, how can it be explained that he refused, for instance, to invite former Vice President Atiku Abubakar to the said Special Convention of last Saturday, even when the provisions of the PDP constitution statutorily provides that all former Presidents and Vice Presidents are on the A-list of the party’s convention.

With the South west literally lost, the loss of the Northwest as evidenced in the breakaway faction, and a split North east, North central, Tukur ought to be bothered that his capacity to deliver President Goodluck Jonathan in the 2015 presidential election in the north is being circumscribed.  What is worse, even the southern states are no longer as cohesive. Rather than expand, the PDP is shrinking. And with it, the hope of Mr President for a second term. Tukur’s style of administration, has, so-to-say, further devalued the public appeal of the PDP.
That explains why some of the governors have demanded the sack of Tukur.  But he has managed to stay on essentially because President Jonathan believes they are both on the same page as it concerns his second term bid. With all the intricate web of interests clashing at the top hierarchy of the party, Jonathan may not be too sure if the party’s rug will not be pulled off his feet, if Tukur is dispensed with.
Sadly however, even when Tukur is yet presiding with magisterial authority, the cookies are crumbling for the PDP like a pack of cards.

The loud and sometimes effusive utterances of presidential bouncers like Pa E.K Clarke has also not quite helped the national perception of President Jonathan. I make no pretence about ethnic affinity, but elder statesmen in the mould of Clarke should be altruistic enough to side with national interest above ethnic and narrow interest.

With him as the bulwark bone behind President Jonathan, the entire Niger Delta has been “Ijawnized”. Over 85 per cent of appointments to the people of the Niger Delta have been exclusively allotted to Ijaws. Ijaws alone do not make up the Niger Delta region.

That explains why the “home support” or regional acclamation for Jonathan has been weakened.

Many have said that the crisis will be resolved before the 2015 election. I am not that hopeful. The fault lines are getting more and more defined. The PDP is torn down the line. The crisis is altering the political calculations and changing the readings of the landscape.

The sad thing is that the fate of Nigeria and Nigerians seem inexorably tied to the fate of the PDP. Whatever happens to the PDP has strong and telling effect on Nigeria. Were it not so, many Nigeria would wish that the PDP can stew in its own fry, but that cannot happen without a scorching hurt on Project Nigeria.

Yet, the reality on ground is that Nigeria is bigger than any political party or all of them put together. Therefore, as the political gladiators undertake their long-drawn battles, the thought for Nigeria should be spared. This is because all things considered, Nigeria will yet remain, long after PDP, APC or whatever are long gone extinct and forgotten. After all, parties like Action Group, NCNC, or NPC are now only referred to in the context of political pantheons. Not more.

Tags: Politics, Nigeria, Featured

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