By Kassim Afegbua
Treachery. Blackmail. Betrayal. Manipulation. Conspiracy. Bad blood. Gang up. Political greed and egocentricism, played dominant role in the just concluded PDP National Convention.
All these were massed together against one formidable aspirant, the Governor of Rivers state, Nyesom Wike, who became the man to beat before the election.
Atiku Abubakar, who was famed as a formidable aspirant was going to lose the ticket, until he clutched at flotsam, like a sinking ship, to stay afloat. The double standard role of the National Chairman, and his partisan involvement in the whole process also exposed the answer to question manipulation that gave birth to this so-called victory of the Waziri Adamawa.
There was a video I saw of the National Chairman, calling the Sokoto state Governor, Aminu Tambuwal as the hero of the convention. How shameful. I have often stated that honest men in politics are often lonely men, because in the murky waters of Nigeria politics, dishonesty and subterfuge are considered as handy ingredients to prepare the pepper soup of politics.
That is why the National Chairman could shamelessly refer to such act of betrayal as heroic. In the business of politics, those who share the inelegant characteristics of stabbing their political friends in the back, are placed at the pedestal of political recognition, yet the system would still expect something decent to come out from such a flawed process.
What my friend, Aminu Tambuwal did at the convention remains a huge shock to me, and I am getting frightened by the day over the ridiculous level our democracy has sunk. Why he agreed to be used to play such whimsical role remains a subject of conjecture to me. But, he has just been given a pat and a hug for being so hurtful to a relationship.
I didn’t know Nyesom Wike had become so formidable to the extent that the “Northern” leaders, I wonder who they are, would conscript themselves into a gang, to stop him. That in itself shows that Wike cannot be ignored.
It shows his capacity, matching Atiku Abubakar grit for grit, capacity for capacity, bumper to bumper, as the convention drew closer. One conspiracy after another, Wike survived all the invidious plots, scripts and schemes to remain afloat, until those who undercut Tambuwal in Port Harcourt in 2018, again entered their game.
This time, Tambuwal who was the victim of their conspiracy in 2018, became the pawn in the chess game this time round, the real undertaker, to undercut his political friend, Nyesom Wike. In 2018, Wike incurred the wrath of some people all because he wanted to ensure that his supposed friend, Aminu Tambuwal got the ticket of the PDP.
Tambuwal, from all indications was the man to beat, all thanks to Wike’s good nature and sponsorship, until the same “gang-up” uprooted the flow. This time, everyone who values the therapy of good friendship and relationship had expected that Tambuwal would reciprocate Wike’s goodwill and kind gesture, until the former pulled the rug off his feet in a most devastating manner.
They said Governor Tambuwal is detribalised, as one of his selling points, but he showed and acted tribalism on Saturday night. He chose region instead of country, he chose ethnicity, instead of nationality, he chose “na-we-we”, instead of friendship.
Wike must have learnt his lessons the bitter way, a lesson that will most likely caution men to be taciturn when dealing with political friends. Such act of betrayal should also caution us collectively to mind those we cultivate as friends, with open minds confronting closed minds.
A mutual friend of Tambuwal and I had asked me rhetorically; can Tambuwal be trusted again or getting notorious for being a serial betrayer?
When you tried to defend his person, people are quick to make reference to his speakership plot, how he was able to arms twist the process, they referred to how he pulled out of PDP in 2014 to join forces with Atiku Abubakar to remove the stool from PDP’s dining table.
They tell you how he uprooted Honourable Gbajabiamila and installed Speaker Dogara. Despite all these scenarios, Governor Tambuwal is a great guy. He would just have to be cautious in playing the undertaker’s role, so it doesn’t become his signature conduct.
What happened on Saturday, May 28, is not the failure of Wike, as some would want to mock his gallant effort. It is the failure of the Southern part of Nigeria and the collective foible of crass individualism and political naivety of some Southern leaders who are perpetually blind by their self-serving ambition of becoming Vee Pee.
Some of the clueless aspirants of Southern extraction who ought to team up with their strongest aspirant, in line with the earlier demand of the 17 southern Governors concerning power shift, played the spoiler role. As it stands now, PDP now has Northern chairman, Northern Chairman, Board of Trustees, and a Northern Presidential candidate. Should this continue, it will amount to 16 unbroken years of Northern presidency to further the narrative of political domination, and like one of my friends told me; “you Southerners can go to hell”.
The problem of the South is the role of the Southerners. They shout power shift without activating its properties. They just met, decided that they would advocate for power shift, but some of them capitulated before the cock crows. And has left us with the scramble for the VeePee position.
Nigeria’s politics has just exposed, yet again, its rotten underbelly, leaving on its trail the indecent characteristics of those who indulge in it. And due to our collective folly, we clap for their follies. We call them hero of our collective struggle. Rather than reprimand them, we celebrate them, thus crumbling the edifice of our moral armament. Ingratitude in life generally is a negative indices.
The statement of Iyorchia Ayu praising Governor Tambuwal as the “hero of the convention” confirmed my earlier position that he was working from answer to question, biasedly working for the emergence of Atiku and pretending to be fair to all.
Such double standard is the bane of our political decay and the reason why injustice cannot produce justice, or a system that accommodates all in a holistic manner. Is it possible for you to bribe your way to power and yet promise to fight corruption?
Or promise to be developmentally inclined? Where injustice is, how can you heal the wounds of domination, marginalisation and exclusion? We must nurture political boundaries that would assuredly provide platforms for national engagements and conversations, rather than being detained by parochial ethnic consideration.
The PDP has a herculean task to sail through the boiling water of politics by the choice of a 76 years old man at a time that the mood of the country supports an upwardly mobile younger Nigerian.
No matter how you try to rationalise this candidature, it is anchored on injustice and political imbalance., but curiously, the promoters and arrowheads of Northern presidency are the Southerners themselves.
Some even threatened to go naked on the street, to buttress the point that Alhaji Atiku intends to do a one-term in office.
Political imbalances come with their own peculiar problems. In an era of insecurity, kidnapping and gloomy economy, all hands must be on deck to rein in all factors of production to generate solutions to our problems. Nigerians must believe in the capacity of their government to responsibly address a lot of their problems.
The Victor of the convention may have emerged, the crises plaguing the PDP are too compelling to ignore. And in the balance of power that should come, the National Chairman ought to resign, to allow the South produce one, ditto for the Chairman of the Board of Trustees, which should go to the South, especially South- West.
You cannot have the candidate from the North, the Chairman from the North, the chairman of the board of trustees also from the North. There is an urgency to streamline this imbalance to allow enough room for forging ahead.
As for Nyesom Wike, the Governor of Rivers state, he has done heroically well to advance the cause of the South. For him to attain such formidable level, to the effect that the Northern leaders had to “gang-up” to tame him, is enough recognition of his gallantry. Kudos Governor Wike, the Lion of the South.