BY LUKA BINNIYAT
The eerie calm in the security and socio-political space of Kaduna State, on Monday, burst into cataclysmic political excitement never seen since the death of its former governor, Sir Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa, and the swearing-in of his deputy, Alh. Mukhtar Ramalan Yero, last December, to succeed him.
Three closely linked events took place. And they may well set the agenda that would profoundly determine the fortunes or otherwise of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, in the state and that of the characters that ride on it.
First, like bad dream turn real, Vice President Namadi Sambo, whose outings in the last three polls in the state showed that he could not win even his own street and ward, woke up to find that the party had developed a very bitter faction that announced its loyalty to the Abubakar Kawu Baraje-led “New” PDP’. This would make his political relevance both in the state, the North-west and, by extension, the entire North come to question when viewed from the fact that out of the seven “rebel” governors of the ruling party, six are from the North, with four from the North-west. And now his own state had joined the fray, with him seemingly looking helpless.
The woes of the Vice President in a series of events, last week, started with the press statement by Alhaji Audi Yaro Makama -Kaduna State PDP Chairman (2001-2007) and Gideon Yakubu Morik, member, Kaduna State House of Assembly (1999-2007) and Chairman, Jema’a Local Government Council Area of Kaduna State (2007 – 2010).
The statement, supported by Ambassador Sule Buba (a former Kaduna State PDP Chair, 2007 – 2011), Hon. Isaac Bodams, Hajia Aisah Mairago, among other PDP bigwigs in the state, read in part: “In the last few weeks, a political tsunami was unleashed on the nation with the emergence of a new leadership to pilot the affairs of our great party, the People’s Democratic Party(PDP).
“The decision of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and seven governors elected on the platform of the party, is not only worthy of commendation but worthy of emulation. . .
“The revolutionary decision to sack the erstwhile leadership under Alhaji Bamanga Tukur and replace it with the current one led by Alhaji Kawu Baraje needs to be replicated in all states chapters of the party, especially Kaduna state where the support base of the party has been shrinking since 2007 when Arc Namadi Sambo became governor and decided to rubbish the party and its supporters to no end.
“The PDP in Kaduna State therefore proudly and wholeheartedly identifies with the new leadership of the party, under Alhaji Kawu Baraje and follows in the footsteps of its sister chapters of Adamawa, Jigawa and Taraba States in setting up new leadership to give our party a new lease of life.
“We are also reassuring our teeming supporters that they truly own the party and not impostors with little or no inkling about PDP’s founding ideals and people who don’t have the passion for the party’s interest and growth.
“Fundamentally, this decision has been taken after deep reflections on happenings in Kaduna State since the elevation of Architect Namadi Sambo as Vice President.
“ It is instructive that since his elevation, the fortunes and prestige of the party in the state has been declining rather than improving, because he has been incapable of rallying the people under its umbrella.
“Although this is hardly surprising since he lacks the political wherewithal and the requisite structure to preside over the politics of the state, but it was expected that he would come to terms with his inadequacies and enlist the support of established political actors.
“ This expectation has been a forlorn hope because the Vice President has surrounded himself with political paperweights. These hangers on drive Sambo’s vehicle of political exclusionism by hunting for enemies even where they don’t exist.
“All efforts by concerned party members and elders to make him see reason, as well as draw the attention of the sacked party leadership were in vain.
“We are therefore, once again affirming our loyalty to the new leadership of PDP under Alhaji Kawu Baraje”. The statement was wildly celebrated by the ‘New PDP’ supporters and the opposition in the state.
Meanwhile, the leadership of the mainstream PDP repudiated the statement.
A statement by the Public Relations Officer of the Kaduna PDP,. Ibahim Mansur, reads:: “It has come to our notice that a group of self serving and out of favour politicians masquerading as members of our great Party, PDP in Kaduna State have resorted to seeking cheap relevance by declaring loyalty to the illegal and outlawed faction of the party led by Alhaji Kawu Baraje and his co travelers.
“The group of political opportunists led by a former chairman of the PDP in Kaduna State, Alhaji Audi Yaro Makama and a former member of the State House of Assembly, Yakubu Gideon Morik, is completely on the derailed path as the Kaduna State Chapter of the PDP remains solidly behind the leadership of our National Chairman, Alhaji (Dr) Bamanga Tukur.
“There is only one PDP, which is the one led by Bamanga Tukur, this much has been determined by a court of competent jurisdiction.
“The claim by the so called group is false and totally criminal, as the party is intact and united under the able leadership of Dr A G Haruna”, reads the statement.
Many watchers of the party in the state were, in the least, surprised about the altercation..
According to a top PDP member in Kaduna State, who was deep in the 2011 gubernatorial election: “The actions of the Namadi Sambo have been very strange politically. He does not seem bothered about his little political capital that has been almost depleted through his naïve handling of issues. He chooses only his friends and that of his wife into both state and federal appointments. He has personally attracted no meaningful federal projects here.
He is detached from the electorate and is aloof to the media in the state. And I see Yero, his god-son, doing the same. We that form the base of the party have suddenly become observers, with our supporters also going awry.”