By Chioma Gabriel
The owl farted, and demanded that his kinsmen eulogise him for that. But they couldn’t, telling him that no man gets eulogised for doing evil. Indeed, a child that dances to the rhythm of surugada should know it is the dance of the spirits. It is only a fly that does not listen to advice that follows a corpse to the grave.
The ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has been dancing to the rhythm of surugada. The party for a long time remained deaf and dumb to the fact that it was dancing the dance of death, judging by events that characterised its activities in the recent past.
In democratic culture, the people get the same opportunities to compete but some people will succeed while others will fail. Democracy as the best form of government tends to support policies that protect and expand it. When the people rule, it is an important principle because of the power of the majority.
When the news broke that Alhaji Bamanga Tukur had submitted his resignation letter to the PDP and the Presidency last Wednesday, it was obvious that was the best decision ever taken by him. He would have gotten a standing ovation if he had resigned earlier than he did. Was it love for lucre of office or love for Nigeria that caused him to allow issues degenerate to the point it did?
Shouldn’t he have done the honourable thing of resigning months ago to save himself, PDP and President Jonathan the embarrassment of the present day? Why would any honourable Nigerian hold his party and his country by the balls to the point that the Adamawa politician was not worried by the threat of chaos in his party? Could the opposition have been using him to finish the ruling party?
For months, Bamanga Tukur fought to retain his position as National Chairman of PDP and to exhaust his tenure of four years, rebuffing moves by political opponents to edge him out of office. Typical of politicians, as top ranking officials of the party including President Jonathan and the party’s National Working Committee moved strongly against his continued stay as Chairman on Wednesday, some PDP governors who believed they could still use Tukur to achieve their selfish ends wanted him to continue to lead the party irrespective of what was going on.
But what really irked many observers was the fact that PDP had no secret records it could use to blackmail Tukur out of office. It is sometimes useful and advisable to give political appointments or positions to people with embarrassing pasts such that when the time comes to discard such people, there would be no threats by them to sit put.
All that needed to be done would be to dust the person’s old file and present his dirty past and such a politician would resign immediately. Perhaps, it was the mistake of PDP to have given appointment to someone with clean records like Tukur!
If they had consulted, I would have obliged them this useful tip.
Initially, it was as if the party just couldn’t remove him. It even appeared as if it was Tukur who had something against the party and some key officials who couldn’t look him in the face and authoritatively ask him to resign.
Now, don’t misunderstand this. It happened in the era of Vincent Ogbulafor who was forced to resign under a high-powered controversy. When he dilly-dallied over his resigination as National Chairman of PDP, they brought out his file as Minister of Special Duties in the Obasanjo regime and dusted it.
He was accused of allegedly defrauding the Federal Government of over N100 million. And Ogbulafor under that new controversy resigned.But this didn’t mean he was guilty. Such a trick could come in handy in future appointments such that an exit would be decided at the time of appointment. A past blackmail could be tucked away somewhere for future use.
Going down memory lane, part of the reasons for the PDP crises was the clash of interests between Tukur as the chairman of the party and his personal interest in Adamawa politics, his state of origin which among other issues, later degenerated into a major split in the party.
Tukur wants his son to be Adamawa governor come 2015 just as Gov Nyako’s son is allegedly guilty of dabbling into his father’s regime and calling the shots in many aspects, which resulted into a power tussle within the PDP in Adamawa State, thereby creating two antagonist groups – the Bamanga Tukur and Governor Murtala Nyako.
The degeneration of the Adamawa crisis is part of the reasons Gov Nyako spear-headed the defection of PDP dissidents to the All Progressives Congress, APC .
Several odds also arose against Tukur’s leadership of the party. The greatest being his poor management of the Jonathan-Amaechi debacle and the crises of the new PDP which brought the ruling party to its lowest ebb. That the governor of his own state also defected to an oppostion party was a minus on his part as national chairman of the party. The fortunes of the PDP dimmed during his era as National Chairman.
Believe it or not, Obasanjo handled the party better but after him, those that took over didn’t appear man enough to deal with situation of things. Things fell apart to the point that even OBJ would not want to be associated with the party. It would be on record that it happened when Tukur was National Chairman of the party. The foundation of the party was never this badly shaken in her 14 years of existence.
Tukur was barely a year and nine months in office when his leadership style and skills came under severe attacks from the party’s governors and other leaders. He never enjoyed or savoured the office of the National Chairman of the PDP. Or maybe he did!
His removal was in sync with the manner past National Chairmen of the party except a few were kicked out.
For 14 years, the party has had eight national chairmen: Solomon Lar, Barnabas Gemade, Audu Ogbeh, Senator Ahmadu Ali, Prince Vincent Ogbulafor, Dr. Okwesilieze Nwodo, Dr Bello Haliru Mohammed and Alhaji Tukur. Many of them were removed from office under controversial circumstances.
Okwezilieze Nwodo was removed from office in January 2011. He was forced to step down. President Jonathan said then that Nwodo had to go for the party to move forward.
Vincent Ogbulafor also went the same way. Before his resignation, Ogbulafor got initial support to stay from some PDP governors who later started dumping him one after the other until he resigned.
Now Bamanga Tukur is on a well-deserved rest.
Strange things happened to PDP during his era resulting in the mass exodus of elected members including governors, legislators and party chieftains. The PDP seats in the House of Representatives before Bamanga Tukur was 204/360 but it is now 167/360 while the governorship seats before Bamanga was 23/36 but it is now 18/36.
It is not yet clear whether the senators threatening to shift ground would still do so considering the fact that PDP has commenced addressing some of the issues that brought about the crises. It is not also clear whether former President Olusegun Obasanjo and Alhaji Atiku Abubakar who are perceived to be ‘sweeting’ with the APC will continue or change their minds.
We need no soothsayer to reveal that the PDP is on the precipice. PDP is a house divided against itself. Things have fallen apart and the centre may no longer hold as disaffection reign in the party.
The PDP administration is getting weaker by the day. Jonathan’s lack-lustre attitude towards rebuilding the dying party is unimaginable. Saying that he didn’t know the problem in PDP was of a huge magnitude during his meeting with the National Working Committee of the party portrayed he was not in tune with the activities within the party. He is playing and dancing to an imagined fiddle, forgetting that whether the party survives or collapses is in his own interest.
Did a man like Tukur need to be forced to step down under the circumstances within his party? Why did the embattled former Chairman remain adamant until it was revealed to him that the NEC and the NWC were getting ready to cast a vote of no-confidence against him on Thursday January 16, 2014 for before he hurriedly tendered a resignation letter?
Did Jonathan have to wait till this late hour to realise that in politics, no one is indispensable? That all the state chairmen of the party agreed that Tukur should leave office for peace to be restored in the beleaguered PDP showed there was no more hiding place for him. The odds were against him from all angles. PDP indeed suffered under Tukur’s leadership and only this resignation, if not too late hopefully, would save the party from implosion.
It was baffling that even when the child he came to nurse died, he tried to stay on.
One good thing though is that the PDP crises paved the way for the APC to dig deeper into the fortunes of political history and for once, Nigeria can boast of having a formidable opposition.
And lest I forget, before the next Chairman emerges, let there be a deep search for a man that has a proverbial skeleton in his cupboard so that when the party wants to ease him out, EFCC would come in handy and provide the records. I rest my case.