THE story of Alhaji Garba Gadi, the embattled, court-reinstated Deputy Governor of Bauchi State is that of exemplary political heroism in a polity littered with crass opportunists. He contested the 2007 governorship election with Alhaji Isa Yuguda on the platform of All Nigerian Peoples Party, ANPP, to defeat candidates of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
Their victory over PDP ran against the incumbency factor that saw the ruling party returning to office in most States.
Yuguda got into office, married one of the daughters of then President Umaru Musa Yarâ€™Adua and returned to the PDP. That marked his parting of ways with Gadi because the Deputy Governor refused to leave the ANPP.
When on 14 April 2009, PDP received Yuguda, more pressure mounted on Gadi to join Yuguda, he refused. The Bauchi State House of Assembly on 13 August 2009 impeached Gadi, a process many saw as contrived to please Yuguda.
Yuguda promptly picked the Speaker of the House, Hon Babayo Garba Gamawa, supervisor of Gadiâ€™s impeachment as Deputy Governor.
Gadi sought legal protection. Justice Garba Tsamani of the Bauchi High Court on 25 June ordered that Gadi should be reinstated. On 28 June, Gadi returned to work.
Bauchi State now has two Deputy Governors â€“ the one the court recognises, Gadi, and Gamawa, the Governorâ€™s choice. The Police sealed the Deputy Governorâ€™s office, according to it, until the legal processes are concluded. Gamawa has instituted an appeal against Gadiâ€™s reinstatement.
Many hold the view that since Gadi is remaining in the ANPP on principle, he should go the whole hog by resigning as Deputy Governor. He could then face Yuguda and Gamawa at the polls in 2011. Others think he has a right to keep challenging his impeachment in court and his choice of political party. If the case remains fresh going to the election, it could yield Gadi some needed political capital next year.
It is up to Gadi to decide what he does.Â There could be merits in the position that his departure would lower the rising political temperature of the State, but it also provide comfort for political opportunists like his opponents.
Gadiâ€™s refusal to join Yuguda in his political criss_crossing game is a great sacrifice on Gadiâ€™s part. Complete parting of ways with people he abhors their lack of political character should be a natural follow_up.
However, judicial pronouncements on the matter should be accepted as final. Earlier position of the law on elected political office holders who change political platforms is that they can keep their position. Gadiâ€™s travails are testing the lawâ€™s position on the Governor and the Deputy Governor being in different parties.
Whatever he chooses to do, Gadiâ€™s decision to stand by the party that brought him to power is an exemplary political conduct and must be applauded in a polity where character and principle are scarce commodities.
The knowledge that there are the likes of Gadi in our politics should create hope that politics is not all about personal gains.