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Limitations of ‘new PDP’ discontent

By Is’haq Modibbo Kawu
WHEN the two sides of the raging PDP battle for supremacy addressed the press together on Sunday night, vowing to muster efforts to end the rift within the ruling party, they moved closer to a closure.

There might be extra positional jostles on both sides, as we saw at the House of Representatives, on Tuesday, but the outlines of agreement are becoming clearer. They have surreptitiously moved from more bellicose statements of intentions to the more practical realisation of dangers that a fight-to-the-finish portends for them all.

There are cloaks and daggers alright, but smoke and mirrors have also made an appearance. The PDP, in the words of Chief Tony Anenih, is close to what it knows how to do best: managing to snatch itself from the possibility of loss of power.

From the onset of the crisis and the emergence of New PDP, nPDP, what was at stake wasn’t the interest of the Nigerian people, but those of individuals about to lose out and their hangers-on, likely to suffer the domino effect. If we interrogate the outlined demands of the nPDP, it’s clear the fight has little to do with elevated principles.

The demands include the sack of Alhaji BamangaTukur as party chairman, return of party structures to governors in Adamawa, Kano and Rivers; agreement by President Jonathan not to seek re-election in 2015; lifting of RotimiAmaechi’s suspension from PDP as well as resolution of the Governors Forum crisis and the most preposterous demand wants discontinuation of EFCC’s investigation of corrupt practices.

Sundry crimes

Tukur is their fall guy having systematically squeezed them out of the PDP, that most haloed refuge for perpetration of sundry crimes against the Nigerian people, especially in states. Governors want control of the party for reasons that we all know; butTukur was the ONLY candidate that President Jonathan personally preferred for party position, therefore the demand that he be sacrificed, hits the President directly.

The balance of forces will determine where the pendulum swings. If Tukur’s continued leadership fatally injures Jonathan’s 2015 bid, the President will make a humiliating climb down, and end up sacrificing the old man.

But the lurking danger is clear; nothing will stop nPDP from demanding more concessions, especially Jonathan’s renunciation of his 2015 ambition. There are speculations about presidential ambitions of Sule Lamido and Rabiu Kwankwaso. But we know that Bukola Saraki is very desperate about presidency, having allegedly been assured by the late President Umaru Yar’Adua that he (Bukola) was his preferred candidate, if Umaru was unable to go for a second term, before his death scattered everything! It is Bukola’s delusion of presidential grandeur that has largely fueled his soured relationship with Jonathan and is also a major element in the emergence of nPDP. Even the demand that the EFCC’s harassement stops is largely linked to Bukola’s plight today!

It is also looking like President Jonathan will be most willing to make those concessions that will bring nPDPback to the fold. And in the long run, once the disparate interests of the huffing and puffing nPDP characters have been adequately taken care of, they will rally and return home to continue the process of elaborate looting of Nigeria.

Jonathan will get a second term from the same individuals posturing against him; they will reclaim the party machinery in their states and most likely, EFCC will go back to hibernation, to wait for another day. The majority of governors under the nPDP umbrella are Northern governors. In truth, they lost the battle to checkmate President Jonathan as long ago as 2011. When they backed Jonathan’s candidacy in 2011, we warned them that they were taking Northern Nigeria to the fate that befell Northern Cameroun under the Paul Biya presidency.

I recall that in response to that warning, Niger State governor, BabangidaAliyu, who doubles as chairman of the Northern Governors Forum, replied me directly at the Eagles Square, where they endorsed the Jonathan candidacy that they were not taking Northern Nigeria to Northern Cameroun.

Well, the North arrived at the fate of Northern Cameroun a long time ago, under their watch and with their complicity. They must be deluded that President Jonathan will keep a so-called agreement to run for only a single term.

The same Jonathan signed an agreement in September 2002, which affirmed power rotation, but turned around to deny there was such an agreement, even with his signature boldly imprinted on paper! I think nPDP’s opportunistic demands came at least four years late! When all is said and done, Jonathan’s position isn’t as weak as it first appears.

Horse trading

Horse trading, cajoling, fear of loss of power, the scare about exposure of the grand larceny many have committed against the Nigerian people, fear of the people’s retribution, the once impossible reality of an opposition able now to win elections, will all come together to bring the nPDP back home. Against this backdrop, individuals refusing to return home will be isolated and might even besacrificed.

That is the old tradition within the conclave of bandits and who can deny the fact that the inner recesses of the PDP (and its nPDP clone!) doesn’t resemble the worst expressions of a conclave of bandits? I’m writing late on Tuesday night after the fracas in the House of Representatives, between the two factions, but I believe the fear of loss of power will still sober them up; both sides! Please stay tuned to these unfolding events.

September 15: Of pain, hope and existence

I SPENT the last weekend in Lagos. I hadn’t been back in that eternally vibrant city in a long while and as is my wont, after the more serious business pursuit, I went out to catch a whiff of its nightlife on Saturday. That is a story for another day. I was to return to Abuja on Sunday, but didn’t! September 15has a very special emotional ring about it for me.

Last Sunday, September 15, marked the fourth anniversary of my mother’s death. But it was also Zainab’s eleventh birthday. Zainab is my second child and was actually named for my mother; and it was one of those incredible coincidences of the life process, that my mother died on her seventh birthday, four years ago. I’ve lived with the double, of joggling the pain of death with the joy of a life just finding its own way through the experience of existence.

Four years ago, my mother had been terminally sick in hospital and I had taken a day’s break to return home to Abuja, with the plan to return to her bedside in a couple of days, after the short respite of a break, from my exhaustion. Zainab told me on the eve of her birthday, that she didn’t feel like a celebration the following morning; it was, with hindsight, almost like a premonition of what would happen the following day.

I reminded her that her cake could be kept away for the day she felt like a celebration. The following day the kids went early to school and at 8am, a call came through, that my mum had just passed! It was a most painful and poignant moment; that realisation that we had arrived at a closure, which leaves a chasm forever in our lives.

For me, each time I think about my mum, I recall her incredible generosity; the lived life of service to community and her remarkable mastery of PULAAKU, even when she wasn’t Fullo! These attributes sat with a keen sense of history and the lucid ability to teach its lessons. My mum was lucky, being amongst the earliest generations of women to attend Western school in Northern Nigeria.

Women’s programme

There was a sense in which choices she made in life went on to influence my own life. She was the first woman to present a women’s programme on Radio Nigeria Ilorin, and I recall that in the early seventies, her scripts were always on the table in her room.

I would sometimes read them, but in those innocent acts, I was probably beginning to build the blocks of feeling that took me into broadcasting. I know that it was from her that my linguistic ability drew directly from, because she spoke so many languages, excelling particularly in Hausa, Yoruba,Nupe and English.

The English she would refuse to speak because it was considered a form of immodesty to show proficiency in the language in those early days of Boko learning in the North.

I was farmed out early in life, to live with her uncle, and because they were not Fullo or royal, I learnt lessons ordinarily out of the frames that might have imprinted upon my growing consciousness, as a pre-teenage kid, in a different setting.

The greatest attribute I took out of that phase of my life was the independence that has marked my choices and decisions ever since! I was not really close to my mum; and in Fulbe culture, a mother DARES NOT call her first son’s name, nor even look at him in the eye. She spoke to me in the third person and would direct requests to my cousins or siblings, if ever she needed a thing from me, as a good Fullo must do! Those culturally nuanced attitudes were points I miss about her.

But the dialectic of death and life envelops us all through our existence on earth. The young Zainab reminds me of my mum in her compassion and very motherly attitude. And as I watch her grow and make the efforts to feel her way through life, there just is so much about my mum that she somehow reproduces.

As the years have rolled by, she has come to be a representation, even if unspoken, of those elements of a mother’s presence in our lives, that we keep longing for. And it is in that remarkable coincidence of being named for a grandmother, who then dies on her birthday, that we find an affirmation of the continuum of death and life; of coming into being, growing and passing.

May Allah forgiveHajiyaZainab M. Kawu her sins and grant her Al-janna; and may Allah give the young Zainab a long and useful life of service to humanity!

 

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