By Emmanuel Aziken
Last Tuesday, Rt. Hon. Rotimi Amaechi finally opened up on the conspiracy he and a few other former members of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP weaved to bring down the Goodluck Jonathan administration.
Amaechi spoke on the sidelines of the meeting of the National Council on Transportation in Sokoto when he met with fellow plotter, Governor Aminu Tambuwal. At the time of the conspiracy, Tambuwal was the speaker of the House of Representatives and the fourth most senior government official in the PDP.
Amaechi’s confession came almost four years to the day on August 31, 2013, when the first signs of the plots came to national attention. On that day when the PDP gathered for a special national convention on its 15th anniversary, five governors walked out on President Goodluck Jonathan and the national chairman of the party, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur.
The five governors were Rabiu Kwankwanso, Kano; Aliyu Babangida, Niger; Sule Lamido, Jigawa; Aliyu Wamakko, Sokoto; and Ahmed Abdulfatah, Kwara. They also had company in Senator Bukola Saraki and former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar.
Their walkout was partly framed on the fact that two governors, Murtala Nyako (Adamawa) and Amaechi (Rivers) were locked out of the convention on account of intra-party controversies that had led to the factionalisation of the party in their two states.
In Adamawa State, Governor Nyako was bested in the battle for supremacy with his in-law, Tukur. Tukur as national chairman refused to accredit Nyako’s faction of the party for the convention forcing Nyako to sit it out at the Adamawa Governor’s Lodge in Abuja.
Amaechi’s case was even worse; he had won the reputation of being the first PDP governor to be expelled from the party.
So, on the 31st of August, 2013, a day the PDP was supposed to project its 15 year dominance of the political space, the party for the first time became factionalised at the national level, leading to a crisis that eventually led to its historic loss of the 2015 presidential election.
As Amaechi revealed last Tuesday, Tambuwal was not part of the initial conspiracy that involved mostly the seven governors, Saraki, Atiku and reportedly another South-South governor who chickened out.
However, Tambuwal’s pivotal role in stoking rebellion against the PDP and the then incumbent president is well documented. Apart from his remarkable overturn of the PDP’s zoning formula for the office of speaker, Tambuwal for most of his time as the nation’s number four citizen was a critic of the foibles of the ruling party and the administration. His presence and words of admonition were sometimes like internal ulcer.
For his efforts, Tambuwal got his compensation when the APC at a special national convention in October 2014 amended its constitution to allow new members to contest for political office without meeting the former 30-day membership rule. There are some suggestions that the amendment was made purposely to benefit Tambuwal, though some former PDP members including Samuel Ortom and Senator Barnabas Gemade also benefited in Benue.
But after all the struggles and the conspiracies, how far have they gone, Amaechi and Tambuwal may have asked one another last Tuesday?
Today, nearly all the pioneer plotters have been left with the short end of the stick.
Tambuwal and Wamakko were ignored in the appointment of a minister representing Sokoto. Kwankwanso has been so hounded in his native Kano State that he has visited home only once since he relocated to Abuja as senator!
Amaechi some say may be an exception having gotten a juicy position for himself and some of his acolytes. He is also described as the APC political godfather in the South-South. However, some argue that the reward does not compare with the sacrifice he put in. Imagine the APC lost in 2015, and what could have become of him and Mrs. Patience Jonathan!
Nyako, another pioneer conspirator, has been arraigned with his son for alleged corruption. What of Saraki? He has been through the valley of the shadow of political annihilation; and even more, the humiliation of being arraigned by those he arranged to put in high office!