Sunday, 17 July 2016
Buhari’s hammer sends PDP’s men on the run By Chidi Obineche
Like a floozy caught in the wrong bed, stalwarts of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP are flying off the handle seeking protective shade from the scorching beams of the coursing and jutting promontory of President Muhammadu Buhari’s anti-corruption war.
Jagged, battered and clammed every which way, the former political overlords are in a mad odd race of their lives. From a jaunty ‘ensemble’ with faint quavers after losing power on march 28, 2015, the tempo oscillated between unaccustomed discordant whispers to dreary , nibbling indeterminate drift, and finally careened off to an eerie cavern of silence. Graveyard silence. The sinews of their simmering troubled party, the tragedy of the unexpected loss, the inability to quickly come round and pick their bits and pieces together, the droppings of faeces left on the altar of power, and the bouncing daggers of their vanquishers have all combined to try their souls. And the fury increases, putting their toes on the run.
At the last count, only the glowering voice of Ekiti State governor, Ayo Fayose can still be heard, but no longer with gaiety and radiance, as he too with all the pomp of immunity is being squeezed hard on all fronts, as if he were some parched figure in a blazing desert. Gone with the wind are the arid polemics, the quixotic anger after the humiliating defeat, the virulence of hope, and that fine confidence and broken temper for resurgence in 2019 expected from the self acclaimed “ Africa’s largest party.” The party began to lose itself almost immediately after the crushing defeat to the All Progressives Congress, APC. Hordes of men and women in the party, many of them the shinning lights cascaded unashamedly in droves to the all conquering APC. They were like wolves, aliped neither belonging to the birds of the air, nor the four-footed beasts of the earth. Lamenting the near mass exodus out of their party, a member of the Board of Trustees, Chief Richard Akinjide blamed it on greed and “absolute lack of principles.” He warned that such untoward development will hardly grow democracy in Nigeria. Former Kaduna state governor Alhaji Balarabe Musa expressed regrets that things like that are still happening in the 21st century, describing the defectors as “ fortune seekers” who are ever ready to dine with the devil even with the incising sharpness of the knife. A former Biafra warlord Col Joe Achuzia, Retd, sounded the alarm that “little men of faith are toying with the democracy of the nation.” He told Sunday Sun that there is “an urgent and compelling need for politicians in the country to re-examine their conscience and be in the vanguard of regeneration.” He described the development as painful drawback, a moral burden which I am personally finding difficult to absorb.” As the darts flew about, the National Chairman of the APC, Chief John Odigie Oyegun among other chieftains of the party rekindled the musty scent of history by bobbing up the hazards of unrestrained decamping of PDP faithful to their party. Indeed some of the party members called on the party to draw the curtain against them.
On the run
Recently, in a most garish manner, the irrepressible former National Publicity Secretary of the party, Chief Olisa Metuh declared his support for Buhari’s anti- corruption war, and offered to return the N400m he received from former National Security Adviser, (NSA) Col Dasuki Sambo, (retd). The former PDP spokesman is facing trial at the Federal High Court; Abuja for allegedly receiving the said sum budgeted for arms purchase for soldiers fighting the Boko Haram insurgency in the North-east. He had earlier claimed that the money was given to him by ex-President Goodluck Jonathan for media campaigns ahead of the 2015 presidential elections, but made a volte –face, offering to turn in the money as an honest citizen. To many people, it came like a bolt from the blues, folly-ridden and wisdom-lost. An account, on all scores overdrawn. A dark web over the conscience of men; the index of all complexities. And he is not alone. Ebullient PDP senator representing Ogun East senatorial district, in the National Assembly, Prince Buruji Kashamu after some bruising battles with the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, withdrew into reticent hibernation, intermittently speaking like a Janus, and finally descending to the depths to spawn. And what is spawned is the future of his party. He unleashed lengthy diatribe on Fayose, shooting from the hip. The jitters gripped some throats. A stamp of confused obligations and loyalties. He tears the governor to smithereens. He condemns his criticisms of the president. He said: “ He chose to elevate rabid criticisms of almost every action of the Federal Government as if that is the official policy of the state government or what he was elected to do and as if that is what will bring the dividends of democracy to the good people of Ekiti State. For goodness sake, the elections are over. Every reasonable politician and leader should know that what will matter at the end of the day is what you were able to do for the people and not how strident you were in criticizing anyone.” Ben Murray Bruce, a PDP senator representing Bayelsa East is known to always lend his voice on matters of grave importance to the Nigerian nation. His hard hitting words have elevated him to an iconic politician especially on social media. Then the big hammer fell. His Silver bird group, a business conglomorate came under siege for an alleged debt of N11billion (Eleven billion Naira) and was taken over by the Assets Management Company of Nigeria, AMCON. Although the matter has been somehow resolved, the “common sense” exponent is only gradually bouncing back to his old known style. Former president Olusegun Obasanjo’s long term ally and stalwart of the PDP, Otunba Oyewole Fasawe is another special advocate of causes skewed against his party. With a tongue bearing lightning at its tip, he came to the defence of the president’s wife Aisha Buhari over allegations by Fayose that she was involved in the bribery scandal involving US congressman, Williams Jefferson. He exonerated Aisha , describing the allegation as “fallacious, baseless, misinformed and defamatory” His strong defence came when APC leaders kept mum. A PDP leader in Nassarawa, Yishak Adamu criticized Fasawe for the “ unwarranted attack” on the Ekiti State governor. “We know he was involved in the William Jefferson case. But should he lead the attack while the government and APC people including the president’s wife will keep quiet. This is a case of crying more than the bereaved.” Former deputy governor of Osun state, senator Iyiola Omisore, who is in the custody of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has deplored what he called “ the hounding of opposition leaders,” urging the Federal Government to “stop blackmailing opposition leaders in the country.” He called on leaders of thought in the country to stem the tide of the demonization of PDP which has triggered “massive influx of our people into APC for protection.” Former Akwa ibom state governor and current minority leader of the senate, Chief Godswill Akpabio, who launched his opposition role with much vibrancy and vitality has since lost his valve and voice, often letting out statements in the twilight of beliefs. Godsday Orubebe; a former minister of Niger Delta Affairs. After his rancorous display at the presidential votes count on march 28, 2015 slipped into oblivion. A few weeks ago, he washed up to merely declare that “ I regret serving this country.” What of the highly vociferous PDP governors Forum? The ex governors, ex- ministers? They are all in limbo; neither blowing the “myth” nor the “bubble”, perpetually lost in the maze. Other scores of the movers and shakers of the party, whose voices in the past literally pulled the roof have suddenly caught cold. An elder statesman and Minster of Aviation in the first republic Chief Mbazulike Amechi, frowns at this development. He told Sunday Sun that “political atmosphere is drab. It is increasingly difficult to differentiate between APC and PDP. PDP men talk and behave as if they have the interest of APC government more at heart than the APC. They attack those who criticize the APC government. Where is opposition politics? It was not like that in our time.” The publicity Secretary of Afenifere, the Yoruba socio- political group Yinka Odumakin has also deplored the practice of “dog eat dog syndrome.” He accused those involved in it of “greed and selfishness.” He said: “They want to ingratiate themselves to the present government. They can throw everything aboard to seek relevance in the government. The late Bola Ige called them “Any Government in Power” (AGIP). Any time this government leaves power, you will see them playing the same role, hailing the new government and attacking this one.”
Countdown to 2019
As the wind of the 2019 general elections blows closer, caution and apprehension may descend to sift the ‘chaff from the grains’. In popular parlance, water will soon find its level. Those whose legs are in both parties will ultimately take a stand and the scales will weigh in. Brushing off the dusts from the haze, the chairman of the PDP Governors Forum and Ondo state governor Dr Olusegun Mimiko has cautioned that “ a new party would emerge from the ashes of PDP and the All Progressives Congress, APC, if the two parties fail to resolve their internal problems.”