Recent events must have PDP leaders thinking which of Ali Modu Sherriff (aka PDP’s undertaker), and the incumbent, Uche Secondus (aka “Se ko dun”: Cook PDP well and let it taste well in APC’s mouth), is more of a pain in the arse. Exchanging one for the other, has PDP not jumped from frying pan into fire?
Ex-Gov. Ayo Fayose of Ekiti State and sitting Gov. Nyesom Wike of Rivers reportedly brought Sherriff. They had thought Sheriff’s touted deep pockets and vast connections, especially his insider-knowledge of the ruling APC, would help in the battle to outwit APC and return PDP to power. But shrewd Sheriff had his own game-plan!
PDP leaders thought they had a mule in Sheriff but the ex-governor of Borno was a tiger. You may ride it – but only if you would never disembark. When Sheriff showed his hands and PDP wouldn’t agree, come and see battle! As they say, “e wa wo’ja ni Lafiaji”! PDP climbed down by fire by force but Sheriff the Shylock had his pound of flesh.
Having led the battle to dislodge Sheriff, interim chairman and Kaduna ex-governor Ahmed Makarfi wanted the plum job. Many thought it should go to the South-west instead to balance the party’s zoning formula.
Titans from the South-west who showed interest included Chief Olabode George and Prof. Tunde Adeniran. Wike and Fayose however decided otherwise. Overnight, the party chairmanship was gifted the South-South. Enter Uche Secondus!
The game-plan was for Gov. Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto and Fayose to get the PDP flag and running-mate slots respectively but ex-VP Atiku Abubakar turned the table by winning the PDP ticket. While the losers were still sulking, Atiku rubbed salt in their injury by choosing Peter Obi as running mate. So did the South-west lose on both ends!
Wike and Fayose railroaded Secondus into office but no sooner than Atiku bagged the ticket than Secondus shifted base. He cross-carpeted and became like Atiku’s follow-come; even saying Atiku could single-handedly chose his running mate. Obi was not the consummate politician that his South-east base favoured for the high office of VP. And with the South-west wounded, it was a half-fit PDP that went into the 2019 presidential election. Massive rigging apart, PDP played like a not-fully-fit striker in an el classico. The rest, as they say, is history.
With that and the losses suffered by PDP in the just-concluded Kogi and Bayelsa governorship elections, it is debatable who, between Sheriff and Secondus, has wounded PDP more. While the struggle to offload Sheriff lasted, PDP suffered avoidable loses in Edo and Ondo states.
More importantly, however, PDP hardly displays an understanding of the mechanisms of political parties. Conversely, APC behaves more like a political party. Unlike PDP which behaves as if bereft of party ideology, APC on the other hand sticks together, even if their ideology is backward, reactionary, anti-people, anti-progress, ultra-conservative and anachronistic. PDP appears more as a group of individualistic power-mongers and office-seekers. “My country, right or wrong!” cried Carl Schurz (1872) but for PDP, it is “I and I alone”! Little wonder, then, that one of their leaders told me that politics is a game of self-interest!
But King Sunny Ade had warned in one of his songs: “A-fe-mi, a-fe-mi l’Oba akoko so to fi ku/Beeni af’Olorun af’eniyan, af’eniyan af’Olorun Oba.
Wike was right in crying to the Amayanabo of Okrika that with the fall of Bayelsa, the enemy has entered PDP’s territory and Rivers will be next. Pastor Martin Niemoller revealed this tactic of creeping fascists and remorseless Hitlerites a long time ago. But those who fail to learn from history, says George Santayana, are condemned to repeating its mistakes.
PUBLISHED IN THE SUNDAY TRIBUNE OF 24TH NOVEMBER, 2019.
Bola Bolawole, turnpot, 07052631058