By Abdullah Abdulganiy
The defection by the immediate past Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Yakubu Dogara last two weeks, from the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC) is one of the big stories of the moment, especially in the political space. This singular event means different things to different people across political and ideological lines.
For the PDP which he dumped, it is perhaps a major setback for a personality of Dogara’s standing who has a fair following to leave the party in terms of political calculations. On the flipside, to the APC which he rejoined, it is welcome home, we’ve been longing for you. The party never hides it. And it’s strengthened by Oshiomole’s Freudian slip the other day, in an interview that when anyone joins the APC, he becomes a newborn or some words to that effect. Think Kalu. Think Obanikoro.
Now, for the man in the middle of the storm, Dogara, it’s all politics, and of course, about interests. In his account of why he left the PDP, the politician told anyone who cares to listen that his interests were not satisfied and he had to look for a greener pasture. If he doesn’t find it in the APC, expect another defection soon. And this is no fortune telling. It’s just simple logic.
This recent defection brings Dogara into the fold of serial defectors in the community of Nigerian politicians. He has, in fact, outsmarted Atiku in the race. The trajectory of Dogara’s political defection dates back to circa 2014, in the build up to the 2015 general election. He jump-shipped the PDP to the APC, under which platform he became the Speaker of the Green Chambers. How he maneuvered his way to Speakership, alongside Bukola ‘Eleyinmi’ Saraki of the Red Chambers, is a story for another day.
Ever since, Dogara and his caucus have been under severe political attacks for outfoxing the party’s cabal. For their ‘anti-party activities’, they got a pariah treatment within the APC and were considered a ‘persona non grata’ so to say. Fast forward to 2018, the build up to another general election, Dogara, Saraki and other members of their team couldn’t withstand the heat even after creating a lot of scenes in the party, leading to breakaway factions as rAPC. So, they cross-carperted to the PDP again. To cut the long story short, Dogara is back in the APC which he dumped in 2018. He’s literally been shuttling between the PDP and the APC overtime.
This development speaks to a political culture of immaturity, lack of ideology and principles, self-aggrandizement, lack of shame, disrespect for country and citizens that have all permeated the Nigerian political terrain. It further lends a teeth to the time-tested cliche that, ‘In politics, there is no permanent friend or foe; only interests are permanent.’
Of course, there is freedom of association. However, we need to question the sincerity of the APC which self-adulates as a party of Progressives. Could the recent defection of Dogara be situated in the prism of Progressivism? This is, especially, when the party branded him with different names following his defection to the PDP. A progressive party should live by certain standards. Dogara’s defection, added to other ‘jankara’ defections in the past, makes a nonsense and mockery of the oft-vaunted Progressivism of the APC.
It also seems Dogara has lost every sense of shame. If not, he wouldn’t have defected to the PDP he discredited in the first place, and now to the APC he had rubbished. His ilk end up being political scavengers who have no political substance wherever they are. It is good he has shown his real color by his recent defection as an ‘anywhere-belle-face’ politician. Evidently, this will tell on his future political ambitions. But again, as Nichollo Machiavelli pointed out, ‘There is no morality in politics’.
On the sidelines of Dogara’s defection, the rumor of that of Saraki, Ahmed and a host of other footsoldiers in their camp also filtered in the media. While I’m not given to rumor mongering or speculations, I can say with every sense of responsibility that no matter how long, Saraki would still leave the PDP. This is because he’s also guided by personal ambitions and not ideology. I’ve always maintained he (Saraki) cannot survive in opposition. He covets power and his psychology is ingrained in political offices. Out of power, Olubukola Saraki is already in psychological trauma. You don’t need a voodoo to know this.
In one word, what all these events portray is that the elites are one — whether political, business, religious. It is only when their interests clash, they pit the masses against themselves. While some ordinary persons go about recruiting enemies for themselves in the name of a political overlord, when PDP and APC chieftains meet, they treat one another with utmost respect. Mind you, most of them are friends and have good relationship at the backyard. Consider Buhari-Jonathan relationship. To move this country forward therefore, the masses must avoid being wilful tools in the hands of shameless politicians who are self-serving and not for national development. Competence, wherever it comes from, should be the watchword.
Daura and Nigeria as a ‘turn-by-turn’ limited
When he granted an interview to the BBC Hausa Service sometime last week, Mamman Daura, President Buhari’s nephew opined that Nigeria was not a ‘turn by turn limited’, as is also the belief of the late Ismaila Funtua, the ‘cabal’ himself. Daura said our political system should rather be guided by competence and merit.
Daura is an elder statesman with a wealth of experiences across his active years, and he’s entitled to his opinion. I also agree with him to certain extents. My only disagreement is that while primordial sentiments — ethnicity, religion, gender, etc — should not take the place of merit, they are also important and count to a large extent in balancing our polity and society.
A section of the country cannot continue to rule the country forever and peace will reign however well-performed. Every part must be given a sense of belonging. If we talk about merit and competence, no part or section of Nigeria lacks a handful of competent persons. Thus, both merit and sense of belonging for every part that makes up the country must be considered in our political arrangement. Just that merit should not be sacrificed on the altar of primordial sentiments.
No matter how hard we try, even in advanced democracies, all these primordial sentiments are major determinants of voting behavior. Hence, they must also be recognized in political schemings. A religious group cannot continue to rule Nigeria and you expect other groups to be comfortable. Of course, there would be agitations.
My view, therefore, is that while I agree with Daura that competence is key, every group must also be given a fair sense of belonging. That’s the only way to keep our multi-religious and multi-cultural country together. This explains the reason for the establishment of the Federal Character Commission.
AbdulRazaq’s strides in electricity
For somebody who has lived in an area plunged into total blackout for several months — Bodinga in Sokoto State, I know the value of power when I see one. This explains why my column today will be incomplete if I did not give three hearty cheers to the Executive Governor of Kwara State, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq for his strides so far in electricity.
I read my brother and good friend, Ibraheem Abdullateef last week where he drove us through the electricity trip under AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, and I was wowed. It only takes a masses oriented governor to go the length which AbdulRazaq has gone. And I must also thank my brother for that expose.
People like me who cannot do without electricity supply for some hours know the value of what His Excellency has done. We can only plead with him not to drop the ball anytime soon. If AbdulRazaq continues like this, by the end of his reign as governor, he would have successfully written his name in gold.
Parade, we remove headdress… Remove headdress…
Hip Hip Hip… Hurray!
Hip Hip Hip… Hurray!
Louder: Hip Hip Hip… Hurray!
We are also still basking in the euphoria of Eid-el-Kabir celebrations. I wish to use this opportunity to congratulate Muslim faithful on this milestone. May we witness more and more, in sound health and wealth.