Saturday, July 28, 2018
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Bonn, Germany

Neither political party is clean when it comes to tactics that divide our people (Roy Barnes)

Irrespective of any political party, I am a supporter of good people who want to do something for the society (Kapil Dev)

There is no act of treachery or meanness of which a political party is not capable; for in politics there is no honour (Benjamin Disraeli)

Because we believe that our ethnic group, our society, our political party, our God, is better than your God, we kill each other (Neale Donald Walsch)

Future generations are not going to ask us what political party were you in. They are going to ask what did you do about it (the situation of things in our country) (Martin Sheen)

ast week, I warned that tyranny has descended upon Nigeria, and a few days later, President Buhari unleashed the state security apparatus of the DSS and the Nigerian police on the National Assembly leadership by laying siege to the residences of the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, and the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu. The aim was to block Saraki from reaching the National Assembly that day so that pro-Buhari senators will then impeach him. But, Saraki outsmarted them, sneaked out of his house, sneaked into the senate, presided over the plenary session of senate, received 15 APC senators who defected to the PDP, and adjourned plenary till September 25. With these defections, the PDP has moved from minority to the majority in the senate.

Saraki was caged by Buhari and the APC through his case with the Code of Conduct Bureau. But once the Supreme Court, in a judgment on July 6, declared him innocent by dismissing the three remaining charges of false asset declaration brought against him, the Buhari/APC chains fell off from Saraki, and he became free as a bird. Sensing that the senate president was up to something, Buhari and the APC started holding a series of meetings with Saraki and the senators loyal to him, trying to persuade them to remain in the APC, but they've already made up their mind.

Saraki made it clear that he is going to dump the ruling All Progressives Congress, (APC), because he could no longer stay in a party that criminalizes opposition voices while taking injustice to another height. When persuasion failed to make Saraki change his mind, Buhari turned to the police: Saraki was invited, by the Police, to report to a station in Guzape over the Offa robbery investigation. And then, security forces cordoned off his residence and that of Ike Ekweremadu, the deputy senate president.

Saraki is a deft political actor and a smart guy, even deceitfully, and there was no way Buhari, an illiterate, can compete with a medical doctor in terms of intelligence. Saraki is a well known artful dodger: he outsmarted his own father to become a senator; he outsmarted Buhari and the APC, in 2015, by double crossing them to become the senate president; and now, he has outsmarted Buhari and his security forces by turning up in the senate to preside, even when they had planned to keep him away from the place.

Reno Omokri wrote, on July 24, that "What is happening to Bukola Saraki is an act of tyranny by a leadership afraid of its own shadows. You can't lay siege on the nation's number three citizen as if he is a common criminal just to frustrate the suspected defection of people whose defection from PDP you celebrated! Just three days ago, Galadima raised the alarm that his life was in danger by President Buhari and Adams Oshiomhole and then yesterday he suddenly and 'coincidentally' got involved in a ghastly car accident? The strange car accident of the r-APC chairman yesterday and the sieges on prominent members of that APC faction today appears too coordinated. Though I have no proof, but these coincidences are too convenient for President Buhari whose desperation for power is already well known!"

July 24 can be called a "Defection Day" in Nigeria. Apart from the 14 APC senators who defected to the PDP, 37 APC House of Representatives' members also joined the PDP. Already, Governor Ortom of Benue State, all his 23 local government chairmen, and many members of the Benue State House of Assembly have dumped the APC for the PDP. Governors Tambuwal of Sokoto State and Abdulfatah Ahmed of Kwara State might have also decamped from the APC to the PDP. What happened in Benue State, before the governor decamped, was interesting: Some youths blocked the governor's convoy as he was going to an APC meeting, and they told him, pointblank, that he should defect to the PDP or else he will not win a re-election. The governor's convoy had to make a U-turn, and he then summoned all his LGA chairmen to Makurdi, and there and then all of them announced their defection to the PDP. It seems some of our youths are waking up at last!

Let's talk about Kano State. Buhari and the APC consider Kano State an important and electoral valuable state, because, it was in that state they cooked up the 2 million votes which helped in making Buhari president in 2015. So, when the senator representing Kano Central, Rabi'u Musa Kwankwaso, a former governor of the state, who helped in rigging Buhari into office hinted that he was leaving the APC for the PDP, Buhari was disturbed. He called Kwankwaso for a meeting, and the senator came, listened to him, and on the following day, defected to the PDP. Also, 22 APC members of Kano State House of Assembly, including the Speaker, defected to the PDP. Buhari is now worried, because, without Kano State, he cannot win a re-election, and once those who would have helped him to rig the next election in the state have jumped ship, then, his defeat is fully programmed.

In the days, weeks and months ahead, more governors, senators, house of reps' members, house of assembly members, local government chairmen, and even councillors will dump the APC for the PDP. Of course, the big fishes, the senate president, Saraki, and the speaker of the house of reps, Dogara, will soon make their defection to the PDP official.

For me, there's nothing to rejoice about these defections. As I noted in my last article, politicians are the same irrespective of their party affiliations. Whether in the APC or the PDP or whatever, politicians, especially in Nigeria, seek their personal interests first and foremost. What's happening now is just like what happened in 2014 when Saraki, Tambuwal, Ortom, Ahmed, Amaechi, Dogara and so many of them dumped the PDP for the APC, and now the PDP they called useless in 2014 is now useful for them. These defections are only a re-grouping act to continue looting from where they've stopped.

My point is that this orgy of defection is not based on principle or ideology but on personal or parochial interests. The defectors did not do that for the poor Nigerians but to maintain their political relevance in an ever changing Nigerian political world. The poor should not be carried away because of the defections, as what we're seeing is an intra-class struggle. I would bet that within the next four years, many of those united now by this defection "madness" will still fall apart.

Dike Chukwumerije put it this way: "Nobody decamped for Leah Shaibu. Nobody decamped for Anka or Rabbah or the blood that flowed in Gwer East (a LGA in Benue State). Nobody decamped for the illegal detention of Zakzaky, for the illegal detention of Dasuki, for the outright disappearance of Kanu. Nobody decamped for the jobs that have still not been created, or the power that can still not be distributed. Nobody decamped for the brothers we lost to hospitals we cannot depend on, for the mothers we lost in labour to derelict wards and empty medicine cupboards. Nobody decamped for the unpaid pensioner and the soldier stuck on permanent rotation in Gwoza, for the teachers who work for months without pay and the litigant that cannot afford the cost of Justice. Nobody decamped for the children who beg to clean our windshields at the junction of Aguiyi Ironsi and Kashim Ibrahim... See? Nobody decamped for them. Who decamped for the poor and ordinary people like us? Nobody!"

President Goodluck Jonathan is a prophet and a blessed man: Many of those who betrayed him, when he was the president, have known no peace lately. Most of all, on April 30, 2015, Goodluck Jonathan made this prophetic sentence: "I encourage our members to remain faithful even in defeat. Every PDP defector will return with empty stomach", and that's exactly what's happening now (when a woman marries two husbands, she will discern who, out of the two, was better). Also, at the December 10, 2014, National Convention of the PDP, he said: "The choice before Nigerians in the coming election (2015) is simple: A choice between going forward or backward; between the new ways and the old ways; between freedom and repression; between a record of visible achievements and beneficial reforms - and desperate power-seekers with empty promises". GEJ was right: since 2015, Nigeria has been going backward with full speed; we have only seen old ways of doing things from this Buhari's government; repression is now a state policy; and we have only power seekers who cannot keep even a single promise as our leaders.

The only solace for the poor here is if these defections will help remove Buhari from office next year, thereby saving Nigeria from the impending collapse. Anything that will lead to Buhari's exit next year will have my blessing or support.