DEFECTIONS: WHY PDP MUST REWARD LOYALTY AND DISCIPLINE
Contrary to the belief in certain corners, particularly the opposition, the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is not imploding.
Yes, the party has shed a lot of weight in recent times with the gale of defections of some of its members to the rival All Progressives Congress (APC).
Yet weight loss might not necessarily be symptomatic of any ailment but can in fact be a route to wellbeing in the life of an individual.
To be sure, doctors do advise that shedding of excess weight might help a person live healthier and longer too.
There was never any doubt that the PDP was overweight.
And this is quite easy to understand with the many electoral victories the party has won since the return to democracy in 1999.
As it is said in this clime, success has many mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters.
It was natural that almost everybody wanted to identify with the winning party.
The zero-sum nature of our politics did not help matter either as the rank of the opposition continues to deplete with every electoral defeat since 1999.
What this means is that party loyalty and discipline have really never been the concern of our politicians who readily jump from one party to another.
We have seen people like the former vice president, Atiku Abubakar, jump out of his original party, PDP, into Action Congress (AC) in 2007 once he sensed that he could not win the presidential ticket only to jump back to PDP in 2009.
The news is that Atiku has jumped out again - this time into APC.
But don't ask me if these jumps never leave him with serious ligament injuries to his knees and other bruises.
The truth is that political parties, like the PDP, have for the most part encouraged the politics of jumpology by disloyal and self-interested members like Atiku Abubakar.
They have done so by discouraging, and not rewarding the sacrifices of some loyal members who have stayed true to the party.
Instead, the party has a history of rewarding its members who have caused it various levels of pain and disrepute.
A peep into the history of the leadership of the ruling party reveals somewhat an inclination to reward people from outside than within the party.
For instance, Chief Vincent Ogbulafor, the former national chairman started out as a member of the All Peoples Party (APP) under which he ran against Orji Uzor Kalu for the PDP governorship in Abia State.
After the politics of dropping his case against PDP in the tribunal, he was made a minister after which he joined the PDP.
It was not long after that the same Ogbulafor who had crossed over from the opposition party, APP, was handed the post of National Secretary of PDP by the former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo.
Ogbulafor was later to emerge as National Chairman of PDP! In a similar manner, Okwesilieze Nwodo, a founding member of the PDP who, like Ogbulafor, was a former national secretary, for whatever personal reasons, jumped out of the PDP and landed in All Nigerians Peoples Party (ANPP).
But before anyone could say Okwy, he was ferried back to the PDP and rewarded with the topmost job in the party.
There are many other instances of high profile members of the PDP who have made a habit of jumping out of the party in every election year if they fail to secure the party's ticket to run for different elective positions only to return from their misadventure to struggle for positions and privileges with members who have kept faith with the party.
Some of these disloyal and fair-weather members are today in the Senate, House of Representatives, federal and state cabinets as members or even holding party positions.
It is this kind of illegality and impunity that the leadership of the party and past administrations in the centre have encouraged that is responsible for the gale of defections in the PDP currently being witnessed in the party.
But the good news today is the emerging oasis of PDP members who have decided to perish their personal ambitions and even give up their positions and advantages in loyalty to the party that brought them to power.
The decision of Mallam Gambo Salau, the former speaker of the Kano State House of Assembly to step down as the speaker to remain with his party, the PDP, in the face of coerced mass defection by others is patently exemplary.
Salau has shown that there are still men of integrity in our country and raises a beacon of hope for our politics.
By sticking with the PDP, the former speaker has demystified the allure of power and the quest to grab it at all costs.
And what this clearly shows is that there is still a future for the ruling PDP if only they can learn the lessons of the time.
Mallam Salau and his three other colleagues deserve not only praises but also the encouragement of their party for resisting the tyranny of a power-drunk governor and disloyal party man.
Only those who understand the imperial nature of today's governors can appreciate the courage Salau and his co-travellers in the Kano legislature have exhibited.
Salau represents admirable counter to servile minds like Abdulfatah Ahmed of Kwara state who want to die serving Bukola Saraki! It is now the turn of the PDP to celebrate people like Gambo Salau, his few other colleagues and advertise them as the very best the party can produce.
Beyond that, the party must put its full support behind the former speaker because the Kano governor, being a dictator, would not let these legislators get away with spurning his request for them to dump PDP and join him in APC.
One way of appreciating the integrity and loyalty that Salau and the other three legislators have shown is for the PDP to sponsor these exemplary party members either for higher elective positions in 2015 or for other appointments.
Lest we forget, before Salau, there was a certain Mukhtari Shagari, whose Sokoto State gubernatorial ticket was forcefully taken away from him and handed over to Aliyu Wamakko.
Today, the same Governor Wamakko, who was ferried from ANPP, has jumped out of PDP into APC while his deputy, Shagari, has reiterated his commitment to stay in PDP.
In Adamawa State, Governor Murtala Nyako was called out of his farm and the PDP ticket handed to him by former President Olusegun Obasanjo in 2007 without going through any primary election.
Today, Nyako has decamped from PDP and is now a celebrated catch by APC.
Interestingly too, his deputy, Bala Ngiliari, has declared his intention to stick with the party (PDP) that gave him the opportunity to become deputy governor.
The bad politics within the PDP in the past, which has favoured undisciplined, desperate and disloyal politicians, is at the root of the current defections in the party.
This is what emboldens the like of Atiku Abubakar to claim that he was unfairly treated on his return after his first defection and the bringing of the PDP to disrepute.
Written By John Ainofenokhai [email protected]