Shrewd Tambuwal and the non-consequence of de-camping

Hon. Aminu Waziri Tambuwal
Hon. Aminu Waziri Tambuwal

Some months back, I wrote a commentary on the incessant and annoying decamping by politicians. Some self-censoring publications refused to publish it because it apparently described some lawmakers in their jurisdiction. However, the bitter truth is that in the last couple of years, elected officials have been changing political parties to suit their own ambitions. It is only our President that we can say has not changed party so far and probably won't because he has been chosen as the only flag-bearer of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Those decamping include Senators, House of Reps members, Governors and House of Assembly member. Even when courts issue orders for the seats to be declared vacant, the orders are flouted.

Nigerian should accept that the issue of decamping from a political party is now irrelevant.
Just this past week, Hon, Aminu Tambuwal, representing he Kebbe/Tambuwal Federal Constituency of Sokoto State, showed his colleagues another deft move, when he did not inform them that he had joined the All Progressives Congress (APC), until the end of the legislative session. Whether you consider it cleverness or dishonesty, the point is that the “honorable” knew what he was going to do when he entered the hallowed lower chambers that morning. At the beginning of the day, when sitting commenced, he probably was laughing within himself and saying internally, “if only they know what I am going to do.” Anyway, I am sure it was not a surprise to some of his confidants. There is an Urhobo proverb that states, “between the hunter and the bush meat in the bush, only the hunter knows what is on his mind.” The biblical equivalent in Proverbs 29:11 is that “A fool vents all his feelings, But a wise man holds them back.”

The emergence of Tambuwal as Speaker of the Federal House of representatives was also another evidence of his shrewdness. Of course, some of his political opponents may say I am being economical with words or too euphemistic in my use of the word “shrewd.” They will prefer dishonest or corrupt, especially based on some accusation of specious conduct against some other members. Anyone who knows Tambuwal's political antecedent should not have been surprised that he decamped because he is a serial decampee. In 2003, he was elected into the House of Representatives on the platform of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP). In 2007 before the general elections, he defected to the Democratic People's Party (DPP), but came back when DPP did not give him the ticket. He was able to get the ANPP ticket for his second tenure. He eventually dumped ANPP for PDP, along with his governor Alhaji Aliyu Wamakko. Now he has left PDP for APC to join his governor.

In fact, I will not be surprised if he dumps APC should they make the mistake of not giving him the governorship ticket. It appears that he is the anointed candidate of the out-going governor, who he has followed in the many decamping escapades.

For months, there have been speculations about Tambuwal's loyalty. Which camp did he belong? Initially, he was rumored to be nursing ambitions for presidency. When his ambitions started to crystalize, it was obvious that he will be running for governorship of his home Sokoto State. In all the discussions, the unequivocal fact was that he will join the APC. In other words, although his body was in PDP, his mind and heart were already in APC. Americans say “if it quacks like a duck and looks like a duck, it must be a duck.” You can translate it to mean, if the person sounds like APC, mingles with APC, looks like APC, he must be APC. The adage that “show me your friends and I will tell you who you are” is very appropriate here. Hon. Tambuwal has exercised his constitutional right of Freedom of Association.

What most Nigerians do not want to accept is that although the party owns the ticket, we are a nation of lawless people. The ruling People's Democratic Party (PDP) has accepted decampees without encouraging them to resign their elective position. APGA has done it, along with LP, APC and other defunct parties. If you commit adultery with your neighbor's wife, why will you complain if your wife cheats on you with your neighbor's husband? When you go and complain to the community, those who believe in justice will laugh at you.

There was a woman caught in adultery and she was brought to Jesus for judgment. His reply in John 8:7 was “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.” In other words, only a political party that has never accepted a decampee from another party without encouraging them to resign deserves to raise issues of morality by demanding the resignation of another unscrupulous politician.

Only a political neophyte or someone under the illusion of an altruistic democracy in Nigeria will continue to be bothered about whether a politician betrays the party that “made” him.

During last year's PDP Special convention on August 31, 2013 in Abuja, Chief (Dr.) Godswill Akpabio, CON of Akwa Ibom State, quipped that “PDP is Nigeria. Anything that happens to PDP happens to Nigeria.” Now that the number four citizen of the country has decamped to the opposition APC, it is now clear that what happens to PDP happens to Nigeria.

Decamping is now a normal thing that should be accepted as part of our politics. As Tambuwal has shown, it is probably inconsequential and we should consider amending our laws to allow politicians to change political parties like they change mistresses.

Think about it!

*Rev. Akpodiete, a public affairs analyst writes from Asaba. He is also an aspirant for Udu/Ughelli North/Ughelli South Federal Constituency in Delta State. Contact him on 08138391661 or [email protected],

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Articles by Prof. Alex O. Atawa Akpodiete, Esq.