SUSWAM'S DEADLY BLOW TO BENUE APC
One is no longer at a lost over why President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan seem not to be disturbed about the activities of 7 Governors on the ticket of the People's Democratic Party over what they described as lack of internal democracy in the largest political party in Africa. The President and the leadership of the party while still imploring dialogue and negotiation to return these aggrieved persons back to the party, might still be counting on the support of his staunch loyalists and strategists like Governor Gabriel Suswam of Benue State whom from the leaping days of this administration has continued to assure President Jonathan and all Nigerians that he is in total support of the Transformation Agenda.
Close analysts of our political conflagration have concluded that since the days of the Nigerian Governors Forum crisis elections that threw both Governors Rotimi Amechi of Rivers and Jonah Jang as Chairmen of two different groups, nothing new has taken place till date. The walk-out of some PDP Governors from the National Convention was only an open show of those who voted against their party's choice during the NGF election and that they were still up to something more than that. In my own view, the aggrieved Governors who claimed to be working based on certain agreement came out too early with their cards and must be confessing in their bedrooms that they are walking a long rope.
The rebellion has recorded too many casualties on their side though the
President's group has claimed that such attacks were not politically motivated. How then can one explain the coincidental rather too accidental sack of Ministers from Rivers, Jigawa, Kano, Sokoto and Niger States when we still have many idle Ministers from States where even the opposition APC has total control? If they take it or not, Nigerians are aware that state resources are too lean to satisfy the political patronage of their gladiators and only a shift towards the centre in 2014 can guarantee their lubrication or they wait for mass revolt from their followers like we are already witnessing in Some states.
Recently, I read a cartoon in one of the national dailies where the National Chairman of the People's Democratic Party, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur raised the alarm that the opposition APC is desperately wooing their Governors and in another comic show, his APC counterpart Chief Bisi Akande responded by telling him to woo APC Governors too if they can. This aptly describes the event in Adikpo today when Governor Gabriel of Benue State succesfully wooed Col Benjamin Aboho (rtd) to the fold of the ruling People's Democratic Party PDP in Benue State.
Since the last local government elections in Benue State, it has been very clear to many of us that the then Action Congress of Nigeria which has changed its name after a merger deal with other opposition parties to the All Progressive Congress is in total disarray and desperately in need of political surgery to bounce back to the robust propaganda machinery that it used to be known for in the past.
It's members have moved in exodus from their fold to the ruling PDP pointing accusing fingers at the leaders as emergency agents who are used to mobilising people during elections and dumping them once they get into public offices. We don't need a sayer to convince us with the lacklustre performance of the opposition in the last Local Government and Councillorship Elections in the State that the ruling party has put its house in order and the few packets of opposition completely buried. Rather than candidates crying of election rigging by the ruling party and it's agent, our friends are shouting on top of their voices that even their own leaders were not present on election day to support their own.
To add salt to injury, the opposition whose campaign was hinged on lack of accountability to the people of Benue State about a forth night ago expelled its Deputy Governorship candidate, Alhaji Usman Abubakar and other top echelon and we were told was because Young Alhaji dared to ask the state leaders to give a blow to blow account of their financial expenditures during the last general elections. I want to disagree with the erstwhile APC chieftains that their party has disdain for accountability and probity which in most cases have formed the basis of their campaign for change and will not believe their stories
One very important reason why the move by the Governor of Benue State , Dr Gabriel Suswam CON to return one of its lost sheep back to the party is the fact that Aboho is an active performers who has endeared himself to the heart of his people through his numerous services to the people of Kwande/Ushongo federal constituency. He is a major fish and his catch an attest action to the Suswam's credential as a bridge builder and mass mobilizer. Whatever reason for or against Hon Aboho's exit from the APC in Benue in particular and Nigeria at large is wrong and illed informed in every sense. Candidates who won elections based on their individual popularity in every part of the world should ordinarily remain the beautiful bride but not allowed to go out for any reason because election days are still coming. Unlike others who could easily be described as light feather weight, Hon Aboho is an added advantage that will definitely add some value to the PDP because of his union with the grassroots.
Secondly, going by head counts that greeted the ceremony, Kwande and Ushongo with its high population density is a huge subtraction from what the opposition got in the last election and further diminishing the chances of those who would flag the party's tickets in the forthcoming Presidential and Governorship elections across the country. This zone has equally been seen in the past as opposition flashpoints because of the likes of Aboho and others who have finally bid farewell to APC through this renewal of mind and faith with his people. Kwande and Ushongo people will no longer hear the opposition's voice of change or whatever name they may christen it in 2015. We are sure that the leaders of Aboho's former tent will agree with the reality that it has lost one of its own both at the state and federal levels.
In view of this major success that has been recorded by the People's Democratic Party in Benue State, the days ahead will surely be interesting as we expect other top politicians to criss cross their ideologies and pitch tent with a platform that suits their character and personality. The national leadership of the APC must be mindful that they are equally loosing other members of their party as they embark on the Wooing Campaign for PDP Rebel Governors across Nigeria.
We must salute Governor Gabriel Suswam for his political smartness to strike especially now that his entire party is in disarray and equally needs the prayers of well meaning Nigerians across the country. He has indeed demonstrated to the Oga at the top to be a dependable ally and confidant.
Article contributed by Comrade Philip Agbese, DIrector, Centre for Good Governance, Peace and Media Advocacy.