Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Ogun PDP and the Abuja ‘coup’, By Dele Agekameh

Published:

Dele Agekameh

‘In one fell swoop, all the contending groups in Ogun State PDP – the Olusegun Obasanjo’s, Jubril Martins Kuye’s and Gbenga Daniel’s groups – were all deposited inside the trash can’

There has been an upbeat in the polity. From all indications, there is a looming volatile and combustible confusion that is capable of tearing into shreds the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, the party that claims to be the biggest party in Africa.

There’s no doubt that the PDP is a party run by ‘big people’, which has offered too little to Nigerians in the last 14 years of democratic governance. Therefore, those who call the party an alliance of strange bedfellows may not be too wrong after all as most of the members seem to be united in only one accord – the love of the stomach and filthy lucre.

Every now and again, the rumbles that tear through the soul of the party are far greater than a volcanic eruption with devastating consequences. I am sure, Bamanga Tukur, the National Chairman of the party, cannot be sleeping with his two eyes closed at the moment. This is because some elements within the party cannot really come to terms with his style of administration. To them, he has come on board to ‘chop’ and not to offer any valuable legacy in leadership.

For now, Tukur seems to have held the rampaging tempest trying to dislodge him from his post at bay. One moment, it is as if he would not survive yet another day in office; the next moment, he is on the offensive again, fighting real and imaginary enemies. By the last count, Olagunsoye Oyinlola, the former national secretary of the party, and Bode Mustapha, the national auditor, have been yanked off their offices. If Oyinlola’s ouster was through the instrumentality of the law, Mustapha’s case was quite curious, dramatic, intriguing and strange. The latter was the culmination of several subtle but treacherous moves aided and abetted by Tukur and his lackeys. In this latest chess game, Bode George, the discredited party chieftain who is going about with a moral baggage of an ex-convict, played a prominent role.

George had, a fortnight ago, surreptitiously corralled chieftains of the party from the Southwest into Abuja for a meeting with Tukur. Some of the leaders of the party who could read between the lines stayed away from that purposeless extravaganza. But others, who were goaded by vaulting ambitions and greed, could not smell any rat. They consequently railroaded their motley crowd of followers into the Golgotha that had been prepared for them in Abuja. What followed is the mass slaughter that was unleashed on the unsuspecting party faithful.

Though the ‘family meeting’ was cloaked in the façade of a reconciliation gambit, those at the meeting were dumbfounded when they discovered that they had voluntarily walked into a booby trap set for them by Bode George and others. In one fell swoop, all the contending groups in Ogun State PDP – the Olusegun Obasanjo’s, Jubril Martins Kuye’s and Gbenga Daniel’s groups – were all deposited inside the trash can. The only man left standing is Buruji Kashamu, who, apparently, had a fore-knowledge of the tsunami.

It was a well- orchestrated coup d’état. A few hours to the Abuja parley, Tukur, through a top legal practitioner based in Abuja, went round the courts and withdrew all the pending cases instituted against Buruji’s group by one of the other groups. The dummy that was sold was that Buruji would follow suit and withdraw all his court cases to pave way for genuine reconciliation. But this was not to be. As soon as the other cases were withdrawn, Buruji became adamant and would not take part in such a charade. That action actually sent a danger signal to the other groups. But alas, it was damn too late in the day to do a rethink or a re-map of strategy. That was how the other contending groups were led to the slaughter slab.

With power now fully in Buruji’s kitty, the businessman turned politician was said to have thoroughly lambasted Gbenga Daniel, the immediate past governor of Ogun State, who is widely believed to have contributed enormously to the streak of misfortune that has trailed the party in Ogun State in recent times. He was said to have pointedly told Daniel that he (Daniel) was an impostor having left the PDP in 2011 to pitch his tent with the Peoples Party of Nigeria, PPN, the party he founded and funded to achieve a selfish motive.

Daniel has been desperate to return to the PDP ever since because of the messy situation he found himself soon after the 2011 election. In that election, his favourite PPN came a miserable third behind the PDP and the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, who came second and first respectively. Not even his attempt to ‘romance’ Kunle Amosun, the incumbent governor of the state, now his nemesis, had paid off. Instead, Daniel has been at the receiving end of a barrage of legal cocktails which have greatly unsettled him. He is, therefore, believed to be seeking sanctuary in the PDP as one sure way to wriggle out of the political cobweb in which he has been trapped.

During the campaign for the 2011 general election, Daniel had confidently boasted to whoever cared to listen, including President Goodluck Jonathan himself, that he was capable of winning the governorship election in Ogun State, through the PPN. At that time, his illusion was that he could win the election and then ‘decamp’ with his PPN followers almost immediately back to the PDP. By doing this, he was obviously infatuated with a false sense of superiority and unfounded popularity even at a time it was clear that his public rating had plummeted.

It appeared that Jonathan and the party hierarchy in Abuja was sucked in by these vainglorious and delusive promises. This is apparent from events leading to the 2011 election. Daniel had so much sweet-tongued the president to toeing his line of thoughts that any contrary opinion expressed over the delicate position of the PDP in Ogun State election at that time was easily dismissed with a wave of the hand.

Today, Daniel is like a fish out of water, hence his desperation for a reunion with Ogun PDP by all means. Unfortunately, in trying to reunite with the PDP in Ogun State, he is not willing to follow the laid-down procedure of the party – go back to his ward and rejoin the party. Perhaps, he believes that as a former chief executive of the state, it would be too demeaning for him to be subjected to such party procedures. He has not also helped matters by his blunt refusal to make up with those whom he had stepped or even crushed their toes during the 2011 general election. Above all, there is also this problem of trying to seize the control of the PDP in Ogun State, a move many of the stakeholders consider insulting and outlandish.

Apart from the kid’s gloves with which Mr. President, Tukur and the party hierarchy in Abuja are treating Daniel for reasons best known to them, some of the past governors of PDP, namely Segun Oni, Olusegun Agagu and Alao Akala, are also believed to be fronting for him and doing whatever is possible to bring him back to the fold. Of particular mention is Oni, who, as former Vice-Chairman of the party in the Southwest, preoccupied himself with the task of bringing in the embattled former governor. Unfortunately, that solo effort has led to his sudden ouster from the exalted position.

By now, all the powerful men of yesterday must have seen the nakedness of power. They are now like political lepers, courtesy of selfishness and greed. What is certain is that Tukur may have only scored a Pyrrhic victory as the Southwest PDP, particularly Ogun PDP, gets further enmeshed and embroiled in internal wrangling. Until genuine reconciliation is effected, the crisis in Ogun State PDP is far from being over. In fact, it has just begun!

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