The confrontation between the Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party PDP, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, and the Governor of Jigawa State, Alhaji Sule Lamido, resembles the 1973 Arab-Israeli war in some respects.
In 1973, the Arab neighbours of Israel agreed to launch attacks on the Jewish State, meaning that battle fronts will be opened on Israel-Egypt border; Syria – Israel border; Lebanon-Israel and Jordan-Israel. The war began on all fronts, except that in the case of Jordan, King Hussein, the ruler at that time whispered to the Americans that Israel needed not worry about his own front. It is a fluke or fifth columnist war front. “We will not shoot at Israel. We will fire into the air. Israel should concentrate their energy on other fronts.”
My sense of what is going on between the governor and the national chairman amounts to no more than shadow boxing. It is the President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, not Tukur, who should be in the ring against Lamido and I will explain this shortly.
The latest face-off between Lamido and Tukur on the pages of newspapers began the week before when the governor called the national chairman a “virus”. In fact, he described him as a “virus worse than polio,” that stubborn, highly contagious virus that leads to paralysis and death.
The reading of Lamido’s criticism of the party leader is that under Tukur’s watch, the PDP had become weaker and characterized by lack of performance and lack of commitment to the country and its people. Instead of giving good governance, the party and office holders have all become puppets singing lullaby of the President, ignoring the problems of the party itself and of the people such as security, jobs, education and so forth.
Tukur’s surprising reaction came by way of admission that he was indeed a virus.
In a statement by his Media Adviser, Oliver Okpala, the PDP Chairman said that “the virus is a necessary virus in any democratic political structure for sustenance and continuity of our nascent democratic dispensation”.
In trying to make light of the virus charges, Tukur clearly showed a total lack of understanding of the seriousness of the charge and the actual meaning of a virus. There is no such thing anywhere as a positive virus. A virus, wherever it is found, in living things or in computers has a detrimental effect, such as corrupting the system or destroying data. The word virus is itself borrowed from Latin, originally meaning a poison or toxin. Without knowing it, Alhaji Tukur had further damaged his own reputation by accepting the charge that he is a virus in the PDP.
Having said this, it is a known fact that the political spectrum in the PDP is clearly divided between the President, with an eye on 2015, and those who want to succeed him through an election. The argument of those elements is that the nation has paid the price by wasting six years under Mr. Jonathan and that nothing under the sun justifies anyone fooling the country any more.
What this calls for on the part of Lamido, who apparently wants to replace Mr. Jonathan, is to know or identify your target/enemy and go after him. A party Chairman under the PDP has stopped being a respectable job since the forced exit of Chief Audu Ogbeh and to an extent Vincent Ogbulafor. The PDP national chairman is no more than a personal assistant watching over Wadata House on behalf of the President. Obasanjo wrote this role.
The actual levers of control of the party are in the Presidential Villa. Any occupant of that position who is not ready to succumb to that will not last a day longer in that office. Party “Chairmen” like Mr. Tukur understand the way the game is played and that is why they are able to last in that position. It is true that the coming of Tukur has dirtied the social, political, communal and democratic atmosphere in the party but he is not the enemy to be fought. It is the President with divisive policies from which the country has been harvesting hatred. In that respect, Lamido is fighting the wrong enemy. Alhaji Sabo Bakin Zuwo warned of the dangers of holding the bus conductor accountable for the actions of the driver. The wrong enemy is being fought.
On a final note, it is instructive from here that Lamido and all the governors fighting Tukur, be they 5, 7 or 14 are just raising unnecessary emotions and wasting everyone’s time. No PDP Chairman under the present circumstances of the party will be better than Tukur, even if that Chairman answers the name of Governor A or Governor B. The virus they should be talking about is not embodied in individuals but embedded in the structural defect that vests ownership and control of the party in one man, the President. It is too much power that is open to abuse not just by this President but anyone that inherits those powers. Without changing that structural defect, things will continue to get worse for the party.
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