The PDP Serio-Comedy, By Babayola Toungo

Babayola Toungo

My abhorrence for suspense makes me hate watching any TV programme that is produced in series. The fact that I have to make myself free at an appointed time, find fuel for my generator as an insurance against the PHCN’s legendary unreliability, makes me avoid watching ‘serialised soaps’. Whenever I find one that catches my fancy is to wait till at least a whole season’s production is available, get it, create time and convenience (read – availability of chop money), and then proceed to watch the soap. This leads me to the current soap in town, produced and directed by the PDP. They are driving me crazy because of the irregularity in the release of the episodes. The suspense is killing me and I don’t find that funny. The recent offering is the muscle flexing between Bamanga Tukur, the National Chairman, with President Goodluck as his corner man and Olagunsoye Oyinlola, the ex-national secretary, with ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo/ governors in his corner. This particular instalment has all the makings of a bestseller and that is why I am compelled to ‘watch’ till the end.

The spark for the current standoff may, to all intents and purposes, be the Adamawa State chapter crisis; but the embers have been smouldering ever since the third term ambition of Obasanjo was scuttled by ‘unpatriotic’ elements. To take his pound of flesh, Obasanjo foisted a sick presidential candidate (may he rest in peace) and an incompetent, provincial presidential running mate on the PDP, and by extension, the nation. With the late president incapacitated, Goodluck and Obasanjo used every sentiment – religious, regional, ethnic – to enable the former assume executive powers. After testing ‘real power’ and wanting more, Goodluck practically genuflected before the clergy and the governors to realise his ambition. While the clergy turned their pulpits into soapbox stands, the governors used all the rigging machinery at their disposal – police commissioners, INEC resident commissioners, the military and of course thugs to make sure Goodluck Jonathan is “installed” the president of Nigeria. Knowing his provincial worldview, the governors believed they have a weakling in the Aso Villa. Now the chickens are coming home to roost.

The dissolution of the Adamawa State executive council of the PDP, which the INEC had earlier called for its dissolution along with eight other states, provided the governors with a perfect alibi to strike at the president and Nigerians. Or so they thought. After suborning some members of the National Working Committee (NWC) to reverse itself on the Adamawa case, the governors and their point man, Oyinlola, were blinded by a sense of victory that they didn’t see the fangs bared by Goodluck and his battering ram, the national chairman. The muscle flexing spearheaded by Oyinlola consumed him as its first victim. The national chairman felt betrayed by the action of the ‘gang of 10’ as Dr. Umar Ardo, one of the arrowheads for the dissolution of the Adamawa State EXCO of the party, portrayed them. That Oyinlola and his cohorts – those in the NWC doing the biddings of the governors and Obasanjo, ‘betrayed his trust’, whatever it may mean.

On this issue of ‘betrayal of trust’, I will beg to vehemently disagree with Bamanga Tukur. It is well known that one of the ingredients that oils the wheels of the PDP is betrayal of trust beginning with Obasanjo himself who betrayed the ‘trust reposed’ in him by those who risked all to transform him overnight from a jailbird to a president; or closer home to Atiku Abubakar who betrayed Bamanga, Professor Aminu, Wilberforce Juta and Joel Madaki, after it was agreed way back in 1998 to give Atiku the gubernatorial ticket of the party in Adamawa State while the others are free to pursue other interests at the zonal and national levels. Because of the party’s unstated motto of killing off members with democratic principles or even pretensions of democracy, the PDP is today shorn off of all its original founders – not because of retirement from active politics or as a way of handing over to younger elements in the party. Obasanjo, the greatest beneficiary of the aluta against the military militarised the party and till date, the party remains more like the old Russian Communist party than anything resembling a democratic institution.

The crisis in the Adamawa state of the party is needless, to say the least. At the conclusion of the party’s congresses around February/ march 2011, the (Independent?) National Electoral Commission (I)NEC adjudged the Adamawa Congresses and eight other states’ congresses to be flawed. This was well before the current National Working Committee (NWC) headed by Bamanga Tukur was selected by the party’s “national leader” Goodluck Jonathan. The NWC’s mistake was in allowing those states’ EXCOs that emerged through fraudulent means to remain in place for this long instead of sacking them as advised by the (I)NEC since last year. Leaving them in place and dealing with the illegal EXCOs made the governors believe they have gotten away with the illegality and in the process rubbing the nose of the electoral ‘umpire’ in the dust. Not that I blame them. The time wasted by the NWC in dealing with this illegality made them appear to take on the garb of legitimacy. This is not any business of mine. What concerns me here is the infrequency of the episodes. Since the one where the national secretary of the party was kicked out of office by a Federal High Court in Abuja, the soap seem to have come to a noiseless halt. Except for the trailers that we are shown – the pledge of fidelity by a group that goes by the name “NWC Deputies”, we can’t as yet with certainty say what the next instalment will be.

The national chairman of the party may not be a saint but if one is to go by what he has been saying about transforming the party, then he should be supported by all the members and be fought. I must confess here that the word “transformation” has taken an eerie meaning for me in present day Nigeria. If the chairman’s transformation agenda is in line with the president’s, then may God save us all. It is my friend who calls the party Pat Dum Pewe, which in Fulfulde language goes for: all are lies!


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