by Silas Dahiru
Is President Goodluck Jonathan weary of this tricky, desperate but yet delicate political game, secretly unfolding for 2019 in his own party, and which is capable of undermining his 2015 project? Let a President who has a discerning heart understands the politics of time and the other side of the matter. It is wisdom for a king to search out a matter and act appropriately. This is indeed an interesting time in our politics, such that calculation for 2019 is gradually altering certain political decisions for 2015. The scheming towards the October 11, 2014 Adamawa State Governorship bye-election is one of such dangerous acts. It is strictly an unfolding permutation within the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP), as the All Progressive Congress (APC) has no luxury of this kind of thinking or game for now.
The media has been inundated with different kind of news making round about a secret plan by the PDP National Chairman, Alhaji Adamu Muazu, to influence the PDP governorship ticket for his in-law Mallam Nuhu Ribadu. This conspiracy is real and founded, as Ribadu, a card carrying member of the APC and a former Presidential Candidate of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), has been consulting with his APC leadership in the last two weeks, to exploit this opportunity to the fullest. Unknown to Muazu, whose reason for courting Ribadu, was motivated by 2019; the former anti-graft boss is also secretly assuring the APC leadership of using the PDP platform to recover the Adamawa seat of power back for the party. Yet Muazu has been sending secrete emissaries to delegates in Adamawa that Ribadu has the blessing of Jonathan. He has also under this plan gotten a financial life-line from a rich businessman to finance it.
The loss of Osun State has significantly altered the gains from Ekiti State and the general political calculation of the Jonathan’s camp for 2019. Therefore, Adamawa State must not fall into the hand of the opposition, if the PDP must make a good electoral showing in the North-East to complement votes from other zones of the country. With the APC now having a significant presence in the North-Central and holding a key State in Kwara, victory is becoming harder for the Jonathan’s camp. That is why any costly mistake to allow the APC get Adamawa State, will definitely be adding salt to the existing political injury of the PDP for the President election. It is on record that Ribadu and Alhaji Abubakar Atiku were the two major APC stalwarts patronized by the impeached former governor, Admiral Murtala Nyako (retd) to save his seat. Ribadu already has his mind made up for Gen. Mohammadu Buhari’s ambition.
Is Muazu weighing his option very well and at whose cost? With the ease at which politicians decamp and encamp in Nigeria, Ribadu will not find it morally challenging to ditch the PDP before the 2015 general election. Let it be known to President Jonathan and his camp that a Ribadu will never guarantee him any political mileage. From whichever side of the coin it is viewed; it is going to count against Jonathan. Aside Muazu’s wrong move to have Ribadu hold forte for him in Adamawa, there is also this trait of false sense of entitlements that radiates in the likes of Ribadu, Nasir El-Rufai, Obiagelli Ezekwesili and others. For a Ribadu, he will be doing the PDP a great favour to be picked as a governorship candidate. Unfortunately, the only thing Muazu is selling to the President on this project is the idea of ‘a big catch,’ from the APC for 2015.
Let the PDP National Chairman recollects that the Presidency of Nigeria is not for the swift or the strong, but for God who allows whoever He wills to occupy Aso Rock. If it is by strength, Atiku or Buhari should be about now completing 8 years in the saddle. Pride goes before destruction, Muazu is so much consumed with the praises coming from Mr. President every now and then as ‘the game changer’. There is nothing bad in appreciating the giant strides recorded by the two-time former governor of Bauchi State. Give it to him; he has contributed his quota in helping the PDP to stabilize. Let it also not be misplaced, Muazu has the inalienable right to contest the Presidency in 2019, but not at the detriment of his own party and President Jonathan’s 2015 agenda.
The North-East and the South-East will be the major contenders for 2019 in the PDP. This is well known to Muazu and he is very interested. But, will a Muazu survive the PDP kind of politics till 2016, when the current tenure will expire? Even, the ratification of his mandate is silently generating a pocket resistance which may snowball into a big issue if quickly unchecked. Except if Muazu will want to quit his seat and go to the Senate to be well positioned for his Presidential bid, there will be no such viable platform between 2016 and 2019 to give him a major political mileage to make real his ambition. 24 hours is far too long in politics. Let him be magnanimous enough, for the opportunity given to him to serve the PDP.
Who says Ribadu cannot also re-launch his Presidential bid for 2015 as a sitting governor to give Jonathan a good fight? Who says Ribadu will not be interested in 2019 against the interest of Muazu ? Let the PDP National Chairman, weighs his political options very well before jeopardizing the interest of his party. Since Muazu has repeatedly maintained that the PDP under him will only accept popular candidates who emerge through internal party democracy and a free and fair primary, it is then wrong to want to change the goal post in the middle of the game in Adamawa State. This was the undoing of Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, the immediate past chairman of the PDP. It is on record that Muazu had promised party stakeholders that he would never interfere or influence the emergence of any candidate. It was that promise of a level-playing ground for all, which made Gov. Isa Yuguda of Bauchi, his home State to support his chairmanship bid. What has then changed for Muazu?
Adamawa State boasts of viable and strong political gladiators. The PDP currently has an array of popular aspirants contesting for the governorship seat. The likes of Jonathan Zwingina, Buba Marwa, Abubakar Girei, Umar Ardo, Ahmed Gulak and Ahmed Modibbo to mention but a few. These are strong contenders and any of them can hold forte for Jonathan in Adamawa State as against a political mole in Ribadu. APC is not joking about recovering its mandate in the bye-election; therefore it is wisdom for President Jonathan to see beyond the political gimmick of catching ‘a big fish’. A shark can always turn around to bite; Ribadu is no option for the PDP. President Goodluck Jonathan, you are told.
Silas Dahiru, a political commentator, writes from Yola, Adamawa State.