One would need to think like the Biblical Daniel to be able to appreciate what must have been going on in his mind when he was, for no just cause, thrown into the den of lions. Was he sweating? Or was he just calm all through? Even if he was, being human could he have entertained some doubts about his own faith and convictions. We all face such difficult moments in our daily lives.
Two events dominated the media and Nigerian Political space in the last two weeks; one was the resignation of the former Governor of Ogun State and Director General of the Atiku Presidential Campaign Organisation (APCO), Otunba Gbenga Daniel from PDP and partisan politics and, the sham called Supplementary Governorship And Houses of Assembly elections in some states of the Nigerian federation. The one I find interesting for the moment, (I can’t help the election “supplements” situation) is the Daniel’s resignation and the icing on the cake, the purported decamping or defection of same into the rival All Peoples Congress barely twenty four hours after the announced resignation.
The issues raised in this matter bother on morality and betrayal of trust. Some argue on the propriety of the time he did; too early when Atiku is still in court trying to challenge the results of the election and reclaim his “stolen” mandate.
Just like I would give more than a penny for the thought to have a peep into the minds of the Biblical Daniel to know how he felt while in the Lion’s den, I have the same compulsion to read through the mind of this modern age Daniel. What exactly was on his mind; how is he relating to all these events and controversies. The answer may not necessarily lie in Daniel’s mind but in the Atiku Presidential campaign organisation itself. How did it function? What are the interplay of forces and the intrigues which removed the strength of morality and propriety of time, consultations and trust?
The Atiku Presidential campaigns gained a lot of tractions on the strength and assumptions that there is money- heavy money to be made by a lot of people. It has the largest number of Support Groups that refused to function as Volunteers which they should be, but cut out as a paid employment in expectation of gratifications and rewards. At the last count, the number of Support Groups are over one thousand and each boasting of having membership across the length and breadth of the country with a minimum of 1,000 members each. And on the average, over one million people claim to be members of the various Support Groups. Daniel’s crime Number One: fulfilling the desires and expectations of over one million people will be a tall order so Daniel might have unwittingly thrown himself in the den by choice; he has enrolled a course in a political university where no one has ever passed with honours.
Atiku also is on record as the longest and the most recycled presidential aspirant (candidate) in the recent history of Nigeria’s democracy. In the course of the years he has built a large retinue of personal staff who remain on his permanent payrolls and have by right carved a territory, formed a paternalistic view and claim a hold on his purse. They are surely and most likely to develop a mutual distrust of any newcomer(s) trying to usurp or take a slice off their comfort territory. This is a hell hole far deeper than a Lion’s den into which Daniel plunged.
Perhaps, and most probably if Daniel was fishing in familiar territory, some of these challenges could have been easier managed, it looks like he was alone, home and dry. The PDP appears like a very hostile and uncharted water when most of his colleagues and contemporaries in the party since 2003 have left in search of other plausible windows of expressions and political survival away from the choking outhouse of PDP. Rashidi Ladoja, Olagunsoye Oyinlola, Alao Akala, Musiliu Obanikoro, Segun Oni, Professor Tunde Adeniran etc. the fewer remnants of leaders function only at the fringes of party activities like some hired employees to keep up space in a political party; they take instructions from where the power of the party resides.
Daniel in a conservative Peoples Democratic Party could be a total stranger and this cross he had borne ever since he got elected on the platform of the party in 2003, he has been fishing in hostile waters, his progressive political ideology have clashed severally with the party’s ideology. His political views, dispositions, conducts and temperaments have been antithetical to what the PDP stands for and he was never too far away from constant brushes with the powers that be in the party. The entire problem of PDP started from Ogun State around 2009 where he, as a sitting governor was stripped of the power to control the affairs of the same party which he nurtured for over six years. Instead, that power was vested in a totally new comer to the state’s politics; he was not allowed to instal a successor in Prince Gboyega Nasir Isiaka.
Several attempts to stage a come back were clearly rebuffed by the “owners of the land and party”, even when he sought to lead the party as national chairman, deploying all arsenal in a nationwide campaigns for an office which was assumed to have been zoned to the South West as a strategic move to strengthen the party in the region, until he was persuaded to step down like most other contestants (Bode George, Jimi Agbaje, Rashidi Ladoja) from the South West. That was the PDP in which Daniel was ready to go into the gulag for.
Not done yet, on the strength of the colourful campaign in his chairmanship bid, Daniel got another rare opportunity to prove himself, capacity and commitment as he was appointed to lead the Atiku Presidential campaigns where he deployed his dexterity in the management of men and resources. He was able to steer Atiku to victory in a keenly contested primaries with about twelve contestants in Port Harcourt. And no sooner has he done what was considered unthinkable than the “owners of the land” rose again. This Daniel must be cut short at all cost. Daniel had only planted a tree in a dessert, and like Moses who struck the rod on the rock of life, he can only see the Promised Land from a distance, a Joshua would have to lead the “Israelites” to God’s promise. And so, it was that PDP prosecuted its campaigns like a people who have already won an election even before the votes were cast and counted.
There lies the burden of Daniel’s morality: to stay or not to stay. The moral compass which were not invoked for former President Olusegun Obasanjo when he left and torn his PDP membership card in 2014, not for former Vice President Atiku Abubakar when he moved in and out of PDP to pick the ticket of Action Congress (AC) in 2007 and APC in 2014, not for Bola Ahmed Tinubu who was changing the names and identity of his political parties at every turn, not for President Mohammadu Buhari who left from ANPP to CPC and eventually to APC, not for Bukola Saraki, for Kwakwanso and for Godwill Akpabio when they leave the same PDP in 2014 to work for and got elected on the platform of APC, now became a banner on which Daniel must be judged. It appears political morality is only a Daniel’s Cross.
While Daniel must have been imprisoned in a moral gaol of his own convictions, chained by the propriety of Time of his choice movement, to wait till the court matter for Atiku to reclaim his mandate is dispensed with, only a few give it a thought “to play what role?”. His office which is already up for grabs by less competent hands? Is he a lawyer? What other assurances of relevance has been given and accorded him. The whole of South West states where he comes from, except Oyo, are safely in Opposition hands. How many Yoruba prominent politicians are playing leading roles in the PDP at the national level. Politics of principle must be rooted in a solid foundation, and political leadership is a function of followers and those who believe and trust in the capacity of a leader to take the right decision and lead them to a safer destination. The God of Daniel stood by him in the Bible and that was why he was accepted as a Prophet and a Judge over the Israelites. Should a leader wait till all those those who repose their trust in him leave in droves or one after another before reestablishing his leadership. Those who criticise Daniel definitely are not those who want to follow him, but more of those who feel he was at a time the man who usurped their daily bread, those who felt he did not allow them to milk from the Atiku Presidential, campaigns, those who are also threatened of what they fear might be his next political moves, and of course those who genuinely felt concerned with inadequate information about the Cross he had to bear and what he must have gone through.
If Daniel’s supporters insist he should and must lead them to another party, logic prevails he must hearken to the voices of those who truly believe in him and trust his leadership and not those who he cannot truly please no matter what he does; that is the hallmark of true leadership. Of course Daniel has promised not to abandon Atiku in his trying time, but what if Atiku abandons him?
Yiseyon (email@example.com) is a social commentator, writes from Badagry Lagos, Nigeria.
2023 Presidency: Tinubu Chases Fayemi Out Of Kano
As Southwest presidential hopefuls begin to seek support across the country, the Ekiti state governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi has experienced a shock treatment in Kano.
The Ekiti state governor’s hope of a support base in the populous Northern Nigeria state has been dashed by his political godfather, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, himself a Presidential aspirational.
ThePageNews reliably gathered that, in the bid to erect a political base in the state, Fayemi raised a strategic campaign cum lobby group,to penetrate Kano state and establish a noticeable presence, as foundation for a potential massive political platform to work for the actualization of the alleged presidential ambition of the former Minister.
According to ThePageNews source, Fayemi’s men were told in Kano that they should look elsewhere for support for their principal, as major relevant political groups in the state have pledged support for the aspiration of Tinubu.
It was further gathered that, the Fayemi team which refused to give up hope easily, intensified on their lobby, but couldn’t find a headway,as they were told by every group in the state about their allegiance to Tinubu’s presidential ambition.
Our source mentioned that, the Kano area has been locked down politically by the APC leader, Asiwaju, to sustain his presidential ambition of 2023.
It was further gathered that, the move to secure Kano ahead of the 2023 political game, especially as it affects Tinubu’s ambition was strategic.
ThePageNews was told that, because of the population relevance of the state to presidential elections, Tinubu who is a friend to the Kano state governor, Abdulahi Ganduje, has used the influence of the governor to secure,what our source described as a cult followership for Tinubu in the pursuit of his presidential ambition.
Senator Shehu Sanni Dumps PRP, May Join PDP
Senator Shehu Sani, who represented Kaduna Central in the 8th National Assembly, has resigned his membership of the Peoples Redemption Party (PRP).
He has not declared interest in joining another party but there are feelers he may join the opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP) any moment from now.
In his resignation letter dated July 9, 2021 addressed to PRP chairman in ward 6, Tudun Wada, Kaduna, Sani said the notice to leave the party was with immediate effect.
It reads: “I wish to officially notify you of my decision to step aside from the Peoples Redemption Party. This notice takes effect from today.
“I hope we shall continue to relate in the spirit of our struggle, our shared history and our common ideological principles.”
Shehu Sani joined the PRP in October 2018 after he failed to win the primary of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the 2019 Kaduna central senatorial seat.
The National Working Committee (NWC) of the APC had cleared Shehu Sani as the only candidate for the primary but Kaduna Governor Nasir El-Rufai kicked against it.
Subsequently, a primary election was conducted in the district and Uba Sani, the preferred candidate of El-Rufai, won the party’s ticket.
Shehu Sani boycotted the primary and filed an appeal but Uba Sani’s details were sent to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), as the APC candidate for the election
The former Senator served on the platform of the APC but was critical of President Muhammadu Buhari and Governor El-Rufai’s governments from 2015-2019
Plaintiffs Want New Election As Court Fixes July Date For Matawalle Removal Suit
The Federal High Court, sitting in Abuja has fixed July 16 for the hearing of a suit, which kick-started the legal battle by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to unseat the Governor of Zamfara State, Hon. Bello Matawalle, for defecting to the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The suit, filed in the names of two PDP members from Zamfara State, Sani Ahmed and Abubakar Muhammed, is seeking to oust the governor for dumping the PDP.
The duo, in the suit, marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/489/2021 is contending that in view of an earlier judgment of the Supreme Court that the APC had no candidates in the 2019 governorship election in Zamfara State, having not conducted valid primaries, it would be unlawful for Matawalle to retain his office while defecting from the PDP to the APC, and thereby transfer PDP’s victory to the APC.
The plaintiffs want the court to, among others, declare that Matawalle must resign from his office before his defection to allow the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct a fresh election, within three months, for the PDP to replace him.
The governor, two weeks ago, had defected from the PDP, which brought him to power to the ruling APC, an action which the plaintiffs considered wrong, illegal and unlawful.
When the matter was called yesterday, lead counsel for the plaintiffs, Chief Kanu Agabi (SAN), who argued the ex-parte application, told the court that the plaintiffs have been unable to serve processes on the defendants hence the request to do so through substituted means.
He prayed for an order “granting leave to the plaintiffs/applicants to serve the motion on notice seeking leave to amend hearing notices and all other processes on the first and second defendants by substituted means, to with: pasting same at the Zamfara State liaison office at No: 6/7 Sangha Street, off Mississippi Street, Maitama District, Abuja or leaving it with any adult person in that office.”
Justice Inyang Ekwo in a short ruling, granted the request as prayed and ordered service of the originating processes on Matawalle and his deputy, Alhaji Mahdi Gusau, through the national secretariat of APC in Abuja.
Justice Ekwo thereafter fixed July 16 for the report of court papers on the two defendants.
The plaintiffs, who claimed to be members of the PDP in Zamfara State, want the court to among others declare that Matawalle and Gusau must resign from their offices before their defection to allow INEC to conduct a fresh election, within three months, for the PDP to replace them.
Filed on June 17, 2021 before Matawalle eventually defected to the APC, the suit has as defendants: Matawalle, Gusau, APC, and INEC.
Ahmed in an affidavit he deposed to in support of the suit, is claiming that he suffered along with other members of the PDP in Zamfara State and that Matawalle and Gusau’s defection would deprive them of the efforts they put into ensuring PDP’s victory in the election.
The deponent stated that it would amount to injustice against him and other members of the PDP in Zamfara if Matawalle and Gusau, being beneficiaries of the Supreme Court judgment were allowed to defect to the APC without relinquishing their current offices.
“As one of the members of PDP, who worked tirelessly and invested so much of our time and money to secure the victory of our party in the 2019 governorship election in Zamfara State, the second plaintiff and I will be highly prejudiced if the offices we worked so hard to win for PDP is transferred to APC, through the defection of the first and second defendants (Matawalle and Gusau), while they are still in the offices into which they were elected as members of and as candidates sponsored by PDP.
“As indigenes of Zamfara State, who joined other indigenes of the state to give our collective mandate for the governorship of Zamfara State to PDP, the second plaintiff and I will be highly prejudiced if the mandate we gave to PDP in respect of that office is transferred unilaterally by the first and second defendants to APC, who did not participate in or sponsor any candidate in the said election,” they said.
The plaintiffs want the court to declare “that the APC, which did not hold primaries for the governorship election in Zamfara State in 2019 and did not participate or sponsor a candidate in the said election cannot lawfully occupy through any of its members the office of the governor or deputy governor of Zamfara State which, by the combined effect of sections 177(c), 187(2) and 221 of the constitution, is meant for persons who are members of a political party that participated in and sponsored candidates in the election into those offices.
“A declaration that by the combined effect of sections 177(c), 187(2) and 221 of the constitution, the first and second defendants, which were elected into office as governor and deputy governor respectively of Zamfara State as members of, and as candidates sponsored by the PDP, cannot transfer those offices to the APC by defecting to that political party while they are still in office as governor and deputy governor of Zamfara State in view of the judgment of the Supreme Court in Appeal No. SC/377/2019 between the APC and another vs. Senator Kabiru Garba Marafa and 179 others, to the effect, that the APC did not participate in the 2019 governorship election of Zamfara State and therefore its members are not entitled to hold the office of governor or deputy governor of Zamfara State.”
Meanwhile, the PDP in another application is seeking to be joined as an interested party in the suit.
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