Last weekend the presidential election campaign shifted temporarily to Kaduna as the three frontline contenders for the top job were on the ground in different fora. The opposition Peoples Democratic Party’s Atiku Abubakar, the ruling All Progressives Congress Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and the Labour Party’s Peter Obi — all were attending different socio-political events in the Arewa city up north.
Obi was in Kaduna for his campaign stop-over and Governor Nasir el-Rufai decided to ratchet up an unfortunate incident that happened in Awka, Anambra State, a decade ago. Governor el-Rufai has administratively turned Kaduna into a killing field where terrorists and Fulani invaders kill at will. Christians in the state have been paying heavy bloody prices for their faith!
Yet, the former Minister talked childishly as if his state had not experienced enough bloodletting that should prick his conscience. According to the garrulous diminutive Governor Obi as Anambra State Governor had ordered his arrest inside his hotel for two days during a gubernatorial poll in the state. He argued vindictively that but for the ‘civilised’ nature of northerners he could have gone for his own pound of flesh now that Obi was in Kaduna using the DSS or even the army!
With his running mate, Senator Datti Baba-Ahmed, hailing from Kaduna state it is expected that Gov. el-Rufai and the APC and the PDP would be given a run for their money. The LP and ‘Obidients’ are expected to do well in Kaduna in particular and the north in general given the current trend.
During an Interactive Session with Arewa Joint Committee Atiku Abubakar decided to play ethnic politics by urging the northerners to see him as their choice and vote against others. While religion and ethnicism cannot be ruled out completely in Nigerian politics stoking the ember of tribal politics is dangerously reprehensible at this time when division has accentuated under Buharism.
And speaking at the Kaduna State Investment Summit Asiwaju Tinubu committed the gaffe of the century when he said Gov. el-Rufai’s services would still be required at the federal level upon the APC being re-elected. He said he “turned a rotten situation to a bad one!”
While Atiku’s Kaduna anti-Igbo/Yoruba declaration was pathetic and well beneath his pan-Nigerian claims Asiwaju’s grammatical somersault exposed a creeping dementia! And these are not the qualities Nigerians seek to enthrone in a new Nigeria that works for all come May next year.
Critics and critical stakeholders had collectively slammed Atiku for playing dangerous tribal politics and lambasted the Chicago State University ‘graduate’ for his diminishing intellect.
The opposition PDP stands a good chance of bouncing back to power next year if the emerging vociferous third force (LP’s Peter Obi) fails to get its acts together. But there are outstanding issues confronting the PDP which, if left unresolved, could jeopardise their chances at the polls.
One of the issues happens to be the Wike/Ayu rift. Having ruled Nigeria for sixteen unbroken years with structures implanted in practically every corner of the country the PDP apparatchiks are desperate to return to Aso Villa.
But the division in the party, the cacophony of discordant tunes emanating from different camps (each diametrically opposed) risk seeing the party imploded even before the crucial election.
On the one hand you have the Wike camp (Olabode George, Governors Seyi Makinde, Samuel Ortom, Jerry Gana etc) insisting adamantly that the National Chairman of the party, Dr Iyorchia Ayu, must resign following the emergence of Atiku as the flagbearer of the party.
They have been persistent and consistent in calling for Ayu’s ouster arguing strongly that the Chairman himself had pledged to quit upon a northerner trumping the opposition in the PDP National Convention.
Governor Wike had upped the ante by accusing Chairman Ayu of high-wire corruption! Of course, Ayu committed a ‘crime’ by openly endorsing Atiku during the convention and working hard for his dollarised emergence. By lauding the Sokoto State Governor, Aminu ‘Brutus’ Tambuwal, who withdrew at the eleventh hour for Atiku, Ayu betrayed his partisanship.
And on the other hand the Atiku/Ayu camp maintaining that Ayu must go in strict accordance and compliance with the party’s constitution. One does not know why Ayu and his supporters are still insisting that he stays put despite the fact that Atiku had emerged as the candidate of the party. If not filthy lucre then nothing justifies their stance!
But come to think of it all, is Ayu really from the north? Ayu hails from Benue State and that state cannot be called a northern state but a middle belt region of the country. It is the Hausa/Fulani politics of division that makes the state a part of the north for the politics of numbers purposes.
The Ayu/Wike feud has gone on for too long and the differences appear irreconcilable. With such mentality of if-you-Wike-me-I-will-Ayu-you prevailing and enduring the PDP may have lost the chance of sacking the APC mob from Aso Villa.
Without manifesting any support for any group we hold that Gov. Wike has a valid point and he has made it clearly. It is left to Atiku and his handlers to figure out if they can go the campaign without Wike and co by their side. The Rivers Governor has demonstrated his ‘love’ for the PDP ruling out decamping to any other party. But fears are rife that he may stay put and still work against the party come February.
To be sure we are of the opinion that Atiku’s desperate desire to succeed a fellow Fulani and Muslim in Aso Rock rankles. Jettisoning zoning in the PDP may have done a serious damage to the PDP’s credibility and acceptability on the national level.
But in a way the confusion from Wadata Plaza may well turn out to be a blessing in disguise for the ‘Obi-dients’. APC, too, may deem it advantageous enough yet the misruling party has its own fair share of internal wranglings especially the Muslim-Muslim ticket of Tinubu-Shettima presidency.
For PDP to succeed in the presidential poll, therefore, something must give! Someone (either Ayu or Wike) must be ‘sacrificed’ going forward. And the sooner that human ‘sacrifice’ is made to the gods the better for the opposition party.