From Desmond Mgboh, Kano
The recent verdict by the Supreme Court of Nigeria, ending the lingering crisis that had ravaged the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has set a note for many possibilities.
Among the fresh possibilities, Daily Sun gathered, is the revival of the party and its structures in hundreds of locations where it once held sway, but has since become a relic of its own past, following the 2015 General Elections defeat.
Kano State, home to Mallam Aminu Kano and his radical politics, represents one of the many vibrant states in the North where the PDP was sledge- hammered and discarded in favour of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Just before the 2015 electoral contest, a fierce power play sparked off between the center, led by the then President Goodluck Jonathan and the then Kano State governor, Dr. Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, which dramatically resulted in the exit of the governor from the party, and a loss of the incumbency the PDP would have enjoyed in the state.
In this light, thousands changed their loyalty, changed from their accustomed shade to sweeping broom while those that stayed back in the PDP on principle or for whatever reason, suffered differently and bitterly. In fact, at the State House of Assembly, the then Speaker, Hon. Gambo Salau, who refused to decamp with Dr. Kwankwaso, suffered no mean a setback. He was eventually compelled to step down after he discovered that a majority of his party members and fellow legislators had abandoned him in the PDP.
But it was the election of Muhammad Buhari as the presidential candidate of the APC in December 2014 that spurred a record breaking switch. Overnight, scores of members of the PDP in Kano State discarded their party membership cards and embraced a new order. With time, Kano became the adopted home of Buhari, as the Buhari thing became synonymous with the agreed norm, making it difficult to uphold a PDP value in the state.
The posters of the party and their candidates, pasted at night, were torn or defaced before dawn. Known PDP faithful were threatened openly in their communities to decamp or be harmed. And many caved in.
The altitude of the leaders of the party in the state between 2014 and the Election Day bore marks of an unimaginable conspiracy and codes of deceit. These leaders, renowned names in politics, offered little or no resistance to the rivalry of the opposition. Many of them, who had been refinanced in Abuja for the purpose of the campaign, took refuge in their homes while their party sank.
When the elections came, it was predictable. The PDP in Kano State lost dismally and woefully. Comrade Aminu Belli, Chairman of a Coalition of Party Aspirants and Candidates in the 2014 and 2015 Elections told Daily Sun that “there was a strong suspicion or belief that the party elders and executives deliberately caused the unprecedented woeful performance of the party in the 2014 Local Government elections and in the 2015 General elections, ensuring that in both crucial elections no single elective position was clinched by the PDP”
And since that stream of defeats, the party has remained in coma, resulting in its inability to retrace its old steps. Mohammed Bello, a Public Affairs commentator in the state, hinted that the party was yet to revive itself due to the leadership crisis at the national level, although he confessed that there had been occasional midnight meetings of stakeholders at different locations.
“I think many members of the party had been waiting for this verdict. Nobody wanted to make a slip he would regret. The judgment of the Supreme Court is apt and timely. It came at a time that is enough for them to rebuild and re-strategize. The rest is left for them,” he stated
Alhaji Usman Aminu Ajingi, an academic said” I don’t think the party (PDP) has shown any hunger to unseat Ganduje in 2019. They are sleeping. So, let us just agree that they would turn a new leaf in the coming days. But as of today and as I speak, PDP is not the opposition party in the state. It is of no consequence in Kano. APC Kwankwaso is the opposition party while APC Ganduje is the ruling party in the state”.
There is no doubt that Kano State is certainly too big for a one party state in the way it is presently disposed and the PDP has the wherewithal to scramble for power again. Talk of the number of political big wigs, the PDP has them in no small measure while its silent followership across the landscape of the state is not in dispute.
Ambassador Aminu Wali, Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau, Senator Bello Hayatu Gwarzo, Hajia Baraka Sani, Dr. Akilu Indabawa, Senator Lado, Col Habibu Shuaibu, Alhaji Lawal Farouk and many more. All these men of valour could make the party strong again.
Analysts in Kano State also indicated that the APC in the state has far reaching problems and internal wranglings sufficient enough to wither down its influence or entirely discharge it in the state in 2019. They said it was an advantage for the PDP.
”At the center also, the economic relief that was promised to ordinary Nigerians has remained a pipe dream, the security crisis that was a major campaign pledge is yet to abate; the unemployment rate is worsening every day, “ said a federal civil servant who said he should not be quoted
“What about peace and unity among Nigerians? It has never been this bad since the civil war. With the APC government, it went wild. So, I think if PDP should speak well, they would have a lot of listeners across Nigeria, including in Kano State”, he added.
One of the many easy ways, but which could undermine the overall revival of the party in the state is the temptation to lap after the people in power. This is a very tempting possibility and in many ways than one, many leaders in the PDP are as guilty as charged.
Rather than take advantage of the widening conflict and crisis in the APC in the state, the PDP members are befriending different factions of the APC in the state for reasons which only them could say.
Some pundits have pointed disdaining fingers at the marriage of interests between the governor of the state, who is a member of the APC, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje and the former governor of the state, Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau, who is a leader of the PDP in the state.
Although it is rightly argued that the relationship is not in error in the light of the fact that Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau, a former governor, is entitled to continue to avail his wealth of experience in the service of the state, they feared that such a position would deny him the “curve and independence to initiate and pursue the necessary counter attacks on behalf of his party against the governor and the State APC.”
Arguments of this nature have indeed rekindled the rivalry between personal instinct and collective exploit; between sacrifice and benefits and between courage and cowardice in the Kano PDP.
Today, the lower stratum of Kano PDP are boiling and accusing the elders of not doing enough to show the way out of the present wood. They are meeting and they are saying that if the aged is tired, now is the time to retire.
In every way thinkable, Daily Sun further learnt, there is no doubt that the party is in dire need of the facility of good, selfless and courageous leadership at all levels. And except these well nurtured values of courage, sacrifice, collective spirit, justice and fairness return to the party in the state, the gains of the Supreme Court judgment may well be in vain and the euphoria ahead of a balanced and competitive politics in the state may just be a burst of empty air.