In the midst of the ripples and drama, political pundits are worried about the approach of the ruling party in handling the fallout of the defections.
The Nigerian political sphere appears to be quaking. While old alliances are crumbling, new interests and blocs are taking shape. In the face of these razzmatazz and realignment, the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), appears to be taking the biggest hit.
In the National Assembly, its rank and file is depleting. The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in alliance with other opposition parties has taken control of the senate. With the defection yesterday of president of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, to his former party, the PDP has firmly taken charge of the upper legislative chamber.
In the Green Chamber, the political interplay is not different. Although the APC still holds the ace, the eventual defection of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, to the PDP, will alter the political dynamics ahead of the 2019 general election.
The same defection blues is reverberating at the state level. Already, some governors may be on their way out of APC. In the midst of the ripples and drama, political pundits are worried about the approach of the ruling party in handling the fallout of the defections.
Pundits, in their various verdicts, are perturbed that the ruling government has not handled the fallout well. In their arguments, they often recall a similar movement from the former ruling PDP to APC in 2014, ahead of the 2015 general election.
On Monday for instance, it was a gale of Impeachment. In Imo, Kano and Benue, the same impeachment rhythm sounded so loud. While Benue governor may have survived the impeachment scare, the battle is not over yet.
In 2015, Saraki led other PDP senators to APC. In the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal, who was the Speaker then, led the mass defection to APC. Unlike the ruling PDP then, which many political commentators agreed were civil in the way and manner it handled the fallout, the APC-led Federal Government appears not to be magnanimous in defeat.
Governor of Benue State, who in 2015 defected to APC, is on the verge of being “booted out through the back door.” Tambuwal, whose defection in 2015 played a major role in securing a decisive victory for President Muhammadu Buhari, is also expected to announce his defection any time soon.
For Dr Tanko Umaru, a political commentator, the Federal Government “must allow political actors pitch their tents with any party that serves their interest. That is the beauty of democracy. They must learn to accept that some people must leave and that of Tambuwal should not be an exception.”
In his chat with Daily Sun, Dr. Umaru, who hails from Kaduna State, said, having lived a better part of his life in the North-west, where both President Buhari and Tambuwal hail from, he was in a better position to give an informed opinion on the happenings there.
He said: “Speculations had been high before now on the move by Tambuwal. For the governor, who, as Speaker of the House of Representatives, played a key role in the formation of the APC, leaving the party at a time it should have been consolidating on the unusual feat of beating the then ruling PDP in 2015 elections, is not an easy decision.
“As a foundation member of the APC who had literally staked his live in bringing the party to being, Tambuwal had watched with pains as the party serially deviates from the principles and objectives that it had advertised at inception.
“The governor and some of these founders who had left before him, were said to have done all they could to halt the drift in the APC without success. Aside being excluded in the affairs of the party, they had watched as the party got hijacked by those who saw it as an avenue to feather their nests and boost their political profile.
“In the process, the organisation, which had chorused change as its mantra while seeking votes from Nigerians, has in the last three years of its coming to power, turned a huge albatross to them. In place of inclusive governance and robust democracy which the party pledged, it has gradually but persistently taken the odious route of civilian autocracy.
“Consequently, all opinions that tended to suggest a return to sanity and playing according to the rule, had been ignored or considered affront to the authorities. Sycophancy and absence of internal democracy have in the process; become the prevailing trends in the party.
“Thus, convinced that APC no longer hold much in providing the desired platform for meeting the expectations of the electorate at all levels, Tambuwal, is taking an honourable exit from its fold.
“In making the bold move, the governor is acting in line with the action of some of his colleagues in the National Assembly, who last week, defected. On Tuesday last week, 14 Senators and 32 members of the House of Representatives had in one fell swoop dumped the APC for the PDP.
“Benue State governor, Samuel Ortom, has also taken similar action. More are expected to do so in the weeks ahead. They are united in the action by complaints of leadership failure at party and federal government levels.
“Curiously, rather than look inwards and address the issues raised by those trooping out of the APC, both President Muhammadu Buhari and the party chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, prefer riding on their metaphorical high horses, selling the impression that the exodus of the key party members does not really matter.
“That, incidentally, is the main problem of the party. That also accounts for the reason such dedicated members as Tambuwal, who worked tirelessly for the APC formation and fortification had to quit the fold. This is a tragedy of sort,” he added.
Arguing further, he said Tambuwal’s defection offers a fresh breathe and better atmosphere to render service to Nigerians. A major feature in his movement is that he has the buy-in of critical stakeholders in his state and other parts of the country.
“This is why the APC leadership has not been taking his exit lightly. Realising the momentous impact his exit from PDP had on the party four years ago and the gains it wrought on APC, it becomes easy to understand why the ruling party has been jittery.
“Ironically, rather than address its mind to the realities of the day, the leaders of the party have been making insinuations and suggestions, referring to the governor as a man of unstable political tendencies – a political prostitute of sort.
“But that begs the question and simply amounts to cheap blackmail. The Nigerian Constitution, for one, has room for freedom of choice and freedom of association.
“President Buhari, for instance, who had started off as a chieftain of the All Peoples Party (APP) that later became All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), and actually ran for the presidency on the platform, later dumped it for the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) before the party fused into APC,” Umaru said.