Despite these turn of events, APC is still exercising its bragging rights. When Buba Galadima came out with R-APC, there was room for rapprochement.
In the last few days, the most used lexical item is the word defection. In government circle, corporate world, market place, political groups, schools and any setting that hosts human community of reasonable mental elevation, the word dominates discussions. This is because the Nigerian politics and the players who are never lacking in drama and razzmatazz have through their actions forced an urgent deployment of the phrase, once again putting our politics into a ding dong mode.
Defection is not a totally new word to the Nigerian political lexicon. The word which was first used in 1546 is a noun which means “conscious abandonment of allegiance or duty to a person, cause or doctrine”. In summary, it means desertion. Its verb form, defect, shares the same meaning but with expanded semantic shift to provide more explicit meaning like “to leave a political party, organization”, etc. But despite its long duration of existence, defection has not been an everyday word. It comes in handy in seasons and disappears after such period.
READ ALSO: Brouhaha over defections
The last time the word defection was heard and used at the scale we are witnessing today in Nigeria was 2013. On February 6, 2013, the then national leader of Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu initiated talks with other registered political parties to explore ways of forming a coalition to confront and defeat the then ruling People’s Democratic Party in the general election which was scheduled for 2015. The discussions which involved Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) ; Congress for Progressive Change (CPC); and All Nigeria People’s Party, ANPP which was admitted into the planned alliance to avoid the formation of a third force while building a formidable bloc to take over power at the centre. The group continued with the talks and on July 31, 2013 obtained approval from INEC to transmute into a political party.
While the parties were plotting the ouster of the People’s Democratic Party through the formation of a formidable alliance, cracks resulting from impunity and other irreconcilable differences had begun to afflict the party. At the 2013 convention of the party at Abuja, those irreconcilable differences manifested leading to five aggrieved governors and other stalwarts staging a walk out at that major political event. The aggrieved members led by Abubakar Baraje had said that it was still available for reconciliation and peace moves with the Bamangar Tukur – led National working committee of the party and could back out of the proposed merger with APC if the reconciliation succeeded. But the Chairman’s tone and utterances were in no way reconciliatory. Tukur had said that the decision of the governors was least expected stating that it happened at a time the doors of negotiations and dialogue were kept wide open by the then President Goodluck Jonathan and the party. Tukur further stated that they cannot prevail on anybody not to leave the party if the person so decided adding with abandon hilarity: “After all, soldiers go, soldiers come. If anyone leaves the PDP, many more people will join. It happens all the time”.
The chairman’s utterances exacerbated the already bad situation. The tactless and public relations disaster conveyed in the comment of Alhaji Bamanga Tukur and the arrogance of the then sitting President led to the defection of five serving governors and 49 legislators from the then ruling People’s Democratic Party to the All Progressive Congress on November, 2013. Even though the Baraje–led group had 7 aggrieved governors, only 5 defected while 2 stayed back in PDP. But that act of depletion which was buoyed by the arrogance of power became the party’s Achilles hill and the single reason for the ousting of GEJ in the general election of 2015. Defection therefore anytime it comes leaves in its wake unsavoury tales that rankle the ranks of those who failed to prevent it from taking place.
Interestingly, our country is a place where lessons are never learnt. In Nigeria, history easily repeats itself even in strict sequence with no iota of change from the previous. What the People’s Democratic Party faced in 2013 culminating in the loss of the general election of 2015 is enjoying strict replication, this time with APC being the guinea pig. Just as the previous, underlying the ongoing saga in the ruling party is the age-old vice – arrogance. For a long time, the Baraje-led group which came to be known as new PDP and which played a critical role in the emergence of the current administration had complained of marginalization within the ruling party.
They had asserted that as stakeholders, they were not in the mainstream but on the fringes. They sought audience with Mr. President but were severally and roundly rebuffed. They complained, pleaded, appealed, advocated and threatened all to no avail. They remained ensconced as outcast, never enjoying any integration.
Rather, members of the new PDP in APC were subjected to intense bullying and roughshod. A case in point is the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki who used shenanigans to capture the seat of the Senate President to the eternal and implacable anger of many of them. From the day Saraki won that seat to their chagrin, they have waged a ceaseless and relentless battle against him. Sadly too, they have done this without tact.
The travails have seen him traverse cycles while his tormentors embark on a whimsical attempt to incriminate him with criminal charges and make him ineligible for that exalted office. But like a cat with nine lives, each time they try, the mercurial politician in him helps him to beat them at their own game. And so for three years, he has survived their ambush and machinations with the most recent being the devious plot to impeach him in absentia which also failed woefully.
While the poorly conceived plot thickened, the Saraki group got wind of the plan and plotted a counter balance. The result was the gale of defection that pervaded the floor of the Red Chamber that fateful day bringing that lexical item again to the front burner of our national politics. When members of the lower chamber of the National Assembly, the House of Representatives heard of the massive defection in the Senate, they hailed the exercise and followed suit with an equally huge number of defectors, thus turning the tide against APC as a party and the executive arm of government which is allegedly fingered to be behind Saraki’s unending travails for the past 3 years.
READ ALSO: Why I decamp from APC to PDP – Bukola Saraki
Despite these unprecedented turn of events, APC is still exercising its bragging rights. When Buba Galadima came out with R-APC, there was room for fence mending and rapprochement.