From Ben Dunno, Warri
A member of the Board of Trustee (BOT) for the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Prof Sam Oyovbaire, has described the reasons put forward for defection to All Progressives Congress (APC), by the three (3) PDP governors as baseless, illogical and untenable to the doctrines of democratic principles, norms and values.
Making his opinion on the gale of defections of some governors to the ruling party known in a chat with Daily Sun at his country home in Delta State, Prof Oyovbaire, said there was a need for judicial interpretations on the terms and conditions that ought to be followed as specified in the constitution on party defection, especially among the political officeholders.
Describing the act as a bad omen and a big setback for the country’s democracy, he decried the political class for applauding those who were involved in it either in PDP or APC, stating that such movements are usually based on the selfish and parochial interests of those politicians rather than party ideology or wellbeing of the people.
Oyovbaire, the former Minister of Information and one of the founding fathers of PDP when it was formed in 1998, noted specifically that three (3) PDP governors of Ebonyi, Cross Rivers and Zamfara states, Dave Umahi, Ben Ayadi and Bello Matawalle, respectively, have betrayed the party by taking the mandates given to them on the party’s platform to another party without any convincing reasons.
According to him: ‘I’ve taken time out to listen to the reasons these defecting governors gave for jumping ship and I can tell you authoritatively that their reasons are laughable as there is no substance in it. Wasn’t that there’s any crisis tearing the party apart, wasn’t that the party is not doing well as an opposition and wasn’t that the party is not planning and strategising to take over power in the next election, so what are their reasons?
‘The most useless one is the one in Zamfara State, where there was no APC in the election at all because the court declared that APC did not meet the condition, they wasted their time quarrelling among themselves and so on and therefore couldn’t meet up with the timing INEC gave out and so the next party that won the election is PDP.
‘What this means technically is that APC didn’t take part in that very election. So how can a Governor who is in PDP says he is going to APC. Where did you get that mandate from? Whose mandate? What that means is that you are taking away the PDP mandate and giving it out solely on a platter of gold to APC that was not in the picture or recognised by the umpire in the election.
‘For me, the only thing I can tell you about these defections is that it’s a shame. As a political observer when I was younger in the university, I would have carried out thorough research on the defections to unravel the motives of some of these governors, more importantly, as the party, they are moving into has not done well enough in terms of delivering the dividends of democracy to the masses that voted them into office.
‘One of the side effects was that if all of us must be with the governing party either for fear of being probe or that is where I will be able to get the things I promise to give to my people done, just as the Ebonyi governor, His Excellency, David Umahi, said was his reason for defecting.
‘You also look at the reasons of Prof Ayade and then Matawalle for leaving the party to join APC, one cannot help but laugh. As a student or scholar of the process, you will find it more convenient to describe them as jokers and opportunists in their respective government houses.
‘If all of us move, it means we are in a one-party state and that also brings us to the attitude towards opposition views and critics. This is another horrible thing that has not helped matters in the present dispensation.
‘Whatever you stay as an opposition, the ruling government misconstrued it as an attack rather than seeing it as constructive criticism to do better.
‘Take for instance in the United States, there is an academic journal called “Government and Opposition”. There you will learn that whatever the opposition says the government takes it seriously, in order to improve on its service delivery to the people. You don’t regard everything the opposition says as an attack or see them as enemies. What this means is that intellectualism is collapsing in our system today,’ he stated.