Those who hold the broom today, as a defence and fortress, may find that they do not hold a monopoly to betrayal. Their defence may become their nemesis.
Many years ago I went to Airport Hotel in Lagos to conduct an interview with a current member of the All Progressive Congress (APC) who was in the defunct All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) at the time. He told me a story that made me flinch. My reaction made him laugh loud, saying my response showed I was no politician and probably had no stomach for it. The story was that he was a top campaign manager for a certain presidential candidate who was in the process of choosing a running mate. Negotiations were underway with two people for the spot, with each having no inkling that someone else was in the picture. Both men were tasked to bring ideas for the campaign, and even funds in one instance, to propagate the campaign. I was intrigued that at the end of the day, both men did not fly the running mate flag because a midnight decision was reached to field another person, twenty four hours before one of the men was to be named as running mate. I was stunned, making the man reel in laughter. He reminded me that 24 hours was a very long time in politics, and a true Nigerian politician would not flinch at such story. Betrayal seemed a normal ingredient of politics. He brought a historical incident to remembrance when I told him that politicians of yesteryears had a modicum of trust and integrity. He reminded me that Late Nnamdi Azikiwe had the baptism of betrayal in the parliament of Western Nigeria in 1951, where Zik, as he was popularly known, became a member by virtue of winning a seat into the Western House on the auspices of his party, National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons (NCNC). There was defection from his party on the floor to shoot down his soaring political future. Those who defected, he said, had betrayed Zik, insisting that such intrigues are not new to Nigerian politics.
He probably would not blink at the unfolding drama at the political arena where no one knows the next move in the face of the flux that has become the political moves in the dawn of next elections. Events move with the speed of jets, like a fast-paced dramatic presentations. Defections and resi nations have not ended as Senator Godswill Akpabio, former Governor of Akwa Ibom state, sent shock waves across the nation, especially for those who have followed his political trajectory, when he resigned his position as minority leader in the senate and heading into the ruling party. He would be received today by his new party. His imminent defection had been in the rumour mills but Akbabio promptly denied any such move, insisting that he had no such intentions. His strong affinity with the Peoples Democratic Party made it easy to believe him. His is another in the growing list of defections and bertayals. Femi Fani Kayode says Akbabio defected for fear of being investigated for his role in office as governor. Fear was the motivation not dereference to the ruling party as the new APC Akpobio will tell the public in Uyo today. It was the height of intrigues and political betrayal that the new APC senator was at the reception of his colleagues who had joined his former party, only to turn his back on the party. He was allegedly lured with the mouthwatering position of Senate President, and it was such a strong pull . We have long seen, as I opined on these pages two weeks ago, that politicians are driven by selfish interests masking under public good. He has walked on the path of former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar whose presidential ambition has driven into traversing the parties. This is a rather sad commentary for Nigerian politics given that the players cannot get anyone’s vouch as their word is no bonds. The days ahead will show if and how his new party would reap from his structure in Akwa Ibom state. The Governor whom he made to succeed him, Emmanuel Udom, has not joined his predecessor as that of Kwara, which implies that the political house may be in disarray. Akpabio has gone to be with his former political foes. If the party makes good the promise of handing him the Senate Presidency, a tall order from the look of things, his profile would have risen and he would have been armed with the kind of political patronage that draws followers like ants to bees. His loyalist now in a quandary, some of who had already declared political ambition on the ticket of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), may hold their moves or switch to the new party with their ambition. The ruling party is in a battle of wits and strategy with the opposition and the current Senate president to actualize its touted promise to Akpabio. The hooded security men who invaded the National Assembly is an arrangement of the ruling party without the consent of the Acting President Professor Yemi Osinbajo, who, with presidential assent, has barred his fangs by firing Lawal Daura, who heads the security organization. The dust on this matter will remain in the air until President Muhammadu Buhari returns to reverse or uphold the sack.
Akpabio’s defection also puts the South-South region in the political picture of this regime even if the senator is driven by per- sonal gains. They have found their way into the picture with Rotimi Amechi already in the tick of things. Looking ahead, I see President Buhari insisting on taking his war against corruption to the end. I see a second tenure that would find current political brides battling for their lives as the anti-corruption body fishes out ‘pending’ files for prosecution. The historical span of those pending files will shock and astound many. Those who hold the broom today, as a defence and fortress, may find that they do not hold a monopoly to betrayal. Their defence may become their nemesis.