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Published On: Fri, Feb 21st, 2014

Ewuga: Profile of a nomadic defector

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From Ali Abare Abubakar, Lafia

It is indeed a season of defection among politicians in the country, preparatory to the 2015 general elections. There has never been a time in the political history of Nigeria that witnessed such high level of political realignment,with political actors shifting from one party to another.

On 23rd January,11 senators defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC) from the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), including Senator Abdullahi Adamu, former Nasarawa state governor and one time National Secretary of the PDP.

Prior to that,five state governors belonging to the ruling PDP,defected to the APC,paving the way for a major political changeover involving former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, who led his supporters to the opposition party having also defected to the APC.

In Nasarawa state,two federal lawmakers, Haruna Kigbu (Lafia/Obi) and David Ombugadu (Akwanga/Nasarawa Eggon/Wamba),were caught by the defection bug and after slight hesitation,pitched their tents with the PDP.

However, of all the defections among politicians,the one that appeared more absurd than any other,is the defection of Sen Solomon Ewuga from the APC to the PDP, which came amidst funfares.

Granted, Ewuga has every right of association,the right to belong to any political party of his choice, but the manner he chose to oscillate between one party and the other,portrays him as an over ambitious politician desperately seeking power, which has so far continuously eluded him.

At the dawn of the present democratic dispensation, precisely in 1999,Ewuga was in the PDP as a leading contender in the gubernatorial election, but as fate would have it,he ended up being Deputy Governor under the first civilian governor of the state, Abdullahi Adamu.

Due to what most people describes as his insatiable quest to become governor,Ewuga left his post as Deputy Governor to take up a ministerial appointment barely three months after being sworn in as Deputy Governor.

In 2003, in further attempt to actualise his dream to become Governor,he secretly entered into alliance with former Governor Aliyu Doma,conscripting his political godson, the late Chris Abashi, to deputize for Doma.

Having realised that he could not achieve his desire to fly the flag of his party,the PDP; having been beaten by the incumbent Abdullahi Adamu, Ewuga allegedly directed his supporters to side with the opposition ANPP, but was disappointed when Adamu and the PDP still emerged victorious.

In 2007,Ewuga finally left the PDP for the ANPP, where he was able to clinch the ticket of the party to contest for the governorship election against Adamu.

Once again, Ewuga was floored by Adamu and after much hues and cries, resigned to his fate following which he went into a political hiatus allegedly to strategize. In 2010, Ewuga again returned to the PDP,ostensibly to seek a platform under which to launch his campaign for the Senate to represent Nasarawa North.

Unfortunately for Ewuga,the powers that be within the party had other plans and he was again floored by the incumbent, Sen Patricia Akwashiki, who also wanted a second term.

It was at this moment,during a brief political lacuna that Ewuga tested the other side of harsh realities of life. He was banished completely from active participation in the affairs of the party,sidelined by the now rising Labaran Maku,a fellow Eggon man.

At a function organized by Akwe Doma at the tail end of his administration,when he convened a meeting of party leaders from across the state, Ewuga appeared at the City Hall venue in quite pathetic mood, his neck swatted in bandage, adorned in a threadbare flowing gown, the butt of jokes from those on the high table while he led his team from Nasarawa Eggon down on the floor was ‘a common party man’.

Also, in 2011, Ewuga found himself in the then Congress for Progressive Change (CPC). As he was still ambitious and desperately seeking political office, he successful became a senator of Nigeria after the court pronounced him victorious in the case involving him,the CPC and Sen Nagogo.

One would have thought that Ewuga should have learnt his lessons, considering the shabby treatment he received while he was in the PDP; how he was reduced to a ‘common party man’, banished to his country home on the outskirts of Akwanga.

Unfortunately, not long enough after, that he went back to the PDP in another search for the ever elusive power.

Yet, once again by his defection to the PDP,he is only demonstrating that insatiable quest to become governor of the state,even when it is apparent the political space is so tight that his return would only worsen the situation.

Speculations are rife that Ewuga defected to the PDP in order to actualize his ambition to become governor. But even before his arrival,already three others from the same zone were said to be warming up to contest for governorship.

They are Labaran Maku,the current Minister for Information, Michael Abdul,former Deputy Governor and Sen Damboyi. Ewuga’s foray into the fray is seen by many as a desperate move by someone too desperate to wait for the appointed time, but who would muscle his way through and in the process destroy the party.

It is on record that when Ewuga lost the governorship primary to Doma in 2007,he persisted, decamping to the ANPP to continue with his quest. This was in spite of the gentleman agreement within the PDP to zone the position of the governor to another zone.

At the expiration of Adamu’s second term,to honour this arrangement,none of his kinsmen from Nasarawa west came out to contest for the seat of the governor. When it was tacitly agreed that Nasarawa south should produce the governor.

Ewuga became furious,his ambition blinding him from seeing reason and instead, he challenged Doma at the primaries and when he lost,he went to join the ANPP.

It is on record that Ewuga single handedly resisted the zoning arrangement, just to fulfill his ambition to be Governor of Nasarawa state.

During a reception he hosted to celebrate his victory and emergence as a senator,he told his Eggon kinsmen that with his becoming a senator,they have merely dressed him halfway,that he would be fully clothed when they make him Governor.

It is alleged that following his decision to move back to the PDP, Ewuga, like he did when he planted the late Chris Abashi in the ANPP while he remained in the PDP, instructed his supporters to register in three separate political parties, including APC, APGA and PDP.

This strategy is all in another desperate bid to seek alternative platform per chance his foray into the PDP failed to bring the desired result.

While it will be impossible for Nasarawa Eggon alone to produce the Governor of Nasarswa state, senator and a member of the House of Representatives in the 2015 election, Ewuga’s defection arguably has the potential to jeopardise the chances of the party, but by his dividing his supporters across different parties,he is merely being extra careful.

Those believed to belong to the camp of the Minister for Information,whom sources said, are gunning for the seat of the Governor, rather saw Ewuga’s defection to the PDP as not only a threat but a confirmation of earlier fears that the senator is a spoiler,continuously being used by the Hausa/Fulani to thwart the ambition of the Eggon people.

A text message presently making the rounds, which is said to have emanated from the Maku’s camp, alleged that Ewuga is being used by the Hausa/Fulani, to divide the Eggon people and make them ineffective come 2015.

According to this text message being circulated among the Eggons, former Governors Adamu, Akwe Doma, the emir of Lafia and others, secretly met and agreed that Ewuga defects to the PDP, just so that he could be a spoiler.

For a man that had it all as Deputy Governor, Minister, member of both the constituent and consultative assemblies and now a senator, many are of the view that by now, he should be grooming others to take over from him, rather than seeking to corner everything for himself alone.

Granted, he has the right to aspire for any office in the state, but at what cost should an individual pursue their ambitions, even when it is apparent that such action could only generate rancour and tension?

Ewuga and his fellow decampees are in the PDP only to seek platforms for elective office. Meanwhile, already there are a plethora of eligible candidates warming up for same elective offices.

It does not take a genius to know that very soon, their will be further discontent, as politicians jostle for limited space,with the possibility of another implosion. More so that the party is already considering automatic tickets to the defecting governors and senators.

Be that as it may, Ewuga’s latest defection to the PDP has rather confirmed his nomadic instincts; that penchant for changing political parties at the drop of a hat; always seeking to fulfil an inordinate ambition to be Governor of Nasarawa at all cost and by all means necessary.

Inadvertently, he has by his frequent moves from one party to another,committed a deadly sin in politics, as observed by Mahatma Ghandi, when he said politics without principles is one of the seven deadly sins.

Ewuga is willing to move to the next party at the slightest challenge, which implies that he lacks the resilience to absorb the dynamics of politics.

For Ewuga’s supporters, who through the years, have sustained and fuelled his insatiable quest to become Nasarawa state Governor, let them know and according to C.S Lewis, that of all tryranies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive.

It would be better to live under robber barons than omnipotent moral busybodies because the robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep,his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but that those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their conscience.

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