By Dan Enyi
Nigeria’s main opposition party, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has something mysterious about it. As a political party, its name invokes nausea and destruction anywhere it is echoed. One can easily conclude that what’s in a name, after all, it’s just mere alphabets! But strangely, for PDP, even the human characters which populate the party have this queer and repulsive character. Their trademark is indiscernible pride and unbridled appetite to pillage the state. When they pranced the corridors of power for 16 years, misruling and misgoverning Nigeria, one of their national chairmen openly boasted that the party would milk Aso for 60 years.
Unfortunately, it turned out to be a mirage. And the party itself manipulated its grace and abused the sympathy of Nigerians out of political relevance after just 16 years.
When PDP swaggered on the fortress of state power and became a mess of itself, Nigerians caricatured it, by corrupting the acronym PDP to mean “People Destroying People.” And it’s like a stigma and a curse on most of its members. Even those who have received the baptism of “change” in the progressive All Progressives Congress (APC) where the likes of President Muhammadu Buhari and the party’s national chairman, Chief John Odigie Oyegun are redefining new politicking etiquettes and party ethos, that peculiar PDP spirit has not deserted them.
PDP easily strikes as a congregation of politicians, who are very greedy, self-centered, infinitely destructive and devoid of any identifiable ideology in party politics or governance. By their cultured orientation, there is no standard measurement for anything. The focus has always been on how to dubiously lubricate their ego to service personal interests, in the Machiavellian style.
So heartless that even in the same wrestling ring with the PDPees, the romance is only good, when their interests take precedence above others. So long as they unfairly exploit others, all is fair. But you would provoke them endlessly, if you attempt to apply the principle of equity, fairness and justice. They are instantly provoked and can even assail God with petitions in rage of anger.
House of Representatives Speaker, Hon Dogara Yakubu is a member of the New PDP, who strayed into the APC. There are scores of the nPDP in APC, but the alignment seems to have hiccups because they have difficulties blending with the progressive ideals or bent of the APC. So, some of them are perpetually restless, thus contemplating other political identities as 2019 approaches.
And since a leopard does not change its spots, Speaker Dogara has joined the league of these political grasshoppers. Privileged sources have divulged that Dogara has concluded discreet arrangements to dump APC and make a shameful detour back to his former party, the PDP. There is nothing wrong with his decision, because liberty of association is one of the many beauties of democracy. But the jigsaw is that instead of embarking on his planned political mutation noiselessly, he is rather seeking to destroy the APC and its government before his uncelebrated departure. They call it “destruction”, a convenient alternative name of PDP.
But wait a minute! What is Speaker Dogara’s grouse against the government of APC or the party itself? It is nothing discernible. It’s just that PDPees are propelled by greed, clothed by greed and whacked by greed. Where there is any attempt to checkmate this excessiveness, tampers run riot because they are men barren of any political ideology. Very unlike President Buhari’s acolytes, who have followed his political ideology since his foray into partisan politics in the build-up to the 2003 general elections. So, Speaker Dogara, much like his soul mates, the PDP goons and slayers, he is only interested in what he gets at each point in time.
Therefore, to disregard his party’s decision on the election of principal officers of the House in June 2015 was no big deal. The party had zoned to the Speakership to Southwest, but he betrayed his party, a manifestation of the inherent greed, a culture he imbibed and nurtured in his former party.
He felt no moral burden to connive with his PDP colleagues in the House of Reps to cheat an entire zone of leadership representation. Very unbiblical, he robbed Peter, but instead of paying Paul, he paid himself. But such dubiousness in leadership comes with a price. Had the national leadership of the APC reacted to his emergence in the famed culture of the PDP, Dogara would not have had a moment of respite on the throne. But the progressive APC kept its calm and overlooked his “stolen” leadership.
However, nemesis challenges or places hurdles on the path of a leadership, which is not ordained by the people. It comes naturally. Speaker Dogara should be ashamed that after 16 years of uninterrupted democracy in Nigeria, the House of Reps under his watch recorded the first most disgraceful national embarrassment- the budget padding scandal, which engulfed the National Assembly.
It mocked him directly because it pointed accusing fingers at him as the unseen shadow behind the scam. Nigeria was gravely and regrettably ridiculed in the comity of nations. Haunted by this dirty past, Speaker Dogara has no peace with his soul. Now, he is a man who sights a bleak and sinking political future, after failing to assimilate the new political doctrines of the progressive APC. So, the search for relevance and platforms, which would accept his sort of political character, became inevitable, necessitating the discreet plot to return to PDP, his former party.
President Buhari naturally resents politicians with Speaker Dogara’s character or proclivities. His attempts to warm his way into “Mai Geskiya’s” (as Buhari is fondly called by admirers) heart failed, because he was placed on secret surveillance and the President discovered he is character immune to change. Frustrated and offended for lacking the arsenals to battle President Buhari directly, Speaker Dogara went for the offensive by attacking some of the President’s appointees to extract his pound of flesh in vengeance. The first victim of this war of attrition was the Director-General (DG), National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) Engr. Mustapha Maihaja.
Through the House Committee, Speaker Dogara ensured the case of N2.5 billion fraud alleged on a former NEMA DG, Mr. Sani Sidi Mohammed and some six directors, when the latter administered the agency in the PDP days, was swept under the carpet. The fraud was discovered by the EFCC, which had gone far with investigations.
Curiously, it shocked Nigerians that what gained prominence in the wisdom of the House were the phantom charges it brought against Maihaja, while ignoring the case against Sidi Mohammed and his partners. The House committee also fruitlessly attempted to drag the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, who is the statutory chairman of the Governing Board of NEMA. It is unfortunate that the only reason Speaker Dogara and his cohorts in the House sought to destroy NEMA’s current DG was simply because he refused to play ball with the House in contract awards, which apparently abused due process.
When plots of Dogara’s destructive linchpins failed to nail Prof. Osinbajo, a fresh plan was hatched. And the Speaker Dogara led House of Reps went unpretentiously for the jugular of Mr. President himself, by initiating a senseless, wrongly timed and misplaced probe of NNPC’s expenditure on Turn Around Maintenance (TAM). The President also doubles as Petroleum minister. Expectedly, the Hon. Garba Datti House Ad-hoc Committee to probe the justification for NNPC’s fresh request of $1.8 billion for TAM never concealed its witch-hunting mission of Mr. President. Instead of the House committee restricting itself to the defence of the $1.8 billion TAM 2018 budget proposal or what has been spent on maintenance of refineries in the last two years of the Buhari Presidency, the committee stretched beyond reasonable limits. It demanded from NNPC leadership to account for over $20 billion spent by successive governments on TAM since the refineries were built.
So, the Ad-hoc committee turned a budget defence exercise into a illegal oversight function, just to find something incriminating to discredit the Buhari Presidency. And it is the dilemma of many other appointees of President Buhari, who have keyed into the “change” agenda, by refusing to lobby or induce the legislators as obtained in the past.
Speaker Dogara needs to be told that leadership is a great burden and it comes with huge responsibilities and upright conduct is uppermost. And until he purges himself of the PDP spirit and instincts, he would continue to see himself a strange bedfellow in the APC government. Not certain, who is competent enough to exorcise this bad spirit in the nPDP in APC or someone who can compel them to discard the PDP mentality and embrace new ethics. But what is certain is that no one would allow these nPDP members to destroy the APC government, a plot they are perfecting. They should be reminded in the famed words of their goddess, Dame Patience Jonathan that “Diaris is God ooo!!!”
Enyi, a political analyst, contributed this piece from Abuja.