Arc. Mohammed Namadi Sambo, generally believed to be a loyal Vice President and a strong pillar of the Jonathan administration, however, is in his trying times. His immense and monumental contributions to the success of the Transformation Agenda and the candid acknowledgement in his tactical endorsement by the President at the South-west PDP sensitization rally in Lagos, seem not to be sufficient guarantees to keep in his well-deserved VP slot for the next dispensation in 2015. Far from being unopposed at least two Governors and the PDP National Chairman are already being reported to be interested in his job. With such a treacherous scenario playing out, it certainly cannot be re-assuring for the Vice President who has even endured the backlash from the North for his seeming loyalty and support to the President.
First, Gov. Ibrahim Shema has repeatedly denied being interested in the VP’s job even when his posters and body language betray him. He has silently been moving towards realizing his ambition by taking concrete steps that will eventually build in his favour. His recent marriage to the Yar’adua family is set to bolster his chances as pundits consider it an avenue to settle whatever issues he has with the family so that a formidable front can be established to fight for and secure the VP slot.
He has furthermore tried to silence any opposition in his State through the Local Government election and according it massivepublicity to shore up support and assert his total control of his State and the power broker in charge. The idea is to try to draw comparison and show that while he has electoral value, the VP who was reported to have lost in his Local Government lacked any. This is in spite of the fact that events leading to such electoral catastrophe are well known to discerning minds and political pundits in Kaduna State as adeliberate attempt to undermine the political relevance and significance of the VP.It should be on record that the PDP has consistently won the Kaduna North Local Government until that fateful election. It is worthy of note that while the PDP won in 22 out of the 23 Local Governments in the State, it lost only in Kaduna North the adopted Local Government of the VP to the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) in eleven out of the twelve wards in the Local Government Council. The Councillorship seat of Kabala ward which is the VP’s ward was however won by the PDP’s Bashir Tukur. Suffice it to state that the VP was not even present during the elections as he was out of the country for official engagement.
Kaduna state has been a major contributor in terms of votes to the Presidential election as the Party from inception till date hasconsistently remained the second largest contributor of votes second only to Rivers State. Notwithstanding the fact that CPC marginally won the State in 2011, the State still retained its second position as far as national politics is concerned. It is widely known however that the emergence and political exploits of one of the leading Presidential contestants is very much entrenched religiously rather than in his political dexterity.
This is the same governor who was also reported to have allegedly detained an indigene of the State for criticizing him on facebook. This young chap merely reproduced the contents of a written petition by his adversaries aimed at exposing the ills of his government. This allegation if true is a clear demonstration of his intolerance and lack of respect for the fundamental human rights of a bonafide citizen of the State, that he is intent on hiding from the attention of his Abuja backers. Others being touted are Sule Lamido and Adamu Mu’azu. While Lamido has been battling the party to remain relevant, he also has against him the alleged looting and enrichment of certain companies being managed by his children which has been extensively reported in the media as his greatest albatross.
But the PDP Chairman’s exploits were the gains from the mismanagement of the party by Bamanga Tukur who took on several fronts and fought the Governors who decided to gang-up against him leading to his eventual ouster. The Adamu Mu’azu led NWC has reasons to complain of his high handedness and disregard for due process. He too was previously alleged to be working silently for his own Presidential ticket rallying round his former colleagues ex-Governors and trying to place them in strategic positions to help him. When that was frustrated by the vigilance of the Presidency, he now changed gear and opted for the VP slot. The recent placing of his posters with the President along major streets in Abuja is a culmination of the actualization of a well-articulated desire to accomplish an ambition anchored on a deliberate plan of action. He was also alleged to have distributed bags of rice bearing his portrait across the length and breadth of the country, leaving pundits to guess that it was a deft political move aimed at soliciting for future support for himself as is now manifesting.
In his display of total loyalty, the Vice-President concentrates only on assignments given to him by his principal and involves himself with those things he is permitted to delve into. He recognizes that the President has the full constitutional powers and therefore acknowledges the in-appropriateness of confrontations which will serve no one any good. This was very well acknowledged by the President when in Lagos at the South-West PDP sensitization Rally, he stated that he and the Vice-President have promised not to disappoint Nigerians. This therefore explains their excellent partnership which was anchored on mutual trust and understanding that has continued to produce positive results.
The statement by Olisa Metuh, the PDP spokesman, is a message full of wisdom. Since the President was only given a right of first refusal and he is yet to finally declare, they could not jump the gun. This was why the current interpretation of the outcome of the NEC meeting was conveyed and the part played by Chief Jim Nwobodo to the endorsement deal was relayed.
As the clock ticks towards the Presidential declaration all the strong and justifiable indicators point to a secured return of the Goodluck/Sambo ticket. The ongoing undercurrents of conflicts of interest based on inordinate ambition are the normal political brouhaha which keeps the polity heated and exciting. The President knows those who will assist him in the due discharge of his constitutional responsibilities and his dreams for Nigeria. Others are merely positioning themselves for 2019. The odds favour Sambo to continue as Vice President.
Abdullahi Garba can be reached at Abdullahi_garba@yahoo.com