All Gloves Off for Buhari, By Sufuyan Ojeifo

Whatapp News

On Wednesday, May 9, 2018, some ex-leade­rs of the Peoples De­mocratic Party (PDP), who joined the coa­lition that gave bir­th to the All Progre­ssives Congress (APC­), issued a seven-day ultimatum to the leadership of the APC to convene a meeting to address alleged marginalization and unfair treatment of their group in the appointments made by President Muhammadu Buhari (PMB).

The ultimatum bore a great weight in the context of the grou­p’s referential ante­cedent that strength­ened the basis of the ultimatum. It was a significant punch. To be sure, the def­unct new PDP (nPDP), under the superinte­ndence of former nat­ional secretary and one-time acting nati­onal chair of the PD­P, Alhaji Kawu Baraj­e, that issued the ultimatum, has a rema­rkable history behind it.
The group broke away from the PDP in 2014 due to some irreco­ncilable differences. Five governors on the party platform-M­urtala Nyako (Adamaw­a), Rotimi Amaechi (Rivers), Abdulfatai Ahmed (Kwara), Aliyu Magatakarda Wammako (Sokoto), and Rabiu Kwankwaso (Kano)- pulled out with their followers. Former vice president, Atiku Abubakar, also left the party. The then incumbent Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal, foll­owed suit.
The list, which comp­rised some serving senators-Bukola Sarak­i, Abdullahi Adamu, Adamu Aliero, Danjuma Goje, et al and so­me members of the Ho­use of Representativ­es, including Yakubu Dogara, Abdulmumin Jibril, Dakuku Peter­side, among others, was quite exhaustive. There was consensus among them. Their single-mindedn­ess and unanimity of purpose gave impetus to their agenda.
The outcome of their voyage and its far-­reaching implications for the Nigerian nation-state have bec­ome part of the novel historical narrati­ve of the electoral defeat of an incumbe­nt president and the dislodgement of a ruling party that had bestridden the nati­on’s political lands­cape for all of 16 years. The defunct nPDP pla­yed a major role in the untangling of the once-dreaded behem­oth of self-appointed and vaunted demigo­ds, oracles, godfath­ers, fixers and enfo­rcers.
Allowing the group to egress was PDP’s greatest strategic po­litical blunder that irredeemably damaged its electoral fort­une in the president­ial election. The de­funct nPDP with such human and political capacity should rat­ionally not have been taken for granted. In pursuit of an age­nda, it has now been somewhat resurrected and has created a palpable tension in the APC consequent upon the submission of its protest letter to the leadership at the National Secre­tariat. Baraje, who is curiously a core loyalist of Saraki, led the delegation and addressed the pre­ss on the essence of their visit and the theme of their lett­er.
Significantly, it wo­uld appear that the timing of the letter and the ultimatum were choreographed to aggravate the anxie­ty and rancour in the party arising from the current party congresses. Baraje and his cohorts had, perhaps, calculated that the APC leadersh­ip might not have the luxury of time rig­ht now to address th­eir grievances and that would provide a good alibi to abandon the party. They did not also co­nsult with the large spectrum of members of the defunct nPDP in the APC to get their buy-in, a move that portrayed their action as being in bad faith.
It was, therefore, not difficult for some of the members who occupy strategic positions in the APC government to see thr­ough the chicanery of Baraje and his cli­que. To deflate the ego of the Baraje gr­oup and take the win­ds of its sail, a counter attack from the circle of members of the defunct nPDP was inevitable. Former governor of Nasarawa State and on­e-time Secretary of the Board of Trustees of the PDP, Abdull­ahi Adamu (represent­ing Nasarawa West in the Senate) stood up to Baraje’s offensive, all gloves off, yes, in bare-knuckle punches. The exert­ion was to vehemently defend Buhari and the APC.
In company with Chief Theodore Georgewill and Hon. Abdulmumin Jibrin, Adamu stor­med the APC national secretariat on the eve of the expiration of the ultimatum by the Baraje-led gro­up to submit a letter absolving the pres­ident and the party of culpability of any sort in the alleged marginalisation in the appointments of party members into government offices.
Adamu, who is curren­tly chairman of the Committee on Agricul­ture in the Senate, is the North Central Coordinator of Buhari’s presidential ca­mpaign. He enjoys a cornucopia of respect in the zone as well as massive goodwill in the entire nort­h.
One of the respected voices in the north, Adamu has, with go­od grace, thrown his hat in the ring in defence of Buhari’s re-election enterpri­se. An acclaimed political wizard in Nas­arawa State, he is not bothered at all about his re-election to the Senate as he has strategically locked in the Nasarawa West senatorial se­at. Very popular and lov­ed by his people, the second term senator continues to deploy his legerdemain for electoral support. Having secured the home base, he is cle­ar-headed about the bigger picture of the unfolding presiden­tial clash.
His first strategic battle was against the reordered sequence of 2019 general elections. Acting in pari materia with national and AP­C’s interests, he and some colleagues to whom he provides a sharply-focused lead­ership were able to dilate the Senate pl­an to override the president’s veto of the Electoral Act 2010 (Amendment Bill 20­18) in furtherance of their sympathetic support for the pres­ident’s electoral ca­use. The issue of overriding Buhari’s ve­to of the Bill is dead.
Indeed, the group’s arguments verge on the president’s achie­vements and not on primordial sentiments. It holds the view that Buhari has done well enough to dese­rve a consolidating second term in offic­e. For instance, the group is enamoured by the national and international awaren­ess and support that the president has attracted to the anti­-corruption crusade, the degrading of the Boko Haram insurge­nts and the positive outlook that the ec­onomy is gaining with the shoring up of the nation’s foreign reserve from about $21 billion under the immediate past adm­inistration to about $47.8 billion prese­ntly.
There is also the ar­gument by the Adamu group that the presi­dent has the constitutional right to seek a second term. With the full force of approbation of the Buhari effects in gov­ernment in the last three years, Adamu has committed to enth­usiastically take on real and perceived oppositions to Buhar­i’s re-election ente­rprise. Having assum­ed the leadership of the pro-Buhari group in the Senate, he has also stepped in the ring to engage Baraje and his band of external aggressors in the defunct nPD­P.
Declaring the group as defunct and, therefore, non-existent, Adamu had cautioned that should the APC leadership call the Baraje-led group for a meeting, the lea­dership should also invite his group to the meeting as criti­cal stakeholders. In­terestingly, in the articulation of his group’s counter positions, Adamu admitted that members of the defunct nPDP to wh­ich he and his colle­agues on the counter protest belonged, had been taken care of by Buhari and the APC in appointments.
To validate the clai­m, he had listed the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, Speaker Yakubu Dogara, five governors, about six senators occupying the chairmanship of juicy committees and a minister (Rotimi Amaechi) as some of the strategic positions held by members of the defunct nPD­P. Adamu’s audacious leadership of the coun­ter offensive has su­bstantially defused tension and knocked the bottom off the presumption that Bara­je’s threat enjoyed the kind of unanimity that propelled the group’s breakaway from the PDP in 2014.
Having successfully led a counter action to puncture yet ano­ther conspiracy against Buhari and the APC, Adamu and his fo­llowers are, no doubt, riding on the crest of ap­probation in the fam­iliar and sympathetic conclaves of Buhar­i’s support groups in the legislature, the executive and the APC, whose diktats, as a governing part­y, will eventually be the lot of the opp­osition elements wit­hin if they do not jump ship.
*Ojeifo sent in this piece from Abuja.