Thursday, November 28, 2013
APC vs PDP: The battle on ground
PDP to the All Progressives Congress, APC has inevitably redrawn
political calculations on ground in the affected states. Below is a
state by state analysis of the effect the defection would cause on
By Emmanuel Aziken, Political Editor
Rivers State is the only Southern state among the five states whose
governors are decamping to the All Progressives Congress, APC. It is
only second to Kano in terms of voters and has been a traditional
feasting ground for the PDP.
The state has over time harvested an average of two million votes from
the state for the PDP in presidential elections, and proportionately
contributed 10% of the total votes scored by President Goodluck
Jonathan in the 2011 election.
Until the recent internal crisis in the state chapter of the party,
Governor Rotimi Amaechi was believed to have devoted his time to
governance and left party politics in the hands of his former chief of
staff, Mr. Wyesom Wike, the Minister of State for Education who is now
the face of the anti-Amaechi campaign in the state.
Amaechi's seeming apolitical stance in the first term saw him allow
Wike to be the Director-General of his campaign, a position that
supposedly gave the latter the opportunity to build a political
network that he has now deployed to hound his former boss.
Amaechi's difficulties in Rivers State were also compounded by
allegations that in his determination to set legacies on ground, that
he forsook the government of patronage that was supposedly practiced
by his predecessors.
It was not surprising then that over time, that Amaechi garnered
against himself enemies who were beneficiaries of the former regime,
of which he was actually a participant.
The removal of the PDP structure from him was perhaps an eye opener to
Amaechi on how far he had disconnected from the politics of welfarism
or patronage as his traducers used that taunt him.
It was as such not surprising that the Amaechi administration has
besides its physical and other well commended projects on ground,
lately commenced empowerment schemes.
But how far the governor can go in shaping the political battle ahead
would be a matter of keen interest.
Governor Amaechi has explained that his travails in the hands of the
PDP were borne out of his struggles for Rivers interests citing how
oil wells earlier believed to be for the state have been divested to
other states, particularly Bayelsa, the home state of the president.
He has also challenged his traducers to name what Rivers State has
benefited from the Jonathan presidency, inferring that the state has
rather lost than gained from the Jonathan project.
It is an issue that is bound to resonate positively with some in the
state who have not been directly empowered by the Federal Government.
The situation in Rivers is bound to be dicey in 2015 whether Jonathan
contests or not. With Amaechi going to the APC, the PDP would not have
the leeway to return the traditional 2 million or so votes that it had
for long harvested from Rivers State. The votes would be counted in
2015 and even though President Jonathan would receive some measure of
sympathy from his South-South in-laws, the goodwill Amaechi has
garnered through his well applauded projects in education, health and
agriculture would put him and his new party in good stead to probably
share equally the countable votes in 2015.
Sokoto has traditionally not been a PDP state even if the governor had
flown the flag of the party in the last seven years. Governor Aliyu
Wamakko's entry into the PDP was a last minute political scheme of
former President Olusegun Obasanjo, using former Governor Adamu Aliero
of Kebbi State to neutralize the Muhammadu Buhari sway in the
Northwest ahead of 2007.
The scheme, however, was not much successful as Muhammadu Buhari still
won the plurality of votes in the region in 2007 and 2011. It is thus
not surprising that partisans of the PDP have dismissed Wamakko's
decision to leave the PDP for the APC.
Wamakko's entry into the APC is, however, bound to raise tension in
the state given the historic squabbles between him and his predecessor
and one time principal, former Governor Attahiru Bafarawa.
Bafarawa has alleged that his travails in the hands of the Economic
and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC were inspired by Wamakko and
many would be wondering how the two could flow together in the new
Contacted on the development Bafarawa responded with a measure of
equanimity saying that no single person would decide on the
development, that he would pay heed to the voice of the people and his
supporters on the issue.
Leaders of the APC it was learnt, have constituted a committee of
elders of the party to reconcile the two men.
Eyes are also watching out for the inclination of the deputy governor
of the state, Alhaji Muktar Shagari, a long time disciple of Obasanjo.
Sokoto could also become of greater interest if Speaker Aminu Tambuwal
of the House of Representatives is eventually picked as the
presidential candidate of the new APC as has been canvassed by several
pundits. It would inevitably erase the presence of the PDP in the
Kano is one of the most politically attractive states in the movement
to the APC. Kano, despite all the entreaties of Obasanjo had remained
firmly in the grip of Buhari who won the state in all the presidential
elections since 2003.
However, internal schism in the former All Nigerian Peoples Party,
ANPP and Buhari's own Congress for Progressive Change, CPC before the
2011 election led to the PDP winning the state. Mohammed Abacha, son
of the late Head of State who moved from the PDP to the CPC has now
returned to the PDP in a move many saw as a way of spiting Governor
Though the PDP has celebrated the return of Mohammed Abacha and tilted
the state executive towards his supporters, stakeholders have posited
that the strength of Mohammed Abacha in Kano laid squarely on the
However, suggestions that the APC would take up Kano for the asking
would be undermined by the internal differences between Governor
Kwankwanso and his predecessor, Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau.
The APC has the moral burden of upholding the head of the former
governor who was a driving force in the merger of the three legacy
parties that formed the APC.
How it is going to reconcile the duo has reportedly been assigned to Buhari.
However, Buhari as many note, is often not a good arbitrator a
development that has spawned crises in many state chapters of the
defunct CPC. But if the APC is able to reconcile the duo, the APC
would obviously bury the PDP if the combination of Kwankwanso and
Shekarau move together under the cloud of the Buhari phenonmenon.
Adamawa is the home state of the PDP chairman, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur
and is at the centre of the intrigues that led to the unraveling of
the party. The outgoing governor, Murtala Nyako is set against some of
the state's most entrenched political forces who have gathered under
Tukur to fight Nyako. The only major supporter of Nyako at one time
was former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar and he too, at one time, also
fell out with Nyako.
Senator Jibril Aminu, former state PDP chairman, Mr. Joel Madaki,
Senator Grace Bent and several other old political forces who helped
to put Nyako in office have remained in the PDP. Nyako has also gone
to meet his old enemies from the legacy Action Congress of Nigeria,
ACN and the CPC.
Yesterday Nyako addressed a mammoth crowd comprising his supporters
and stakeholders from the legacy parties in the APC during which he
urged peaceful co-existence, resistance to injustice and fairness to
Given the force of incumbency, Adamawa would be a strong battle ground
as the PDP national chairman pulls out all levers to prove to all that
he is definitely in control at home.
He would, however, be ensnared by the well reported scheme to draft
his son, Awaal Tukur as the next governor of the state. Should Tukur
pursue that project, it could cause internal schism in the coalition
he is presently mobilizing against Nyako.
The defection of Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed to the APC was undoubtedly
not that of his making. As part of the machine which delivered him to
office, Governor Ahmed was bound to walk along the path scripted by
the machine now still controlled by his predecessor, Senator Bukola
Kwara is bound to interest many observers given the historic battles
between the opposition as represented by the legacy ACN and CPC who
had battled the Saraki machine to no avail.
Remarkably, Kwara is the home base of the APC spokesman, Lai Mohammed.
Party elders would have to reconcile the different tendencies in the
new APC and whether successful or not, the PDP is almost certainly in
for the bruising given the almost total control of the Saraki machine
over the state.
The minister from the state, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi was nominated by
the Saraki machine.