Governor Ayo Fayose and the Gruesome Murder of the PDP

Governor Ayodele Peter Fayose
The beauty of a democratic system of government is its tolerance for opposition. The opposition party serves as a watchdog checking the excesses of the ruling party.
 
The healthy rivalry between both political groups helps in the delivery of good governance to the people at the end of the day. But today, Nigerians have been denied the democratic scrutiny of the ruling party by its opposition due to the comatose state of the People's Democratic Party which appears to have more hassles than Nigeria as a country.
 
As the acclaimed most representative political party in Nigeria - PDP was built by men, so also the death of party could be orchestrated by the actions and inactions of men. The extensive stay of the sick political party in the Intensive Care Unit of a Nigerian clinic was not only caused by the grave allegations of corruption and abuse of public office by its members during its 16-year reign, but also the lack of a contingency plan ahead of the 2015 presidential election that saw its candidate, ex President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan being recalled to his hometown, in Otuoke - Bayelsa state for a perpetual sabbatical leave.
 
The leadership of the PDP underrated the political weight of the All Progressives Congress and its presidential candidate, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (Rtd). The members were too accustomed to the jolly ride of politics and nobody ever gave it a thought that they could lose the election to the then irritant APC despite the advantages of incumbency as well as state resources at their disposal. So when Jonathan lost the election and unanticipatedly accepted defeat by congratulating Buhari in a famous phone call, the leadership structure of the party shook to its foundation and the sinful members overwhelmed with fear were thrown into disarray.
 
It was the best time for the influential members of the party who had already fantasized about being in power for 60 years to activate the opposition machinery while also looking inwards to examine how the formerly blossoming party had lost its cause as well as public support. There was a need for a charismatic leader to stand as the true Shepherd and coordinate his sheep. That figure could have been the low-spirited Jonathan but for honourable reasons, the Niger Delta man had to take a break from politics and retire to his home in Otuoke as an elder statesman.
 
Aside Jonathan, the National Chairman of the party, Adamu Mu'azu who is a seasoned politician and former governor of Bauchi state was up to the uphill political task of rebuilding the party and instilling hope in the fair-weather members who were more interested in relocating their political businesses to the APC for higher profits. As Mu'azu gathered himself after being hit by 'Hurricane Buhari' in the 2015 presidential election, Governor Ayodele Peter Fayose of Ekiti state who is used to acting on impulse rather than exercising due diligence, foresight and utmost sense of rationality in his resolutions was more about scoring cheap political points and asserting undue political influence in the party for his personal growth.
 
Fayose started an internal squabble in the party by demanding for the resignation of Mu'azu over the loss of the party in the election. Fayose backed up his shallow and populist move with the political situation in the United Kingdom at that time where the British Labour Party leader, Ed Miliband and Liberal Democrats leader, Nick Clegg resigned over their parties defeat at the polls by former Prime Minister David Cameron in 2015. Fayose after tapping into his colonial mentality (kolomentality) felt the same action should be replicated in the opposition party for stability to be achieved. This action is an endemic nature of average Nigerians who feel the white man’s mentality or orientation is superior to theirs; hence, the need to follow their lead. This was the same way Gen. Ibrahim Babangida imported the Structural Adjustment Programme under the auspices of the Bretton Woods institutions in 1986 only for the economic policies to strangle the poor masses.
 
Mu'azu tried fighting off Fayose but his chivalrous nature was a weakness as the Southwest governor unleashed a multi-faceted attack strategy on him via social media, online, print, broadcast media and other means till Mu'azu was cowed by his antics. He later resigned under the guise of health issues and he took a break from the party for obvious reasons.
 
Fayose's move earned him a louder voice within the ranks of the PDP but the approach ended up being a shortsighted one as the contentious governor never considered a viable replacement for Mu'azu. It was a pyrrhic victory that was coming to backfire with sophisticated weapons. Prince Uche Secondus later became the acting National Chairman of the party for a while. A former Special Adviser to Jonathan on political matters, Ahmed Ali Gulak rivaled Uche Secondus for the chairmanship position till the court intervened. The leadership of the PDP later organized an election for the chairmanship position to end the power tussle. 
 
The election organized in February, 2016 was contested by Ahmed Gulak, Mohammed Wakil (Borno State) - former Minister of State for Power, Alhaji Shehu Gabam (Bauchi State) - former Chief of Staff under ex Governor Isa Yuguda, Senator Saidu Kumo, Senator Girigiri Lawan and Mohammed Garba.
A former chairman of the anti-graft body - Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Nuhu Ribadu touted to participate and triumph in the contest reportedly went into hiding due to his already concluded plans to return to the All Progressives Congress. 
 
In the build-up of the election, Fayose and governor of Rivers State, Ezenwo Nyesom Wike were busy scheming on a subterranean note to foist their candidate on the party. Fayose and Wike blindly secured an exotic gold-laden coffin for the PDP when they invited a former governor of Borno, Ali Modu Sheriff who was heavily linked with the Boko Haram sect to come manage the affairs of the party.
Following their political maneuvering, Sheriff was finally picked by National Caucus of PDP comprising the governors, members of the National Working committee, NWC and the leadership of the National Assembly.
 
According to the account of Sheriff which Fayose admitted to, he was innocently relaxing in his house when Fayose and Wike visited and urged him to run for the post of the national chairman as they had cleared the way for him. The action was the last straw that broke the camel's back. As late Nigerian afrobeat legend Fela Anikulapo Kuti sang "na jeje trouble dey sleep, yanga go wake am, wahalaaaa you dey find! Wahalaaaaa you go get oooo".
 
A former Minister of Aviation, Fani Kayode swiftly kicked against the emergence of Sheriff as the party head while a few other chieftains murmured underneath but Fayose ignored their yearnings. One would wonder the sudden trust and belief Fayose had in Sheriff despite no history of a close relationship between them. It was more disturbing considering the fact that both parties were from different geopolitical zones that treat each other with mild distrust in the political circle. The Boko Haram attachment given to sheriff was very worrisome but it appeared he was ready for business as the former APC and the All Nigerians People's Party chieftain promised to unseat President Buhari at the centre come 2019. 
 
As a political scientist and analyst, I kept wondering how Sheriff caught the fancy of some PDP politicians and I was forced to assume that he might be a political genius with special tricks to rejuvenate the PDP. Sheriff is a very successful grassroots politician in the northeast and his financial prowess doesn't lie at all!
 
In no time, Fayose started fantasizing about being the Vice President of Nigeria. He appeared to have secured a divine conviction about his future in politics. We all wondered where the inspiration was emanating from as Fayose kept emphasizing on the greater task that awaited him at the expiration of his tenure as governor of Ekiti in 2018. Meanwhile, stakeholders in the PDP felt Sheriff wasn't popular enough to lead the party and it was absurd for someone whose membership was that young to contest an election in the party. It was even against the constitution of the party although Sheriff was given a waiver by the party’s National Executive Committee. (The eligibility clause of the PDP states that a decampee must spend at least 2 years in the party before being qualified to contest for a position in the party).
 
The PDP Board of Trustees (BOT) later advised Sheriff not to extend his tenure beyond May 21, 2016. In explicit terms, Sheriff was to serve as an interim National Chairman for just 3 months. It was from this point Sheriff started seeing his party members as his traducers.
 
Back to Fayose's unfounded presidential ambition, it soon became clear that he might have gotten the assurance from man and not God. Reports have it that Sheriff confided in Fayose about his presidential ambition and promised to make him his running-mate in 2019. The ambitious Fayose took the bait which came on the heels of PDP's proposed zoning of the presidential ticket to the North thereby favouring Sheriff. It might have been on this note that Fayose found his support for Sheriff sacrosanct as he must have been caught off guard as a politician. He later discovered that he was being played by Sheriff who made the same promise to Wike, governor of Enugu - Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi and the governor of Ebonyi - Dave Umahi. What a real brouhaha as the hunter was already in the trap of the bush meat. 
 
Fayose who has made a bright career out of being an alarmist swiftly linked Sheriff to the APC as a damage control measure. He regarded Sheriff as an undercover spoiler/mole planted in the party by the APC to scuttle PDP's chances of a political comeback in 2019. Ever since, the narrative has changed for Fayose as he appears to have woken up from his slumber about the unpredictability of the game of politics. Well, one is not sure of the complicity of APC in the leadership crisis of the PDP but in life, a man that wishes his enemy well is not ready to progress in life. In fact, it’s on this note that members of the Mountain of Fire Ministries always pray for their enemies to 'fall down and die!’ Yes! It’s that serious. Fayose's historical antecedence is ridden with lies such as some of his political calculations have been found to be fallacious.
 
We shouldn't forget so soon that Fayose during the campaign period of the 2015 presidential election insinuated Buhari was wearing pampers due to his old age. He also imprudently claimed the Chibok girls' abduction saga is a ruse before he linked the wife of the President, Aisha Buhari with the Halliburton scandal in the United States of America. He even challenged the woman to visit America as she was on the wanted list of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, FBI until the beautiful Fulani woman stormed America in style and was given a royal welcome. Fayose in the past has also spoken in alien tongues for political gains and one wonders if the words of such a politician should be taken serious.
 
The monster created by Fayose has militated against the success of the PDP since its advent. PDP has lost its internal cohesion since the emergence of Sheriff. The party has been divided into two major factions namely the Sheriff bloc and the Caretaker Committee led by a former governor of Kaduna state, Ahmed Makarfi. The party has been in and out of the court aggravating legal tussles. This has affected the party in the gubernatorial elections in Edo and Ondo states where the party lost. Doom was almost the fate of the party in the Rivers State re-run election if not for the alleged cash rain invoked on the officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission by Wike. The party has refused to play the role of a viable opposition to the APC as the party members have been engaged in media wars against themselves. The members of staff of the party are groaning in hardship  and despair as only 25% of their salaries are being paid to them. The Wadata Plaza 'national Secretariat' in Abuja has been occupied by grasses and reptiles due to long period of abandonment. The APC just like Dubai, United Arab Emirates has become an attractive destination to prominent members of the PDP.
 
All efforts of the party to get rid of Sheriff using the court has failed as the appellate court affirmed his position as the National Chairman of the party. The Makarfi faction is headed to the Supreme Court to challenge the ruling. All efforts to seek a political solution by the governor of Bayelsa, Seriake Dickson-led reconciliation committee hit the rocks. The revered intervention of former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan has also begin to lose relevance as Sheriff walked out on him in their last peace meeting.
 
The PDP is approaching the 2019 with a divided army and massively depleted troops. The man at the centre of the war is nobody but Sheriff and who facilitated his ascension to the realm of authority in the PDP is Fayose and his cohorts. History will always remember Fayose for that infamous and unintelligible action as we await the final burial ceremony of the self-acclaimed largest political party in Africa.
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About Osayimwen Osahon George

I'm a journalist and a Political Scientist undergoing a doctoral programme focused on media, democracy and governance in Africa. My mission is to uphold the role of the media as the 'fourth estate of the realm' and also tell the Nigerian Story to the world. You can contact me on smile2georgex@yahoo.com Phone number: +2347053302356.
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