(By Abba Adakole)
“Our interest should be on what makes the nation move forward. My decisions will be guided by the interest of the nation first. My thinking of moving to the PDP is also in the interest of the nation. We believe that every time, as a leader who leads people, you should advise them on the right course of action”
SOME commentators have said it times without count that the All Progressives Congress (APC), the only party of progressives, is another side of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) coin, but I have often disagreed without going public with these commentators. However, recent happenings are giving me cause for concern.
First, it was Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, but I concluded that his case was good riddance, because I was never comfy with the man, having been named, rightly or wrongly, as one of those that created the monster that is ravaging the north east of the country. But in the case of Nuhu Ribadu, I came to the sober conclusion that something may indeed be wrong with the APC, or it is really no different from the PDP.
If I had any doubts about the accusation against Sheriff, a recent comment by APC’s All Progressives Youth Forum said it all. It disclosed that it would hold a nationwide thanksgiving with special Sunday church service in churches and Jumma’at prayers in Mosques over the defection of former Governor of Borno State to the PDP.
Chairman of the group, Ismail Ahmed, in a statement, said the group received news of the planned defection of Sheriff with so much joy, saying the former governor’s exit from the APC was the best thing that happened to the life of the party. The forum said it had conducted very serious investigations about all the games in trying to attach a bad name to the APC locally and internationally and “found out that the PDP uses sponsored commentators in Nigeria to link Sheriff with Boko Haram, rightly or wrongly, and because he was a chieftain of the APC, it was easy to sell that to Nigerians using the media.”
But Sheriff himself is singing a different tune in explaining his departure from the APC and relationship with Boko Haram. “Our interest should be on what makes the nation move forward. My decisions will be guided by the interest of the nation first. My thinking of moving to the PDP is also in the interest of the nation. We believe that every time, as a leader who leads people, you should advise them on the right course of action,” he said.
He added that whatever information he had on Boko Haram with benefit of his having governed Borno, he had forwarded to security agencies. He said, “I am not a security man or personnel. Whatever that, as a civilian, I can do, using my position as the chief executive of the state for eight years, what I have seen during my tenure I will contribute to the security agencies through whom I got the information.
“What you have to understand is that this country is a big country and Borno State is a difficult state from any other state in Nigeria. Borno has the biggest land mass bordering Niger, Chad and Cameroun. It is an open border. Borno is not like the Republic of Benin with only one entrance into Nigeria. In Borno, you can enter from 20 different points into the country. Therefore, you need a perfect understanding of the terrain. You need every knowledge that any politician has, particularly any politician that operated in Borno State. That is all we can contribute for now.”
What irks most about the APC’s Forum position was the strenuous effort it made to tie the Boko Haram’s noose around Sheriff, forgetting that it was accentuating the argument that the former senator and governor put this group together when he was part of the opposition parties that formed APC. In effect the group confirmed all the accusations against the APC.
I do not wish to comment about Femi Fani-Kayode who has become more of an albatross on the party’s neck because the party mismanaged the relationship with him and others. But Ribadu’s matter disturbs so much; because like his “former” friend, Nasir el-Rufai, he was a beautiful bride APC should have done all to keep. Sadly, the Party lost him to the PDP.
From being a Presidential aspirant, he now wants to govern his native Adamawa State, where another of APC’s governors, or turncoats from the PDP, Murtala Nyako, so mismanaged the State he was booted out. In response to this move, Nasir el-Rufai made one of the most blasphemous of statements of all time against Islam. A loudmouth who should still be in mourning had this to say on Twitter, “I will only consider the choice of defection to the People Democratic Party (PDP) when Satan repents and converts to Islam. I will consider the option; then reject it.”
Why APC allowed men like this into its midst must still rankle it. If el-Rufai is a good Muslim as he claims, then the repentance of Satan into his religion is not good enough for him? He has again insulted the sensibilities of Muslims just as he did to Christians a short while ago. It is known that he joined the APC because he was about to be nailed by his former friends in the PDP, but must he always speak before thinking? Must he set the APC up with the Muslims as he did with the Christians? APC leaders should quickly tell him to reconsider his thoughtless fanaticism or be shown the way out.
Back to Ribadu! When he said he had left the APC, a statement was credited to him in which he lashed out at the turncoat governors now giving the APC sleepless nights. He quickly denied it on his Facebook page, suggesting that politics was not going to make him lose his friends in the APC, but this appeared unsatisfactory and they took him to the cleaners, if a statement ascribed to the Rivers APC is anything to go by.
Apparently looking out for Governor Rotimi Amaechi, the Rivers chapter thundered that his defection was a political suicide, and his denial on his page was not one in the true sense. The Rivers APC went further: “Ribadu’s outburst is very unfortunate and borne out of ignorance of what the antecedents of Amaechi are. It is on record that during the days of Chief Rufus Ada George as governor of Rivers State, he offered Amaechi appointment as one of his commissioners but Amaechi declined and instead nominated his cousin, Sir Celestine Omehia, whom George appointed as the Commissioner for Education.
“This does not, in any way, indicate somebody who is hungry for power. While Amaechi, like Ribadu, has exercised his constitutional right to seek election as governor, his feats, which he rightfully attributes to the grace of God, conclusively prove that he never sought office due to hunger for power but, rather, in order to render service and make the society a better place.
“This is in direct contrast to the conduct of Ribadu, who after being the presidential candidate of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria in 2011, has now stooped so low to buy PDP gubernatorial form to contest the governorship of Adamawa State thereby committing a political suicide and if we still know PDP very well, Ribadu will surely regret this unwise step in a matter of few weeks. And to think that this is the same PDP which Ribadu once described as a den of thieves! So between Amaechi and Ribadu, who should rightly be accused of being hungry for power?”
In this classic case of political brickbats, the APC continues to show the world that it is a bunch of unthinking politicians that cannot be trusted six months to elections. The earlier the Party gets its acts together, the better; else, it is just the other side of the PDP coin. May be the APC should all collapse into the PDP and save the country the tension it is enmeshed in. Head or tail, APC and PDP are, hold it, all the same.
• Adakole contributed this piece from Abuja.
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