There is no doubt that some members of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, are yet to come to terms with what befell the party during the last general election. Against all permutations of the party’s strategists, the PDP lost not only the presidential elections but also was trounced by the All Progressives Congress, APC, in the governorship and State House of Assembly elections. APC encroached in states that were hitherto considered strongholds of PDP and sent the former ruling party from government houses in several states, especially in the North.
Former governor Sule Lamido of Jigawa state was one of the chieftains of the PDP that found it difficult to understand why APC will be taking over from them as governors in place of their “anointed” PDP governorship candidates. Perhaps it is in this state of mind that Lamido opened up and vowed that they (members of the PDP) will retaliate and make the country ungovernable for the APC.
According to Lamido, PDP will sabotage, blackmail and intimidate the APC government just like it did to them when they held sway.
The governor stated this while commissioning the new Jigawa State Independent Electoral Commission, JISIEC office in Dutse, the state capital.
His words: “We heard them, even before assuming office, they are asking for patience from Nigerians on their campaign promises, saying what they can’t achieve and that everything should be gradual, what is gradual? Now you know everything should be gradual.
“As Nigerians too, we are not going anywhere, we will keep tracking the government, no tolerance and we must shout on them and they must work for Nigeria. Our PDP government turned Nigeria into a new world and Jigawa State in particular but, just because of selfish interest of a few, they kept sabotaging, blackmailing and intimidating our government. So, we will do the same to the ruling party, no surrender till the end of their tenure in the next four years,” Lamido said.
The dangerous trend of making the country ungovernable for a sitting federal government was ignited by some Northern elders and anti-PDP elements led by former governor of old Kaduna State, Alhaji Lawan Kaita more than four years ago when former President Goodluck Jonathan joined the presidential race. Jonathan had joined the race after completing the tenure of late President Umaru Yar’Adua and some northern elements felt only a northerner should take a shot at the presidency to complete the second term which nature denied Yar’Adua.
Following the entry of Jonathan into the race Alhaji Lawan Kaita vowed that the North would make the country ungovernable if President Goodluck Jonathan wins the polls.
He said: “Anything short of a Northern President is tantamount to stealing our Presidency. Jonathan has to go and he will go. Even if he uses the incumbency power to get his nomination on the platform of the PDP, he would be frustrated out.”
Kaita, founding member of the Peoples Democratic Party, and close ally of former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar, warned that the North should not be blamed for the calamity that will befall the country, if Jonathan emerges President next year.
He said: “The North is determined, if that happens, to make the country ungovernable for President Jonathan or any other Southerner who finds his way to the seat of power on the platform of the PDP against the principle of the party’s zoning policy.”
The warning precluding former President Jonathan from contesting the 2011 presidential election did not stop with Lawan Kaita as a Kaduna based civil rights activist who was recently elected into the upper chamber of the national assembly on the platform of the APC, Shehu Sani, said “President Goodluck Jonathan should not contemplate contesting the 2011 presidential election. Any attempt by him to contest amounts to incitement and a recipe for political instability.”
Even President Muhammadu Buhari joined the 2011 pre-election threat and did not hide his feelings toward Jonathan’s presidential ambition as he said, “There may be no Nigeria. I draw parallel with Somalia so many times (Somalisation of Nigeria).”
Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar was not spared from this negative inciting bandwagon when he said, “Those who make peaceful change impossible will make violent change inevitable”.
The events that trailed the outcome of the 2011 election showed that the various inciting statements were not made in vain as they were matched with actions. The threat to make the country ungovernable for former President Jonathan was fulfilled with the post election violence that erupted in some parts of the North which led to the death of some members of the National Youth Service Corps, NYSC, in Bauchi State. Zonkwa area of Kaduna State was worst hit as more than 300 people were killed during the riot.
When the 2011 post-election violence subsided the members of the Boko Haram sect took over and heightened their attacks on innocent Nigerians, especially in some northern states. Throughout the four years Jonathan was in power between 2011 and 2015 the PDP administration had sleepless nights as the country was made extremely ungovernable. At every turn the PDP government was tormented by the opposition with the ultimate aim of either bringing it down or making it look as if the administration was utterly incompetent. When some parts of the north were on fire the elders from the zone that vowed to make the country ungovernable used every opportunity to slam the PDP admistration over the security challenges in the zone.
Coincidentally, some of those that vowed to make the country ungovernable for the PDP administration became victims of the problem in the land as most of them were compelled to abandon their palatial houses and their once flourishing businesses in some parts of the north for fear of being attacked by the Boko Haram sect. Majority of them could no longer visit their ancestral villages and holed up in Abuja and Kaduna over fears of being attacked by the rampaging insurgents.
During the 2015 electioneering campaign those that vowed to make the country ungovernable used the insecurity in parts of the country as campaign issue against the PDP. What happened before, during and after the election is now history but the unquantifiable damaged inflicted on the country by the foot soldiers of those against the administration of the PDP is still staring the country in the face. It will take decades for most of the northern states that were affected by the activities of the insurgents to fully recover but that appears not to be of little concern to those that felt the turbulence is a legitimate means of upstaging the PDP.
It is against this background that political observers are of the view that the threat of Sule Lamido that PDP will sabotage, blackmail and intimidate the APC administration is not in the best interest of the country. While it is very legitimate for the PDP to keep the APC on its toes to ensure it delivers on promises, the greater interest of the country will not be served if the PDP goes to the extreme to make the country ungovernable, even if the APC fails to deliver on its campaign promises.
Rather than toe the condemnable and unpatriotic path of APC supporters that promised to make the country ungovernable during the tenure of former President Jonathan, political pundits have advised that Sule Lamido should have a rethink and heed the advice of Jonathan who appealed to Nigerians to support the new APC administration in the interest of the nation.
Political observers are of the view that Sule Lamido, who has legitimate grievance against those behind the turbulence in parts of the country, should also take time to join other PDP members like former Federal Commissioner of Information, Chief Edwin Clark, who few days ago canvassed support for President Buhari.
Clark, who was one of the staunch supporters of former President Jonathan, said in Abuja when he received a group, known as Probity Ambassadors Organisation of Nigeria, said though he was among those who campaigned against the emergence of the President during the election, since Nigerians voted for him (Buhari), the President must be supported in order to enable him succeed in the task ahead.
Clark said, “I have congratulated President Buhari and today, he is our President. He’s not the President of a section of the country. Campaigns are over and a winner has emerged. We must come together after the election and give our support to the President.
“The loser of the election, who had all the powers to do and undo, came out to congratulate the President. That action of the former President is the best thing that has happened in this country. You can only be the President of the country when it is intact. All of us must join hands together to support President Buhari,” he added.
He asked those who might not agree with the President to wait until 2019, when elections would be held again.
He said, “This is when there will be another opportunity for election. Then Nigerians would determine if the President has done well or not. Democracy has come to stay in the country.”
Political pundits are of the view that Sule Lamido and other aggrieved PDP members should keep their gun powder dry and watch how much APC can deliver on its campaign promises. Already the APC has started faltering and giving excuses on why it may not be able to meet some of the numerous promises it made to Nigerians and the electorate are taking note of it. Nigerians are getting very sophisticated politically and are already asking the APC questions. Almost certainly, the people will determine APC’s fate with their voters’ cards in 2019 depending on how much they deliver on their campaign promises. Sule Lamido can be rest assured that PDP does not need to retaliate and make the country ungovernable in a bid to unseat it in 2019. Doing that make be counter-productive as it might win some sympathy for APC like what happened at the peak of the electioneering campaign when some PDP chieftains embarked on hate campaign against President Buhari.


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