This seems a million dollar question, but the speculations are both rife and strong. Some say it is the reason for the turnaround or judicial fortunes of the embattled Taraba state governor. Sam Tysav looks at the possibilities of the governor decamping to the PDP immediately after he gets victory at the Supreme Court
No one can question the party platform under which governor Darius Ishaku of Taraba state contested and eventually emerged as the governor of the state. The former cabinet member of the federal republic of Nigeria aspired and won the support of his people on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
PDP was the ruling party in the country before the last general election. Not everybody believed that the opposition party, All Progressives Congress, APC, would make any appreciable mark in the last election. Such Nigerians, particularly, the political class were taken aback when the umpire body, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, declared the candidate of the APC, Gen Mohammadu Buhari winner of the presidential election.
It was surprising to most PDP supporters as most states of the federation voted overwhelmingly for the APC. This unarguably led to the emergence of the party as the ruling party in the country. The song which was being sung only within the territories of Nigeria that PDP was the biggest party in Africa got ceased without official warning from any quarter.
But in Taraba state the PDP which was the ruling party still got victory in the governorship election. Darius Ishaku who flied the flag got elected as his close rival was the APC candidate, Senator Jumai Aisha Alhassan. Candidates of other political parties in the race did not make any impact.
But Ishaku did not have a smooth ride to victory. Before he even declared for PDP there were people on ground who had declared and were already canvassing for support from the people of Taraba. The then Ag governor, Alhaji Garba Umar had already perfected his way even as Chief David Sabo Kente had used his non governmental organisation, DSK Foundation to reach out to the populace. He was not a pushover in PDP in the state. The other two politicians did not accept the result of the primaries that was said to have produced Ishaku as not been the true feelings of the people even as the PDP primaries for the governorship election was moved to Abuja.
Addressing his supporters in Jalingo, Chief Kente noted that the primaries in addition to moving it to Abuja it was characterised by irregularities. He told his supporters that it was as a result of the irregularities that he was compelled to dump PDP for Social Democratic Party, SDP.
Ishaku and Kente as our checks confirmed were/are from one senatorial district which through a gentleman agreement was to produce the governor of the state, the Taraba South. While Kente was said to have won the mock election from the zone as its consensus candidate for the governorship, Ishaku as alleged got the blessings of Gen. TY Danjuma as the PDP candidate for the zone. Danjuma was to endorse the consensus candidate and he was allegedly lured into endorsing Ishaku’s candidature. Kente who spoke to journalists in Jalingo did not hide his feelings. This was the first problem Kente had with Ishaku before going into election on different party platforms.
Shortly after the elections in Taraba state had come and gone and Ishaku emerged as the state governor, doubts started raining as to whether he would continue in the PDP which produced him as the governor. The doubts were more pronounced in the PDP circle. A prominent member of the party who did not want his name mentioned, informed that Ishaku would not end in the PDP.
This was also the views of a top government functionary who is a caucus member of the party in the state. He noted with confidence that governor Ishaku was going to dump the PDP for the APC.
Some of the party faithfuls who up to this moment have not understood his style of leadership are also of the opinion that the governor was going to dump the party. One man believed to be a strong supporter of the governor did not hide his feelings. “He has forgotten that people supported him. He has abandoned us and he does not not give us anything. I am not sure whether he is still a member of the PDP.”
Some politicians in the state had considered the case between Ishaku and Sen Alhassan as a bad case against Ishaku. This was when the APC candidate dragged Ishaku to the election petition tribunal. Their hope went higher when the Appeal Court set aside the decision of the tribunal which had nullified Ishaku’s election. A chieftain of the PDP who spoke on anonymous ground alleged that elders had hand in the decision of the Appeal Court.
Explaining further, the informant alleged that President Buhari and Danjuma are two friends that have high respect for each other.Taraba, the home state of Danjuma has a PDP governor who was reportedly sponsored by Danjuma while his friend Buhari is in APC. The duo as alleged are doing everything possible to sustain their relationship as they claim Taraba would stand to benefit from it maximally, particularly when the governor joins the APC. “There are high level discussions on the matter”.
An APC member in the state whose reasoning was not different noted that the appointment of Alhassan by President Buhari as minister of the federal republic was a kind of consolation to enable her feel that she did not lose completely. He believed that the deal would be sealed with the governor defecting to the ruling APC.
It could be recalled that when the APC candidate won her case at the tribunal and there was jubilation in some quarters the PDP spokesman, Napoleon Adamu appealed to the PDP to accept the verdict of the tribunal the leadership of the party in the state did not take it kingly with him. They punished him instantly for what they called anti party activity. But while he was been punished some APC members mockingly said Ishaku was simply wasting his time to defect to the APC.
Others were of the hope that for a state governor to get support from the federal government the state should belong to the ruling party that forms the government. They believed that Taraba would gain maximally if the state governor defects to the APC.
It is indisputable however that the governor had not come out to disclose the planned intension to the Taraba community but a close associate of the governor informed that the arrangement was being worked out at the level of godfather.
But as to whether the governor would lose his seat on account defection, a political analyst, Abraham Ayangakuma opined that unlike other positions the seat of executive governor is covered by some level of immunity and as such if anyone wants to make case of out it, he would have to wait until the end of his tenure and any action or inaction at that time would have no effect but would certainly amount to precious waste of precious time.