The reported resignation, early this week, of General Mohammed Buba Marwa, former military administrator of old Borno and Lagos States and former Ambassador of Nigeria to South Africa, from the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, should not come as a surprise. The party has of late become resentful of committed leaders both in various states and at the federal levels.
The disgraceful defeat of the PDP-led federal government at the polls will come as a unique study in African political history, in self-destruct. The acclaimed largest political party in the African continent with the potentials to rule for decades became suddenly decimated by forces largely attributable to internal squabbles.
The party started well in the events leading to its triumph in 1999, with General Olusegun Obasanjo coming in as President. Many believed that Obasanjo may not be the best occupier of this post having being a dictatorial head of state in the past. But because of the need to pacify the Yoruba race for the injustices done to it with the senseless annulment of the June 12, 1993 election clearly won by Moshood Abiola, the general had to be sentimentally pushed to the throne.
The euphoria was so intimidating that the party was an equivalent of success. At that time, there were political heavyweights in the mould of, of course, Vice President Atiku Abubakar, General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, Chief Audu Ogbe, Chief Olusola Saraki, Dr. Alex Ekwueme, Chief Richard Akinjide, Chief Barnabas Gemade, General Buba Marwa and lots of other elder statesmen and women too numerous to enumerate.
Anyone that wanted power or wanted to get close to real power chose the PDP. Other political parties were only trailing behind. This was the euphoria that engaged the mind of a former Chairman of PDP, Vincent Ogbulafor, when he stated most hysterically that the party was going to be in power for at least sixty years.
None could have doubted it because the PDP was brutal in words and in deeds. It gets anything it intends, whether by crook or otherwise. Obasanjo, who held sway for eight years as President, and later as national leader and Chairman of Board of Trustees, BOT, became a sort of Machiavellian. He gets everything he wanted; not minding whose ox is gored. He almost transformed into a third term president if not for providence.
But like the proverbial object that is so powerful, yet possesses the internal element needed for self-destruct, the PDP is today a shadow of its old self. What went wrong?
A lot of theories and theorems have been propounded and for years to come intellectual and lay discussions will continue to come up on this issue. But one plausible factor is the belief that success not well managed oftentimes comes to an abrupt end the way it did for the PDP.
The mortal power behind the superlative strength of the party also became the power behind its self destruct. Was late Alhaji Umar Musa Yar’Adua the most qualified candidate, in intellect, integrity, experience and good health to have taken over from General Olusegun Obasanjo in 2007? With his failing health, well known to the outgoing President as well as his taunted monetary reserve in some banks’ vaults, which others after him would plunder, why must it be Yar’Adua?
It might be convenient to castigate those who are gradually leaving the party, right from the days and months preceding the elections. The Chief Planter himself left in a most bizarre way by shredding his membership card comically through a proxy, in his oft-cunning way. But for other defectors, what should we expect. Do you expect me to continue to stay under a leaking or torn umbrella, figuratively and comically, even when I am not in any way the architect of such calamity and when I have contributed materially and otherwise to the party project? Definitely not. It is even a matter of courage to announce you are leaving the way Marwa and many others did recently than staying half-heartedly, being insulted left and right by some political neophytes, who incidentally contributed to the failures. It is a courageous thing, knowing the barrage of criticisms that are likely to follow such move.
Having resigned his membership of the PDP, one will see a frustrated leader in the mould of other well-meaning party leaders, who have tried all possible ways to reposition the party to enviable position, but disallowed by forces of retrogression. So, leaving the party is the only viable option left.
General Marwa has not announced his next political move but it would be patriotic of him to consider joining forces with other patriots to take this country out of the woods, by fusing his political structure into that of the APC in order to move the nation forward.
Ayo Akinola is a political analyst based in Lagos.