The general elections have come and gone but the accompanying dust is yet to settle; strained relationships yet to be amended and bruised egos yet to heal.
The dust may never truly settle and the relationships may never be amended while bruised egos may never heal. In some camps, it is the jubilation of victory while other camps revel in the agony of defeat.
The new ruling party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) is jubilating in its much-deserved and long-fought for victory and while the soon-to-erstwhile ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is in understandable agony.
As a loyal and committed party man, I have been asking myself many questions and I hardly have available answers for them hence this method of putting thoughts to paper.
I stare long and hard into space; I lay awake at night and often times, I ask myself: How did we get here? Where did we get it wrong? How did we get it wrong?
The Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese Bishop Mathew Hassan Kukah, while delivering a convocation lecture at the Ebonyi State University recently posited that President Jonathan lost because the PDP could not deal with the issues of greed and arrogance of some of its men and women while in power.
The revered Bishop said the party became insensitive to the needs of its supporters, had no mechanism for internal cohesion and simply believed that it was the elephant that could never be slayed. How fatally wrong!
I will lay the blame of this defeat on the feet of our field commanders; and who were our field commanders? I daresay the PDP state governors. They brought us to this land of Egypt.
It is the atrocious attitude of the PDP governors which saw to the gang-up against President Goodluck Jonathan after the party’s convention at the Eagle Square thereby staging a walkout from the venue, joined by other party faithfuls who also felt aggrieved.
The governors would later decamp in droves to the APC with their supporters and members of State Houses of Assembly.
These acts emboldened members of the House of Representatives and Senators to follow suit thereby depleting the ranks of PDP in the legislative arm of government.
As the APC governors were luring PDP lawmakers with automatic and governorship tickets, shifting ground when and where necessary, our imperial PDP governors, on the other hand, with impunity, supplanted serving members of state and federal legislature with their stooges and loyalists through kangaroo and sham primary elections.
Even in some cases when their preferred candidate fails to win, results were blatantly re-written in their favour. A case in point is my own Benue State, other examples suffice. They are: Plateau and Kogi states in North Central, Cross River and Akwa Ibom in South-South, Bauchi and Adamawa in North East, Jigawa, Katsina and Kebbi in North West and Ondo in South West.
In these states, PDP suffered monumental losses except in Cross River and Akwa Ibom that are majorly PDP states without any pronounced presence of opposition parties.
This, though, has changed since after the primaries as opposition parties have continued to grow in ranks by the day. However, the governors didn’t only deny incumbent legislators tickets in these states, they also fenced them out of the party.
Let’s take Benue State, for instance, where a former national chairman of PDP and serving Senator Barnabas Gemade was denied the PDP Senatorial ticket and also fenced out of the party. Gemade cried out to the party at national level but they all turned deaf ears.
Since he has political life left in him (quoting Ogbuagu Francis Arthur Nzeribe) he had no option than to move to APC from where he defeated the incumbent governor of Benue State; Gabriel Suswam thereby demystifying the notional invincibility of state governors.
The same scenario was replicated in Cross River State where the state governor, Senator Liyel Imoke ensured that the current Senate Leader, Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria and Senator Bassey Otu did not return to the National Assembly for reasons best known to him.
Senator Bassey Otu decamped to Labour Party and contested the election for which pundits believe he won but was rigged out in favour of the PDP candidate.
Senator Ndoma-Egba, on the other hand, out of principle rebuffed entreaties by opposition parties and supporters to decamp to the opposition Labour Party or APC and contest the Senatorial election.
He hoped till the final minute that the party will do justice to his case as I read in one publication by late December 2014 where he cried out to PDP national that the Cross River State chapter of the party is trying to annihilate him politically; that he has never been invited for any party function for three years running.
To this end, the party did nothing, and this baffles me for a man of such standing in the party to be so ignored –the Leader of the Senate and a member of the highest decision making organ of the party, the NEC.
If he could be so ignored and fenced out of the party, I have since wondered the essence of his continued sojourn in PDP. I advise that people who have similar cases as Ndoma-Egba should not stand aloof, but instead join the APC or any other political party to help enrich our democratic process.
In conclusion, I will advise APC not to allow any of these former PDP governors into their fold. They should stay back in PDP and clear the mess they made as this is one big lesson that has to be learnt the very hard and tortuous way.
Terngu writes from Makurdi, Benue State