By Zailani Bappa
I read with special interest, a story credited to Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State yesterday where he alleged that Governors recently defecting to the All Progressives Party APC from the People’s Democratic Party PDP were doing that to avoid prosecution by the Central Government.
Governor Ortom is indirectly making an allegation against my Governor, Dr Bello Mohammed Matawallen Maradun as he is the latest Governor to defect from that sinking ship to the Noahs Arch in the present political dispensation of our dear country.
Since the last meeting of the Northern Governors of the PDP where they came out with outrageous allegations and their very frustrated position on the continued lost of confidence in their Party by serving Governors and National Assembly members, I had wondered aloud why Matawalle’s defection was especially bitter to the PDP more than the rest.
The common argument is that Matawalle betrayed the mandate of the Party as handed over by the Court to the APC on a platter of gold. They said he had betrayed the PDP by taking its mandate, wholesome yo the ruling party. They try to rubbish the intelligence of Nigerians as if it were the first time a politician dumps a party that brought him to power in Nigeria.
APC, one must admit, is a tolerant political Party. Between 2015 and 2019, despite being in control at the center, the Party watched as high profile political office holders dumped the party for the PDP including the Senate President and the Speaker of the House of Representatives . The Party took it upon itself as politicking and forged ahead to win the battle once more in 2019. That is what I call pragmatism and sportsmanship.
However, this same PDP that enjoyed the mass exodus of APC top wigs into its fold and actually celebrated i then, is not only crying foul but frustratingly making spurious, baseless and embarrassing lamentations over its loss of top members to the ruling APC this time around. In my opinion, the turn of events indicates failure to manage success on the part of the PDP and complete lack of quality and good leadership.
Governor Ortom who earlier defected from the APC to the PDP is trying to play holy that he was approached by the APC to re-join or face prosecution. Hear him, “They came to me and I said no, I have no skeleton. Let them bring it out. If you don’t do well, I will take you to court and we will dig it out there.” This to my mind, is balderdash.
It also speak volumes of the ruling Party’s tolerance and leadership quality. We are still on the journey, and I pray that Governor Ortom will successfully prove himself worthy of the holy garb he is trying to wear for himself.
As for Governor Bello Mohammed, it is not mine to try and convince the public of his uprightness in managing resources, but the people of Zamfara State and the Country’s regulating agencies have consistently done that to his credit.
He remains one Governor who is yet to be genuinely accused of mismanagement of resources. Meanwhile, there are existing PDP Governors with such public and official indictment who still remain in PDP and have not been victimized for their decision to stay in that party.
Until we accept the fact that in politics, there is no static or fixed loyalty to any political party in Nigeria, we cannot come to terms with decisions taken by some pragmatic interests at certain times that may not be clear to the blurry image of cocooned politicians.
The interest of one’s electorates should always be paramount in politics rather than the banner and the flag of one’s party to pursue those interests.
Governor Bello Mohammed plays his politics along the path of his people’s interests. It is noteworthy that the interests of Zamfara people today, can best be achieved under the banner of the ruling party.
His decision to dump the PDP was not made alone but by common consensus of his people because in the last two years, the PDP as a platform has failed Zamfara State in an uncommon development, it was the ruling (opposition) APC government that consistently stood by the Matawalle administration.
I think it is time the PDP Governors bring to a stop the wild allegations against Governor Matawalle, and indeed, all his colleagues, over his defection to the APC. He is the one who wears the shoes and he is the one who knows where the shoes pinch. Ortom and his ilk should mind the business of their states and stand up to find some credibility for the party instead of trying to tarnish the image of their colleagues who by far, have better records of excellence in service and an unblemished pedigree in governance.