By Abdu Abdullahi
A political issue was laid bare after the pronouncement of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential primary results held in Port Harcourt recently. The political congregation clearly and convincingly highlighted two contrasting variables. They were political opportunism and party loyalty.
Revisiting the convention with these political impressions on our mind with a view to generating fundamental lessons is obligatory. We cannot afford to ignore them because they have been mandated to manifest at the decision making process by the diverse political gladiators, pundits and interests whose cumulative choice affirmed the verdict in
favour of Atiku Abubakar.
The performance analysis of the 12 presidential aspirants showed a fierce battle of political opportunism and overwhelming party loyalty.
Political opportunism is a political style of aiming to increase one’s political influence at almost any price. It is also a political action that involves seizing every and any opportunity to extend political influence when such opportunities arise.
In purchasing power for its own sake, though ultimately for self aggrandizement, the merchants of political opportunism naturally discard quality services in politics. They grossly abuse standards, civility as well as procedures. They vulgarise and violate progressive principles and values to empower their political kingdom. They deprive themselves of hitting the political point of what the late Malam Aminu Kano described as “a politician with messianic proportion.”
From the memories of the last PDP congress, Atiku Abubakar, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, Bukola Saraki and Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso were the champions of political opportunism.
In hard desperation to enrich and broaden their political hegemony, they impudently migrated from the APC camp to the PDP, albeit they contributed to the party’s disintegration in 2015. They were ever ready to pay any skyrocketing price (they actually did that) to hijack the primary election project.
Spotting a very gigantic opportunity knocking on their doors, they became ambitiously restless and restive. This persistent knocking, escalated by the passing moments, pushed them to sacrifice everything to have their political dreams perfected.
It was the mother of all opportunities at their disposal which they could not allow to vanish into the air. Capturing and wielding the tools of intensive maneuvering, they surpassed the other contestants, deploying ultra modern forces of audacity. Each discovered his latest political artillery and infantry to be the supreme conqueror.
When the election scoreboard was eventually read, it was the triumph of the highest bidder, the most sophisticated and political warrior for ages.
Party loyalty is the individual’s faith in a political party. The faith in question remains consistent, focused and very supportive for the party’s philosophy and structures to survive. Many a times, party loyalty demands perseverance and sacrifice in the wake of tribulations.
Party loyalty is at loggerheads with political adulteration. It always raises the party’s interest first before individual’s interest is considered. Party loyalty is the vehicle for deepening democracy. It is the beginning of political principles.
To understand the wretchedness of politics without principles, study the late Mahatma Gandhi’s ‘Seven Social Sins’ destroying the world.
Apart from Attahiru Bafarawa, all the other contestants, who emerged at the bottom of the first four aspirants, were PDP loyalists who deserved unanimous support. Even for a moment, the thought of divorcing the party did not cross their minds. They are even greater than the party because their consistency is the source of the party’s grandeur.
If these men had also shifted allegiance to other parties, the PDP would not have been the same to conduct the last convention. It is a political tragedy if politicians of a certain party can embark on a mass transfer to another one for power attraction only.
The PDP fundamentalists offered tremendous sacrifices when Senator Ali Modu Sharif set the party’s house ablaze. During that difficult period, the opportunists were comfortably relaxing in their various homes watching the unfolding political drama. They had no business on how the Makarfis, Lamidos, Dankwambos and the others swallowed the psychological turmoil of that political disaster.
All of us saw how the battle for the party’s ownership then was such that it was beyond prediction. Gradually, the party was suffocating. But its embattled soldiers under the political command of Senator Ahmed Makarfi rescued it from the dangerous dagger of its detractors. As long as it exists, Senator Makarfi will be celebrated as a Messiah.
Dr. Sule Lamido is a founding member of the party. He has never mortgaged his loyalty to any other one. He is a living example of a persistent, consistent political achiever and professional with compelling ideological stubbornness and mild ambition. His domineering enthusiasm for the survival and growth of the party cannot be overemphasised.
If youthful asset is anything to carry weight in the quest for the next president, Governor Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo is duly eligible. This is in addition to his unflinching commitment to the party. He has never found it wanting to despise it as an ‘abandoned property’.
Kabiru Tanimu Turaki and Datti Baba Ahmed are also in this class.
But for reasons peculiar to the delegates and all the political giants responsible for the crowning of Atiku Abubakar, the party loyalists were relegated to the background despite their inconvertible political faithfulness. If the Atikus, Tambuwals, Sarakis and Kwankwasos had not redeployed themselves to the party’s camp and guaranteed the right to vie for the primaries, it would have been a victory for Dankwambo, Lamido or Makarfi. But when that political opportunism saw, came and conquered the calculated adventure, Atiku Abubakar became the overall beneficiary.
A popular opinion has it that Atiku is the only political guru who can give Buhari a good fight. However, the Atiku we know is a politician with consolidated elite support. The Atiku that many evaluate does not hold grassroots followership especially in the North.
It is argued that his capitalism character is a political threat to the masses’ yearnings and aspirations.
The lessons of the party’s convention are immense when scrutinised from the opportunism and loyalty point of view.
Abdullahi wrote in from Galadanci Quarters, Ringim. Jigawa state and can be reached via his e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.