The move has turned from gale of defections to that of impeachment. As I write the axe of impeachment dangles dangerously on the neck of Samuel Ortom
The political arena has, expectedly, been upbeat as the next elections draw closer and politicians jostle for vantage positions to remain relevant in the scheme of things. Last week I prescribed to the ruling party, and their strategists, to return to their drawing table and hatch new ideas because those wishing to shove them out of power seem to be thinking and acting faster. One reader accused me of leaning towards the opposition because I condemned the vote buying that characterised the Ekiti elections. ‘Did you expect the ruling party to fold its hands for PDP to overrun it…? I want to tell you that Fayose and his PDP left the way they came. Some of you PDP people always cry blue murder when you lose elections…’. It was a tirade of sorts and there is no point revealing identity or exposing email or phone numbers in order to spark of debates or any such thing. People are at liberty to hold their views. I do not hold the membership card of any party and in compliance with the ethics of this profession, I have done my best to stay within the bounds of objective expression of views. As they say, beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, which is why what you see depends on where you stand. After nearly three decades on this turf, I know that such tirades are intended to cow writers to withdraw into their shells or become intimidated. I am the wrong target for those antics are familiar and would do little to stop me on the tracks of expressing my views as objectively as I can. The point being that views may not appear objective if they hurt people in a part of the divide.
That background is to enable me delve into current trends in the political developments in the land. We have moved from the gale of defections to that of impeachment. As I write the axe of impeachment dangles dangerously on the neck of Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue state, perhaps because he has defected to his former party, Peoples Democratic Party from the ruling All Progressive Congress. The party in power must have been pained that efforts to settle between Ortom and former Governor of the state, now Senator George Akume, was underway when Ortom seemed to have pulled the carpet off the party’s feet. He became an example for the party to show three other governors, said to be on the verge of defecting, that the political space was not safe for such move. The Economic and Financial Crime Commission[EFCC] suddenly remembers that Governor Ortom had 22 billion naira fraud hanging over his neck. It also revealed that 21 members of Benue house of Assembly were under investigation for allegedly diverting N375m meant for the procurement of vehicles. Note that the eight members who are on the verge of impeaching Governor Ortom, are loyal to George Akumme, who holds the lever of power in the state’s party structure. Faces of surprise should not show if the 21 members now being investigated for diverting funds, are outside those wielding the impeachment axe on the governor. The EFCC says it has been on the trail of Ortom’s financial dealings since 2016, which is why eyebrows need to be raised on the timing of its revelation. Coming just when Ortom has walked away from the ruling party only tells that the cry of the owl at night and the death of the baby in the morning are inseparable. Some governors whose body language oozed defection quickly applied perfume to rid their bodies of that ordour. The Governors of Adamawa and Niger quickly issued statements insisting that they had no plans to leave the APC.
Governor Mohammed Bindow of Adamawa put it thus, ‘the people of Adamawa are happy with the APC government hence I have no reason to leave the party’
Governor Abubakar Bello of Niger state, who spoke through his Coordinator of Media and Publicity, Mr. Jide Orintusin, said, ‘we make bold to say Niger state governor and the people are for and will remain in the APC and there is no going back’. The fear of impeachment has become the antidote for defection. It would seem the APC has struck the right strategy to stem the drove of defection plaguing the party. But it could spell greater doom if the political office holders are restrained by fear because they could become the ant that eats the wood from inside. While the APC dangles impeachment at prospective defectors, it should do well to settle the grievances of those aggrieved within its fold.
Senate President Bukola Saraki has finally quit the ruling party after the big-wigs in the party applied another strategy on him. They divested him of his firm grip on the structure of the party through dissolution of the state executive of APC. The elected executive, led by Alhaji Ishola Balogun, said to be loyal to Saraki, was dissolved and replaced with a care taker committee, said to be loyal to Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Minister of Information and Culture. The senate President and Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed, who has remained loyal to Saraki, left the party. Perhaps Saraki well face his impeachment when the senate reconvenes. Saraki and his group have returned to Peoples Democratic Party, where they rooted. Another rather interesting hurdle has been set for Saraki as his sister, Gbemisola, is being touted to have been positioned to fly the APC flag for the senate in his zone. Saraki’s battle comes on all fronts, and those who know him say he is not new to such battles. It would be recalled that the first battle Saraki fought was to wrest the political stricture of Kwara from his late father. His father made him governor and wanted to replace him at the expiration of his tenure with Gbemisola, but the junior Saraki, who was governor at the time, resisted his father and got his Commissioner for Finance, Ahmed Abdulfatah, to replace him as governor. The state has been on his firm political grip ever since. Time would tell if the APC and his sister would wrest the state from him. Another political bathe has ensued in the family. The point being that Bukala Saraki is a veteran of such battles. He had better begin to scheme escape from impeachment for that is the most imminent battle ahead. The Imo state matter is still unfolding and I had better hold my comments until another Deputy Governor is sworn into office to replace Eze Madumere, who has already been impeached by the Imo state House of Assembly. The court has placed an order restraining anyone from being sworn in.