by Olalekan Adetayo
Last week, I dwelt on some people who proclaim to be working for the re-election of President Goodluck Jonathan in February but whose actions or utterances are pointing to another direction. My unsolicited advice to the President in that piece was: caution your men if you are indeed desirous of victory.
This week, I will be looking at some unnecessary feuds being witnessed in some states across the country that, if not checked, may mar Jonathan’s electoral fate in the affected states.
Yuguda Vs. Mohammed: I will start with the rift between Governor Isa Yuguda of Bauchi State and the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Senator Bala Mohammed. The minister who is one of the members of the President’s kitchen cabinet, initially nursed the ambition to succeed Yuguda as the state governor. He withdrew from the race for the Peoples Democratic Party’s ticket at the last minute.
The rift between the two men blew open with the recent attack on the President’s convoy when he took his re-election campaign to their state. Surprisingly, while fingers were being pointed at supporters of the All Progressives Congress, the governor dropped a bombshell when he accused the minister of being the brain behind the attack. His claim was that Mohammed organised the attack in order to give an impression that he (the governor) is not on ground in the state.
Expectedly, the minister denied the allegation. He described Yuguda as an APC’s mole in the PDP. He further described Yuguda’s allegation against him as irrational and embarrassing. The minister wondered why the governor exonerated the APC of culpability in the attack on the PDP presidential campaign team in Bauchi, noting that Yuguda had not been campaigning for Jonathan in his state.
It is worthy of mentioning that the national chairman of the PDP, Alhaji Adamu Muazu, is also from that state. Before now, there had been rumours that there was no love lost among the governor, minister and Muazu.
If this row is allowed to fester, things may further fall apart for the PDP in the state and the centre may definitely not hold. Once the PDP structure collapses completely, the development will surely tell on Jonathan’s re-election bid.
Mrs. Jonathan Vs. Dickson: There are reports that wife of the President, Patience, is currently at loggerheads with the governor of her husband’s home state, Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State. She was said to be working towards ensuring that Dickson does not get second term in 2016. Her agenda, according to the reports, is to give the governor the same treatment meted out to Chief Timipre Sylva and install the Special Assistant to the President on Domestic Matters, Dr. Wariponmowei Dudafa, as the next governor.
Mrs. Jonathan, through her media aides, had denied the reports many times. She has insisted that there is no rift between her and the governor. She has said she is not an official of the PDP, hence she cannot be endorsing candidates.
Despite the denials however, there are pointers to the fact that there is no smoke without fire. As a correspondent covering the Villa, I had reported two times recently when Mrs. Jonathan tactically avoided delegations led by Dickson to the President. The first time was when the governor led a delegation to felicitate with the President on his birthday while the second one was when he led another delegation to celebrate Christmas with Jonathan.
The irony is that Sylvia is already fighting back from the fold of the APC. It will therefore not be wise to add the Dickson camp to those who will work against the President. Already, some groups and individuals have started taking sides with the governor.
Recently, two youth groups – Bayelsa Youth Vanguard and the Mangrove Boys of Bayelsa – had, in different statements, issued in Abuja and Yenagoa, barred the President’s wife from accompanying her husband to the presidential rally in Yenagoa. The youths who accused Mrs. Jonathan of instigating political crisis in the state and working against Dickson had vowed to embarrass and disgrace her at the rally.
An ex-Minister of Petroleum Resources, Chief Dan Etete, has also cautioned the wife of the President to stop interfering in the internal politics of the state. He accused Mrs. Jonathan of being jealous of the exceptional performance of the governor and promised to lead the fight to stop her from further frustrating Dickson.
Mrs. Jonathan’s spokesman, Ayo Adewuyi, has however described the allegation against his principal as unfounded. He wondered why an elder statesman like Etete could not investigate the veracity of the reports thoroughly before making public pronouncement on the matter.
Bayelsa is obviously one of the states the President and his tacticians must pay special attention to, ahead of the elections because charity, they say, begins at home.
Mimiko Vs others. It is no news that things have also fallen apart in Ondo PDP since Governor Olusegun Mimiko returned to the fold from the Labour Party. The ruling party is now divided between what is called old LP and old PDP.
Jonathan is not unaware of this. That was why he made it clear on Wednesday while campaigning in Akure that Mimiko, Olusola Oke and business mogul, Jimoh Ibrahim, must meet and resolve the crisis rocking the party in the state. While admitting that a cold relationship exists in the party, Jonathan put it aptly when he said, “If we don’t work together here, you will be surprised that another party will exploit it and none of us will be happy.”
The earlier issues arising from states are resolved, the better for the President’s ambition.
An ex-minister as a migrant
“If you look at all the people that have left PDP, some of them are the people that have caused all the headaches in the party. They have been the ones attacking their party, they are very quarrelsome, and they have oversized egos… If you take a look at the history of our party and look at their antecedent, you will see that they are migrants, they keep migrating from one place to another.”
This was how former Minister of Information, Labaran Maku, in February 2014 described those who dumped the PDP for the APC.
Today, the same Maku has joined the league of migrants. He has pitched his tent with the All Progressives Grand Alliance in his bid to become the next governor of Nassarawa State.
For this singular act, Jonathan; President of the Senate, David Mark; and a former chairman of the PDP, Ahmadu Ali, on Tuesday took the battle to Maku’s doorstep when they took the President’s re-election campaign to Lafia. They did not spare words in describing his actions. They described him as an ingrate and a liar among others.
Maku did not take that lightly. While he spared the President in his response, he however went for Mark, saying he found it curious that the President of the Senate had remained mute over the defection in his own native Benue State of former Minister of State for Trade and Investment, Dr. Sam Ortom; and former PDP National Chairman, Senator Barnabas Gemade, who have joined the APC to contest for the governorship and senatorial positions respectively.
How time and circumstances change our leaders!
– This Best Outside Opinion was written by Olalekan Adetayo/Punch