By Abdulqadir Abdulganiyu
Facts, they say, are sacred. In this regard, the fact that the Kwara State Government feels the need to hire ghost-writers to do its black-ops opinion pieces on the immediate-past President of the Senate, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, points to the fact that they are terrified about the moves he has been making, both at home in Kwara State and across the nation, as the Chairman of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) National Reconciliation and Strategy Committee (PDP NRSC).
You see, it’s easy to twist facts, muddy updates, and create alternate narratives. Additionally, it is a lot easier to raise one finger to point at another person’s faults, when four dirty fingers are staring right back at you. However, to walk readers through the process of how the Tuesday, May 25th article titled ‘Saraki, and a Labour in Vain,’ written by one character known as ‘Abdullah Abdulganiy’ published in The Nation, is devoid of facts, it is necessary to highlight the following:
Following the inauguration of the PDP NRSC chaired by Dr. Saraki, I heard a commentator on the radio say: “If political parties wore make-up, right now, the PDP has chosen to accept that it has acne — which is treatable and has set up a reconciliation committee as a cure. While, on the other hand, the APC, which has several malignant tumours on its face, has chosen to cover up its significant flaws with cheap, over-the-counter dusting powder.”
As an opposition party, the PDP clearly understands that it needs to work harder than the party that controls the center if it wants to win the hearts and minds of Nigerians ahead of the 2023 general election. This is why, it chose a strategic genius like Saraki — a man whose antenna for politics and governance is matched by very few — to lead its reconciliation committee. It must be noted, that because the party understands that the work of the committee is not cosmetic, it has allowed the committee to work independently — without any interference.
This is why, the committee has recorded several successes in the South West, the North East, and the North Central zones. Additionally, it must be noted that even the PDP National Working Committee; the party leaders and stakeholders in their states; the Saraki-led NRSC; and perhaps, even their parents, could have stopped Governors Umahi and Ayade from leaving the PDP — even though Umahi left the party before Saraki’s committee started working.
Those who know the inside stories, understand that both Umahi and Ayade have always been APC in spirit, and PDP on paper. This is why their almost-solo defections may have created ripples amongst the non-political class, but in the scheme of things, the APC gained two men; while the PDP lost two Governors, because the PDP preserved the state party structures in both states.
In Ogun State, the unknown author’s account of the defections that took place can only be described as fictitious. This is because the Remilekun Bakare that he mentioned was not even a member of the Kashamu Group, in the first place. Bakare had always been a member of the ACN and later APC. He was the one over whom former Governor Ibikunle Amosun was chosen as the governorship consensus candidate of the ACN in 2011. This means that all the ongoing reconciliation efforts are still on, and the nameless faction that is supposed to have defected never existed. APC should be careful of those deceiving it by claiming to be PDP members when in fact they were only moving from irrelevant status in APC to dubious relevance in the same APC.
Additionally, the author spoke about defections in Kwara in Saraki’s party. It’s almost comical that the author of a fluff piece could be so blind to the fact that the hemorrhaging of the APC in Kwara, is even clearer for all to see and hear, than the depletion of the APC at the national level.
Across the board, the Governor, Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq, has become increasingly isolated. His failures have become the topic at dinner tables. His embarrassments have trended on social media. His former friends, who helped him to become governor, are now after his job. While on the policy side of things, he is stuck. He has no significant achievement. If he loses in 2023, he will leave behind a legacy of nothing-to-remember. The writing on the wall became clear when just the other day, following their engagements with the Alhaji Kawu Baraje-led Kwara PDP Reconciliation and Engagement Committee, which was set up by Saraki, hundreds of APC youth in Patigi Local Government Area, decamped to the PDP.
It is important to note that, as we move forward, the PDP, based on the advice of the Saraki-led reconciliation committee, has begun to look inwards and re-examine itself. On the other hand, the APC, which is torn between various war-lords has not even started to treat its internal wounds. With success recorded in the Borno State chapter of the PDP, where both factions hugged it out in Saraki’s Abuja home; Nasarawa State, where key stakeholders have resolved to work together in the interest of the party; and in Ogun State, where an MOU on the way forward has been signed and adopted, in less than six months, Saraki’s committee has been silently changing the state of play ahead of the general election.
Victors don’t need to make noise. Winners don’t need to throw stones. Saraki and the members of his committee are winning, while the Kwara governor, who is scared of his chances in the next election, is throwing unnecessary stones — instead of working to make peace with himself first, and then the people in his party that is trying to unseat him.