While some are celebrating their victory at the just concluded 2015 general elections, others are mourning their defeat. But there are those who have found themselves in a precarious situation due to miscalculation and will live with the wrong choices. Who are they? EZUGWU OBINNA and CHRISTIAN AHUCHOGU report

In the game of politicking, it is obviously the astute that excel in most instances. Success in politics, just like most of life’s endeavours depends on making the right choices. The step one takes can make or mare one’s political aspirations, and this has been demonstrated in the recently concluded 2015 elections; it was a historical election that saw, for the first time in Nigeria, the defeat of an incumbent president by an opposition party; it was also an election that has seen those who ought to be celebrating licking their wounds for dumping the victorious party in the heat of its struggle.

As the All Progressive Congress (APC) savours its victory at the polls this year, we look at those who started the journey with the party but like the proverbial mustard seed, fall by the wayside: the big losers of the 2015 elections.

Tom Ikimi

The Edo State born politician is certainly a big gun in the country’s political arena. Those who followed the 2003 Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) primaries may not have forgotten the conspicuous voice of Ikimi mentioning Obasanjo multiple times while counting the ballot papers. He was indeed, one of those who led the PDP at a time when it was the largest and most powerful political party on the continent.

But Ikimi would later leave the party for the opposition Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and was one of the brains behind the formation and progress of the APC. As a member of the party, he was among its best personalities and perhaps wanted to serve in the capacity of its national chairman, but other more formidable leaders of the party like Bola Ahmed Tinubu had other ideas and when John Oyegun emerged the chairman of the party, Ikimi would not have it. He took the decision to leave the party. “I have made the decision to withdraw my membership from the APC from today, 27th August 2014.″ he announced and later returned to the PDP, further citing the overbearing influence of South West politicians as the reason he left.

His decision was, in some people’s opinion, the beginning of the end for APC, other members of the party who were said to be against the alleged imposition of Oyegun as its chairman were expected to follow suit. But the party remained unshaken and even waxed stronger and has now won the presidential election.

Ikimi must now be pondering on the next political move considering that the APC has taken his Igueben Local Government Area, Edo state by storm as a multitude of PDP members from there had defected to APC and thrown their support for the administration of Comrade Adams Oshiomhole and by implication, General Buhari.

Attahiru Bafarawa

For those who follow Sokoto state politics, it may not have come as shocking news when the former Governor of the state, Bafarawa dumped the APC for the PDP last year. It would help to explain alb-initio that the birth of APC brought two strange fellows: Bafarawa and  his erstwhile deputy and current Governor of the state, Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko together under one political platform and it was only a matter of time before one left the party for the other.

Bafarawa had emerged the governor of the state in 1999 under the platform of the All Peoples Party (APP) with Wamakko as deputy governor, but in the twilight of their administration, struggle over who takes over as governor ensued and the two partners fell apart. It was only by the whiskers that Wamakko escaped impeachment by the state House of Assembly which would have been a horrible dent on his political carrier; he resigned his position as deputy governor to escape impeachment.

However, fortuitous circumstances culminated into Wamakko eventually succeeding Bafarawa as governor in 2007. The former governor had presidential ambitions but as a member of the then ANPP whose presidential candidate was undisputedly Buhari, meant that he had to look for an alternative party. He eventually formed the Democratic Peoples Party (DPP) and became the presidential candidate in the 2007 presidential election. Meanwhile, he anointed his then SSG Alhaji Muhammadu Maigari Dingyadi as the governorship candidate of the party, while Wamakko snapped up the PDP ticket and with the full weight of President Obasanjo, he defeated Dingyadi to become governor in 2007. Since then it became a battle for supremacy between the two top politicians in the state, but Wamakko being governor certainly had an upper hand especially in the APC when both eventually found themselves in the party.

Bafarawa must have seen the PDP as a viable alternative and in 2014; he dumped the APC for the PDP. As it turned out, it was bad call; the APC apart from taking the centre has emerged as the party of choice in the entire Northern Nigeria. It would be interesting to see where he goes from here.

Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau

For the former Kano State Governor, it has been a battle for control between him and the incumbent Governor Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, but it is the governor who is smiling now. Shekarau who left the APC for the PDP in January 2014 is now hoping for the table to once again turn in his favour. It’s hard to see that happening soon however, considering the dwindling influence of PDP.

Shekarau had in 2003 under the platform of ANPP, handed then incumbent Governor Kwankwaso of the PDP a humiliating defeat in that year’s governorship election and took the mantle of Kano state governance. Interestingly, Kwankwaso resurfaced in 2011 and won a second tenure as governor.

It has indeed been a politics of drama between the two Kano top men and this continued with the formation of APC. Shekarau as a member of the ANPP which was part of the merger that brought about the APC became a member of the new party by default. But the leadership controversy that engulfed the PDP in 2014 saw Kwankwaso defect to the APC, thus giving rise to a situation where two political gladiators came under one party.

Kwankwaso being the governor suddenly had an upper hand in the party leading to Shekarau opting out to the PDP where he took up ministerial position and became a part of Jonathan’s administration as Minister of Education. But as the party he left has now become the ruling party, the rest is history.

Nuhu Ribadu

The former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Nuhu Ribadu, obviously dumped the APC for the PDP in order to actualize his governorship ambition. The party’s National Chairman, Adamu Muazu, perhaps believing that with Ribadu’s reputation as an anti-corruption agent, his candidature would deliver Adamawa State to the PDP, convinced him to join the party and be its candidate for the governorship race.

As it turned out, it was a bad call, the presidential candidate of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in 2011 lost woefully in the governorship election this year and he is very likely pondering on his next political move.

Senator Annie Okonkwo

The former Anambra Central Senator was one of the founding members of the APC. He led a faction of the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) which included Imo state governor, Rochas Okorocha to join the new APC in 2013 and consequently became one of the party’s helmsmen.

However, the ex-senator must have pondered on the lack of the party’s popularity in the South East and decided to dump it for the PDP in order to pursue his senatorial ambition. Unfortunately for him, he lost out in the ever intriguing PDP politics in Anambra State to Uche Ekwunife for the Anambra Central senate seat at the primaries. Although, it has to be said, he could not have been able to win the senatorial election if he had contested on the platform of APC due to the party’s lack of popularity in Anambra state; besides, he could not have been able to defeat Chris Ngige in the primary, but if he had remained with the party, he would have got a solid position in Buhari’s government. Before he defected t PDP he was the national vice chairman South.

As it stands, he has lost it all, he would rue the day he left APC accusing the party of lack of vision for the South East.

Femi Fani-Kayode

The former Minister of Aviation became something of a controversial character when he dumped the APC for the PDP, accusing the later of pursuing an Islamic agenda. He would later grow to be the loudest voice among President Jonathan’s men, matching APC’s Lai Mohammed word for word.

In the end however, the PDP lost at the centre as well as in his home state of Osun. Mr. Kayode would obviously be retreating to wait for a possible rebirth of his PDP, but even so, he may no longer be relevant in the party going forward as there are already calls for those who worked for Jonathan during the campaigns to step aside for fresh ideas. It will not come as a surprise if he today start supporting APC, because that is his brand of politics of convenience.
Buba Marwa

Just like his Adamawa state colleague, Nuhu Ribadu, the former Nigeria High Commissioner to the Republic of South Africa saw, or at least, thought he saw a better future in the PDP when he left the APC with his supporters over allegations of marginalization in the party. Recall that he was the CPC governorship candidate in 2007 and could have easily be in the mainstream APC today if he had stayed.

But he, like Ribadu had no idea that they were making what turned out to be a monumental political miscalculation. Adamawa is now a predominantly APC state which means that if he doesn’t identify with the party, bouncing back on the political scene may take a while.

 Ali Modu Sheriff

The former governor of Borno state, Ali Modu Sheriff said his decision
to defect from APC to the PDP was based on “national interest” after a near burst up with Bola Tinubu at one of the APC events last year. But his decision to leave the party was a huge let off as he was already growing increasingly unpopular even in his home state over allegations of involvement with the dreaded Boko Haram terrorists.

Modu-sheriff was certainly a liability of sort for the party and deciding to join the PDP, he compounded its problems as President Jonathan came under serious criticisms for accepting him into the PDP fold.

The former governor could not have added any electoral value for the APC but he could have been part of the government if he had stayed put, but as it is, he has to now go and rest for now.

 

Nasarawa: Sondangi indicates interest in Speakership

FFRANCIS NANSAK, Lafia


Among the newly elected All Progressives Congress (APC) 18 state House of Assembly members in Nasarawa state, Hon Murtala Sodangi from Nasarawa Central constituency has indicated his interest to contest for the Speakership seat in 8th Assembly.

Sodangi who wants to succeed Hon Musa Ahmed the outgoing Speaker, defeated his opponent Dr Abdullahi Jibrin of the PDP in a landslide victory during the polls.

He will represent Nasarawa Central/loko state constituency.

It would be recalled that Ahmed Musa contested for the House of Representatives seat under the PDP but lost to the incumbent APC lawmaker, Baba Onwana who was reelected.

The newly elected lawmaker, was a businessman who loves playing politics behind the scene, he has however said he showed interest in being at the forefront to make democratic dividends a possibility to
some of the electorate who’ve hardly felt the impact of the past representatives.

He said that apart from the legislative duties of law making and oversight functions, he would within the period of his representation initiate youth empowerment programmes through the introductions of skills acquisition and entrepreneurial projects that would boast the socio-economic wellbeing of the citizens.

This is in addition to infrastructural development that can better the constituency.

He called for the understanding of his other colleagues to support him for the position, in the spirit of equity and fairness in the distribution of political offices in the states among the zones.