PDP defectors’re morally bankrupt, Buhari shouldn’t let them —James Ibechi

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I don’t know if the President-elect, Major Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, was correctly quoted. But if he truly said what was carried in the Sunday Tribune of April 12, perhaps, he would help tame morally bankrupt politicians.

Perhaps, then, our democracy which has been strengthened by the peaceful, if surprising outcome of the 2015 general elections would continue to grow from “strength to strength.”

In a story captioned “No room for PDP defectors in my government,” Buhari was quoted as hinting that neither he, nor his government would have a place for politicians who have been defecting from the PDP to the victorious All Progressives Congress, APC.

As it is now, I doubt if I can accept the tag of a politician that people give me when I pass a comment on any political happening or issue. I am not a card carrying member of any party. I support individuals, and they cut across party lines. I have a few of them as friends, brothers and sisters. And a couple of them as confidants. My job, indeed, compels me to. So, our paths cross very often. In the process, I thought I had seen it deeper. I thought I had studied them. And that I understand some of their shenanigans, their lies, their propaganda and their legendary foul-mouthedness. Yet, nothing prepared me for the betrayals within the PDP since its balloon burst.

In the wake of its unprecedented defeat by the APC, fair weather members of the party have been defecting in droves to the APC. The reasons they are giving for their disgraceful defections are as empty as they are. These are men and women who have enjoyed tremendous patronage from the party. These are men and women who gained financially from the party. Then, suddenly, because the party from which they had gained favour these past 16 years made unbelievable avoidable mistakes which cost them all, almost, they are jumping ship, giving reasons a two-year-old baby would laugh at.

I understand that defections are normal. I know that politicians often say there are no permanent enemies or friends in politics, – only permanent interests. But I also know that more than in any other country, Nigerian politicians are in a class of their own. They can defect to four different parties within a twinkle of an eye. And they do so not for the good of their constituency, their country or even the party they are defecting to. It is mainly for selfish interests – their pockets, their stomach.The unbelievable high profile defections from the PDP to the APC confirm this.

I have absolutely nothing against those who defected from the PDP to the APC, or vice versa, before the presidential elections. Theirs may have been out of genuine frustrations. In the wake of the PDP primaries for governorship and national assembly elections, many of those who were truly short-changed by the party, and found no listening ears in its leadership, left the party.

There are, for example, the likes of PDP’s former national chairman, Senator Barnabas Gemade, who felt humiliated by the out-going governor of Benue state, Gabriel Suswan. Suswaw challenged Gemade for a senatorial seat he had held for just one term, and inspite of efforts to make Suswan let go, he refused. Like some of his counterparts, after serving for eight years as a governor, he wanted to retire to the Senate. For them, the Senate has become part of their retirement benefits. Gemade quit the party for the APC, and now, he is Suswam’s nemesis! He roundly defeated the out-going governor.

There is also the former Minister, Samuel Ortom. Angry over the shabby way Suswan and the party treated him, he quit for the APC, picked the governorship ticket, and has just won, defeating Suswan’s hand-picked candidate.

Now, Suswan, like his Niger state counterpart, Babangida Aliyu, and a couple of others, has lost all. He is neither going to the Senate, nor had the privilege of installing his own successor. If the out-going PDP governors of Delta and Enugu states did not quickly beat a retreat, the same fate would have befallen them.

Enugu’s Sullivan Chime dropped his senatorial ambition in order to install his successor. He succeeded. Delta’s Uduaghan was forced to drop his senatorial ambition, but also, because he didn’t play straight, lost the opportunity of installing his successor. Mercifully, having been out-foxed, he worked for his successor’s victory. But for this retreat by both governors, they would have been in Suswam’s embarrassing shoes. But I digress. I was talking about the shameless PDP defectors.

So, I have nothing against the likes of Gemade and Ortom. But I have everything against those who began to defect as soon as Buhari won. They are cheap politicians who are morally bankrupt. They did not defect because they have anything to contribute to the APC. They defected because they cannot endure being in the opposition. They defected for positions and their stomach. They defected because they cannot build. They defected because, like fish out of water, they think the end has come for them. They defected because they want to go and “chop.”

They want to go and reap where they did not sow. If a thorough investigation is conducted, many of them contributed to the near-death of the PDP. They contributed nothing to it. They were not fully in the party. They were there because of what they could get. They were no true party men and women. They were gold-diggers. Seeing that the feast is over, they have invited themselves to another feast prepared for other people.

The APC and Buhari should not let them. They are empty. They only want stomach infrastructure. If it is reversed, they will shamelessly give reasons to decamp again. They are no democrats, and are not capable of contributing anything to Nigeria’s democracy. They cannot endure the rigours of building a political party. And they cannot make sacrifices. They are career “chop-chop” politicians. They have no principles, and are not capable of impacting anything to anybody. They have nothing to contribute to the APC. And the party should beware of them. They are those who sang messiah today, and tomorrow chorused crucify him. I am happy Buhari understands them and their emptiness.

He said: “I have no fears of PDP defectors. They would have very little influence in the APC government. I hope the people that are defecting will accept the fact that they are joining the people who succeeded. So, I don’t think they will just come and say they want to be ministers next month because they were ministers before.”

That is the spirit. Keep them at bay with the broom.

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