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Our people have a saying, to wit: Someone who chanced on a lost item says he will rather die than part with it; what does he want the person who lost the item in the first instance to do? This saying aptly describes the cry-baby posturing of the All Progressives Congress over the defection of some of its legislators and other party leaders, including some sitting governor at the last count. Many of those defecting from the APC are only returning to whence they came from. Around this time in 2014 and 2015, many of today’s defectors played with the Peoples Democratic Party , PDP, and its leaders the same hide-and seek they are playing today with the APC and its leaders. Seven APC governors had started holding, at first clandestine meetings, but later they came into the open, disparaging their party and cocketting with opposition figures. In the end, five of the governors and a coterie of law makers and other party leaders quit PDP and pitched their tent with APC. The defectors rebuffed all efforts to placate and keep them within PDP’s fold. They played “b’oju b’oju” games while at same time inflicting grievous damage on PDP. They stayed within and pissed within. When they felt they had inflicted enough damage on the then ruling party and there was no way it could recover from the damage, they jumped ship. The rest, as they say, is history.
APC saluted the defectors as patriots and nationalists. Their very act of tearing their own party in shreds was praised to high heavens and the defectors were celebrated to no end. Without the defectors, it was doubtful if APC could have succeeded at the 2015 polls. For reasons which are well known and which, therefore, need not detain us here, the tide has changed. APC, which rode on the crest of CHANGE to power, is now swimming against the tide. CHANGE is changing and APC is at the receiving end. A party that benefitted immensely from defections to coast to victory is now not only railing at defectors but is also trying hard to criminalise defection. APC cry-baby! Its leaders are whimpering and sulking. They are also threatening hail and brimstones against defectors. APC is letting loose its attack dogs of security forces and the EFCC on defectors. But they should be told that ex-President Goodluck Jonathan and the PDP did no such despicable things in 2014/2015. Aminu Tambuwal, as Speaker of the House of Representatives, played as much hide-and-seek with his party, the PDP, as Bukola Saraki and Yakubu Dogara are doing today with the APC. Tambuwal was never dragged before the Code of Conduct Tribunal. He was never put under house arrest; and neither was he framed up on robbery charges. After he had pleased himself dribbling Jonathan and PDP, he decamped into the APC. He contested governorship election under APC and won. Today, he is the sitting governor of Sokoto state. Interestingly, Tambuwal has defected back to PDP!
What goes around comes around! Many of those who defected from the PDP in 2014/2015 are today defecting from APC back to the PDP. Saraki is one of them. He has gone back with his godson and governor of his home state of Kwara. Another defector is Gov. Samuel Ortom of Benue who moved from PDP to APC and, after a brief period of prevarication, has now returned to whence he came from. Many more are said to be marking time and may soon follow suit. What poetic justice! But it is not the defection that is the issue for me, it is the amateurish and childish way APC leaders are handling it. They make embarrassing and contradictory statements that confirm their jitters and lack of coordinated response to the crises tearing their party apart. They chase shadows while leaving the substance. The problems tearing their party apart are not being addressed but are being swept under the carpet. They prefer instead to embark on rhetoric, arm-twisting tactics and chest-beating. Cold comfort! They delude themselves! They make the same statements that the PDP made in 2015 – that the defectors are paper weight and APC has already won the 2019 election hands down. Worse is that they speak from both sides of the mouth on same issues. They are confused and in disarray, lacking coordination and composure in their approach. Who is in charge is not clear any more. Some party leaders are lost in transit, like the indefatigable Lai Mohammed himself, leaving new party chairman Adams Oshiomhole the latitude to run his mouth. He surely will ground the party the way he is going.
Cry-baby APC! Have they forgotten we were all here when this same game played out four years ago? Did we not see how they gloated over the implosion of PDP? Did we not witness how they encouraged defectors to abandon PDP and join the APC bandwagon? Since the 2015 election, which they purportedly won, have we not lost count of how many legislators, national and local, as well as other party leaders, including ex-governors that have defected from other parties into APC? Did the APC raise constitutional issues about those defections? Even when the PDP and other parties protested, did the APC not tease them and make light of the complaints of their opponents? And now that they are at the receiving end and are demanding that defectors lose their seat or office, the smae APC still employs double-standards. They receive defectors into their own fold without asking such defectors to lose their office or vacate their seat but insist that those defecting from APC must suffer precarious liabilities. What kind of logic is that? He who comes to equity must come with clean hands. The same set of rules must apply to APC and the other political parties. APC will not be allowed to have its cake and eat it. What is sauce for the goose must also be sauce for the gander. APC must now be compelled to gobble the same bitter pills it forced down the throat of others.
No constitutional provisions compel Saraki and Dogara to vacate their seat or resign their office if they defect from APC. The law does not say so. Practices, conventions, and precedence also do not demand it. Tambuwwal, we have said, suffered no such liability or disability. There is also no law that says the head of either the Senate or House of Representatives must come from the majority party. The law simply says he or she must be a member of the house elected by his or her peers. An outsider cannot be senate president or speaker of the House. Simple majority of members of each chamber elects its head while two-thirds majority removes it. It is so straight-forward and simple. Why APC leaders heating up the polity cannot understand this is a function of their desperation and commitment to arbitrariness. We have seen this anti-democratic grandstanding in their one-sided anti-corruption war and in the many selections in the name of election they have manipulated the INEC to undertake since 2015.