How other opposition parties allegedly sold out, went for ‘the money’ has been revealed.
For the first time in a long while, especially, since Nigeria’s return to civil rule, the main opposition party, in this case, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), failed to assert any form of control or influence in the choice of the minority leadership in both chambers of the National Assembly, when the federal legislature chose its principal officers recently.
The development not only left PDP in palpable disarray, but also further exposed the party’s gradual and systemic weakening by some of its own, who would not let any opportunity to take their supposed pound of flesh against the party leadership slide.
Although, not unexpected, the aggrieved group of former five governors of the party appeared visible in the politics of the minority leadership.
They were also believed to have compromised the current leadership of PDP, under Umar Damagum, who might have given the party away to the G-5 governors, and let them steal the show.
The G-5 – Nyesom Wike (Rivers), ‘Seyi Makinde (Oyo), Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu), Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia), and Samuel Ortom (Benue) – were believed to have skilfully played the “requisite money politics” with the other opposition elements, who were willing “cash and carry” aiders in the planned decimation of PDP.
President of the Senate, Godswill Akpabio, had Tuesday announced Senator Opeyemi Bamidele as Majority Leader, Dave Umahi (Ebonyi South) as Deputy Majority Leader; Senator Ali Ndume (Borno South) as Chief Whip; Senator Lola Ashiru (Kwara South), Deputy Whip; Simon Mwadkwon (PDP, Plateau North) as Minority Leader; and Oyewunmi Olalere (PDP, Osun West) as Deputy Minority Leader.
In the House of Representatives, the Speaker, Hon. Tajudeen Abbas, named Hon. Julius Ihonvbere as Majority Leader; Hone Abdullahi Halims as Deputy Majority Leader; Hon. Bello Kumo as Chief Whip; Adewunmi Onanuga as Deputy Chief Whip; and Kingsley Chinda, an ally of Wike, as Minority Leader.
With this development, the mainstream PDP evidently lost out to the G-5 and the theatrics of the ruling party, All Progressives Congress (APC).
APC was believed to have reached an understanding with the G-5 to undo their party at every opportunity.
From all indications, the mainstream PDP does not own the minority leadership in both chambers of the National Assembly, as those that emerged are not a true reflection of its choice.
Typically, this development might have begun to relegate the opposition party, which watched helplessly as it was played out to the background of action in the legislature.
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The G-5 had allegedly enlisted and mobilised all the other opposition parties, especially Labour Party (LP), whose members were alleged to have resorted to “cash and carry” politics.
The group was said to have effectively “captured” the other opposition parties and might continue to instigate them to always stand in opposition against PDP.
The path to PDP’s current disunity started at the party’s presidential primary last May, when one of the presidential aspirants and former governor of Sokoto State, Aminu Tambuwal, stepped down for Atiku Abubakar, a development believed to have altered the equation and swung things in Atiku’s favour.
Wike, also a presidential aspirant, did not take kindly to Tambuwal’s decision, especially the following day, when the suspended National Chairman of the party, Iyorchia Ayu, thanked Tambuwal and described him as the “hero of the convention.”
These series of events soon led to a rebellion orchestrated by Wike and his friends. They insisted that for the balancing of power, Ayu must resign from his position and pave way for a southerner to become PDP’s national chairman, since a northerner, in the person of Atiku, had emerged presidential candidate of the party.
Wike and the others contended that the condition was what they all agreed to when Ayu was nominated as the party’s chairman. They insisted that Ayu’s refusal to go after Atiku emerged was a breach of understanding and trust that could not be overlooked.
But while the party did not object to the request and claim outright, it noted that it was only possible after the general election, a decision the G-5 rejected and since then waged war against the PDP leadership. Though the crisis cost some of the G-5 members their elections, they continued to fight.
Little wonder Wike and others moved against PDP two days ago at the National Assembly, when it became clear that Tambuwal, a man said to have stopped Wike’s presidential ambition by standing down for Atiku, was being tipped as the party and Atiku’s choice for Minority Leader.
Interestingly, the G-5, our correspondent gathered, had resolved to continue to stand in opposition to PDP and seize as many opportunities as they continue to avail themselves to give back to the party a dose of its own treatment.