For so many reasons, the forthcoming PDP Kogi primary election certainly means much to the Kogi electorate. Presently, there is much anxiety but less excitement
around the primaries because any confusing outcome may not only encourage dissatisfied voters to look elsewhere to shop for a candidate but may expose the nature of underhand practices in intra party politics in Nigeria.
Actually, the Kogi election is even made dicey because the PDP and the APC are the only two major political parties in the race for Kogi governorship, as such, failure of the PDP to provide a credible candidate against Audu Abubakar, the already selected candidate of APC, will certainly mean that some voters that do not agree with the choice of these candidates may eventually settle for another party or be constrained to make their decision on the basis of choosing a lesser evil amongst the candidates from the two major parties.
Given the reality on ground, some political analysts believe that PDP has a good chance provided its leadership can recognise the stakes on board and strategically reposition itself for victory. Indeed, given the mountain of public protests that have greeted the leadership of APC since Audu Abubakar’s victory, it is likely that most people against the candidacy of Audu Abubakar of the APC may find comfort and haven in the PDP should a candidate they deem acceptable is presented.
Accordingly, given the present circumstance and its attendant effects, ordinarily, the Kogi election would have been a less tedious triumph for PDP over APC, but sadly, most times, politicians neither reason with the right logic nor do they conduct their arithmetic with appropriate theorems that will assist them balance unsophisticated political equations. Usually, the preference for most politicians is to advance self-interest above party good, through the introduction of unnecessary complications.
Indeed, from every good sense of objectivity on observations in respect of the ongoing preparations for PDP Kogi primary, it is very doubtful that the PDP is set to visit wisdom. The fear that the Kogi PDP primary election may not be conducted properly in order to retain Governor Idris Wada [pictured under pressure above] as a candidate for the election is largely anticipated. Such possibility that is considered as unethical political conduct has left enduring doubts in the minds of many Kogi voters. In fact, if this is allowed to happen, the naked danger for the PDP is that the disgusting controversies which may emerge can create further divisions in the Party, thus upturning its chance of probable victory.
Besides the PDP worrisome indecisions, ahead of its forthcoming Kogi primary, it is important to state that the polls conducted thus far, revealed that voters want an alternative to Governor Idris Wada. According to results from credible political analysis that have been made public, Governor Wada’s participation in the forthcoming elections has been greeted with skepticism as he is considered a disappointment for both the PDP leadership and the Kogi people. There are wide spread insinuations that most Kogi citizens are unsatisfied with the conduct of Governor Idris Wada’s led government and the truth is that a time like the forthcoming election has been long awaited by Kogi voters to confirm their frustrations.
For emphasis, it is broadly alleged that Governor Wada has not been sensitive to the suffering of the Kogi masses. True or false, his attitude and conduct fits that of a man that is highly out of touch with what runs through the mind of the average Kogi voter. Lamentably, the blame herein will best be thrust at the doorsteps of his many paid propagandists as they have done Idris Wada no good in their efforts at discouraging him to believe most of the credible assessments and opinions that exposes his administration’s shortcomings.
On Governor Idris Wada’s quest for the PDP’s re-nomination, emerging facts have clearly revealed that such an intention has become very problematic as it is obviously against the choice of his party’s majority. Those against him firmly believe that a reputable popular candidate would be most appropriate to represent their party in the next governorship contests. Thus, the conclusion by most analysts on this intra party squabble is that it will be awkward politics for the PDP to select a candidate like Idris Wada that carries the tag of diminished credibility and unpopularity in this so termed important gubernatorial race.
The simple reason is that the present day voters’ awareness and complexities of Kogi politics will not permit the PDP to repeat what it did in 2011 election regarding the dubious emergence of its governorship candidate that was rated unpopular, yet extended a slanted mandate of the party.
Till date, the animosity which emanated from that indiscreet conduct of about four years ago is still unsettled, as the PDP’s membership has grossly been depleted and still on rapid decrease ever since Idris Wada, the infamous party candidate was maneuvered through the back door to become the Kogi PDP leader. However, with improved electoral process and voter alertness, things have changed, as such, any attempt by the PDP not to do things rightly, will be too difficult to escape the notice of political analysts and resistance of Kogi voters.
Arguably, the outcome of the last presidential elections in Kogi state which clearly showed that the APC emerged outstandingly victorious by successfully rupturing the camp of the PDP faithful is a direct reflection of Governor Idris Wada’s dwindling acceptance and loss of voters’ confidence. Therefore, it will be very difficult for any objective mind to deny that Idris Wada’s ascension to the headship of Kogi PDP has not fractionalized the party fold and paradoxically amplified the membership of the APC party. In fact, the increasing opposition to the PDP in Idris Wada’s tenure as Governor and party leader is very visible.
Undoubtedly, this has come with direct negative impact on the PDP in Kogi State and its future electoral potency. Consequently, the thought of Idris Wada as a second term governor of Kogi state is extensively regarded by his party members to be out of place and may only be permissible under a weak electoral process that embraces massive rigging of elections. Realistically, without proper articulation by the PDP, its involvement in the forthcoming governorship contest against the strong APC party should be considered a very steep hill to climb. Therefore a Wada’s candidacy for the PDP will give most voters the impression that the Party is unworried about a defeat at the polls.
Right now, even though Governor Idris Wada is still is fighting hard to keep his position as the number one citizen of Kogi state, his deep unpopularity will not only invite ridicule upon the party that presents him as its candidate but will show that the PDP has not even done justice to its members in Kogi state. This is considered so by opinion leaders in Kogi politics because it would be impossible for the PDP to advance any convincing argument that Idris Wada is the best aspirant from its fold. The simple truth is that whilst Idris Wada attracts disaffection and rejection to the PDP, a new credible candidate from the PDP will appeal unity for the party and fresh hope for Kogi voters.
As things are, it is very unlikely that with Governor Idris Wada as the standard bearer of the PDP, a large section of dissatisfied PDP party members will not transfer their loyalty which will make votes evaporate again into the APC. Arguably, it is such anti-party conduct by PDP members that was recorded as the real game changer for the APC’s victory in the last presidential election in Kogi state. So, with an unpopular candidate, it is hard to see the reason why many Kogi voters will not withhold support from PDP by casting their vote elsewhere in the coming elections. Already, majority of the voters are at the other end of the pole to Idris Wada and it will be very difficult for anyone to mobilize votes for the PDP if really Idris Wada forges ahead as the PDP candidate. .
Mildly put, an effective suicide attempt for the PDP would be to allow the alleged planned rigging of its upcoming party primaries to be made real. Ordinarily, if such speculations attributed to the cronies of Idris Wada goes unchecked, then it will rightly suggest a confirmation of PDP’s unwillingness to offer the Kogi electorate a credible choice, The truth is that if Idris Wada, a man of little voters value is presented against Audu Abubakar of the APC, then the election will not be a thorny issue. Indeed, such will mean presenting the Kogi electorate an easy choice because while Idris Wada will find it impossible to motivate the electorate on the basis of past achievements, Audu Abubakar on the other hand will pride himself his already gained public acknowledgement for past work done as Kogi state governor. If really electoral selection is based on past credible work done, there is no way the APC will not take the day at the polls.
From a large political spectrum of Kogi State, already Governor Idris Wada has come under fire over various issues ranging from his mental incapacitation, financial mismanagement and clueless leadership. Nevertheless, the one that has been largely shielded is the rising concern over his psychiatric challenges which have constitutional consequences that can threaten the position he occupies. Even though a public discussion on Governor Wada’s mental inappropriateness has been categorized “as a no go area’ and well managed in the media by his cronies, such an obscure privilege enjoyed by Wada as sitting governor may be hard to retain in the face of a very vibrant opposition.
This is so because as soon Idris Wada emerges as the PDP contestant in the coming Kogi election, the APC will not hesitate to step on such a hitherto considered verbal landmine that may expose the truth on some authenticated medical records that exist in the public domain. Such documents which presumably indicate that Idris Wada is a patient of chronic bipolar disease, a serious mental disorder would easily be collaborated with Idris Wada’s regular trips out of the country for treatment to reach an easy conclusion on his unsuitability to be a Governor in line with Nigeria’s constitution.
Most damaging supporting evidence for the APC would be that, there exists no confirmation to buttress that Idris Wada’s regular six weekly Kogi state sponsored trip overseas for treatment has neither yielded any positive impact on the state’s economy nor has it contributed to the attraction of foreign investors. This is why Wada’s candidacy deserves to be rested by the PDP as it will not only deprive the Kogi people a credible choice but limit their chances of a prosperous future which cannot be offered by Idris Wada in his present health condition.
Therefore, in this period and circumstances where Wada is deemed as unelectable or his defeat at the polls nearly assured or can be abruptly terminated midway by the APC on legitimate grounds of ill health, it would be wise for his supporters to encourage an early acceptance of step down from the governorship race in order to ensure respectable exit.
Otherwise, now that his mental incapacitation has been clearly recognized, it will be self-delusion for anyone to believe that the APC will be too blinded and dumb to appropriately take necessary and legitimate actions even in a Wada’s miraculous victory. In summary, the PDP will certainly be digging its ditch if it allows Idris Wada to find his way into the 2015 polls as a contestant for the party. Candidly put, the pessimism about Idris Wada’s candidacy is on point. Thus, the national working committee of the PDP must realize that it will be an exercise in futility to grant Idris Wada its ticket.
More so, it will in the party’s best interest to give the Kogi people a good choice of candidate especially now that internal divisions in the APC can be strategically turned to be a gain for the PDP provided a new candidate is selected. The PDP must avoid a total collapse of its existence in Kogi state for the good of Nigeria’s competitive democracy and the accomplishment of a great Kogi.
ONYEGBULE writes from Ogori Magongo, Kogi State.