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OPINION: Of Treacheries by Political Mercenaries

By Sufuyan Ojeifo

“As soon as Judas took the bread, Satan entered into him.  So Jesus told him, ‘What you are about to do, do quickly.’” John 13.27 (New International Version of the Holy Bible)

Those who are conversant with the verse of the Bible quoted supra would remember very vividly what happened and the context in which Jesus made the statement.  But for those who are not, what transpired was that the time that Jesus Christ would be crucified was at hand and it has been written that one man, Judas, a son of perdition, who would fulfill a negative prophecy, would betray him to those who sought to carry out his arrest for the purpose of His trial and crucifixion.

Jesus knew from the outset of creation that Judas had been predestined to accomplish that task in human history.  Judas, therefore, did not have the grace to resist the supernatural obligation to keep that grisly appointment with destiny. He caved in to the allure of filthy lucre and perfected an unholy alliance by which he betrayed Jesus to the arresting soldiers of the High Priest Caiaphas, who then turned Jesus over to the Pontius Pilate’s soldiers.

Judas had thought that his plan was known only to him and those who had procured his services and conscience, not knowing that it was a course of history designed before then by the supernatural God, whom he was dealing with in the form of man as God’s son.  The essence of this biblical allusion is not necessarily to draw a parallel between Judas and the dogs of war, otherwise referred to as mercenaries by the APC national chair, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, that have visited losses on the party, but rather to nudge those who are still holding back to do quickly what they want to do: defect. That will enable the party to know who are really committed to its change and progress philosophies.

Many “mercenaries” had jumped ship, leaving the APC for the PDP and some for the African Democratic Congress (ADC) and many too had moved from the PDP to the APC. The game of losing and attracting mercenaries continues to define the shape and texture of the political build-up towards the forthcoming 2019 general election. The exodus from the APC happened despite the effort by the party leadership to dissuade the elements that defected.  The biggest of them was the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, who while leaving on July 31, 2018, confirmed the unsuccessful effort made by Comrade Oshiomhole and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo to reconcile the differences he had with some powerful forces in the APC-led federal government.

Fourteen senators and 37 House of Representatives members acted the dogs of war, trying to viciously discount APC’s electoral base and fortunes. Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue, along with ten APC state legislators, 13 local government chairmen and 276 councilors, was out of the APC. Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed of Kwara had moved with Saraki.  He defected with 23 House of Assembly members but one and the entire local government council structures in the state. Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto did his own theatrics. He moved with 18 members of the State House Assembly. 12 members refused to move. His deputy governor also did not move.

It would appear that the excitement associated with defections had climaxed with the movement of Saraki, until the rumours about the planned defection of the leader of the minority Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, caucus in the Senate, Senator Godswill Akpabio, began to do the rounds. The gambit of Akpabio, who is the immediate past two-term governor of Akwa Ibom state, has already caused ballyhoo in the opposition PDP. But unlike the obvious issues some leaders of the new PDP group were having in the APC that could somewhat validate or justify their decision to egress, Akpabio’s plan to leave the PDP for the APC was like a bolt from the blue, unable to find credible and understandable justification.  

His defection, which is slated for Wednesday, this week, at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium in Akwa Ibom state, is the latest and, perhaps, the biggest deal in the context of political treacheries, the kind that Judas’ action typified. Akpabio was not known to have irreconcilable differences with his state governor, Udom Emmanuel, whom he helped to power.  Feelers indicated that the only issue between them was the decision by Governor Emmanuel to reconcile with all the political forces that Akpabio fought to install him as governor. That could have been sorted out. In fact, that was the initial reason, according to the grapevine, that Akpabio allegedly gave to the PDP national leadership, for planning to dump the party.

But, afterward, the real reason was said to have been independently ferreted and his alleged massive financial misappropriation was indicted in the decision of the APC-led federal government to turn the heat on him.  Akpabio had been allegedly under intense pressure of harassment, intimidation and blackmail and the only way to mitigate the collateral damage of his potential prosecution by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) was to strike a deal that would give him a soft landing. Defection to the APC was the only practicable, reasonable, self-serving and damage-mitigating option. Regardless, another dog of war is, indeed, set to cross over, this time, from the PDP to the APC, in a grand style.

Akpabio is the biggest fish yet, being the leader of the PDP in the Senate, that the net of the fishing APC has caught. The APC apparatchiks are understandably excited that, at least, they are paying back the PDP in its own coin. But, Nigerians are eager to see the number of elected and appointed PDP officials that will defect with him to the APC and the extent of damage that his action will inflict on the PDP in Akwa Ibom state, which is a traditional PDP stronghold, especially given the fact that Governor Emmanuel is still in the saddle and providing the PDP with necessary bootstraps.

Indeed, the gale of defections is spreading countrywide, no doubt. The ranks of the dogs of war are swelling by the day. Double dealings, under-the-table agendas and treacheries have been characteristic of the nation’s cloak-and-dagger politics, especially ahead of the electioneering for the 2019 presidential poll. Loyalty to leadership and followership has become an anathema. Commitment to political norms and mores is a misnomer while proclivities to ideological leanings have become farcical and fallacious.

Politics continues to don the garb of filthiness, obviously and unarguably shorn of morality.  Like prostitutes, in fact, more than dogs of war, politicians in preservation of their enlightened self interests are wont to jump ship, shift loyalty and allegiance capriciously. And yet, they lay claim to superior patriotic commitment to nation-building and the issues of development, welfare and security of citizens in the context of our nationhood over the rest of us.

But, we will continue to watch and interrogate their ways, odysseys and gambits in the political choices that they present before us and the decisions that we make in the determination of their fates eventually through the ballot, that is, assuming that the totality of our votes counts.

Ojeifo, an Abuja-based journalist, writes via ojwonderngr@yahoo.com 

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