By TahirIbrahim Tahir
The whole defection saga remains a burning issue in our political climate and there are still a number of unresolved issues as per the legitimacy or not, of the defections; and what their cumulative effect will be in the matter of who remains or becomes the Senate president and whether or not the House of Representatives will also witness a corresponding backlash, should the speaker defect. One thing is clear, both houses have leaders that have a rather strong followership amongst their colleagues without which they would have been history by now. Infact, they have a unique fellowship that binds them together and fosters loyalty. They emerged understandably on the merit of their colleagues’ support, even though a more curious case can be made of the senate president’s ascension to office.
Speaker Dogara does not appear to have any particular issues with the presidency, more so that all the attacks from loyalists of the presidency or the party hierarchy have not come the way of the speaker. He is more or less caught up in the ‘python dance’ or agitations against Saraki and has unwittingly had to soak up and endure the onslaught simply because of his camaraderie towards his leader in the national assembly. Mr. Speaker’s body language on several occasions has given that out; most recently was at the ‘world press conference’ at the assembly. He appeared timid and uninterested with the events of that portentous day as they unfolded. His demeanour has always been respectful towards President Buhari, occasionally stooping to exchange pleasantries as is traditional with most Nigerian cultures.
By fate, Dogara was batched along with the nPDP members that decried their seclusion or the like, from the centre of the APC-led government’s activities in governance and politiking. With himself as speaker, he categorically doesn’t fall into that group now does he? Again out of camaraderie at best, he’s had to endure the puzzling sojourn of the new found activism of the nPDP block as they tried to weave-out a new bargain for themselves as 2019 approached.
Dogara was quoted, either rightly or wrongly, to have said that, “Buhari is a father to me and no one can force me out of APC”. Whether he truly said that or not, that statement underlines the actual nature of his relationship from the get-go, lending credence to Buhari’s stance of accepting and having a cordial working relationship with whoever emerges as Speaker or Senate President accordingly.
The crux of the matter as it relates the Speaker is about the local politics; not in his constituency of Tafawa Balewa but in Bauchi State. I was Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to the Bauchi State Governor back in 2015 and I know for a fact that there was no rift between Dogara and Governor M A Abubakar then. Over time, a once mutually respectful relationship graduated into a psuedo-feud which was the creation of warlords that stood to gain it all, should a rift between the two be sustained. Foot soldiers from both sides funnelled and fuelled the conflict and so again, Dogara was caught in the fire between the legislators(national) from bauchi and his governor.
The ‘nail in the coffin’ were the demands from the legislators to the Governor who didn’t oblige them and consequently, all reconciliatory efforts collapsed. Today, some of these legislators are back in the fold of the governor while some are still at logger-heads with him and thus apparently in romance with Dogara. Chances are, some or most will not be in the house come 2019.
The APC National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, had recently said that Dogara’s matter is a minor issue and that he was working round the clock to arrive at a solution which is in very near sight. This unequivocally explains why Mr. Speaker hasnt decamped just yet. He also quipped that Saraki shouldn’t be speaking on behalf of Dogara as the number 4 man in the country was more than capable of speaking for himself as speaker!
Mr. Speaker holds the highest office in the entire North East. He has allies and friends from both the APC and the PDP political divide. He wields quite an appreciable degree of influence and commands a lot of respect from different quarters in this country and is perhaps the youngest, even if politically, of all the persons in the centre of the present day political quagmire. Dogara is the luckiest too as he has; flung open, the result sheets along with the exam drills of the defection endeavor. He has seen all the moves; the deft and the daft, the real ones and the ride and die ones and is better equipped with lessons from the immediate history of the turn of events in the build up to 2019. The people from Tafawa Balewa to Bauchi through to Abuja will all come off the better for it if he stays put in APC and maintains his position as speaker till 2019. The road networks filled with bridges and othe sub-structures he is championing from tafawa balewa through certain outskirts of Jos, connecting to Abuja is active evidence to that claim.
Undoubtedly, staying in the APC and concluding a term as speaker and possibly another, will make him one of the most formidable politicians from 2019 and beyond especially in the permutations and combinations that are to follow as per 2023 and beyond. Jumping ship to an uncertain and precarious other vessel is hardly the way to go. Staying put, slogging it out, and reclaiming and consolidating on his successes is a clear bridge to a brighter political future. As those foot soldiers have on their own beaten themselves to a retreat and are more preoccupied with their own election struggles, those fires are quenching and so now is the time for Governor M A and Speaker Dogara to move on and move forward. As a bauchi man, I wouldn’t want to see my state lose such an exalted position in government; would you?
Tahir is the Talba of