By Goada OmaOjo
Even the hugely tainted People’s Democratic Party (PDP) had its fair share of pokes at its own parastatal, the All Progressives Congress, since the major players, including its former national chairman and sitting one were its former members.
Famed for its corruption that nearly brought Nigeria to her knees, before its successor APC did, and finally made her prostrate; PDP played pot, calling the ruling party “a party of thieves and treasury looters.’
It lambasted the APC for choosing the ethically challenged former Governor of Kano State, Dr. Abdullahi Ganduje, as its National Chairman.
As if on cue, the Labour Party followed suit in lacerating the choice of Umar Ganduje. It was bashing galore on social media for APC.
Read the PDP in a statement by its spokesman, Dele Ologunagba: “The choice of Dr. Ganduje by the APC as its National Chairman, in spite of the stinking corruption and bribery allegations against him in the public domain, further confirms that the APC is a cesspit of corruption and a haven for thieves, bribe takers and treasury looters.
“By appointing Ganduje, notoriously referred to as “Gandola” by Nigerians over the infamous video of him barefacedly stuffing his gown with US Dollar notes as bribe allegedly from a contractor, while serving as Governor of Kano State, further validates that the APC is a putrid party of embezzlers and charlatans.
“It also underscores APC’s impunity and insensitivity to the demands of honesty, integrity and moral rectitude required of public office holders.
“The PDP invites Nigerians to note that only last month, a forensic analysis by the Kano State Public Complaints and Anti-Corruption Commission (PCACC) confirmed that the content of the 2017 “Gandollar” viral video was not doctored.
“It speaks volume of the APC under Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu that Ganduje, who should ordinarily be under prosecution by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for alleged bribery is rather crowned and rewarded with the position of the APC National Chairman.
“Such can only happen in a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) like the APC which, according to the former Director General of Progressive Governors’ Forum, is replete with “political bandits”.”
PDP spoke the minds of Nigerians, and even went further.
“Moreover, the mortifying trouncing of the APC in Kano State under his watch as Governor in the 2023 general elections shows that Ganduje has no political value and cannot earn any victory in any electoral contest in the country.
“If Ganduje is desirous to “hit the ground running” as he asserted, he should run to the EFCC for investigation and prosecution for cases of alleged bribery and corruption hanging around his neck.”
For the APC, it is not the best of times. One of the early salvos against the choice of Ganduje came from within the top hierarchy of its ranks.
Not satisfied the apparent rail-roading of the party from the Presidency to pick the former Kano Governor, Umar Ganduje, as head; one of the national vice chairmen, Salihu Mohammed Lukman, resigned his office after the party and the presidency completely rebuffed his word of caution.
Lukman was one of the men who fought former chairman, Senator Abdullahi Adamu; and Secretary, Senator Iyiola Omisore, until he saw their back through the door, not that he really had the clout to see them out. The men were victims of their own political machinations, preferring someone else as presidential candidate to Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.
Well, Tinubu got the ticket, became president, so they had to go. Tinubu’s men made sure of that.
With Lukman gone, every other opposing voice in the party opted for political correctness and zipped up, and as power matters go, they play the patient vulture to fight the battle another day.
As soon as Ganduje’s choice became final, at the end of the 12th National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting of the party on Wednesday in Abuja, Senator Kyari, the placeholder after Adamu’s sack, said that Ganduje was unanimously endorsed at the meeting.
Said Ganduje in his acceptance speech, “I am indeed most humbled,” appreciating President Bola Tinubu, Vice-President Kashim Shettima and the party’s leadership, assuring that he remained committed to the party’s ideals.
“With boundless gratitude for the confidence placed in me by leaders and members of our party, and with an unswerving resolve to honour that trust, I humbly accept my appointment as the Chairman of our party, the APC.
“Our main focus will be promoting party unity and defending and increasing the number of executive and legislative seats we currently hold.
“Under my watch, internal democracy will be strictly adhered to with a deliberate policy to engage in wider consultations and making party functional throughout the year.
“More reforms will be carried out in the party in alignment with the current political landscape.
“We all agreed that we must unite our members to achieve support for our government to respond adequately, urgently and assertively to the challenges that Nigerians confront on a daily basis,” Ganduje said.
To Nigerians, he played the appeal music they have heard all their 63 years since independence.
“I belief the policies and programmes to be unveiled by Tinubu when his administration fully takes shape, will surely turn around things for the better.
“Our party must remain rooted among the people, must demonstrate a willingness to serve and make sacrifices, and must be willing to acknowledge and address our weaknesses.
“It is a huge privilege and an honour and a great responsibility to take on this job and I will do it with everything I have to the best of my ability for my party and my country.
“We will ensure a level playing field for all party members that want to contest elections under the party’s platform. Our primary elections would be free, transparent and fair,” Ganduje said.
However, following the rash of mockery of APC’s choice of Ganduje, the party was forced to rise in stout defense of its chairman, albeit feebly.
Felix Morka, the spokesman of the party said on Arise News Television on Thursday hours after Ganduje was elected the new chairman that there was no evidence of the former governor being convicted or arraigned before the court of law over the videos.
He said the videos indicting Ganduje could be a work of social media.
He speaks further: “I happen to be a lawyer. You don’t taint anyone with any kind of guilt unless it has been properly brought before a court of competent jurisdiction and actually given the time to defend himself. So, I am not interested in the allegations that are bandied.
“We have courts of law and if anyone in this country on anyone including Dr Ganduje, our new national chairman, we have courts of law where those issues are dealt with. They are not dealt with in the media because otherwise every individual has a right to be presumed innocent. The fact that anyone makes an allegation does not in any way ascertain the guilt of that individual. So, I leave it there,” Morka said as he claimed ignorance of the videos.
“Social media is replete with all sorts of things. I will leave it at there but all I say is that with respect to our new national chairman if there are any thing that any citizen may have against him, I say that that belongs to the court of law.”
He adds rather wryly: “Former Governor Ganduje is about one of the most experienced public servants. He has been in the system for well over 40 years. There is about no position he has not held. So, he comes with an overload of experience, not just on matters of the party, but also as a seasoned intellectual.
“Somebody who has had a track record of remarkable accomplishments in all of his endeavours from the local government system to the state system to being deputy governor and being governor. He has done everything that needs to be done.”
But even Morka knew he was a joker to offer his watery defence.
For now, with a bad product like Ganduje, a ministerial list packed full of political actors of deficient character, an inhuman economic policy unrivalled in the country’s annals, resurgent banditry, baying for war with Niger, the APC appears to be the shortcut to hell.
But, on this new day, in this new week, God forbid!