By Bala Ibrahim
Two things are quick to make me lose sleep easily, one of them is anger, while the second is pennilessness, bankruptcy, or being broke. My relationship with the bed is so good that even if the country is at war, my bed can swear with the pillow that, at the latest, by 10 pm, our partnership is polished up. Yes, I go to sleep early at night and I do so most times, nicely, with the grunting sound of a snoring man. But last night, that conventional partnership with the bed was severed.
I was partly awake all night long, and for the best part of that period, my rips were resting on the couch, not the bed, for reasons that have nothing to do with me being broke. There was enough money in my wallet to guarantee my usual good sleep. The sleeplessness was caused by the issue of Shekarau’s defection and the supposition or assumption advanced, which to me, looks like an opinion or conclusion arrived at on the strength of short sight. And this short-sightedness has the potential of putting the political credentials of Mallam in jeopardy, as well as making a mockery of his supporters, including yours truly.
Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau, Sardaunan Kano, had yesterday, formally defected from the New Nigeria Peoples Party, NNPP, to the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, where he was received in Kano, by a team of PDP stalwarts, including the presidential candidate of the party, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar. It may be recalled that Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau was in the All-Progressives Congress, APC, up till May 2022, when he switched over to the NNPP, where he was given the ticket to contest for the Senator of the Kano Central Senatorial seat.
Before then, Mallam was in the All-Nigeria People’s Party, ANPP, where he was elected governor of Kano State in 2003 and re-elected for a second term in 2007. He left the ANPP, which had changed to the APC for the PDP in 2014, and was appointed minister of education by the previous government. Again, in 2018, Malam Ibrahim Shekarau re-joined the APC and ran as an APC candidate for the Kano Central Senator seat, the seat he won and is occupying now. With his defection to the PDP for the second time within a period of a few years, questions would now be asked, about party principles and the place of ideological consistency.
I am an ardent supporter of Mallam, but my support is not based on his political inclination, but because of his morality, sincerity, and the adjudged absence of pretense, deceit, or hypocrisy in the way he does things. Those familiar with Mallam would attest to his simplicity and the display of decency, a virtue that is very rare among Nigerian politicians.
But the ease with which Mallam is succumbing to the calls to defect, alongside his supposition or expectations after such defections, are casting questions on his political integrity, and may mare his political future. Frequent transfers or defections are indicators of political discomfort, that could erode public confidence in a politician, because, the more the defection, the more the magnification of the politician’s mistakes.
In theory, partisan politics is supposed to be politics that is played based on the strict adherence to the policies and principles of a political party, regardless of the public or personal interest. This means, to play such politics, one must believe in the agenda and policies of the party to which he belongs. His membership should be based on the conviction in the manifesto of the party.
In advanced democracies, where politics is played based on ideological beliefs, people find it easier to change their religion, than change from one political party to another. But in Nigeria, that belief and conviction are yet to be imbibed. Politicians here change parties like they change their shirts. And the changing party is akin to changing principles.
I haven’t been briefed by Sule Yau Sule, the chief image maker of Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau, who happens to be a professional colleague and a good friend, as such, my reservations would wait till later, but from the look of the synopsis of the suppositions advanced, I think there is more to the reason for the defection than meets the eye. I doubt if Mallam had done his homework well, particularly on the consequences, or implications of such political inconsistency, that conforms with the dictionary meaning of self-contradiction.
Certainly, Mallam and his image makers would be in for a lot of explanations, because, the frequency of these defections, would only add to the political troubles of the Sardauna.
It was Julius Henry Groucho Marx, the American comedian, actor, and writer who said, politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedies.