2019: PDP heavyweights whose children and relations work in ‘enemies’ camp
The dictum, that in politics, there is “No permanent friend, no permanent enemy but permanent interests’, best describes the alignment and realignment of forces in the current political environment in Nigeria. With less than 40 days to the 2019 general election, some Nigerian politicians have been switching alliances even as blood relations have become sworn enemies; no thanks to partisanship.
For instance, in the February 16, 2019 National Assembly election, the fierce rivalry in Anambra South Senatorial District will be between two brothers from the same father and mother, Andy and Chris Uba.
While Chris Uba, the youngest of the Ubas, secured the main opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP) ticket for the senatorial district, Andy Uba, who currently represents the zone in the National Assembly, will contest the race on the platform of the governing All Progressives Congress (APC).
This is not the first time two blood relatives would square up against each other under different political parties. In August 2018, Kabir and Ahmad Babba- Kaita competed on the platforms of PDP and APC, respectively for Katsina by-election. The election was eventually won by the younger brother, Ahmad Babba-kaita.
The forthcoming general election has thrown up a new political trend where children of political gladiators are breaking ranks with their biological fathers and pitching their tents with rival political parties. Interestingly, while these bigwigs command large followers across the country, their children are pitching their tents with arch-enemy-infested platforms.
Businessday also observes that while the political heavyweights are from the main opposition PDP, their biological children are supporting the ruling APC.
Political commentators have expressed divergent views on the matter. Some opined that the children of the political gladiators want to carve out their own political brands/niche distinct from their fathers’, even as others submit that whichever way it goes, the ruling class are beneficiaries of what they termed Any Government In Power (AGIP).
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo withdrew his support for President Muhammadu Buhari and endorsed his estranged vice president, Atiku Abubakar.
But Olujonwo Obasanjo, son of the former president, would have none of that, as he pitched his tent with Buhari’s campaign team.
The former president’s son who wrote a letter to the campaign team in September 2018 declaring his support for the re-election of Buhari, was welcomed at the headquarters office of the Buhari Campaign Organisation by Director of Logistics, Buhari Campaign Organisation, Nasiru Danu, the following month. A lot of political capital was made out of the young Obasanjo’s moves.
In November 2018, Ditan Okupe, U.Ktrained lawyer and first son of Doyin Okupe, former Senior Special Assistant to former President Goodluck Jonathan, followed the footsteps of Obasanjo’s son by declaring support for President Buhari’s re-election bid.
His father, Doyin Okupe, a member of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and ardent supporter of Atiku Abubakar’s 2019 Presidency, is currently facing 59-count charge over alleged money laundering by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
But in a letter he sent to the Buhari Campaign Organisation, the young Okupe begged to join the campaign team of Buhari to work for his re-election.
He described Buhari as the best candidate for the top job, adding that everything must be done to prevent his father’s party, the PDP, from returning to power in the forthcoming elections.
However, in a swift reaction, Okupe said his son was supporting President Buhari to spite him over a disagreement they had in the past.
It is no longer news that that former Vice President Atiku Abubakar is President Buhari’s main challenger in the February 16, 2019 presidential election.
What is, however, news is that while the Waziri Adamawa dumped the APC and returned to the main opposition PDP to become its standard bearer for the presidential election, Atiku’s first child, Fatima Atiku Abubakar, refused to follow her father to the PDP.
The medical doctor-turned politician is currently the commissioner for Health in her father’s home state of Adamawa, an Apc-controlled state.
Despite being Nigeria’s longest serving senator, immediate past Senate President, David Mark, could not stop his daughter, Blessing Onuh-mark, from dumping PDP.
According to reports, Blessing’s defection to the Social Democratic Party (SDP) came barely few weeks after losing PDP’S ticket for Otukpo/ohimini Federal Constituency to her uncle, Johnson Egli Ahubi. With her emergence as SDP candidate, the development means that while Mark, a former PDP presidential aspirant will support Atiku for the 2019 Presidency; he will throw his weight behind the daughter in SDP.
To this end, Blessing will slug it out in the Otukpo/ohimini Federal Constituency election on February 16 with her uncle, Ahubi, and other contenders.
Another report claimed that she was disappointed with her father’s inability to use his influence to make her PDP standard bearer for the election.
“The truth is, Blessing was not happy with the whole drama that played out. She is also not happy because her father did not use his influence to get her the ticket. But Mark told her to wait until 2023 but she refused. Senator Mark doesn’t want to impose his daughter on the people,” a source said.
Buba Galadima, a former ally of President Muhammadu Buhari currently chairs the Reformed All Progressives Congress (R-APC), a faction of the governing All Progressives Congress (APC).
The elder statesman who was Buhari’s long henchman since 2003 and was instrumental to his victory in the 2015 election, was said to have cut off ties with the President after the last general election, accusing him of neglect and failed campaign promises.
However, since he formed his factional party alongside other APC chieftains in 2018, he has been launching scathing attacks on the President. At the moment, he is a Spokesperson of the PDP Presidential Campaign Organisation, which has vowed to unseat Buhari in next month’s presidential election.
Like virtually all the political gladiators listed above, Galadima’s daughter, Zainab, has pitched her tent with her father’s fierce critic, Buhari, in the forthcoming election, as she currently works with the Presidency as Special Assistant on Rule of Law to Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo.