2019: PDP heavy­weights whose chil­dren and re­la­tions work in ‘en­e­mies’ camp

Business Day (Nigeria) - - FRONT PAGE - OWEDE AGBAJILEKE, Abuja

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.

Atiku

Okupe

Obasanjo

Mark

Gal­adima

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