Recently, deputy governor of Niger State and Ambassador of Nigeria to South Africa, Hon Ahmed Musa Ibeto returned to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), ABU NMODU writes on the circumstances surrounding the defection and its attendant implications.
Until last Tuesday when former Deputy Governor of Niger state and Ambassador of Nigeria to South Africa, Hon. Ahmed Musa Ibeto returned to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), his speculated defection from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) was not taken serious.
It wasnt taken serious because many believed that he had been so entrenched in APC to take the risk that could be mistaken for betrayal by moving back to PDP, a party that is believed by some to have been weakened with the defection of its deputy chairman, Aminu Yusuf, and other bigwigs to APC earlier in the year.
The development thereofee came to be true and a matter for serious political discourse in Niger state and it will reshape the political landscape having picked the party card number 023 oat Ibelu ward of Magama local government area of Niger state.
A week before his defection, some concerned members of PDP in the state had put up a paid advertorial in a national newspaper, alleging planned imposition of Ibeto as the PDP governorship candidate in 2019 even as they raised some salient issues on how the diplomat was being lured into the party.
Whereas the group viewed it as a betrayal of those who had laboured as the surviving members of the party’s three years experience in opposition politics. They also averred in the paid advertorial that the former deputy governor was not deserving of the party’s ticket after abandoning the party on February 20, 2015.
Surprisingly, few days after they made their concerns public, the former deputy governor resigned as Nigeria’s Ambassador to South Africa and defected to PDP same day the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, defected to the opposition.
The implications, LEADERSSHIP Friday observed, is that, Ibeto might have been promised the ticket he failed to pick in 2015 as the then deputy governor, a situation that made him to defect to APC in the first place.
This is even as another group of PDP youth led by one Mohammed Bello claimed that the PDP state chairman, Tanko Beji, had allegedly tailored the zoning arrangement to fit in the plan to enable Ibeto emerge easily as the PDP’s flagearer in the next governorship election.
There is no doubt the entrance of Ambassador Ibeto into PDP again may factor in many variables of discontentment among those who felt he abandoned the party at the time of need only to come back and pick the governorship ticket on a platter of gold.
Already, Mohammed Bello, the leader of the youth group believed to be loyal to other governorship aspirants, has accused the party leadership of skewing the process through zoning arrangement to favour the former deputy governor.
Apart from the recent opposition against the sudden defection of Ibeto, there are some party members who also believe that he has betrayed the confidence reposed in him by abandoning the platform that made him deputy governor three years ago, hence many party stalwarts are of the opinion that he should not be given the trust of the party flag bearer just on return.
In the same vein, it has been observed over the past three years since he defected to the APC that there was no love lost between him and the former Governor Muazu Aliyu for abandoning the PDP.
Conseauently, not a few believe that his re-joining the PDP will in no distant future create sharp divisions in the party as it is assumed that the former governor may not operate on the same page with him and Ibeto with his own supporters would be forced to create their own bloc within the party.
Also the three frontline governorship aspirants – Anafi Sudan from Kontagora, Ahmad Umar Dogonkoli from Rijau and Aminu Baka from Lapai – may not sit back to allow what they have been labouring for in the last two years to be given Ibeto without a fight.
LEADERSHIP Friday findings revealed that ordinarily the defection of an experienced politician like Ibeto can be considered as a plus for PDP but supporters who of the former governor and the three governorship aspirants could spoil for political battle of their lives as they may resist automatic ticket to Ibeto and without automatic ticket, Ibeto has no ground in PDP to battle other aspirants.
Already Anafi Sudan who is said to be a close ally of former President Goodluck Jonathan had visited former Military President Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida (IBB) to notify him about his aspiration and the need for the support of uphill mansion.
It was gathered that though as usual IBB gave his support and initiated a meeting with the chairman of the party and former Governor Aliyu on the need to support Sudan amidst speculations that the confidence of Ibeto to dump APC may not be unconnected with the fact that IBB had assured him of his support to wrestle power from the APC in the state .
As the political schism is getting hyper manipulative in a the PDP in Niger state, observers posited that if not well handled the entrance of Hon ibeto may be what will cause serious intra party crisis in PDP in Niger state.
A political analysts Musa Mohammed told LEADERSSHIP that the developments in PDP that has not too strong support base in the state expectantly for the past three years can not withstand the political manipulations that Ibeto defection may cause especially when some believed it was all for personal political gains.
Musa position , he claimed is the thinking the political circle of the state since the defection of Hon Ibeto who they now alleged has political nuances to defect from any party when he felt it is difficult for him to achieve his political aspirations at that particular time he wanyed it . .
“if you see what is going on within political circle there are people who also believe that Hon Ibeto has also betrayed the confidence of Governor Abubakar Sani Bello who they said against all odds nominated him as Minister, before some people even from the same PDP he defected to protested his nomination based on zoning arrangement and again nominated him for ambassadorial position “ another political analyst Yaahaya Umar told LEADERSSHIP.
To some PDP members who spoke in hush , it is a big catch that may cause implosion within the party considering the sacrifice of others for the past three years as an opposition,
Their fears is that the electorates could be hoodwinked that the PDP is still playing the old game of imposition bruinging about trust issues , making Ibeto allegedly look like a self serving politician . .
In other circles it is believed that the defection of Ibeto from APC is a big blow to the party after playing vital roles in the success of the party in 2015;; it will afford him the opportunity to know the extent APC could go and work to neutralize it for the PDP success.
Apart from the seemingly image problem of PDP being party of those who allegedly messed up the economy for 16 years , some opinion molders believe Ibeto is an asset to PDP because he has the political outreach cutting across the three senatorial zone.
The extent this factors and variables can come to play according to Mohammed Musa depends on the fact that the ruling APC has nothing to question the intergrity of Ibeto after serving in the government in the past three years and the ability of the ruling APC to come out of the shock of his defection, \
On this premise however some party stalwart like the Vice chairman of the PDP Niger north Hon. Yahaya Abdullahi Ability believe that Ibeto re-entrance to PDP was a big catch saying “we have just issued the Former Deputy Governor with the membership card of the party , we have caught a lion of Niger state politics, he is not a big fish but a lion”.
Hon Ability claimed that the defection of Hon Ibeto to APC in 2015 changed the narrations in the APC ahead of the election in 2015, “ He was the strength of APC in 2015 as their leader now it is good to have him back to PDP” he added.
The Zonal Vice Chairman also claimed further that 7 members of the state house of assembly were expected to join the PDP soon, but was quick to add that there was no automatic ticket for any member of the party as all members seeking elective positions will go through the processes and emerge base on merit.
If his words of no automatic ticket is anything to go by , how will Ibeto get his men to gether to be able to get PDP ticket considering the fact that some of his men are also well entrenched in APC and may not be ready to move out with him.
It is also observed that even if they decided to move to PDP with him , it will be very difficult to be able to get the control of the party to the extent of influencing delegates for Hon Ibeto to clinch the PDP governorship ticket ahead of other aspirants who have being interfacing with them for the past three years, it is therefore a game of make or mar for the party and risk for Ibeto in his quest to actualize his governorship ambition.
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