Politicians, principles and pursuit of pragmatism
By Emmanuel Aziken
Not many in the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP were able to get at the skin of President Muhammadu Buhari’s government as Prince
did between 2015 and 2016.
As spokesperson of the PDP, Adeyeye was a thorn in the flesh of the ruling party, during which period, he sometimes brought emotion, and sometimes evidence to bear in criticizing the president and his party.
So when the former journalist turned politician lost the PDP governorship primary in his native Ekiti State last month, it was not expected that his sorrow would turn to political somersault. That was because he was seen as one of the major beneficiaries of the party, having been appointed minister during those free spending days of the Goodluck Jonathan administration.
Ahead of the Ekiti PDP primaries, Adeyeye put out a robust campaign against Governor Ayo Fayose’s overt plot to foist his deputy, Prof. Kolapo Olusola Eleka as his successor.
The PDP national leadership was particularly faced with the tricky scenario of mediating the conflict between a valued former national officer, and the chairman of the party’s Governors Forum. Senator David Mark was part of the emissaries who helped to mediate the level playing ground agreed for the primary.
Even more remarkable was the fact that before voting, Adeyeye had commended the organization of the primary by the Governor Ifeanyi Okowa led Election Committee.
In the end, Adeyeye lost, having garnered 771 votes to the 1,191 votes mobilized for Eleka by Fayose.
Though Eleka won, Adeyeye was not disgraced having been beaten by only 421 votes in which the incumbent pulled out all stops to ensure victory for Eleka.
Adeyeye should as well have taken it in his strides despite the discomfort of the loss.
Adeyeye’s decision to cross over to the All Progressives Congress, APC is reflective of the infidelity of the Nigerian political class, willing to pitch tent anywhere for personal reasons.
Adeyeye defected because he came second in a competitive contest. That action betrays the fact that as governor he would not agree to take second place in an argument or healthy debate. Would he brook opposition in the state as governor?
Entering the contest, Adeyeye perhaps had believed that the outgoing governor should handover to him, especially given the key roles he played in returning Fayose to power in 2014 when he was a minister. Even more, he perhaps had taken Fayose as friend.
Governor Okowa could well have narrated his experience to him. In 2006, Okowa was second in the PDP governorship primary in Delta State that threw up Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan as governor. According to the PDP rules, Okowa could well have demanded a run-off, but didn’t. He soldiered on and served his friend, Uduaghan, and despite the funny incident in the run-up to the 2015 governorship primary, Okowa stuck out his neck and abided and saw himself through.
Governor Uduaghan even went on to support him after the primary.
Or is it the unfolding case in Imo State of Prince Eze Madumere who had “served” Owelle Rochas Okorocha since 1999? When Okorocha picked his son-in-law, Uche Nwosu as his successor, Madumere did not abandon the APC, but rather chose to fight from within to frustrate the governor. He has almost succeeded in what was at one time believed as an impossible task.
Adeyeye may have defended his defection on the realities of his circumstances in Ekiti, to wit, the determination of the political class to stop the enthronement of Fayose’s “lackey” as governor. Indeed, it is a saying among politicians that all politics is local. He also may say that he had tried his best within the party, and having failed, that his only option was to go to another party to stop Fayose.
In choosing the option of defecting, Prince Adeyeye has inevitably showed that his battle with Governor Fayose was personal and not founded on the principles of political pragmatism.
How he would look up to President Buhari and the henchmen in the APC and defend the policies and programmes he once trashed will be an interesting political sight.
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