By Ibraheem A. Waziri
At any given time of our existence all social formations live on three types of burdens; of history, of responsibility and of hope. Yet what determines the success of leaders and thinkers is in their ability to contextualise societies’ goals within the appropriate definitions and lessons of history based on set values that guarantee satisfaction at a particular time and allow a mark on the sands of time that individuals and groups will be proud to associate with.
Political commentaries are difficult to make as readers often assume it is pure self serving interest that makes even writers to commit to pen and the pages of News Papers with views that favour a political figure or a public office holder. Yet we are stakeholders in the political processes, holding in trust and for the public, that which ideally and really forms (or should form) the destiny of the people within the democratic, religious and cultural requirements. Therefore silence must not form part of our prejudices when reason and logic are betrayed by certain public actors.
Reports are many in the past months in Newspapers and websites about efforts by some politicians within PDP to replace Vice President Namadi Sambo with another from the North in the event President Goodluck Jonathan decides to contest the much awaited 2015 presidential election. In the event he does not contest, they want to make sure the Vice President does not clinch the party ticket for the Presidential contest. Prominent names that are associated with this opinion are Special Adviser to the President on Documentation, Mr. Oronto Douglas (http://news.naij.com, March 4, 2013), Katsina State Governor Ibrahim Shehu Shema, Governor Isa Yuguda of Bauchi State (http://news.naij.com, April 14, 2013) and elder statesman and former Minister of Agriculture, Alhaji Sani Zango Daura (www.9jalife.com, Apri, 8, 2013). Their opposition is premised on the claim that VP Namadi Sambo does not have enough clout to mobilise support in the North for the President come 2015 (don’t know who has the clout do that for the president even in the South for that matter).
Now before someone shuts me up for poke nosing into the affairs of PDP, a party I do not belong, let me clearly state that our present reality sees PDP in government and another reality of our regional politics puts VP Namadi Sambo as leader of the North within PDP as the actions or inactions of the party or its members directly bear on me and my like in the public space for whom I hold reasoned logical opinion in trust.
It is in this regard that I see the burden of history on the President placing him in the best position not to listen to any of such claims against VP Sambo. We are witnessed to what the disagreements between the then VP Atiku and Obasanjo did to politics, PDP and the nation in general when they fell apart way after the 2003 general elections. They disagreed to what at the end disfavoured both of them and had a lasting negative imprints on Nigeria and PDP politics to the extent that Obasanjo’s political story cannot be written without an account that places him, at times, as purely selfish even by the records of one of his most trusted loyalists, Mal. Nasiru Ahmad El-Rufa’i in his The Accidental Public Servant.
It is in this regard that I see the burden of responsibility on the President placing him as most responsible for whatever is seen as the failure of his own VP. Records in Nigerian political space put it clear that a Vice President can only go as far as his president allows him to go. To assume that VP Sambo has no enough clout to mobilise support for the President in 2015 is tantamount to believing (quite truly though) that this administration has nothing to show for its electability as far as the North is concerned come 2015. It is not a VP Sambo thing for if he had not the required clout within the context on Northern politics, how did he even become the VP in the first place and amongst the others who allegedly feel they are most competent for the job than he is today?
Finally, it is about the burden of hope and in as much as the North has hope of reclaiming its lost political fortune, it has to project a capacity of acting a political script that identifies it as a single entity. A revolting voice against its present leadership in PDP, VP Namadi Sambo, only leaves its house divided and champions of the dissenting voice cannot escape the label of being anti North for what can guarantee North’s relevance in the present scheme of affairs is only in a VP that spends equal amount of years in power as his principal. Any substitution at the middle of the spent years will give it a new representative working with a most entrenched and experienced President that can outwit and boot him out of relevance with ease and at any time he may wish. This goes for the for the region as well. In my next piece on the same subject matter I will, God willing, concentrate on the details of the political misfortune of the President away from VP Sambo as I will graphically show how no any other among the contending voices have better report sheet than Sambo in terms of effective stewardship of their people or personal political clout.