By SOC Okenwa
Alhaji Buba Galadima is an engineer by training, a graduate of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. He hails from Gashua, Yobe State. He participated in the 1994/5 Constitutional Conference under the late Gen. Sani Abacha’s tyranny. Galadima was Director-General of the Nigeria Maritime Authority. Galadima was once a staunch ally of President Muhammadu Buhari. His hometown of Gashua reminds us of the prison experience the late legal icon, Gani Fawehinmi, had to endure there during the military dictatorship of Gen. Ibrahim Babangida.
Galadima is in the news nationally and internationally lately. Suddenly he seems to have become a ‘toast’ of the local and online press. He grants coherent interviews and releases press statements that portray him as a renegade cum ‘rebel’ with a genuine cause. Before now Galadima has been content with operating as a normal politician, an establishment man whose loyalty to the system could be vouched for. But all that has abruptly changed as he has bared his political fangs antagonizing the Buhari crowd.
Galadima opened hostilities when he addressed a press conference at Sheraton Hotels Abuja on 4 July, 2018. There he announced the formation of a rival political group made up of the aggrieved members of the new Peoples Democratic Party (nPDP) bloc of the APC. The group was aptly named the “Reformed All Progressives Congress” (R-APC). The faction is believed to have the backing of Senate President Bukola Saraki and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara.
The R-APC disclosed that they had decided to decamp because the ruling party is “a monumental disaster, worse than the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) government it replaced”. They have now signed, with other opposition parties including the Obasanjo group, a Memorandum of Understanding with the opposition PDP party with the view of ousting the APC from power come February next year. The political coalition is under the umbrella of Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP).
As the 2019 presidential polls draw ever dangerously closer we are bound to witness some groundbreaking moves and alliances, movements and ‘marriages’ of convenience — all tailored towards easing President Buhari out of Aso Rock. Apart from the R-APC flexing political muscles with the status quo you have the PDP promising an imminent power conquest at the centre! We have the Omoyele Sowore-led “Take-It-Back” movement moving in the right direction and promising generational change. And the Oby Ezekwesili-led “Red Card Movement” brandishing a red card and threatening to issue one to the Daura man at the fullest of time.
While the APC house seems to have fallen or at worse been on fire or at best in disarray the party Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, appeared dismissive and combative. Twice or thrice last week he had taken on the Galadima-led splinter group saying that he was not losing any sleep over their activities. In another public intervention the former Edo State Governor was alluding to corruption fighting back! Oshiomhole had described the members of the Reformed APC as “hired mercenaries” concluding that they are “inconsequential” to the ruling party’s chances of winning back power come 2019.
Read also: Ekiti 2018: And The Loser Is….?
But Alhaji Galadima has been firing back. Appearing as a guest on an African Independent Television (AIT) programme last week he had dismissed Oshiomhole as incapable of bringing any change to the APC’s electoral fortunes. He had said:
“I don’t have problem with Buhari….I should tell the world that because of him, I have suffered intimidation, arrests, questioning, locked up 38 times. Not only that. I was detained and tried for treason, put underground dungeon, chained in the hands and legs because of him.”
The National Chairman of the Reformed All Progressives Congress is sounding like a wounded political lion in whose den no one dare approach. Ahead of the general elections a whole lot more political permutations are expected as we await the month of February. More politicians of fortune would be decamping to other parties, much more would be joining the ruling party in order to escape past charges of corruption.
The truth of the matter is that President Buhari has alienated a whole lot of his ‘friends’ and ‘enemies’ alike since mounting the presidential horse in 2015. Even the wife, the First Lady, Aisha, had had cause to lament in an interview with a foreign media how a “cabal” had hijacked power at Aso Rock; how those who helped instal her husband had been ignored, sidelined or abandoned outright. And how some “unelected” gerontocrats and technocrats were calling the shots on her husband’s behalf.
Though the President, as a retired military General, shot himself in the foot as it were, by dismissing her views as inconsequential likening her role in his administration to one being “in the kitchen, the bedroom and the other room” the damage had been done! The President had unwittingly exposed himself to charges of chauvinism, one repented tyrant unable to grab the gist.
Today it is safe, given the preponderance of organized opposition tackles and manouvres, to speculate that the Buhari regime is embattled at all fronts. Economy, security, employment, things are looking downwards! From all indications the scoresheet is alarmingly poor three years down the line. Yet he is gunning for four more years of more disaster! Hell no!
Now both Oshiomhole and Galadima are engaged in an interesting battle of wits. In the end politics in Nigeria being what it is (one of indiscipline and one devoid of principles) it is deducible that reason may well prevail with the passage of time. It is equally possible that Galadima and his so-called “gang” could compromise their hardened position if the APC apparatchiks could grant them some concessions and re-integrate them into the system. For now they are all politicking! The APC Chairman must demonstrate to the renegades that the ruling party still have the spirit of accommodativeness.
The legal representative of the APC had threatened to sue the R-APC for “identity theft” and “infringement” but no one knows how such litigation would play out in the coming weeks and months. Suffice to say however that what Galadima and co did amounted to an organized ‘rebellion’. By joining forces with the PDP to depose democratically Buhari as the demystified man of integrity did to the then incumbent President Jonathan the CUPP may well pull off yet another feat that makes nonsense of incumbency factor in the Nigerian politics.
Between the Galadima-led R-APC and the Oshiomhole-led APC something must give come 2019. On that (deadly?) decisive D-Day in February Nigerians, in their enthusiastic millions, would be trooping to the polling booths across the federation to give a collective red or green card to those deserving of same!
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