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Why CPC should be wary of defectors

Since its emergence, CPC has grown stronger in terms of support and membership. The party has opened offices in most of the states and local…

Since its emergence, CPC has grown stronger in terms of support and membership. The party has opened offices in most of the states and local government areas across the country. And since Buhari began tour of the states to commission these offices, the huge crowd of people who trooped the streets to welcome him has been unprecedented.

Apart from the huge support base, the party is now home to estranged members of other parties. Among the new entrants into the party is the former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Aminu Bello Masari. Those who attended the formal acceptance of the former speaker  into the party by Buhari  in an elaborate ceremony in Katsina where the former Senate Leader, Muhammad Tukur Liman, Senator Audu Umar Yandoma, Dr Mustapha Inuwa, a former Commissioner of Education and later secretary to the Katsina state government, Alhaji Abubakar Sadiq Yar’adua, a former member of House of Representatives, Alhaji Dikko Radda, who incidentally is a former chairman of Charanchi local government, and Alhaji Abu Tari, the former chairman of Katsina municipal local government area, among others, were in attendance. The event, like every other that has an imprint of General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd) witnessed a large turnout of people, mostly the masses and indeed thousands of party supporters and faithful who thronged the venue before the arrival of the General and a retinue of party leaders.

 Masari had denied media reports on his defection to CPC until Buhari, fielding question from newsmen during the commissioning of the Nasarawa State office of the party, confirmed the move.

 The mass exodus of top members of other parties to CPC especially from the ruling party has created fear among party members that the crises that dodged such massive cross carpeting to ANPP may rear their ugly heads in the new party. These fears are not unconnected with the hijacking of the party by new members who have the clout and resource to do so. Another fear being entertained by party faithful is the likelihood of PDP planting them in the new party so as to destabilise it as was the case with ANPP. These fears, no matter what anybody may say, are to my mind, genuine.

The CPC has a very clear-cut ideological base. What is the ideological base? Honesty in governance; discipline in civil life, credibility in holding public trust. In short, what Buhari symbolizes is what the CPC stands for- Honesty, rejecting this idea of elevating theft to national status, lack of greed. What does a former PDP member have to offer the new party if one may ask?

The former Speaker himself in an interview with one of the national dailies recently confessed that the PDP is a collection of strange bedfellows. He said the purpose of the party was to force the military out of power and that had been achieved. And after achieving that the PDP became something else. “We have been living with the weaknesses of the PDP for so long. We had reasons to believe that we can correct these weaknesses, but we hoped in vain.”

 Masari’s move to CPC came to many as a surprise. The former speaker was in public domain again after what seems to be a long absence after he was denied the governorship ticket of his home state of Katsina. The party’s top hierarchy had preferred the incumbent, Alhaji Ibrahim Shema. Masari suddenly reappeared as one of the arrow heads in the agitation for the reformation of the PDP.  The former speaker and his group were believed to have been sponsored by a key player who is eyeing the party presidential ticket. When the group lost out in the power struggle, the PDP became too hot for them to stay especially having stepped on powerful toes. Buhari’s CPC happened to be the suitable alternative as it were.

But why the CPC? The Buhari short-cut, serves as quick-fix ticket to political positions. The Buhari factor, many will remember, was responsible for ANPP’s victory in some states within the North during the 2003 elections. So the new entrants believed that the Buhari whirlwind will sweep them into power in the next election. This is as it is mere wishful thinking because as Buhari had insisted recently and always advocated, his party will only field trustworthy candidates in line with its commitment to institute change in the way politics is done in Nigeria.

He said the party’s would-be candidates for elective position must be people of proven integrity and with track records of performance. One of the party’s members also realized the need to check the defectors when he said recently that, “We don’t want people who will sell the party and compromise us. We already know their history. They are paid agents hired by detractors to infiltrate our midst and try to destabilize us.”

As reassuring as that may seem the party need to be watchful and careful of the category of people it opens its door for in the wave of defection that is sweeping though other parties. Among these characters are those who have lost in the political equation within their parties and are looking for soft landing elsewhere; agents of destabilization sent by other parties to create division within the new party, power seekers and money bags who are intent of hijacking the new party at all cost. The lists as it were, are endless. So CPC need to be vigilant and weary of this army of defectors.

Ede writes from Ungwar Kanawa, Kaduna

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