The defection of the former Speaker of the House of Representatives Yakubu Dogara from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressive Congress (APC) has sparked political crisis, with various implications that will shape both current and future political developments in Bauchi State.
The defection has dominated political discuss and overheated the polity, especially giving Dogara’s reasons for dumping the PDP – a situation that placed the party and the incumbent governor in a defensive position, which is generating reactions and counter reaction that might likely become pointers to determine the 2023 election.
Already, Dogara’s Sayawa ethnic group, with majority being civil servants, has become the first victim of the crisis because the community is now divided and yet to take a decision on who to support.
Although Dogara have a grassroots footing and strong followership in his constituency and to some extent part of the state, the recent defection might affect his future political fortune.
A prominent figure in the Sayawa ethnic group in Tafawa Balewa, Alhamdu Samson, told Daily Trust on Sunday that Dogara’s defection from PDP to APC has clearly exhibited that he is pursuing his personal interest and not the interest of his community because his action has shown that he did not care about the implications of his actions, “We in the community have observed that his recent defection is just inviting open confrontation with the incumbent governor at any given time for his personal gain.”
Samson said, “The Sayawa ethnic group has lots of civil servants working with the state government. Dogara’s defection will cause a face-off between government and the ethnic group.
“His action demonstrates that he is not concerned about our condition which is why he is jumping from one party to another, depriving qualified and competent members of our ethnic nationality the opportunity of becoming permanent secretaries in the state civil service.”
Last Tuesday, Dogara’s community, led by prominent sons and daughters in their hundreds from three LGAs paid a solidarity visit to Governor Bala Mohammad and declared their commitment and support for the PDP-led administration.
Speaking during the visit to the governor on behalf of Dass, Tafawa Balewa and Bogoro communities, the chairperson, Bauchi State Orphans and Vulnerable Children Agency (BASOVCA), Hassana Arkila, said they were at the Government House to show their solidarity with the governor. “If we reject Bala Mohammed now, people will stone us because of what God has done for the people of Dass and Tafawa Balewa through him in his short time in office.”
The Zaar Development Association (ZDA), Yakubu Dogara tribe’s foremost pressure group, said that the community remained committed and supportive of the PDP-led administration of Governor Bala Mohammed in Bauchi State.
President of ZDA, Engineer Isuwa Galla, said “We are grateful to Governor Bala Mohammed and the PDP, they have not done us any wrong.
“He has been carrying the community alone and has done some many good things for us.
“We are yet to discuss at the community level whether to go with him or not. Though he is yet to address us, we believe and acknowledge that the former Speaker’s defection back to the APC was based on his strong instinct and conviction. Our best wishes to him and his former party.”
He explained that Dogara has done what is demanded of him as a legislator for his constituency and that’s why “we voted him for four consecutive tenures. Politics is also defined as an activity aimed at improving someone’s status. If APC finds him worthy for another assignment, it’s a welcome development because we know he is equal to the task.”
On the contrary, another member of Sayawa ethnic group and politician who is contesting the Tafawa Balewa Local Government Area chairmanship position under the PDP, Bulus Iliya, said that Dogara is a politician that is with his constituency 100 percent.
“I want to assure you that the purported solidarity visit to the Government House and all the people you see claiming not be with Dogara is just mere deceit.
“Go to Tafawa Balewa, Dass and Bogoro tomorrow and ask the people, you will agree with me that Dogara is not a pushover politician in his constituency.”
Iliya explained that Dogara is a politician who doesn’t do things without a perfect homework, adding that, “The people of his constituency are synonymous with PDP but when it comes to issues of Dogara, everybody supports him irrespective of the party he belongs because in all the elections contested by Dogara, he was not voted based on the party but his personality.
“When we decamped from PDP to APC in 2014 towards the general election, I remember some people then called us names, saying we have joined the Boko Haram party because some PDP members were saying APC is a religious party for Muslims but when we stood our grounds during the 2015 election, all the people rallied round and voted Dogara because they know the benefit of voting for him.
“The issue of Dogara in his constituency has nothing to do with political party and whoever deceives the current government in Bauchi that Dogara is on his own, is telling tales by moonlight,” Iliya said.
Dogara’s defection has also plunged the two major political parties into a struggle for supremacy.
At the moment, the APC is seriously working to recuperate from the 2019 loss of the state and reconciling with aggrieved members amidst receiving other PDP bigwigs, including the immediate past state zonal chairman of the PDP and former political adviser to Governor Bala Mohammed on political affairs.
A chieftain of the APC, Comrade Sabo Muhammed, who is also the chairman Media and Publicity of the party, told Daily Trust on Sunday that Dogara’s return to the APC is going to enhance the electoral fortune of the party at the state level because Dogara has mass followership particularly in Tafawa Balewa, Dass and Bogoro local government areas.
“Don’t forget that Dogara is a critical stakeholder not only in Bauchi State politics but national. He is a founding member of the APC before he left for a brief soujourn in PDP.
“When he comes back home (Bauchi), he is going to consolidate the gains of the party.
“He is going to augment the loss in 2019.
“By and large, Dogara is the greatest asset to APC and a great loss to PDP. Dogara’s return will consolidate the ongoing process of recapturing Bauchi back to mainstream politics of APC.”
While the opposition APC is working to consolidate the return of Dogara to its fold, some PDP members were plotting a process to recall him from the House of Representatives for dumping his party without a genuine reason.
A chieftain of the ruling PDP in Bauchi State, Malam Bibi Dogo, disclosed that stakeholders from the party will soon ask the leadership of the House of Representatives to declare the Bogoro/Dass/Tafawa Balewa federal constituency seat vacant following the defection of former Speaker of the House, Yakubu Dogara, from PDP to the APC.
The PDP chieftain said that the people of Bogoro, Dass and Tafawa Balewa federal constituency who elected Dogara on the platform of PDP were no longer comfortable with being “totally eclipsed” in the House, the constituents do not know any convincing reason why their elected representative in the National Assembly defected to APC as Dogara did not consult them before his defection.
“I hereby call on the House of Representatives leadership to quickly declare Dogara’s seat vacant to enable the constituents elect a capable replacement.”
He explained that in view of Dogara’s inability to consult his constituents before defecting to APC, the constituents would soon commence the process for Dogara’s recall, declaring that the people will not condone political indiscipline.
Dogo submitted that the reasons stated by Dogara in the resignation letter he sent to his PDP ward chairman are nothing but flimsy excuses.
Dogo explained that Dogara has lost his political relevance, and his return to APC will spell doom and help in the final burial of APC not only in Bauchi State but Nigeria in general, adding that Dogara had made three defections in recent times, having moved from PDP to APC ahead of the 2015 general elections, moved again from APC to PDP ahead of 2019 general election and now moved again from PDP to APC.
“His jumping from party to party smacks of political indiscipline but you know that a rolling stone gathers no moss. Unfortunately, he lacks the political discipline to be trusted with any public office in Bogoro, Dass and Tafawa Balewa. How can you trust a man whose only political antecedent is jumping from one party to another? The PDP will soon take a drastic action to ensure Dogara is recalled.