May 29: Democracy Day With A Difference
YESTERDAY, the mantle of leadership changed in the Presidency and most states across the country. It was a democracy day indeed, but unusual one from the past.
This is because since 1999, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has held political power at the centre and most states.
In all the successive general elections, namely 1999, 2003, 2007 and 2011, PDP had always won elections, especially the Presidency.
But in the recent general elections, PDP, for the first time in the last 16 years, lost the presidential election to the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The victory of the APC’s President Muhammadu Buhari in the election was unprecedented, as it changed the political equation in the polity right from the Presidency, National Assembly to states.
The development also ushered in a new dawn in the country’s political history, as Buhari’s swearing-in yesterday has changed the status quo.
While so many people, especially PDP members, will be affected, some members of the APC will be elevated.
IN the last 16 years, PDP has been the dominant party in the country and has produced Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo, the late Umaru Musa Yar’Adua and Goodluck Jonathan.
Within this period, its members, elected and appointed, had a field day and once boasted that they would rule the country for 60 years.
Several political killings and alleged corrupt practices were witnessed under its nose.
The economy nosedived and Nigerians complained, but to no avail. Party politics and elections were characterised by godfatherism and irregularities.
Many political observers described the period as that of business as usual, as impunity reigned without unchecked.
It is widely believed that within the party took the people for granted and their luck too far; hence dethroned in the last general elections.
Buhari secured victory in the presidential election, after three attempts in the past, as his resilience and perseverance paid off, following the country’s first successful political parties’ merger that gave birth to APC.
IT was one seat that painted the PDP in a bad light since 1999, following the intrigues and scheming that characterised the emergence of its occupant under Obasanjo.
From the late Chief Evan Enwerem and Dr. Chuba Okadigbo, to Chiefs Pius Anyim Pius, Adolphus Wabara and Ken Nnamani, it was the Presidency that decided their fate at every given time.
Apart from Anyim and Nnamani, other occupants were removed from office either by the Presidency’s instigated impeachments or involuntary resignations.
The five southeast states, where the seat was zoned to under Obasanjo, produced the occupants within the period.
Under Yar’Adua, David Mark, who has been in the there since 1999 till date, emerged the senate president.
He continued after the 2011 elections and won his re-election in the last general elections.
Mark and his supporters have hoped that Jonathan would win re-election to enable him his position for the third time.
But that never come pass, as beat Jonathan to it, against all odds.
For Mark and his Deputy, Ike Ekweremadu, it was hope and expectation dashed.
Having won their re-elections and with political reality on ground, the duo will in the 8th Senate as floor members.
They will climb down from the Olympian height of principal office to ordinary and opposition senators. What a political irony.
This is the first time a former senate president and his deputy will return to the chamber as just elected senators.
Nigerians are on the watch to see how Mark and Ekweremmadu would feel and fare in the chamber in the next four years.
Nigerians would not also wait for too long to see who succeeds them from the APC pack.
Speaker, House Of Representatives
FOR the immediate past Speaker of the House of Representatives and governor of Sokoto, Alhaji Aminu Tambuwal, the last minute defection to the APC was a blessing.
It was a political risk that paid off at last, with the overwhelming victory of his party in all the elections.
Tambuwal has made history as the first former Speaker to become a governor, where his predecessors tried, but failed.
When he defected, many thought he committed a political gaffe, but despite political harassment and pressures, he stood his ground, and today, he is the governor of Sokoto State.
Tambuwal’s deputy and PDP governorship candidate in Imo State, Chief Emeka Ihedioha, was not as lucky as his boss, as he lost the election to Governor Rochas Okorocha.
Ihedioha was not also lucky, like his colleague in senate, Ekweremadu, who won his re-election.
Ihedioha, who has been in the House in the last 16 years, may be heading to political limbo in the next four years, unless he gets a reprieve at the tribunal, where he is currently challenging the outcome of the election.
New APC Governors
UNLIKE in the past, the APC governors will dominate the recently reconciled Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF), as most of the states controlled by PDP in the last 16 years were been won by APC in the last election.
Already, re-elected Zamfara State Governor Abdulaziz Yari of APC has been elected as its chairman.
The new governors on APC platform include Nasir El Rufai, Kaduna; Sam Ortom, Benue; Abubakar Sani Bello, Niger; Badaru Abubakar, Jigawa; Atiku Bagudu, Kebbi; Mohammed Abubakar, Bauchi; Tambuwal; Abdullahi Ganduje, Kano; Simon Lalong, Plateau; Akinwunmi Ambode, Lagos; Jibrila Bindow, Adamawa; and Aminu Masari, Katsina.
Those re-elected are Okorocha; Ibikunle Amosun, Ogun; Abiola Ajimobi, Oyo; Kashim Shettima, Borno; Tanko Al-Makura, Nasarawa; Ibrahim Geidam, Yobe; and Abdulfatah Ahmed, Kwara.
As it is today, APC controls 22 states and PDP 14.
PDP, which was the ruling party for 16 years since May 29, 1999, from yesterday became the opposition party.
How long the party operates as opposition would be seen in subsequent elections in years ahead.