On Dogara’s defection to APC

Friday last week was remarkable in the politics of Bauchi state and Nigeria as a whole, as the immediate past Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, defected from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to his former party, the All Progressives Congress (APC). Dogara returned to APC 22 months after dumping the party.
The defection of the  former speaker was confirmed by the acting Chairman of the APC who is also the Yobe state governor, Mai Mala Buni, shortly after leading Mr. Dogara to meet President Muhammadu Buhari at the State House, Friday.  Buni said President Buhari had already welcomed the former speaker back to the APC. The governor said the conditions that prompted Dogara to leave the ruling party had now been eradicated. But when approached by newsmen on the development, Dogara declined to be interviewed, saying he would speak at a later date.

The development which is becoming trending has since sparked brouhaha among people from across the political spectrum; some people see Dogara as a pillar in the party, saying his defection is a great loss which will diminish the popularity of the PDP, especially in his constituency, while others opine that his switch will not create any vacuum in the party.
On the other hand, some analysts described it as political calculation ahead of 2023 election. Some opine that the defection was owing to the perceived feud between Dogara and the Governor of his state, Sen. Bala Mohammed. However, the media aide to the governor, Mukhtar Gidado, said that the governor was not having any frosty relationship with the former speaker.
In my perception, one can only best grasp the underlying reason(s) surrounding Dogara’s decision when they dig deep, by taking a memory tour into the archives of his political antecedents. This is not the first time the former speaker is dumping the PDP for the APC.

In 2014 the right honourable, together with other revolting members of the PDP tagged ‘new-PDP’,  became estranged from the party and joined the APC ahead of the 2015 election. After scaling the election, Dogara together with the likes of the former governor of Kwara state, Bukola Saraki, rebelled against the leadership of the APC to snatch the leadership of the parliament with the backing of PDP lawmakers. Soon after emerging as the speaker, his relationship with the then Governor of Bauchi state, Mohammed Abubakar, turned sour. With the escalation of the feud, Dogara saw himself losing APC ticket in 2019, because he knew how loyal to the then governor the state APC chairman was. On September 20, 2018, therefore, he formally returned to the PDP ahead of 2019. History is now repeating itself as Dogara is returning to the APC. Do you know what all this means?

In political science, there is what is called “Game Theory” which assumes that every player in the political arena is rational and will always strive to maximize power while trying to minimize failure. The pattern of playing politics by players, according to the theory, is contingent upon the action and inaction of the opponents. The decision of Dogara in 2014, 2018 and now, is to me a typical application of this theory. His decision is based on what will favour his political ambition. In 2015, he was in APC in order to become speaker, in 2019 he embraced the PDP when he could not clinch the APC’s ticket and the PDP accorded him uncommon gesture by granting him an automatic ticket. He returned to APC now in anticipation of becoming Bola Tinibu’s running mate for presidency come 2023 as hinted by one of his (Dogara) associates. With these antecedents, it’s obvious that Dogara lacks political ideology and it means if any opportunity comes his way elsewhere, he will still embrace. This must be posing a threat to even the APC that Dogara is on a sojourn to.
With the aforementioned, the frosty relationship between him and the incumbent Governor Bala Mohammed can be said to be a perceived one, mainly because his decision was obviously political calculation. So, whether or not they were at loggerheads, nothing could stop Dogara from his usual cross-carpeting out of desperation for power.
On whether Dogara’s defection will create a vacuum in the PDP, this is an undeniable fact, the honourable, being a technocrat who has traversed the different political evolution, his contribution will surely be missed by the PDP. However, the loss shall not be to the extent that people think, simply because Dogara is a local champion; his political know-how and influence is limited to his constituency (Dass, Tafawa Balewa, Bogoro). I’m not unaware of the population of his constituency, nonetheless, it doesn’t constitute a half population of Bauchi South alone, not to talk of Bauchi North and Bauchi Central where he does not have an iota of political influence. This is not unconnected with why influential  PDP folks in Bauchi didn’t consider the development as worthy of cacophony.

Dogara as the person he is, wherever he goes, whatever he does, is a product of the PDP. His political carrier could be traced to 2007 when the former PDP governor and former PDP national chairman, Ahmadu Mu’azu, first nurtured and promoted him. Since then, Dogara has been in the chamber. Additionally, the PDP has always been his safe haven during his agonising experiences.
Maijama’a writes from Faculty of Communication, Bayero University, Kano[email protected]

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