© 2018 - International Centre for Investigative Reporting
Behold serial political defectors: Tambuwal, Uzor-Kalu, Ubah, others
THE gale of defections that is currently being witnessed in the country has again thrown up discussions on whether politics in Nigeria is based on ideologies or just the selfish interests of the politicians.
In the past one week, three state governors and almost one hundred federal and state lawmakers have moved from one political party to another, citing several reasons except the obvious fact that they are seeking better political fortunes.
Four years ago, just before the 2015 general election, there was a similar mass movement of politicians from one party to another, involving almost all the candidates that have now defected again.
However, among the many serial political jumpologists (informal lingo for politicians who jump from one party to another) there are few that stand out. Here are some of them.
Aminu Tambuwal, current governor of Sokoto State and immediate past Speaker of the House of Representatives, announced on Tuesday, July 31, that he has left the APC. That was the sixth time he was switching parties since 2003. In fact, he defects to a new party almost at every four-year interval.
Having worked as a legislative aide to Abdullahi Wali, then majority leader of the Senate between 1999 and 2000, Tambuwal, a lawyer by training, contested and won a seat at the lower legislative chamber in 2003 on the platform of the All Nigerian Peoples Party (ANPP)
Four years later, in 2007, Tambuwal defected briefly to the Democratic Peoples Party (DPP) where he tried unsuccessfully to secure a legislative ticket. He made a U-turn and returned to the ANPP, and somehow was able to win a ticket.
However, when Aliyu Wamakko left the ANPP to PDP, Tambuwal also followed him; that was three defections in the space of one year. He eventually won the election as a PDP member and went on to become Speaker of the House, a position he held until 2015, though he defected to the APC in 2014.
Orji Uzor-Kalu was Governor of Abia State for 8 years as a member of the PDP, but he abandoned the party as his tenure expired and floated the Progressive Peoples Alliance (PPA), successfully enthroning Theodore Orji as his successor on the party’s platform.
But since 2011 Uzor-Kalu has moved from PPA to the PDP, back to PPA, back to PDP and is now in APC. There are speculations, however, that he joined the ruling party in an attempt to quash his ongoing corruption trial, but even that has yielded no result.
Jimi Agbaje had been a member of three political parties in his quest to become Governor of Lagos State, all to no avail.
In 2007, after he failed to win the governorship ticket of the then Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Agbaje decamped to the Democratic Peoples Alliance (DPA) but still lost the election to Babatunde Fashola.
After Fashola’s two tenures in 2015, Agbaje tried his luck again, this time under the PDP, but he lost to Akinwumi Ambode of the APC.
Billionaire oil magnate, Patrick Ifeanyi Ubah is another example of a serial political jumpologist whose many defections could not help win any election. Between 2013 and 2018, Ubah has changed political parties four times.
After losing the PDP governorship primary in Anambra State in 2013, Ubah moved to Labour Party on whose platform he contested but lost the election. He returned to PDP and threw all his weight behind Goodluck Jonathan’s failed presidential bid in 2015.
Ubah tried again to pick the PDP ticket for the 2017 Anambra governorship election, but he lost to Oseloka Obaze. In frustration, he defected to the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and supported Governor Willie Obiano to win his second term in office.
NOTHING NEW IN DEFECTIONS
A good number of the high profile names that moved from the PDP to the APC recently are quite familiar. They were the same people that had made a similar move in 2014: Tambuwal, Former Vice President, Abubakar Atiku; Senate President, Bukola Saraki; former Kano State Governor, Rabiu Kwankwanso; Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom; Kwara State Governor, Abdulfatah Ahmed, Dino Melaye and others were all PDP members who moved to APC in search of better political fortunes.
Another general election is in the horizon and they have moved again, but whether they will find fortune in the PDP like they did in the APC, is left to be seen.