PDP Chairmanship Tussle: Stop The Ajasco Dance! | Independent Newspapers Limited
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PDP Chairmanship Tussle: Stop The Ajasco Dance!

James Onanefe Ibori
Posted: Aug 19, 2016 at 2:00 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

By  Tiko Okoye

Up till few years back, creative peddlers of items such as herbal medicines were routinely espied at every nook and corner as they plied their trade by showcasing agile young men dancing artistically and acrobatically to loud music blaring from speakers mounted on vehicles. They were popularly called Ajascos. These acrobatic – and usually comic – dancers did a good job in attracting large-sized crowds.

And just when the itinerant merchant determined that a critical mass of spectators had congregated he would proceed right away to make his marketing pitch and close the sale – usually in a manner that saw him beaming with huge smiles all the way to his bank! But then our elders had also long warned that when acrobatics becomes too much it turns to madness. The itinerant merchant does not allow his Ajascos to dance for too long a time because when a man stays in the dugout latrine for too long all manner of flies begin to perch on him.

Notwithstanding the spectre of marginalisation, they were even prepared to allow the north produce both the national Chairman and presidential candidate. They hastily arranged to have a convention in Port Harcourt where former Borno State Governor, one-time Buhari-acolyte and one of the founding fathers of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Ali Modu-Sheriff, was to be crowned national Chairman of the party regardless of the opposition of a vociferous minority.

But hell broke loose when the three musketeers of Ayo Fayose, Olusegun Mimiko and Nyesom Wike, governors of Ekiti, Ondo and Rivers states respectively, discovered to their chagrin, that Modu-Sheriff had craftily sold each of them a running-mate dummy! The centre could no longer hold and it became a case of each man for himself and the devil for them all! Since, the opposing camps have tried to outdo themselves in the procurement of judgements favourable to their causes.

The last straw that arguably broke the camel’s back was when yet another high court judge “annulled” the judgment of a fellow Abuja high court judge while “reaffirming and upholding” the “sack” of Modu-Sheriff by the Port Harcourt high court! The rescheduled convention – when it finally held at the headquarters of the Rivers State chapter of the party – turned out to be an anti-climax. Rather than elect a new set of officers to pilot the affairs of the party, the tenure of the Makarfi caretaker committee was “extended within 12 months.”

Dayo Adeyeye – a Fayose frontman – announced to a waiting press that “Powers that be don’t want us to hold our convention,” leaving one to ponder who the ‘powers’ are. But Jimi Agbaje, the party’s candidate in the last governorship election in Lagos State and one of the presumptive frontrunners for the national chairmanship position, didn’t mince words. “The intervention by the Police,” he bellowed, “is evidence that the ruling party is not interested in democracy.” Talk of the pot calling the kettle black. The PDP is in the leadership mess it is today simply because the leaders have refused to allow democratic practice guide their choice of national chairman.

Now this: a highly loquacious former aviation minister and media director of the PDP Presidential Campaign Organisation, Femi Fani-Kayode, magisterially pontificated that “Buhari is using Sheriff to destabilise the PDP.” Yes, you read right. The PDP has obviously gone full cycle and the joke is now on its leadership. The same people who accused those arrayed against Modu-Sheriff at the beginning of being APC agents who didn’t want a ‘strong,’ ‘moneyed’ and ‘politically sagacious’ Modu-Sheriff to be at the helm of the party’s affairs are now saying that the man was planted by Buhari to rubbish the party. Wonders will never end!

My concern, however, is that given the alarming incidence of judicial mercantilism, the judiciary is about to be messed up. When that happens, the joke will no longer be on the PDP alone but on the entire nation. The judiciary – regardless of its imperfections – has a very crucial role to play if Nigeria is not to become a failed state or banana republic. Even the herbal drugs merchants knew when to rein in their Ajascos and commence real business. If the PDP leadership cannot stop its ad nauseam Ajasco dance, then the Chief Justice and the National Judicial Council must immediately step in to maintain the integrity of the judiciary by sanctioning erring judges to order hell-bent on converting the temples of justice to the worship houses of Mammon.