By Issa Itopa Lucky
Nigerians that are conversant with happenings within the political arena in the country will by now not find it as breaking news that the duo of Ben Ayade and David Umahi, Cross River and Ebonyi State Governors are now APC members.
A move that gifted a South-South State to the APC, being the ruling party at the centre, as it regards Ben Ayade’s defection from PDP to APC.
On the part of David Umahi, the ruling party, APC, further got one more State in Southeast, by virtue of his defection from PDP to APC as Governor of Ebonyi State.
Both Umahi and Ayade before their defections to the ruling party, APC from the opposition, PDP, both denied ahead, such move.
Put in context, Dave Umahi, politically was made by the PDP. Dave Umahi is a former PDP chairman in Ebonyi, a former Deputy Governor of Ebonyi State, and now a two-term Governor, both times that he got elected as Governor was under the platform of PDP.
In the instance of Ben Ayade, politically, he too was made by the PDP. Ben Ayade is a former PDP Senator and now a two-term Governor, both times that he got elected as Governor was under the platform of PDP.
Dave Umahi while defending his defection claimed he defected to APC because he was attracted by the humility of President Buhari (as if every PDP leader including Dave Umahi himself as leader of Ebonyi PDP as of the time is arrogant). He also claimed that he defected to APC to protest PDP’s “unfairness to Southeast”.
Ben Ayade, in his own instance, claimed he defected to APC, to join forces with President Buhari to make Nigeria better (depending on what Ben Ayade meant by that).
Put in context, the fact of the matter is that if PDP ascends the seat of power today, so many Dave Umahis and Ben Ayades will follow and defect to “the ruling party” with time regardless of if the party they are exiting for “the ruling party” of the time made them at first.
Back to the long term view of Ben Ayade and Dave Umahi’s defection from PDP to APC, if there have been political implications in Cross River and Ebonyi politics, the facts are in the interim very clear already.
Since 1999, Cross River and Ebonyi States have been PDP States. When Ben Ayade as Cross River Governor and Dave Umahi as Ebonyi Governor defected from PDP to APC, thereby making both States non-PDP for the first time since 1999 even if not via the ballot, the political terrain in both States have not been much altered even if altered in some way.
The facts are clear that in both instances where Dave Umahi and Ben Ayade defected to APC, the National Assembly and State Assembly members also elected on the platform of the PDP, did not defect along, even if some defected along.
In both instances, it is clear that the PDP will retain both States if general election should hold today in both States. It is furthermore clear that the failure of both Governors to cause all their National Assembly and State Assembly members to defect with them to APC, is an indication that the PDP is more popular in both parties than the two Governors in their individual States.
What does one expect of the SAs, SSAs and the rest appointees of the Governors other than for them to move along with the Governors or rather resign their appointments on partisan difference grounds?
The Local Government Chairmen in both States, if elected will have their independent calls to make like the National Assembly and State Assembly members but as they exercise the independence of choice as to if to defect along or not, they would not be unmindful of the fact that the allocation to their local governments will depend on the Governors’ disposition about each local government under review in both States.
If the local governments are administered by caretakers, of course, as appointees of the Governors, they will have to automatically defect along or lose their jobs as appointees of the Governors in both instances.
In x-raying the defection of both Ben Ayade and Dave Umahi, it is obvious that they actually defected knowing fully well that inspite of their States being PDP by tradition, if they were to contest for their second term of the moment, their chances are best with PDP.
To this end, any which way, by 2023 when both Ebonyi and Cross River will be going to the general polls, Dave Umahi and Ben Ayade will not be on the ballot but would rather be vying for national offices or for National Assembly seats which they can lose like in the election failure case of Godswill Akpabio and his Akwa Ibom North West Senatorial District (Ikot Ekpene) Senatorial Constituency in Akwa Ibom State of 2019, else in as much as Dave Umahi and Ben Ayade’s defection from PDP to APC is concerned, politically, they are finished as such, hence they are on to an inglorious end unless they defect back to PDP before the next general elections as there is literally no magic both Governors can perform in their States to make their States vote APC in place of PDP.