The position of Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, is reminiscent of the man in a dark tunnel who can’t decide if the light at the end of the tunnel represents redemption or a train coming to crush him and end his misery once and for all.
Yakubu Dogara, to use a well-worn cliché, is trapped between a rock and a hard place. What can be termed as his comfort zone is to do nothing and hope everything works out in his favor. But then again, doing nothing doesn’t guarantee he won’t be crushed by the rushing train that is the Governor of Bauchi State, Mohammed Abdullahi Abubakar.
Since Nigeria News reported how the rAPC members defected en masse to the PDP last month, it became apparent it was only a matter of time before the speaker announced his own defection to the PDP.
It is over a month now since the events of that dramatic Tuesday, 24 July, when the Senate President closed the National Assembly until the 25th September after both Chambers had announced the names of defecting APC members; Dogara is yet to join his peers on the defection train.
Casual watchers of recent events would find this surprising since it was widely assumed that Yakubu Dogara, along with Bukola Saraki, was the spearhead of the anti-APC movement in the National Assembly.
Why is Dogara still stalling? What is he waiting for before defecting to the PDP? On the other hand, is defection still a viable option for him?
To understand Dogara’s dilemma, you’d have to understand the politics of his state, Bauchi. Though he is a former PDP member, the level of angst between him and the Presidency is not at the same level between Saraki and the Buhari.
As a matter of fact, the consensus among top APC party officials is that Dogara is somebody that can be accommodated because he had tried to be reasonable in his engagement with the Presidency.
Basically, that means he doesn’t come across as somebody who is trying to undermine the party and President Buhari, unlike Bukola Saraki.
But back home in his state, the party hierarchy controlled by Governor Mohammed Abubakar is uncomfortable with his ambition going forward.
Analysts say Dogara wants to be the governor of Bauchi State someday. At the least, he would love to upgrade his position to the senator representing his district.
The governor is having none of that. The top APC men in Bauchi feel the Speaker is trying to leverage on his position as the number 4 citizen to control the party in the state.
Dogara, though, is a minority Christian from a predominantly Moslem state.
The idea of a Christian governor doesn’t sit well with most people in the state. Even electing him as a senator would be hard based on the same reason: the religious demographics don’t favor him.
Last Saturday’s by-election to fill a vacant seat in the Senate underlined the problem he is up against.
The APC won. What is interesting though is the margin of victory. It was so huge the total votes of all the opposition parties put together wasn’t up to half of APC’s tally.
However, Dogara was able to show he is the undisputed leader in his local government area (LGA), Bogoro. The PDP was victorious with 6,646 votes against the APC’s 3,992.
But this is where it gets more interesting. The constituency that elected Dogara to the House of Representative is made of three LGAs: Bogoro, Tafawa Balewa, and Dass. The APC were overwhelmingly victorious over the PDP in Tafawa Balewa and Dass.
The total results for Dogara’s constituency (the three LGAs) saw the APC polling 25, 733 while the PDP polled 19,202 votes.
The obvious inference from that result is that as things stand, Dogara would not be elected back to the House of Representatives in 2019 if he contests under the PDP.
This is not even talking about the Senatorial seat he might likely covet. That goal is almost impossible if he contests as the PDP candidate.
Dogara’s ‘rock’ is changing party affiliation that would surely result in a defeat in next year’s election. His ‘hard place’ is remaining in the APC with a governor who clearly wants to cut him down to size. Either way, he is toast.
If nothing changes in the political landscape between now and the elections in 2019, the best option for Dogara is to find a way to make peace with the Governor of Bauchi State and the state’s APC party machinery.
That is, if he wants to remain a lawmaker.
Beyond that, only a miracle would see him become part of the 9th Assembly from 2019. Dogara desperately needs a fortune teller to look into his future and tell him what they see: light or a speeding train heading towards him.