Those who want Vice President Mohammed Namadi Sambo’s job should be very happy with the current crisis in the PDP. Reason being that, he has been in the back seat as regards resolving the crisis, despite the fact that the major players in the crisis are governors from the north, the region where he is supposed to be the number one political leader. And it is a common practice in Nigerian politics, that such crises involving major players from a particular region of Nigeria are most times tackled by a political stalwart from the region who is holding the most senior national political position. When Atiku Abubakar and Goodluck Jonathan were vice presidents, they played such roles. Atiku was instrumental in dousing the heat when speaker Ghalli Na’Abba’s leadership of the House of Representatives attempted to impeach former president Olusegun Obasanjo. Similarly, the then vice president Goodluck Jonathan was Yar’Adua’s point-man in stemming the tide of the Niger Delta crisis and he (Jonathan) perfectly achieved the expected results.
In the present Nigerian political scenario; Vice President Sambo is-or should be-the primary representative of the entire northern block in the Jonathan administration, and the north is his primary constituency. As a sitting vice president, he should have been that most needed point-man for President Goodluck Jonathan in the north, thus he should have been instrumental in appeasing the aggrieved PDP governors from the north. Rather, President Jonathan has seen himself being preoccupied with negotiating with people he does not even understand their language. Why is Namadi Sambo not playing that very important political role?
Before becoming the governor of Kaduna state, Namadi Sambo was not among Kaduna state’s thorough-breed first-rate politicians. His then boss; Senator Ahmed Makarfi made him the governor in an attempt to sideline Suleiman Hunkuyi and Yusuf Hamisu Mai Rago. With the current situation of things, vice president Sambo appears to still be living inside the shell of Kaduna politics. A mere look at his close political aides attests to this. It seems VP Sambo is not a natural aggressive politician in terms of building vast contacts and influence. This has resulted in his inability to establish the necessary political structure in the north. Furthermore, Sambo always tries to play safe as well as be politically moderate to avoid any collision with his boss, but the Nigerian politics sometimes requires a calculated adventurism. Moreover, some Governors in the north see Namadi Sambo as their equal or even see him as a junior when it comes to the art of politicking.
Political pundits and indeed Namadi’s boss, President Jonathan must have been expecting the vice president to be at the forefront in resolving the current crisis in the PDP, even before it escalated into its present market square fight status. The impression in the polity is suggesting that Namadi has not made any calculated political move to pacify the governors and convince them that they are doing more harm to him than to Jonathan. Even if he had done something, it has not yielded any tangible results.
Well, it is not late for vice president Mohammed Namadi Sambo to do a reality-check on how strong he is in terms of influence and connections in each state of the north. He should reach out and build a strong political base in each state in the north. He should create for himself a political charisma like that of Atiku Abubakar- connect not only to the top ladder politicians but those at the bottom - this can be done via strong connection with the traditional class, experienced politicians and those holding political power including establishing people through government patronage. His boss, President Jonathan is an easy going politician- he would give him some good space to play such politicking.
Coming back to the current crisis in the PDP, vice president Sambo should make a calculated and silent move to reach the aggrieved governors for a win-win solution. He could utilize the elderly personality of Governor Murtala Nyako, being a former military governor and Chief of Naval Staff. Governor Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso- could also be useful due to his vast political experience and influence. Vice President Sambo should see the current crisis in the PDP as a real challenge to his political career and he must stand up to it, except he wants to be continually seen as a political liability to President Jonathan indeed.
Zayyad I. Muhammad writes from Jimeta, Adamawa State, email@example.com, 08036070980.