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...When Dariye Found Honour in Defeat

Posted by This Day Online on 2005/09/16 | Views: 510 |

...When Dariye Found Honour in Defeat


The return of Governor Joshua Dariye to Plateau State a day after the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) announced his suspension from the party could well be described as "triumphant entry.Ē A mammoth crowd and convoy of cars which disrupted traffic on the ever busy Abuja Road could well be a pointer to being loved at home writes Ahamefula Ogbu

The return of Governor Joshua Dariye to Plateau State a day after the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) announced his suspension from the party could well be described as "triumphant entry.Ē  A mammoth crowd and convoy of cars which disrupted traffic on the ever busy Abuja Road could well be a pointer to being loved at home writes Ahamefula Ogbu


Chief Joshua Chibi Dariye who had been fighting a high-pitch battle was at last, on the alleged insistence of President Olusegun Obasanjo, suspended from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Prior to that, he had spent most of his time in Abuja, apparently consulting with those that would give him respite. Information had it that he almost succeeded and had indeed, clinked glasses with friends until the unexpected was announced.


He was left with no option than to return to his state because it is a popular saying that a rejected person cannot reject himself. The party made its decision known on Friday, September 9 suspending him from the party and immediately, a kind of pall fell on the state. It was easy for the governor to curry the support of people because they are arguing that he was being singled out for humiliation.


Soon, the issue was being given some religious interpretation as some openly canvassed that those who slammed a six-month state of emergency in the state were still moving to further deal with Dariye either by fair or foul means. Before long, people started muting the idea of welcoming the governor in a grand style to prove to those against him that he is a prophet with honour at home. The small idea gathered momentum and by Saturday morning, words had gone round the state that the people should troop out en masse to welcome their governor.


As early as 10 a.m Saturday, there were signs that the people were actually working for the reception. Small buses popularly called "kia kia buses" started driving around the city in frenzy with youths hanging dangerously from windows and doors. Posters sown like unisex tops, apparently made for another occasion were retrieved, and donned, all with positive messages extolling Dariye. However, news had it that the governor would be coming back to the state at 1pm and that the reception point was the Masara Jama Ba junction on the Jos Ė Abuja road.


By midday, vehicles had lined two sides of the road from that junction as far as Kuru. A further probe showed that some enthusiastic ones had gone as far as Ryom while journalists were told to continue driving towards Abuja until they met the convoy of the governor who would stop to field questions from them. Moved by the desire to hear it first hand from Dariye who could at best be described as taciturn, the movement was with much expectation.


Placard carrying youths with some unprintable messages abusing the Abuja politicians with their boss filled every space; some who appeared to have been under the influence of alcohol also enacted some hilarious acts as they, carrying bottomless utensils, scratched the metal objects on the road, rolled in front of moving cars as if they left their lives at home. Vehicles had to screech to abrupt halts to avoid running over them and when asked why they were disrupting traffic, all they could mutter was "Plateau sai Dariye" and moved on.


One lost count of the number of vehicles and infact; even those nursing the ambition to take over from Dariye in 2007 had to position their vehicles in conspicous places so that they could be seen. All government appointees and those who have one interest or the other in Plateau State were not left out. Even the elderly from remote villages who found it difficult to keep pace with the demands of the political solidarity were there. So also were cultural troops and traditional stunt pullers to the extent that the inadequacy of the single lane for the volume of traffic on that road became doubly amplified. They continued waiting even when after several hours; the governorís convoy was no way in sight.


 It was on the descent to the forestry area after the convoluted skirting of the hills that the governorís convoy was sighted but contrary to the expected interview, he sped by and the newshounds had to turn and give a chase. As soon as the convoy was sighted around Ryom area, a wild shout bellowed out and soon, was caught by others and this alerted those in front that the expected man was in town. People who had turned their vehicles facing Jos now commenced a scramble to join the road and the convoy of the governor. In the melee, exotic cars were brushed by people in a hurry to even stop and before long, a three-mile long stretch of convoy formed.


Those who were either going to or coming from Abuja were delayed for at least five hours and those who tried to slowly inch their way towards their destination had to completely leave the road as no fewer than three lines going into Jos were formed. The youths chanted "no Dariye, no PDP" and that "PDP is dead, we shall prepare to bury it". Meanwhile, the lone siren of the governor wailed in the distance as both commercial motor cycles had formed an outrider convoy for him, thereby further slowing the movement. At the roundabout coming into Jos, the traffic build up had become so increased that the lane going to town could no longer handle the traffic; impatient commuters in the convoy entered the lane going to Abuja and Shendam and drove against traffic until the slow movement wound up in Rayfield Government House.


An indication that the governor would address the crowd showed when some outrider cars arrived the government house ahead of the main convoy and the occupants conferred with the security men at the gate. A small table was hurriedly fetched and placed at the car park immediately outside the gate; when another of the cars in the convoy arrived, a counter instruction seem to have been given as the table was dismantled and the public address system also removed and taken inside.


It did not take long when a siren sounded closer than before in an apparent announcement that the governor who took the old airport road would soon get to his destination. At that, people surged forward into the government house ground, beating the security check in the process. Seeing the hopeless situation, the security men relaxed even directed the people to the second open space near the governorís residence as the place where the address would take place.


The poorly lit ground had a black unmarked Lexus Jeep sitting idly alone there with the engine running and all doors closed. When the bearer of the public address system went close to the car, he used the microphone to confirm once again that the governor was set to address the people. Immediately, the open roof of the jeep slid open and simultaneously, the back as well as the front doors also were flung open. Policemen with guns at the ready surrounded the vehicle before Dariye emerged from the open roof of the car and the microphone was given to him.


Before proceeding to address the gathering, he called for prayers which was said in Hausa. There was an interruption from Dariye on the person leading the prayer when he mentioned the name of Obasanjo and the crowd roared in agreement. An indication that what the prayer leader said was not complimentary was when Dariye interjected and asked in a hushed tone that nothing derogatory should be said about the person or office of the President. Precautions were immediately taken.


After the prayer, Dariye shouted "PDP" three times and the people roared "power". He looked round the crowd, shook his head in apparent amazement at the number of people that were there to welcome him; adjusted his ash coloured suit, inhaled and addressed the people in Hausa often laced with English language. He told them that he greeted them with the name of the party because they were still in it. He said that he was still a member of the party and that he would not allow anybody to intimidate or chase him out of it. "What I want to tell you is that the PDP is still intact in Plateau State and we are still in the party. There is no way we would build a house and allow some thieves to chase us out", he insisted.


Dariye who used to avoid a confrontational stance in the political face-off seemed to have temporarily dumped his cool mien when he warned that henceforth, he would not allow anybody no matter how highly placed to breach the peace in Plateau State. Although he did not specifically accuse anybody of destabilizing the party, he said that anyone who left the party and wanted to come back should not do so through the back door but should follow the constitutionally laid down procedures. His words, "If anyone who left PDP wants to return, he should do so without causing trouble. We are not going to allow those who want to come back through the back door to cause problem. We wonít allow that to happen, we are still in the PDP and in as much as we are not chasing anybody away, they should follow the constitutional means of returning to the party".


According to him, the best thing the people should do was to continue their support for his administration and pledged that he would continue to provide the dividends of democracy for the people. He also exhorted them to continue in their prayers for the state, asking rhetorically, "When they imposed emergency rule in the state, was it due to our own strength that it was lifted" and the crowd roared "No". Continuing, he said that it was God and that since he has been fighting for them; they should not take the laws into their hands but rely on God who would do it for them. "If you can still remember, when emergency rule was declared in the state, I appealed to everyone and we did not go to war. Some people said I donít know how to play politics, but the return of democracy was not by our strength but an act of God", he said


He called for their continued support, pointing out that it was through their collective will that the recall attempt on the Plateau State Speaker, Hon Simon Lalong was foiled and asked them to repeat the feat should any other person be the target of another recall attempt. "All you have to do is continue your support for this administration and together we shall reach our target and if they try to carry the onslaught to another person, rally round and say no again", he charged them.


On why he refused to abuse or confront President Obasanjo, he said that he did not need to be in the party with him to recognize him as the leader or to relate with him, adding, "I must continue to say he is my President any day and time. It is not party that unites us with the President, he was constitutionally elected; so whether I am in PDP or not, he is still my President because the agenda is Nigeria". He said his posture also tallies with the biblical injunction in Romans 3:1 and predicted that those pursuing him would be as provided in Psalm 25 which says that the enemies of a child of God chase him on slippery surface and so would fall. He however seemed to have pressed the issue of the President too far when he said "the President means well and he loves Plateau State but those advisers that surround him and those who go to tell him lies are the reasons he takes certain decisions". This elicited a murmur of disagreement from the crowd. Sensing that he was hitting a wrong chord, he paused and changed direction, but never saying anything uncomplimentary of Obasanjo.


The solidarity has since Saturday been pouring in. The Jos South local government where some perceived opponents of Dariye hail from have come to pledge their loyalty. Also, the Christian Association of Nigeria led by its North Central goe-political zone chairman, Reverend Yakubu Pam also visited.


They said they were there to pray for him because the ultimate decider in the affairs of man is God. The team prayed for him and his household while Dariye knelt down and chorused "amen" to all the benedictions poured on him.


When he spoke, he tasked the electorates not to vote in people who would use the mandate to fight them but to use their vote to decide what was in their best interest saying, "Ask the people not to give them their votes; they are worse than Sudan because they have not hidden their agenda. All the churches, mosques and poor manís houses have been destroyed and yet they are living comfortably in air conditioned houses. We should not allow them to use tribe and religion to divide us".


He blamed what was going on in the country as a hijack by sycophants who have formed the habit of holding leaders hostage and submitted, "my prayer is that may God deliver our President from sycophants. Because the same people that hijacked Abacha have hijacked our President again. We should pray to God to deliver him", he said.


Dariye said he was not worried by the suspension handed down to him because it was not about eternal life but said that were the membership of the PDP his baptismal certificate, he would have been disturbed but since it was not, he would continue to work so that he does not lose focus.


He also told the people that there were only two forces that could stop him from completing his tenure, the electorates who if they say he was not performing, have the right to recall him and God whose power is supreme.


As it stands, the suspension seem to have further cemented the bond between Dariye and the people. He has said that very soon, he would undertake a tour of all the facilities his administration has provided with a view to prioritizing and knowing what were of immediate need for him to provide them.


It could be safely said that the suspension may have made him more popular than he was before going for the last PDP meeting.



 


 

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Fay(Katy, Texas, US)says...

Actually translates to bravehearted.