The People’s Redemption Party, (PRP) is demanding immediate issuance of ‘Certificate of Return’ to Honorable Dayabu Chiroma, the party’s candidate for Darazo/Ganuuwa Federal Constituency of Bauchi State in Nigeria. In pursuit of the demand, the party has fired a protest letter to the country’s election management body, the Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC).
The June 9th, 2019 letter signed by Alhaji Falalu Bello, the party’s National Chairman himself, situated the demand in the ruling by Justice Bello Kawu of the Federal Capital Territory, (FCT) High Court May 16th, 2019 ordering INEC to issue the certificate to candidates who came second in the election into five constituencies of Bauchi State. “On the strength of the aforesaid Order by Honorable Justice Bello Kawu made since May 16th, 2019, our Honourable Dayabu Chiroma should have since been issued his Certificate of Return”, the statement said.
Wondering why the commission which the PRP credited with responding promptly to such cases previously has not done so this time, the PRP said that has denied Honourable Chiroma joining and taking his rightful place in the 9th National Assembly scheduled to be inaugurated Tuesday, June 11th 2019.
This is a letter that is bound to evoke ideological sentiments across Nigeria in that the PRP that was the main driver of progressive politics in Nigeria’s Second Republic won not one governor four decades thereafter. For even as much as it has shrunk in strength, it retains its radical appeal to many members of the elite, including the aristocracy. No less than a dozen traditional rulers, led by the Sultan of Sokoto himself were at the Jigawa State Government’s Talakawa Summit in 2008, in spite of the very short notice to some of them.
Memories are fresh of its abolition of the Jangali and Haraji taxes in two key northern states of Kano and Kaduna in 1979 as well as the agro-industrial strategy put on the table by the Kaduna State Government that time. In spite of the progressive decline of its electoral capacity and ideological coherence as at 2007, the government of Jigawa State led by Alhaji Sule Lamido, a legatee of the party, was able to declare as at September 2007 that nobody went to bed hungry in the state on account of extreme poverty. The declaration was based on the government policy of a monthly stipend to physically challenged persons considered to occupy the weakest link in the poverty chain. The payment had its own controversies but since the monthly stipend was more than the $2 a day at which the World Bank pegged extreme poverty, the government at the time felt it was justified.
There is a feeling that, in the absence of political parties of such ideological orientation and practices, Nigerian politics has been reduced to formalities. Hence the concern this letter to INEC is bound to generate even as it is not clear why the PRP is only making the demand a few days to the inauguration of the House of Representations since it had the court judgment since mid May. It must have been expecting automatic compliance with the judgment.