NIGERIA: The Growing PDM Threat in Katsina

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Ibrahim Shuaibu writes on the growing profile of the Peoples Democratic Movement in Katsina State which is already giving Peoples Democratic Party sleepless nights
In Katsina State political activities are already in top gear ahead of the 2015 elections with various political camps aligning and re-aligning in readiness for the big political battle. It is clear that in Katsina State the dominant political parties are Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM), All Progressive Congress, (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Judging from the tempo of activities in the political terrain in the state and the personalities behind the various parties, it is clear that 2015 will be most intriguing. The PDM has Senator Yakubu Lado Danmarke as its major pillar. The APC has former head of state, General Muhammadu Buhari as its godfather and the PDP is in charge of the political structure.
Before now political pundits are seeing the political fight as a two way affair between the PDP and the APC. But recent political happenings across the state is showing the quick in road being made by the PDM in taking a large chunk of political support in the state. And the successes that have so far been recorded in making the PDM a factor in the state politic can be attributed principally to the political sagacity of Senator Danmarke.
He started his political career as a councillor in his Kankara local government area before eventually becoming the chairman of the local council in 1999. In 2003 Danmarke was elected as member of the National Assembly representing Kankara-Faskari – Sabuwa Federal Constituency and in 2007 he was elected as the Senator representing Southern Katsina State in the senate.
He made a landmark incursion in Katsina State political landscape in 2011 when at a point he defied all bookmakers’ prediction to temporarily emerge as the defunct Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) gubernatorial candidate. However, many believe that his not supporting former Speaker, Aminu Bello Masari led to his defeat at the gubernatorial election.
At this point, especially with his effort at stabilisng the PDM machinery in the state, pundits are of the views that any political arrangement in the state that ignores the Danmarke factor is doing so at its own peril.
He is from the popular Danmarke political family that for long played dominant roles in Katsina politics and he was trained in the art of grassroots political mobilisation by his father and it was seen as a major factor in his numerous political escapades.
Danmarke has engaged various tactics of political mobilisation which includes face to face contact with the downtrodden masses at the grassroots and forming a reliable and loyal political structure.
It was observed that shortly after deciding to join the PDM, Danmarke did not take long to make a political statement as he only collapse his political structure into the PDM.Few months after, it was obvious to all that in terms of visibility, PDM is dominating the political environment, such that currently, there is no town in the entire Katsina State where there are no impacts of the ever growing influence of PDM. It was only recently that the PDM received over 5, 000 supporters in Daura local government area. And as a testimony to PDM’s growing influence in Katsina State, the party has offices in all towns and villages across the 34 local governments of the state.
Last week again, the PDM made a major inroad in the Southern zone where thousands of people left the PDP and APC to join the PDM.
Another strategy in the art of political mobilisation was initiated by Danmarke as he now move under the cover of the night to visit politicians and other stakeholders to woo their support for his fast growing party in the state.
Available feelers are indicating that not just politicians out of government but even those serving the government have been meeting with him with the to building a new political base in the state.
As other political parties in the state are fighting over who will be what, the PDM has successfully conducted its membership registration drive. It is clear that the PDM is hoping to leverage on the altercations in other parties while it has positioned itself to receive aggrieved members of other parties.
A recent membership registration exercise of the party shows that the PDM has over a million supporters in the party. It was with this that Danmarke hopes to build on his 60% support base that he pulled out of the defunct CPC. Similarly, the party has former executives of the defunct CPC as its major backers.
The party in the state has in its fold prominent politicians like the former chairman of the CPC, Dr. Yusha’u Armaya’u, and former Speaker of the defunct Kaduna State House of Assembly, Barrister Mamman Abubakar Danmusa, and Senator Abdu ‘Yandoma among host of others. And with this crop of politicians warming up to square up against the PDP, it is already obvious that the political struggle in Katsina State would not be dominated by the old political horses.
What is clear is that the PDM has gradually carved for itself a political niche that would surely act as a steam that would drive the politicking that would characterize the 2015 elections.
But Katsina State Governor, Alhaji  Ibrahim Shema, has persistently dismissed the possibility of the PDM or APC wresting power from the ruling PDP in the state come 2015.
He said that not even the involvement of  one of the APC leaders,  Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (rtd), who hails from the state, would change the political equation in the state during the next general election.
The governor said the PDP administration under his leadership has touched the lives of the people and his stewardship would give the party an edge in 2015.
“I believe in service and I believe in God. You know my business is that of the PDP and that of the people and leaders of the PDP. That’s how it starts and that’s how it ends. I don’t take time discussing other parties or other individuals. My party is doing very well and we will even do more for Nigerians in Katsina and other parts of Nigeria.
“I am very confident because we have done a lot of work. Go there and see for yourself. Politics is about service; it is about fear of God, it is about managing resources, human and material.
“To the best of my ability, we are doing just that in Katsina and we are very confident that with the services we have delivered to our people, God will not let us down,” Shema added.
The governor also allayed fears that the crisis in the PDP could negatively affect its electoral fortunes in 2015.
He said: “Any human organisation with the size of the PDP will have challenges anywhere in the world. Even in families, the large extended African families have challenges. So our size demands challenges and demands all hands to be on deck.
“But the challenges are not insurmountable because PDP remains the only platform that is owned by all Nigerians,; it doesn’t belong to any section of the country or individual, it belongs to all Nigerians. There is no section, no religion, no tribe that is not in PDP.”
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