Appearing on the popular political evening television programme hosted by journalist Seun Okinbaloye, he delivered in his typical passionate style a scathing submission that all but reduced the PDP’s chances of posting a stiff competition in the 2023 presidential election, let alone winning, to less than zero.
“If there is anybody to be competing with APC,” he began, “it is actually the Labour Party and not the PDP. Even PDP as a political party are acutely aware that they are not winning this election.”
You would be forgiven for thinking that the above was said by Festus Keyamo, the Minister of State for Labour and APC’s campaign spokesman. Except that it wasn’t.
The individual responsible for the submission was the man specially hired – after a glamorous lobbying and conscription charade that featured ranking Senators – to argue the opposite: Daniel Bwala.
The legal professional who owes his relevance to the All Progressives Congress (APC) recently switched camps and joined the PDP as a campaign spokesperson ostensibly over the selection of Senator Kassim Shettima, the Muslim former governor of Borno state, as the running mate to Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the former governor of Lagos State who is also a Muslim.
In Bwala’s reasoning, a Muslim-Muslim ticket does little to unify the country, and it was only right to back PDP’s Atiku Abubakar whose emergence, if elected in 2023, would extend the northern leadership of the country by another eight years, effective shredding the carefully negotiated informal north-south rotational power arrangement that has helped manage tensions and preserve the country’s continued existence as a diverse, multicultural state. It is a ‘crinkum-crankum’ logic that Bwala and others who so contend have never really set straight, probably because it is only a convenient excuse for making an expedient political choice.
Nevertheless, with an understanding of Bwala’s background as a dyed-in-the-wool operative of the APC who made a name for himself with his piercing and succinct articulation of the PDP’s failure of 16 years and the necessity of the APC’s emergence and continued stay in power, it is easy to deem his faux pas on the television programme as a regrettable error. Old habits, after all, die hard.
Except that this was no error at all. The furore – mostly mockery and bemusement – that trailed the Bwala spectacle on television combined with the curiosity over the startling reversal which now sees him making a case for a candidate he criticized as the emblem of all that is wrong with Nigeria only four years ago, to generate enough heat and journalistic scrutiny.
The result of that scrutiny was confidential tips which, when pieced together, formed an elaborate plot detailing the intrigues behind Daniel Bwala’s curious U-turn and why his shocking dismissal of a party he was engaged to defend was not a misspeak but rather an execution of a well-concealed brief: the destruction of the PDP from the inside.
Senior figures within the APC who begged anonymity to speak freely, confirmed to our newsroom that contrary to public notions and Bwala’s own well-staged drama of a fall-out with the party, his foray into the PDP and the apparent aiming of his fire at the opposition party despite the formal charge to defend it was orchestrated at the APC HQ in Abuja.
Daniel Bwala, the sources confirm, is one of the many agents planted in the PDP by the ruling party to keep tabs on its affairs and execute an inside detonation intended to cripple the party and render it impotent in 2023.
His angry outbursts against the APC and purported opposition to the Muslim-Muslim ticket were the dramatization of a developed script meant to lure the PDP who, as predicted, took the bait and made a song and dance of Bwala’s supposed capture.
“They really believed Bwala was snatched from us when in reality, we simply set a trap and they took the bait,” one of the sources said. “This is politics and for you to win, you must have real-time insights into what your opponents are thinking and planning. One of the many ways to do this is to explore opportunities to plant agents while ensuring that none exists in your own camp.”
Another source expressed surprise at the success of what he called “the Bwala project”, wondering how the PDP could have handled such a senior role to a man who, weeks prior, was persistent in his denunciation of the party. “It is almost too good to be true. But we are very happy to see how it is going, thus far. You can look forward to many of such ‘mistakes’ and wrong fire,” he said.
Despite the comments and controversy generated by the appearance, Daniel Bwala has yet to respond. Instead, he is doubling down on a frenzied attack against the electoral body INEC over a misunderstanding on the planned processing of election results and their transmission. Some say it is a deflection tactic, others conclude he is merely making up for the ‘error’ until he makes another one – likely on a bigger platform and in a more sensitive period.