Presidency, Pdp And The Role Of Paf In Determining Jonathan’s Re-election
Following the shifting of Presidential and National Assembly Elections from February 14 to March 28 by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the two major gladiators have moved back to trenches to re-strategize and remobilize their supporters ahead of the polls.
However, it is instructive to note that while various campaign rallies lasted, it was a neck to neck contest as non of the presidential candidates had clear lead in the race! Unlike before, election of this magnitude used to be one-way traffic in favor of the ruling party, this time, the rhythm of the music changed. It changed because the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) went in to the race with a divided house. And like we all know, a house divided against itself can never stand. The Holy Bible said it and history have proved it!
Before open campaigns began, President Good Luck Jonathan was far more above his main challenger, General Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC), but things began to change when the party conducted its primaries in a manner dimed injurious to the stated rules of the game as well as its inability to embark on genuine reconciliation to calm all frayed nerves after the primary as well as getting the aggrieved aspirants to work for the party. But everyone carried on as if nothing happened!
Because these aggrieved party members command huge followership among the electorates, their non participation in party activities started showing bad and dangerous signals for the party and all its candidates. First, public opinion began to go against the candidates. Second, the electorates began to pelt the President with pebbles as well as sachet water. Third, blames and counter blames started creping in to the campaign train. While all these were happening, General Buhari soared high as he became the main beneficiary of the internal wrangling.
The Presidency and the PDP refused to recognize the political reality in the country and as well underestimated their main challenger, General Muhammadu Buhari and his party, not knowing that APC had covertly or overtly engaged the services of AKPD, a political consultancy firm owned by David Axelrod, President Obama’s Chief Campaign Strategist for 2008 and 2012 United States Presidential Elections.
It is good to also state that one hallmark of the firm is its ability to unite all divergent interests and give purposeful direction to its candidate. This was why despite the bitter struggles for the Presidential Ticket of Democrats between Barrack Obama, then Illinois Senator and Senator Hillary Clinton in 2007/2008; both parties still came together with their supporters to work for the victory of Mr. Obama.
Accordingly, after the election, President Obama appointed her his Secretary of State, before she left to prepare ahead of the 2016 Presidential Election where she is currently the leading candidate among Democratic hopefuls.
In lieu of this, many analysts had predicted that Atiku Abubakar, Rabiu Kwankwaso, Sam Nda-Isiah and Rochas Okorocha would leave the party in pursuit of their political ambition, but these gladiators proved critics wrong by staying together combining efforts to enthrone Gen. Buhari as President. Whereas, PDP left aggrieved members forlorn. While few defected to other parties, majority which has now become the largest power block within the party stayed away from party activities in protest of the wrong done to them.
Subsequently, the aggrieved members decided to come together under PDP Aspirants Forum (PAF) with Chief Richard Lamai as one of its conveners. At its emergency meeting held on February 6 in Abuja, the Convener-in-Chief, Hon. Bethel Amadi, a serving member of the House of Representatives and Governorship Aspirant for Imo State noted that: “The essence of the meeting was to chart the way forward and implement resolutions reached”, while another leader of the group, Hon. Ndudi Elumelu, Governorship Aspirant for Delta State stated: “How to ensure that the mistakes made on the field does not result to monumental accident for the party in the coming election is the goal that must be achieved”. He observed that some winners of the said primaries have started carrying themselves as if they had been elected already without knowing that the contest is a close race between the party and it opponents. He further admitted that most of them had been approached
and promised one position or the other by the opposition if only they would work against the interest of the party.
Nevertheless, while urging members of the group not to dump the party, the Deputy Director-General of Jonathan/Sambo Presidential Campaign Organization, Professor Tunde Adeniran urged the group not to allow what some persons are doing to cause them to leave the party or work against it during polls. He further admitted that they are some party members on the campaign train who do not want the President reelected.
Speaking on behalf of the President, the Traditional Ruler of Akipelai Community in Ogbia Local Government Area of Bayelsa State, Chief Asara A. Asara, appealed to the group not leave the party saying, “President Jonathan was deeply worried over the way and manner the last primaries were conducted, but, because the automatic ticket granted him by the party was yet to be ratified as at the time the various primaries were conducted, he was very helpless in intervening in the matter. He however urged them not to leave, assuring them that the President would soon meet with them.
In similar vein, at the end of another meeting recently held in Abuja, members of the group went to the elder statesman and Ijaw National Leader, Chief Edwin Clark to vent their anger. Responding, Chief Clark condemned the treatment meted out to them, accusing the leadership of the party of insincerity. He however urged them not to dump the party, assuring them of appointments if the President is re-elected.
Members of the group comprises all aspirants who contested for House of Assembly, House of Representatives, Senatorial and Governorship primaries on the platform of the PDP and are still members till date.
Those present at the meeting includes, the governorship aspirants for Lagos State, Chief Babatunde Badamasi, Rivers State, Hon. Gabriel Pidomson, Benue State, Mrs. Rosaline Ada Chenge, Imo State, Chief Bethel Amadi, Delta State, Hon. Ndudi Elumelu. Others are the Senatorial Aspirants for Edo North, Chief Richard Lamai, Adamawa, Mallam Isa Tambaran, Anambra, Barrister Chike Madueke. House of Representative Aspirants present includes Hon. Pat Asadu, Chief Mrs. Olivia Agbajo, the representatives of 60 Aspirants from River State, Hon. Nature Dumale Kieghe among others.
Comrade Edwin Uhara, a Journalist with PDP Aspirants Forum writes from Abuja.
Reach him on 07065862479