Anenih frowns at PDM's registration

By The Citizen

The Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Tony Anenih, has joined the fray of those kicking against the transformation of the Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM) into a party.

According to him, some PDM leaders had secretly and mischievously registered the group with INEC to operate as a political party without due consultations with members.

But the National Chairman of PDM, Alhaji Bashir Yusuf Ibrahim, said the party was happy that the masquerader behind the anti-PDM propaganda has been unveiled with Anenih's outburst.

Anenih, who felt hurt by the registration of PDM, issued a statement in Abuja in which he claimed that he was not consulted as a founding member of the pressure group before it was turned into a political party.

He asked PDM members not to panic and claimed that the group still remains a part of PDP.

The statement said: 'Reports about the registration of Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM) as a political party by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) have inundated the polity; and because of my leading role in the formation and nurturing of the Movement, concerned members of the Movement have contacted me to confirm if it was our PDM that has witnessed the transformation.

'After in-depth investigations and extensive consultations with a wide spectrum of the membership and leadership of the PDM, which is just like a pressure group within the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), I consider it moral to use this medium to clarify that the PDM, which some persons, purporting to be interim leaders, secretly and mischievously promoted and succeeded in registering with INEC to operate as a political party, is not our PDM that worked with other political associations to form the PDP in 1998.

'For the avoidance of doubt, the PDM, which we collectively envisioned under the leadership of the late General Shehu Musa Yar'Adua, remains an integral part of the PDP, whose Board of Trustees I currently chair, by the grace of God and the consensus of founding fathers and leaders of our great party.

'I hereby wish to urge those who look up to me for guidance in this circumstance to remain steadfast with me in the task of building a much more united and formidable PDP and to discountenance the registration and treat it as a political trickery which will not survive the test of time.

'Members of the Peoples Democratic Movement, which is working for the unity and success of the PDP and the Federal Government under the able leadership of President Goodluck Ebele Joanthan, GCFR, should not panic.

'They should see it as an attempt to undercut our PDM, which was never intended to be and should not be a registered political party within and against the PDP.'

But the National Chairman of PDM, Alhaji Bashir Yusuf Ibrahim, said the party was happy that the architect of the anti-PDM propaganda had been unveiled.

In a statement through the party's Media Adviser, Alaba Yusuf, the National Chairman said: 'The masquerader behind the anti-PDM propaganda has been unmasked. Chief Anenih's statement is a positive advertisement for PDM and what it stands for.

'There is no turning back the hand of time. PDM is an idea whose time has come. We are not going to waste our time exchanging word with those who want to live in the past.

'Let the chief resolve the crisis tearing his party apart before dabbling in the affairs of another party over which he has no control.'

Former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar said his position is only different from that of Chief Anenih 'to the extent that he believes in the right of freedom of association which is guaranteed by the constitution of Nigeria. PDM, even when Shehu (Gen. Shehu Musa Yar'Adua) lived never operated as a regimented organisation like the police or the army.

'Don't also forget the fact that this is not the first time that the PDM had sought registration. They sought to register as Peoples Front,PF under the Babangida Presidency but this was denied them.

'They tried to do this under Abacha but instead, parties described as 'the five leprous fingers' were registered. When he called many of the the PDM members, including Chief Anenih to the PDP in 1998 and they agreed to come, several others including Asiwaju Bola Tinubu chose the other parties such as the then Alliance for Democracy, AD and the defunct All Peoples Party, APP.So they, as PDM members were really never sworn to an oath, to belong to only one political party.

'So, while others like Chief Anenih have made the choice of remaining as members of the PDP, neither of them reserves the right to take away from a fellow citizen, his right of freedom of association as accorded by the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. It is time for some of them, the elders in the polity to allow our younger members to express themselves. 'We can advise them without imposing our political views on them. It is by this spirit that we can guide and grow the next generation not by hindering them' Atiku said, according to his spokesman Garba Shehu.