PDP RESURRECTION OR EXTINCTION IN 2019
As the Peoples' Democratic Party (PDP) faces death penalty for its uncountable crimes against Nigerians since sixteen years ago, the remnant of its membership are consoling themselves with the hallucination of an acquittal under an Igbo President in 2019. Simply, they are inspiriting themselves with the delirium that all the South East and South South geopolitical zones will form a strong opposition that can produce a Nigerian President of Igbo extraction under the PDP in 2019.
But while confusion and crisis have been rocking the party since it lost the 2015 general elections, its leadership has been speaking from different dimensions. While some believe that the party can be a formidable opposition to that can reposition and reclaim power in the next general elections, others tend to believe that nothing has happened – there is no crisis. Others are secretly romancing the All Progressive Congress (APC), awaiting the appropriate time to abandon PDP and embrace APC.
Before and after the general elections, crises have been rocking PDP states. Ekiti crisis has made many front page stories for national dailies. Enugu governor, Sullivan Chime who was denied of his senatorial ambition but yet delivered Enugu to PDP, is under fire by the state assembly. Ebonyi crisis may not yet be over. Kasitna, Kebbi, Niger and a host of former PDP states are in serious crises, making one wonder the resurrection of the party in the next general elections. Members of the party's leadership at the national level are at each others' necks over the shameful defeat of the former acclaimed largest party in Africa (testing electoral contest for the first time in its history), over corruption/funds embezzlement, over sycophancy, over deceit and over gangsterism/hooliganism.
PDP leader, President Goodluck Jonathan, recently declared in Abuja that will bounce back in 2019 at the federal level if members remained committed to the vision of its founding fathers and work very hard. President Jonathan is optimistic that the party already had all that it will require to win the 2019 elections, but needed to return to the drawing board to re-strategize for the future. “Whatever happened was like a slip. You don't need to travel to America to know how power moves from the Republicans to the Democrats and from the Democrats to the Republicans. You can even go to Ghana that is very close to us. The present administration lost some years back and of course they came back, and won the elections. So the problem is not whether we lost or won elections, which is already history, but how we can reconsolidate our party.”
“We must continue to be united as a party. And continue to work hard so that as we move towards subsequent elections in 2019 and 2023, PDP will come out stronger. PDP is still the most organized party. PDP is still the party that nobody owns. PDP is still the party that whoever you are, you can get to any level that you aspire to through competence. I encourage members of our party to remain faithful and not be disillusioned,” the President said.
PDP National Publicity Secretary, Olisa Metuh while speaking on the state of the party, blamed the media, especially the social media for the party's image smashing. He averred, “Some fifth columnists are working with other parties concocting some frivolous allegations and sponsoring amorphous groups against the National Working Committee. Some members of our party including ambitious aides and associates of President Goodluck Jonathan are using their perceived closeness to him to further their heinous agenda of injecting crisis in the party with a view to high-jacking the structure for their selfish interests.
Oliseh observed that these elements pushed out series of misleading information to the public alleging that the party leadership mismanaged the presidential campaign funds and monies generated from the sale of forms from aspirants for the general elections, leading to the poor performance in the polls, adding, “Part of our reengineering process is the setting up of the PDP Post Election Assessment Committee, which is to evaluate and assess our performance in the general elections and make recommendations for the way forward. We wish to state clearly that there is no crisis in the national leadership of the PDP. The National Working Committee under the Chairmanship of Ahmadu Adamu Mu'azu is duly elected and is fully in control of the administration of the party until the expiration of its tenure in March 2016 in line with the provisions of the constitution of our great party.”
Senate President, David Mark, calls for a strong and united party that can play a credible opposition in the country. While admonishing PDP Senators-elect and House of Representatives-elect at a parley in Abuja, Mark declared, “We must accept the ups and downs as an opposition party. That is what the PDP is now. We must remain a united family and face the reality. The role of opposition is strange to us but it is not a death sentence. We should be ready for the challenges. There is no need weeping over lost opportunities or mistakes of yesterday. The failure of yesterday should be our lesson for a better today and a triumphant future”.
Mark also warned that the party may be heading for final destruction. “The PDP is already hemorrhaging. Unless we halt the bleeding and find the necessary therapy, we may be heading for the final burial of the party. The party is already in a comatose status. The emerging factions are absolutely unnecessary. The combatants must sheathe their swords and embrace dialogue. My appeal is that we should not do anything further that would damage the already fragmented house”, he said in parts while receiving Senator Ekweremadu-led PDP Post-election assessment committee.
What is getting clearer is that the failure of the ruling party to retain power at the federal level has divided its stakeholders along geo-political lines, with the South-East and South-South uniting in a bid to take over the entire structure of the party. Accusations and counter defence have been raised against the members of the party's National Working Committee (NWC). The National Chairman of the party, Adamu Mu'azu was accused of playing the fiddle in the last election, thus the attempted move by the South-East and South-South alliance led by Governor Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom state to oust Mu'azu and install outgoing Governor of Cross River State, Liyel Imoke, in place of him.
Akpabio is said to be leading a movement similar to what Bola Ahmed Tinubu did in Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) where he was the defacto leader and major power behind the merger which culminated in the formation of the All Progressives Congress (APC), which has taken power from the PDP. But some PDP stalwarts believe that the move to remove PDP National Chairman, Alhaji Adamu Mu'azu, from the point of electoral failure and the body language of Governor Godswill Akpabio and his quest to be in power at all cost will not help the party. Some PDP stalwarts have warned that no one should under any guise terrorize the party's NWC members or harass them in any way until a stakeholders' meeting have been convened and all issues sorted out.
Some PDP stalwarts, including Governors Babangida Aliyu of Niger state and Fayose of Ekiti state have urged leaders of PDP to emulate the British political leaders, who resigned after leading their party to defeat, describing as unfair the plan to form a factional PDP if they were forced asked to resign.
South-West PDP leader Chief Olabode George blames PDP failure on internal foes, “PDP lost the elections because of unresolved issues and due to the handiwork of enemies within coupled with the conspiracy from INEC leader, who wisely made Nigerians to have the impression that the election was free and fair when it was not.”
Dr. Chukwuemeka Ezeife, a former governor of Anambra State, and a delegate at the 2014 National Conference, believes that the Yoruba, the Igbo, the Fulani and the Hausa should cooperate with the will of God. He declared to have a pre-conception of a nation ruled by an executive Igbo President because the Igbo are people of destiny. Said he in a recent interview, “We believe in what we are doing. When it becomes necessary, we act like one person and one voice. You saw how the election was in the East. Nigerians can now know who they are dealing with, when they look towards Igbo people. We are a united people acting like one person. As you can see, we are not divided even by religion. Therefore when something becomes necessary, we focus and act as one. Some otherwise wise people said we packed all our eggs in one basket, but for most of us who are not so wise, we are so happy with the result of the elections, where we demonstrated oneness, trust and
comradeship with the South-South.”
Senate Leader, Victor Ndoma-Egba, has revealed that the road to the March 28/April 11 electoral loss of the PDP and Jonathan, began with the December 2014 primaries when the governors deliberately shut out 'unwanted candidates' and imposed their own – Jonathan – on the party. Accordingly, the resultant effect was exodus from the PDP without any corresponding influx, as aggrieved PDP members defected to the opposition parties because they were squeezed out. “In the case of the PDP recently, politicians left because they felt that they did not fit within the governors' calculations. The phenomenon will endure for as long as ownership of political parties is not with its members but with, as in the case of the PDP, the governors. Governors (especially of the PDP) have become so over bearing that it is only their wishes that rule. The party (at the national level) suborns its constitution, guidelines and even court orders to please the whims and
fancies of governors who appropriate the will of members and impose theirs in its stead”, he averred, adding, “A party that does not have internal party democracy can only falsely promise the nation democracy.”
Meanwhile, the National Working Committee of the PDP has constituted a post-election assessment to review and evaluate the party's performance in the 2015 general elections. The committee is led by Deputy Senate President Sen. Ike Ekweremadu with other members Governors Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom, Theodore Orji of Abia and Ibrahim Dankwambo of Gombe state, Mr Nyeson Wike, Rivers Governor-elect, Malam. Ibrahim Shekarau, Minister of Education, Alhaji Abdulkadir Kure, Hon. Emeka Ihedioha, Deputy Speaker, House of Rrepresentatives, Mr. Abba Moro, Minister of Internal Affairs and Alhaji Adamu Wazir, Sen. Ahmed Makarfi, Mr Makanjuola Ogundipe, Mr Pegba Otemolu, Mrs Funmi Ayoola. Sen. Walid Jibril serves as secretary.
Nonetheless, PDP's plan for the South East has strong opposition by Gov. Rochas Okorocha of Imo state who believes that the All Progressives Congress (APC) will take the entire South-East in 2019 general elections. “The South-East played a very key role in the victory of Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, considering what happened in 2011 when the Peoples Democratic Party returned about seven million votes. The South-East is one of the tripods upon which this nation stands and we believe that what is good for 'A' is also good for 'B'.”
A political analyst, Peter Claver Oparah has summed up the PDP quagmire and plan for 2019 in this piece he posted on net on May 2, “They have come again with their dead child. In the last election, they conned the Igbo to support a useless party that has treated them as scum for the sixteen years it has been in power and led Ndigbo to their worst ever political doom since independence where the Igbo are today woeful care givers to a dead and departed child called PDP. They are again preparing a poisoned chalice of an Igbo presidential candidate for a party that has practically died and will never ever resurrect to haunt Nigeria with its notorious predatory despoliation.
And Candid Joe in his piece: “As PDP commits hara-kiri” juxtaposes PDP as a shirt dirtier than a Nigerian roadside mechanic's, which Unilever cannot produce enough Omo to clean.
***Muhammad Ajah is a Writer, Author, Advocate of Humanity and Good Governance based in Abuja
E-mail: [email protected]