PDP And The Challenge Of Leadership

By Nebo Ike
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Since political parties are in the business of political entrepreneurship, they are organic in nature and like trading companies determined to succeed in their ventures aimed at yielding profits. They may not be quoted at the stock exchange like Manchester United yet they can be as buoyant as the most valuable stock exchange. They control peoples and nations with its riches, resources and appurtenances when they acquire power. Peoples Democratic Party has been in the business for about 17 years.

Its wares are the entire membership, the electorates and administrative structure comprising of Board of Trustees and National Working Committee (NWC), National Executive Council (NEC), State Executive, Local Government Executive and Ward Executive. Since 17 years, apart from its first Chairman, late Gov. Solomon Lar, the subsequent Chairmen to the present Senator Ali Modu Sheriff have had divergent influence on its membership, whether at their elections or at their exit time.

Perhaps, one of the problems leading to the failure of the party to hold on to power 2015 could partly be attributed to the frequency with which the Party Chairmen were changed. For instance, it was such divergent influence produced by Alhaji Bamanga Tukur’s tenure that birthed the five PDP governor-rebels. In order to heal and recover the lost members, Alhaji Adamu Mu’azu took over only to dwell on the saddle for a short time, after the 2015 elections failure.

Some of these unfinished tenures influenced the party performances negatively.

At the exit of Alhaji Bamanga Tukur as Chairman, Adamawa PDP was already divided from the State Executive to the House of Assembly leading to the impeachment of the governor, Admiral Murtala Nyako (Rtd) with his deputy, James Balla, succeeding through Court action to complete his tenure. However, with a party that had been eroded by divergent influences, the party’s candidate was beaten by APC candidate, Umaru Jubrila Bindo.

Nearly a year after Governor Umaru Jubrila Bindo ousted PDP government through the polls in the last 2015 general election, the Court of Appeal has cancelled the impeachment of Nyako that induced his removal, saying it was illegal, null and void. The court consequently ordered payment of all dues as governor but declined an order for him to resume as governor, since that has been overtaken by events, following its earlier decision in HON. CHIGOZIE EZE +ORS V. GOV. ABIA +ORS 2014. The Court of Appeal reprimanded the Adamawa House of Assembly which consisted of 25 members that leveled 16 charges on Gov. Nyako for unfair trial full of irregularities and went ahead to find him guilty of the charges by 17 out of 25 members. The decision is indicative of the fact that if PDP could keep its house in order, its flock are still waiting ashore to board the vessel.

The opportunity to remedy the situation is just around the corner provided the divergent influences of the emergence of Senator Ali Modu Sheriff as Chairman is considered as stepping stone towards implementation of the report of Post-Election Review Committee since other candidates like Ambassador Wilberforce Juta & Mohammed Wakil contested for the office with him, the presence of members of National Working Committee (NWC) and Governors, his emergence can hardly be called an imposition. If Sheriff was rightly quoted to have said: “Days are gone when few politicians sat down at Abuja and gave orders to members. The party structure has to be reorganized so that power can be taken back to the people at the grassroots”, then he could be held by his words.

Of much more concern to the party should have been the strategies to redeem the party’s battered image and preparation towards 2019. At the 67th NEC meeting of the party, it adopted the Report/Recommendation of Senator Ike Ekweremadu’s led Post-Election Review Committee. About five months after the adoption of the recommendations, it has not been presented to the NEC probably for ratification. The excuse of absence of Chairman is lame when the deputy is in office. That a special convention of NEC for that purpose is required to present it is also not tenable since there have been two auspicious occasions which came and gone. First, NEC meeting held on 26th October, 2015 after the Tribunal erroneously sacked Gov. Wike of Rivers State. The second meeting at which report should have been presented was on 16th February, 2016, before or after the election of Senator Ali Modu Sheriff.

A thorough study of that report and implementation of the recommendations remains the live-wire for the survival of the party as well as its capability to spring unto power in the next general election. Beyond the recommendations, PDP should realize and prepare ahead for the possibility of winning in 2019. And in that case, a serious challenge awaits it if the state of the economy fails to improve in the hands of APC government.

A PDP government that would emerge would not dwell in the pity of dwindling oil revenue, because its leaders then would have the spirit of Asian Tigers, the commitment of Japanese industrialists and the dedication of China to timely production.

These values and virtues that have brought success to non-oil nation should be reflected in the way the party chooses its leaders. Therefore, part of its burden today is to device an efficient system to produce impeccable leaders that would manifest these ideals.

I suppose it has to start by appreciating these ideals as necessitates. If the spectrum of its membership embrace these ideals, it would become vision that guide the party. The next and probably most important step would be to amend the party constitution to reflect these ideals. If PDP fails to amend the constitution to block the sources of 2015 failure it would be difficult to expect a different result in 2019.

Iyke Ozemena
Corporate Attorneys/Consultants

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