Anxiety over PDP’s attempt to probe polls loss
THE decision by the leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to conduct a comprehensive investigation into the circumstances that lead to its poor performance in the last general election has generated further confidence crisis in the party.
The inauguration of the 17-member post-election assessment committee last week to, among others, probe the management of campaign funds in addition to identifying key issues for the failure, has created anxiety and misgivings about the true motive and mission of the exercise among party leaders.
The nine-point terms of reference of the committee reads;
1. To identify the remote and immediate causes of the relatively poor performance of the PDP in the 2015 general elections.
2. To trace the origin and process of the seeming decline of the party in its electoral performance.
3.To take a critical look at the preparations and build-up of the PDP to the general elections and determine its inadequacies and lapses.
4. To review and determine the adequacy of the structures for the 2015 general elections and how those structures functioned.
5. To ascertain the degree of anti-party activities, compromises and outright sabotage that may have contributed to the misfortunes of our party at the elections.
6. To look at the funding of the elections to determine whether or not the funds meant for the campaigns were adequate and whether disbursements were properly done.
7.To identify different groups in the party who were to play critical roles before and during the elections and determine the effectiveness or otherwise.
8.To determine any other matter that may be considered necessary and in the interest of the party.
9. To propose a road map for the party to recover its past glory and definitely, win the general elections in 2019.
Led by the Deputy-President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, the committee is now faced with the serious challenges of succeeding in between two warring camps in the PDP crisis.
On one side is the PDP National Working Committee (NWC), which is believed to have run itself out of favour with majority of party stalwarts due to the way the processes of the party primaries that preceded the general election were managed.
And yet on the other side were party leaders and organs, which the NWC has also accused of using their powers to unduly influence key decisions of the party to their selfish political interests.
Despite the losses suffered by the party, these opposing camps kept increasing and widening the crack. The PDP Governors’ Forum has raised its weapon high over the head of the Ahmed Adamu Muazu-led NWC and is seeking to get them quickly out of the way over alleged mismanagement of party affairs, sabotage, anti-party activities as well as embezzling of party funds.
The NWC in self-defence however is threatening to wield its big stick including suspension on those party members believed to be causing trouble and becoming too stubborn to manage.
The Ekweremadu panel
These circumstances of discord, suspicion, hatred, battle of wits and endless game of plotting and counter plotting is the situation into which the Ekweremadu-led committee which was essentially set up to unravel the causes of the PDP failure, was born into
Critics and close observers of events in the party have raised misgivings about the ability of the probe panel to do an independent investigation and come out with position that would not portray it as acting the script of an interested party in the crisis.
But a member of the Committee who preferred not to be mentioned declared that the only reason he agreed to serve was because there was a commitment by the NWC and Muazu that there would be no interference from anybody. We were assured that the committee would be totally independent throughout the operations of the committee. I can assure all PDP stakeholders that the fear of witch-hunting does not arise.”
To further allay fears that the committee might be used to hunt down perceived opponents of the NWC, Ekweremadu said the committee would focus only on issues that would help rebuild the PDP even as he charges party members to shun media war.
In an acceptance speech on behalf of other members of the panel, Ekweremadu, asked all party loyalists to begin a process of rebuilding the party and stop the blame game.
He said, “first, let me empathize with party faithful across the country over what has been generally accepted as the poorest outing of the PDP in any general elections since its birth in 1998. Our pains and disappointments are well founded, especially given the enormous hopes and prospects the party holds as a pan-Nigerian movement for social, economic, and political transformations. Thus, it is not a loss for the PDP only, but a loss to the great people of this country that the party lost the steering at the time it had laid a solid foundation through the Transformation Agenda of the present administration.
“However, we must appreciate the fact that change is the only constant thing in life. Much as we are pained by the sad turn of events, we must come to terms with the fact that anger, recriminations, self-pity, and blame trading will not take us even an inch away from the harsh outcomes of the 2015 general elections.
“Let me also empahsise that the worst tragedy that could befall the PDP is not to have lost the 2015 presidential election or our majority status at the National Assembly or some PDP controlled states to the opposition. All through human history, even the greatest and strongest empires have suffered one setback or the other at certain points of their existence. Instead, the greatest tragedy would be our failure to draw from the lessons embedded in the outcome of the elections.”