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2015 Polls: PDP Faces Revolt

By Muyiwa Adeyemi (Head, South West Bureau, Ado Ekiti) and Azimazi Momoh Jimoh (Abuja)
03 May 2015   |   3:37 am
AS it is with a high scale earthquake, the round defeat of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2015 general elections is still sending seismic waves through the crust of the erstwhile biggest political party in Africa
PDP National Chairman, Adamu Mu'azu

PDP National Chairman, Adamu Mu’azu

• S’West Leaders Urge Mu’azu To Resign
• NWC Warns President’s Associates, Aides
• Roadmap To Recovery, By Uduaghan

AS it is with a high scale earthquake, the round defeat of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2015 general elections is still sending seismic waves through the crust of the erstwhile biggest political party in Africa.

While the Southwest caucus of the party has passed a vote of no confidence on the National Chairman, Alhaji Adamu Muazu, calling for his resignation, the National Working Committee (NWC) has accused aides and associates of President Jonathan of trying to use their closeness to the President to cause crisis in the party, and consequently pave way for more defections.

This is even as the outgoing governor of Delta State, Emmanuel Uduaghan, nurses the hope of a PDP come back, if the right steps are taken early enough.

In an exclusive interview with The Guardian, he stressed: “If we are able to get a few people that are sincere and honest to the cause, we will get back and I think there are such men who can rebuild the party.”

PDP leaders from the Southwest who met Friday evening at Ado Ekiti expressed regret over the performance of the party at the election and blamed the national leadership for losing focus.

They also asked all members of the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party to relinquish their positions and return to their constituencies to rebuild the party.

The leaders, however, commended President Jonathan’s concession of defeat, despite alleged flaws in the poll, saying the gesture has united the country and forestalled crisis.

Persons at the meeting included: former Zonal National Vice Chairman, Chief Tajudeen Oladipo; Senator Bode Olajumoke; Segun Adegoke; Chief Lekan Balogun; PDP governorship candidate in the last election, Prince Gboyega Nasir Isiaka; Ambassador Toye Olofintuyi; PDP former chairman in Ekiti, Chief Bola Olu-Ojo; Senator Femi Kila; and Hon Duro Faseyi, among others.

After a three-hour closed-door meeting, party chieftain, Chief Bode George, read a communiqué, which stated: “PDP lost the elections because of unresolved issues and due to the handiwork of enemies within, coupled with conspiracy from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega, who wisely made Nigerians have the impression that the election was free and fair when it was not.

“As at the time Prof. Jega said he was ready for the elections, about 2.1 million Permanent Voter Cards (PVC) were yet to get to Lagos State, likewise Ogun.

If you check the election, there was no cancellation of results and voided votes in the North. “In spite of all these, the President said it should be allowed to stay.

The conspiracy was too obvious against our party, but President Jonathan showed civility. This was quite commendable.” The party also said it would punish persons attempting to use their closeness to Jonathan to perpetrate activities detrimental to its fortunes.

The NWC in a statement yesterday signed by PDP National Publicity Secretary, Olisa Metuh, said it is “aware of the clandestine activities of aides and associates of the President including their unholy alliance with some elements in other parties, to undermine and weaken the PDP by attacking its leadership.

“We are aware that these individuals have been trying to arm-twist the President to summon a meeting of party leaders at the Presidential Villa in the coming days where the NWC members would be put under pressure to resign, thereby triggering a crisis in the leadership at the national level.

“The party is aware that the same group has been sponsoring series of amorphous bodies and negative publications in a section of the media to peddle false allegations against the NWC to back their heinous and unconstitutional demands that the President should sack the NWC before the handover date of May 29, 2015.

“However, for the purposes of clarity, especially for those making uninformed demands on the President, the PDP National Working Committee is duly elected and its tenure ends in March 2016 in line with the provisions of the party’s constitution. The PDP is a party built on the rule of law and democratic ethos.

Its NWC is elected and not appointed and as such cannot be sacked at will or by an executive fiat. Besides, no section of the party constitution prescribes that the NWC should quit if the party loses in a general election.

“Moreover, President Jonathan has amply demonstrated his strict adherence to the rule of law and the tenets of democracy, even on issues of party administration and should not in anyway be hassled by these selfish and greedy elements to destroy his legacies.

“Consequently, the leadership of the PDP by this statement makes it very clear and in an unambiguous terms too that it will no longer condone such divisive actions by the same unscrupulous individuals who in their selfishness ruined the fortunes of our great party in the general elections.”

Explaining why the PDP suffered a slash at the jugular during the 2015 general elections, Governor Uduaghan noted that the party failed to bolster three of its critical flanks, describing the loss as having started in 2011 after Jonathan’s election.

“It happened at three different levels. One is the level of elders and leaders of the party – the National Working Committee (NWC) and executives of the party.

The other bloc is that of the governors, and the third part is the Presidency; people around the President, who work in the presidency and who are his close friends. “After 2011, some elders and members of the NWC apparently sat down and felt the governors had become too powerful in the party. The strength of PDP from inception, revolved around the governors.

One thing that keeps a party going is the funding and the governors were the ones funding the party, even during elections and Obasanjo recognized that. But some of these elders felt governors were too powerful and wanted to reduce their powers.

Working with the National Assembly members, they started doing all sorts of things. “Unfortunately, Chief Bamanga Tukur became chairman of the party and he was the arrowhead of the plan, sending queries to governors and signing such queries as CEO of the party. It didn’t go down well with some governors and the crisis started building up.

It built up to an extent that some governors were upset and it was one of the reasons the seven governors walked out at the party convention in Abuja. “The third area is that of the presidency.

Some appointees in the Presidency, family members and friends of the President or people from same ethnic group with him somehow became a problem.

We must understand that the President has a lot of powers, which are not exercised by him alone. Sometimes, a mere photograph in which you and the President appear together can be used to do a lot of things. Some people around him misused these powers by elbowing people out. There were people who wanted to genuinely help but they were elbowed out and kept away. Some decided to sidon and look, others moved to another party.

These factors, which started from 2011 put together, eventually led us to where we are today. “At a point, the current chairman came and he was called the game changer and all that, but he also had his own issues and by the time we were going into the elections, it would have been a miracle if we had won. Underlying all these was the arrogance of power.

As a party, we became arrogant, saying we would rule for 60 years and that we were super strong and ended up misusing our strength. Secondly, there were people who were not really sincere; people who held critical positions but were not working for the party. They pretended to work for the party and by the time we realized, it was already too late.

That is my own analysis of what really happened.” Notwithstanding, Uduaghan is optimistic the PDP can get its act together and return to power. He said: “If we are honest to ourselves, even if it is just three or four members that are remaining, we can build the party again.

“APC is where it is today because one person was very prominent in building the party to what it is today and the person started from one state, Lagos, spread to some parts of the Southwest, and today they are at the national level.

So, if we are able to get a few people that are sincere and honest to the cause, we will get back and I think there are such men who can rebuild the party.”