Presidential primary, restructuring as hurdles before PDP
•Makarfi says restructuring key to Nigeria’s future
Seven months to next year’s general election, indications have emerged that two crucial huddles are facing the Prince Uche Secondus-led National Working Committee (NWC) of the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). How to organise a free, fair and credible presidential primary appears to be the most crucial challenge to the internal cohesion and stability of the party as it prepares for the 2019 election. Most of the many presidential aspirants in the party have promised to play in a team spirit and support whoever emerges as the standard bearer.
Next to the general election, the party primary holds much in store for the party, because it is obvious that anything short of transparent primary might spell doom for the party, or even cause further crises, leading to another cycle of defections to other platforms.
Some stakeholders have already started expressing apprehension about the likelihood of tough times ahead for the NWC over the conduct of crisis-free primary, especially as the issue of micro zoning is gradually gaining momentum. The caliber of politicians that have so far declared interest in the PDP presidential ticket is also another source of worry. Prominent among the presidential hopefuls are former vice president, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, former Jigawa governor, Alhaji Sule Lamido, former caretaker chairman, Senator Ahmed Makarfi, Gombe State governor, Ibrahim Dankwambo, former Education minister, Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau, a former minister of Special Duties and Intergovernmental Afairs, Kabiru Tanimu Turaki (SAN) and Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso.
Although most of the presidential aspirants have keyed into the issue of restructuring, it is not clear how each aspirants wants to pursue the programme, especially when the matter which was popularized by Atiku, is not contained in the party’s manifesto. As such against the background of the gimmick by the ruling All progressives Congress (APC), which even though it included restructuring in its manifesto and assured Nigerians of embarking on it when it attains power, electorate are becoming worried that PDP might renege like APC.
Makarfi, while addressing the party’s delegates in Lagos, Saturday, described restructuring as one of the fundamental issues that the country must address for it to attain greatness, as well as continue to live in mutual and respect for one another.He said his thought on restructuring was not political, stressing that when he headed the Technical Committee set up by erstwhile President Olusegun Obasanjo on restructuring sometime in 2005, “the outline I draw then are what we are still discussing today.”
The former Kaduna governor said apart from the debate on devolution of powers, regionalism and the rest, “there is the need for the country to do institutional restructuring of the police, the army, INEC (Independent National Electoral Commission), Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) among others.”He stressed that as long as those public institutions remain under the control of a political head, they would always be used to oppress and suppress whoever has issues with the leader.
“It is therefore necessary to also look at these institutions with the view to making them accountable to the people and not to any individual or political leaders,” he said.In similar vein, some of his presidential hopeful like Dankwambo also promised when he meet with delegates recently that he is on the same page with politicians on restructuring.
Meanwhile, all the failed efforts to get the country restructured have been under the PDP led administrations of Obasanjo and former President Goodluck Jonathan both from the South. President Muhammadu Buhari-led APC government has been skeptical about the issue despite its campaign promises in 2015.The ruling party was pushed to the wall in July when it appointed the Governor Nasir el-Rufai committee on restructuring, a decision that attracted public criticisms.
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