PDP’s Blame Game

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Mu'azu

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Apparently unhappy by the recent electoral defeat, some governors of the Peoples Democratic Party are plotting the removal of the Adamu Mu’azu led Central Working Committee of the party

| By Olu Ojewale | May 11, 2015 @ 01:00 GMT |

THESE are not happy days in the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP. As the PDP is preparing for life in the opposition as from May 29, some of its members are already venting their anger and frustrations on the leadership of the party.

To drive home their apparent frustration, on the night of Tuesday, April 28, the PDP Governors’ Forum, PDPGF, told Adamu Mu’azu, national chairman of the party, that the governors could no longer work with him and members of his executive. Mu’azu had gone to the meeting in company of Uche Secondus, deputy national chairman and Yusuf Kwon, national legal adviser of the party.

The meeting, which took place at the Akwa Ibom State Governor’s Lodge in Asokoro Abuja, was convened by Godswill Akpabio, chairman of the PDPGF, decided that all the National Working Committee members of the party must resign for being responsible for the dismal performance of the PDP in the last general elections.

A governor, who does not want his name in print, told a national newspaper: “We told him to resign and go with members of the NWC that he’s leading. That is the general opinion of the governors and we told him. We said that having led the party to this level which is historical because we have never been this defeated since the party was formed, the honourable thing was for him to leave. That is what is expected of him; that is what is done in all advanced democracies.”

The governors meeting resolved to overhaul the NWC with a view to ‎flushing out all bad eggs within the party. The governors allegedly decided to appoint a caretaker committee to run the affairs of the party until next year when a national convention of the party would be convened to elect new national officers.

According to sources, Mu’azu and other NWC members who attended the meeting were asked to go out before the official end of the meeting, having been given a fair hearing by the governors.

Akpabio
Akpabio

The PDP governors accused Mu’azu of playing a double role during the general elections, to the extent that he refused to attack the All Progressives Congress, APC, and Muhammadu Buhari, its presidential candidate. Hence, the governors asked the party national chairman to resign from his post, saying: “A general who loses a battle is expected to resign. Mu’azu led PDP to a disastrous election. The best option is for him to resign to enable the party to be reformed.”

Some of the governors also suspected that Mu’azu would soon defect to the APC and use the party platform to run for president.

But an NWC member, who wishes anonymity, stated that it was the belief of the NWC members that the governors wanted to hijack the party. “We are going to organise ‎a public hearing on the failure of our party in the last election. All those who contributed in one way or the other to the failure would be exposed and dealt with. This is why some people are jittery,” he said. He also alleged that the PDP governors wanted to ruin the party in preparation for their defection to the All Progressives Congress, APC.

The NWC members, it was gathered, wanted to seek the view of President Goodluck Jonathan before making their views public at a world press conference scheduled for Friday, May 1. “The NWC is set to fight back and not resigning, and it wants a public hearing on who caused the collapse of PDP – governors or NWC. They are insisting that governors who arm twisted them to get whatever they wanted caused the problem not them,” a source was quoted as saying.

Besides, some members of the NWC are accusing the PDP governors who are mostly outgoing governors of plotting to hijack the NWC for their political interest. The NWC is also accusing the governors of masterminding the PDP crisis which eventual led to its defeat and that it would be unfair for the PDP governors to turn around and start finding faults for the party’s woeful outing at the general election.

Moreover, the NWC members, who spoke to journalists said the PDP governors were just a portion of the stakeholders and an organ of the party and therefore, have no constitutional powers to ask Mu’azu or any NWC member to resign as they were duly elected. “NWC tenure ends next year. The best option is to allow a smooth transition. NWC may propose public hearing and debate on who caused the collapse of the PDP,” one of them argued.

As if that is not bad enough, a coalition of South-South PDP elders on Thursday, April 30, demanded for the dissolution of the party’s NWC led by Mu’azu. The PDP elders’ group also expressed the need for the immediate inauguration of a technical committee to reposition the PDP at the national level.

Metuh
Metuh

A statement by Tamuno Tekena, spokesman of the group, indicated that such move was necessary in order to place the PDP in a position that would ensure its victory in the 2019 general elections. The statement read in part: “We have already begun consulting the governors in the South-South region as we expect that the measures that would be put in place will ensure that our great party bounces back in the next four years. We have held consultations with other renowned elder statesmen in the region, among who are Chief Tony Anenih and Chief Edwin Clark in reaching this decision.”

Appealing to President Goodluck Jonathan to put the party in order before leaving office on May 29, 2015, the elders called on card-carrying members of the party to work towards re-strategising so as to come back stronger as a ruling party after four years.

A similar call was made by Yinka Ajia, a chieftain of the PDP, who called on Mu’azu to resign with immediate effect. Ajia, who was a special adviser to Kawu Baraje, a former national chairman of the PDP, said the resignation of Mu’azu was the first step that should be taken in the party’s reorganisation. Ajia, who issued a statement in Ilorin, Kwara State, on Thursday, April 30, claimed that the PDP national chairman failed to mobilise the party for victory in the just concluded general elections.

According to him, the poor outing of President Jonathan in all states of the North-West and in many states of the North-East reflected Mu’azu’s alleged incompetence. He said: “The poor performance of the President in Bauchi State, the home of the PDP chairman, is another reason why the party should have a new leader.”

But Olisa Metuh, national publicity secretary of the PDP, and Tony Amadi, chief press secretary to Mu’azu, said it was wrong for any governor to blame the party’s poor performance on the NWC members.

Metuh said the actions of the governors contributed largely to the party’s poor performance. He said: “We were not the ones who handled the campaigns and we were not part of the elections. Did the NWC members stand for any election? The governors are the ones who are running the party in their states as the party is just a department of the government.”

Similarly, Amadi said that everyone would have to share from the blame because not all the governors were able to deliver their states during the elections. “The party lost an election and everybody is looking for a way to avoid blame. That is bad,” Amadi said.

But President Goodluck Jonathan on Thursday, April 30, urged PDP members to ignore those who left because of the temporary setback of elections, saying they would return with empty stomachs. The president who was addressing party stalwarts at the submission of the report of the PDP Presidential Campaign Organisation, PPCO, at the new Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, Abuja,, said PDP remains the most organised party and not owned by anybody.

Jonathan
Jonathan

Jonathan appealed to the PDP members not to take the party’s loss too badly because that should be expected in politics. “Whatever happened now is like a slip, you don’t need to go to America to know how power goes from the Democrats to the Republicans. It is like once you serve eight years, you are ready to hand over to either the Republicans or the Democrats. So, theirs is almost an established setting. But our close door neighbour here, Ghana, the present ruling party lost some eight years back and of course, they came back and won the elections.

“So, the problem is not whether we lost the elections, that is history now, but how do we consolidate our party and move forward. If we are committed and if we work very hard, definitely, PDP will bounce back,” he admonished.

Whatever decision taken by the governors and their co-travellers, Nigerians would want the ruling party to know that its defeat at the polls was self inflicted. Nochukwu Obi, a businessman, sharing his thought on the matter asked the party to look inward before making anyone a scapegoat. “If you want to resolve the PDP issues, first of all clip the wings of PDP governors. They are number one culprits that created multiple problems for the party and the president. Now they are directing the anger of their failures to the innocent national chairman of the party,” Obi said. He also recalled that it was the same governors that plotted against Jonathan by not allowing other party members to contest presidential nomination. “They were the people that selected unpopular candidates that failed the elections. Majority of the people who won elections on the platform of the APC were rejected members of the PDP who cross-carpeted to APC,” he added.

While Sam Omale, a doctor and political analyst, agreed that the party should do a self -audition, he said the political situation is good for Nigeria. Omale said the blame game would soon expose the culprits among them.

Nevertheless, the event is just unfolding and as some persons have pointed out after these elections, the PDP is not going to remain the same. But how much of it will be left behind after the crisis is anyone’s guess.

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