Since the ruling Peoples Democratic Party lost general elections to the opposition All Progressives Congress, there has been discord in the party resulting in the resignation of Adamu Mu’azu, national chairman and Tony Anenih, chairman of the Board of Trustees last week
| By Olu Ojewale | Jun 1, 2015 @ 01:00 GMT |
THE crisis in the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, appears be deepening by the day. On Wednesday, May 20, Adamu Mu’azu, national chairman and Tony Anenih, chairman of the Board of Trustees of the party, resigned from their posts. While Mu’azu said he was resigning based on health ground, Anenih, in a one-page letter to President Goodluck Jonathan, said he was leaving in view of the current state of affairs in the party.
The sudden departure of Mu’azu and Anenih has no doubt being seen as a reflection of a bigger picture what is going on in the ruling party which relinquishes its rein on power on May 29. Mu’azu, a former governor of Bauchi State, had only a week earlier, dismissed calls for his resignation, warning that his departure would lead the death of the PDP.
But not everyone in the party shared Mu’azu’s sentiments. In fact, the PDP Governors’ Forum had earlier asked him and the National Working Committee, NWC, of the party to resign, to allow for a new regime in the party. Besides, it has also come to light that some governors were working with members of the NWC to remove the former chairman from office and that only his timely resignation saved him from the ignominy.
Apart from Mu’azu, Anenih was also said to have been under pressure to resign.
Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State one of the leading campaigners for the resignation of the former chairman, described Mu’azu’s resignation as a welcome development and prayed that the future would be kind to him. Fayose, who had criticised Mu’azu for leading the PDP to defeat during the general elections, said without taking such a step, the former chairman would have destroyed his integrity in the long run.
The governor, who was addressing a group of journalists in Abuja, said: “He ought to have done this before now, notwithstanding I still commend him. I pray that the future will still be kind to him and all of us will join hand to make the PDP the good rallying point as opposition party for Nigeria.”
Another opponent of Bode George, a former national vice-chairman of the PDP, had called for the resignation of Mu’azu. George, who is a member of the party’s BoT, described the decision of Mu’azu to resign as honourable. He said, “By conceding defeat, President Jonathan saved the nation a lot of bloodshed. The national chairman too has followed suit. This has shown that the PDP has people who don’t want to perpetuate themselves in power. We thank him for what he has done for the party.”
George, however, described Anenih’s resignation as a shock to him even as he called on party stakeholders to rally together to push the party forward.
In his own reaction, Austin Opara, a former deputy speaker of House of Representatives, said it was a good development for party and an honourable thing for the party leadership. “The wishes of the people have prevailed and now the party will be able to reposition itself ahead of future elections. I believe his resignation is good for our democracy,” Opara said.
Ishola Filani, a PDP chieftain and chairman, South-West zonal caretaker of the party, said it was not only Mu’azu should go, but the entire NWC members should follow suit. “That was patriotic of him and I hope that other members of the NWC will follow suit because he (Mu’azu) should not be the only person to make sacrifice. The failure was collective, other members should resign, including the state executives,” Filani said.
On his part, Abubakar Tsav, a retired Police commissioner, in welcoming the resignation of Mu’azu, said it was a wise decision on his part. But he argued: “Unfortunately those who championed the calls for his resignation were the ones that are supposed to leave the PDP. I am talking about people like Fani-Kayode and Ayo Fayose, whose conducts were embarrassing during the campaign.
“His resignation has turned the PDP into a regional and tribal party because the North no longer has any top member in the PDP leadership. Now that he has resigned, let’s see what becomes of the party.”
Indeed, the PDP crisis which surfaced after the party lost the presidential, National Assembly and governorship elections held in March and April, appears not to be over yet. The blame game which has engulfed the party after the loss still exists. Apparently infuriated by the loss, some leaders in the party are still calling for the resignation of the NWC with some caucuses, including the South-West Caucus and the governors, demanding the resignation of national officers.
The NWC, in its reaction, alleged that the Presidential Campaign Organisation led Femi Fani-Kayode mismanaged the election campaigns. But Fani-Kayode, spokesman of the President Jonathan Committee, placed the blame squarely on the NWC and on Tuesday, May 19, demanded the sack of majority of the members of the NWC, alleging that they had betrayed the president. “We must throw out the bad eggs in the NWC and prepare for a long-drawn war of attrition with the new incoming government. In order to survive over the next four years as a party, we must make the necessary changes at the top, otherwise we will be utterly decimated,” he said.
In response, the NWC in a letter to the party chairman in Osun State, on Wednesday, May 20, sought clarification on the status of Fani-Kayode in the party. The letter dated May 20, 2015 and signed by Wale Oladipo, national secretary of the PDP, said in part: “You are expected to investigate the membership status of Chief Femi Fani-Kayode. If he is a registered and financial member, proper disciplinary actions should be meted against him through the Ward for engaging in acts contrary to Section (b) of the Party Constitution. If not a member, you are to reprimand him as a usurper.”
But Fani-Kayode swiftly described the NWC’s action as laughable, insisting that all the NWC members must resign, especially Oladipo and Olisa Metuh, national publicity secretary. He said: “We are glad that Mu’azu is gone, we called for the resignation of the entire NWC, their action is a reflection of dictatorial tendency of the party. We will continue to question until all of them (NWC members) resign, they should answer the call of the party members, we don’t want them any longer.”
That notwithstanding, the NWC would like to be seen to be up and doing. Similarly, the committee on Wednesday, summoned Okey Nnadozie, deputy national organising secretary, to appear before it on Thursday, May 21, to explain the whereabouts of an alleged the non-remittance of the balance of N2.5 million transport allowance for state chairmen to the recent National Convention.
Nnadozie, who spoke with a national newspaper on telephone, said there was no missing money but he would appear to defend himself. “I am coming to defend myself; no fund is missing, and it is wrong to leak a letter of invitation to a NEC member to the press. Are they looking for a scapegoat? Is it proper to summon a NEC member on the pages of newspapers?” he asked.
The NWC also announced the setting up of a seven-man disciplinary committee headed by Michael Addul. The committee which would be inaugurated on Tuesday, May 26, has as members are Mike Ogiadohme, Senator Teslim Folarin, Akilu Indabawa, Hassan Kafayas, Nonye Nwangwu and Tony Okeke as secretary.
Upon receipt of Muazu’s resignation letter on Wednesday, Uche Secondus, deputy national chairman, took over as the acting national chairman of the party, pending a replacement from the North-East, where the new party chairmanship is expected to emerge.
However, whatever the situation the PDP has found itself, some Nigerians believe that it is self-inflicted. One of such persons Abiola Yusuf, a social commentator, said: “I am more amazed at the statements credited to the people that called for Mu’azu’s head that he couldn’t deliver his state. How can he deliver his state when the PDP-led government has failed the people? The people have spoken but it’s obvious that PDP hasn’t learnt its lessons,” Yusuf said.
But whether the party will be able to re-organise itself ahead of general elections in four years’ time is left to be seen.