Another Round Of Crisis In PDP | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Another Round Of Crisis In PDP

Posted: May 6, 2015 at 1:00 am   /   by   /   comments (0)


By Temidayo Akinsuyi 



These are surely not the best of times for the National Working Committee (NWC) of Nigeria’s ruling political party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).  Members of the committee have been at loggerheads with state governors of the party on one hand and aides of outgoing president, Goodluck Jonathan, over the outcome of the just concluded general elections of March 28 and April 11. Apart from losing the presidency, which it has held for 16 years, the PDP lost its majority in the National Assembly and will be the leading opposition in the next dispensation having won 46 senatorial seats out of 109 while the All Progressives Congress (APC) cornered 60. The same thing applied in the House of Representatives. From a height of 21 state governors, the party has only 13 left. It lost in its traditional states of Adamawa, Plateau, Niger, Kaduna, Benue, Bauchi, and Jigawa. Just when sympathizers expected the party to come to terms with the present reality, it appears its gladiators are hell bent on continuing their war of attrition which, many observers believed, was partly responsible for their electoral loss in the last elections.


Fresh confrontation

As the saying goes, ‘A leader receives the credit when the team does well and receives the stick when the team fails’. So it was in the case of Muazu, who had earned himself the nickname, ‘The Game Changer’ by party faithful when he used his experience as a former governor to reposition the party which had been polarised owing to the crisis arising from the New PDP faction and the dusts generated by the emergence of his predecessor, Bamanga Tukur.

Having lost to the APC, some PDP chieftains believe Muazu and the members of the NWC should be held liable for the party’s loss. Notable amongst these are PDP chieftains including a former National Vice-Chairman of the PDP, Edet Nkpubre, former Senior Special Adviser to President Goodluck Jonathan on Political Affairs, Ahmed Gulak, state chairmen and other stakeholders in the party who felt aggrieved at the party’s loss.

According to Nkpubre, a former National Vice- Chairman of the PDP from Akwa Ibom state, Mu’azu should resign as the party chairman.  “If you led a nation to a war, and you failed, you should resign. Mu’azu should resign. He allowed the PDP Governors’ Forum to take over the party. The chairman of that forum was virtually directing the party and imposing his will and the will of the so-called governors on the President through the party. The PDP should be reorganised and you cannot reorganise that party with Mua’zu still there. I predicted that there would be protest votes and that is what is happening today. Jonathan lost because many people were aggrieved. Governors were given unlimited powers and they trample on everybody. They imposed candidates from state house to the House of Representatives and the Senate as well as their successors.”

To Gulak, Muazu needs not be told before turning in his resignation letter. “There is no party chairman of the PDP since 1998 that has led the party to such a disastrous outing. As a result, the national chairman should consider himself one of those that have to give way for the new party to come up. In fact, he doesn’t need to be told to turn in his resignation.”

Gulak’s view was also echoed by a former governorship aspirant of the party in Lagos State, Adegbola Dominic, who said the honourable thing for Muazu to do in the current circumstance is to resign.

“Of course I am in support of those calling for his resignation. Even if they didn’t find any fault in him, the fact that the party performed so woefully under him is enough for him to throw in the towel” he said.

A former governorship aspirant of the party in Kwara State during the just concluded governorship elections, John Dara also said Mu’azu should resign owing to the poor performance of the PDP at the just concluded polls. He said Mu’azu should resign as he presided over the party’s conduct in an election in which a sitting President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan was defeated, adding that Mu’azu should not be the only PDP leader to resign or leave his office, but the Board of Trustees and the National Executive Committee of the party should be dissolved while the party should be reorganised.

“I believe that reasonable thing for Mu’azu to do is to resign. When you preside over a project and it turns into this kind of calamity, it will be honourable to resign. If he does not want history to judge him as someone who killed or contributed to the destruction of the PDP, I think he should just go and show that he accepts responsibility for what has happened.”


Power bloc bares its fangs

The kitchen became hotter for Muazu when PDP Governors’ Forum also joined the campaign to flush him out of the party over allegations of non- performance. It was reported that the governors, who are key decision makers of the party, at a meeting held at the Akwa Ibom State Governor’s Lodge in Asokoro Abuja walked Muazu out of the meeting for coming in uninvited.  According to one of the PDP governors who spoke after the incident said it was the belief of all PDP governors that Mu’azu contributed to the party losing the presidential, National Assembly and governorship elections. The PDP governors at the meeting also accused Mu’azu of playing a double role during the general election, to the extent that he refused to attack the APC and its presidential candidate, Muhammadu Buhari.

“We asked him to excuse us from the meeting because he was not invited; he is the national chairman and we are governors and he is not a governor,” he said.

Another governor from the Northern part of the country said that Mu’azu was told that the best thing for him to do was   to quit honourably since   he led the party to a disastrous outing.  He added that there was no way the chairman and members of the NWC would continue “to force themselves on the displeased party members

He said: “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.”

Another governor from the South, who was also at the meeting, said they had a feeling that Mu’azu was planning to run for the office of the President in 2019 on the platform of the APC. He said this was the reason why they believed that he did not care about the party and therefore was ready to destroy it before leaving. The governor added that the body language of the chairman during the meeting didn’t indicate that he would leave.

He said, “His body language did not show a man who’s ready to leave. But either he likes it or not, his predecessor, Bamanga Tukur, tried to stay on, when the time came, he left. Everything that has a beginning will definitely have an end. You cannot be a party chairman when the members are saying you should leave. Our (governors) opinion is that he should leave. But if he refuses to resign, some of us won’t attend any meeting called by him. They call him ‘game changer’ but   succeeded in changing the fortune of our party for the worse. We won’t agree with that.”


NWC fires back, wants public hearing

The Muazu-led NWC have however vowed not to resign declaring that nobody should be calling for their heads over the party’s woeful performance. They are also calling for a public hearing into who caused the collapse of PDP between the governors and NWC. The leadership of the party is insisting that at the public hearing, members, stakeholders and leaders of the party would listen to views from everyone to ascertain who created problems that led to the poor performance of the party

Following the decision of the governors, members of the NWC went into a marathon meeting. The meeting held at the office of Muazu had in attendance the National Secretary, Wale Oladipo; National Woman leader, Kema Chikwe; National Financial Secretary,  Bolaji Anani; National Treasurer, Bala Buhari; National Legal Adviser, Barrister Victor Kwon; National Auditor, Wole Adeyanju; Deputy National Secretary, Onwe Solomon Onwe and National Youth leader, Abdullahi Maibasira in attendance.  It was also reported that as the meeting of the NWC was going on at Wadata Plaza, Governor Henry Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State, who dressed casually in Tee- shirt, walked in and went straight to the office of the National Chairman, where he delivered the message of President Jonathan on the need for the leadership to resign.

Speaking after the meeting, PDP National Publicity Secretary, Olisa Metuh, in a statement said the NWC members will not resign. He also denied the claim that Muazu was bundled out of the PDP governors’ meeting.

According to him, “NWC was never asked to resign by the forum of governors or any other organ of the party for that matter. For the avoidance of doubt therefore, the NWC states that at no time was the National Chairman of our great party, Ahmed Adamu Mu’azu, walked out of the meeting of the governors, neither was he in any way ill-treated at that meeting contrary to reports in some section of the media.

“To put the records straight, our national chairman upon invitation by the governors attended the meeting alongside our Deputy National Chairman, Uche Secondus, and National Legal Adviser, Victor Kwon, and left after a brief and fruitful discussion with the governors. He was not at any time asked to resign and nothing close to such was ever insinuated at the meeting. For purposes of clarification, the National Working Committee as a duly elected organ of the party has a constitutionally guaranteed tenure which expires in March 2016. It is therefore focused on galvanizing every organ and interests within the PDP with a view to re-engineering it for the task ahead.

“To this end, the NWC is currently working hand in hand with strategic stakeholders including PDP governors towards repositioning our great party and regaining power at the center by 2019. In this regard, the National Working Committee in its meeting on Wednesday April 29, 2015 constituted a special committee under the Chairmanship of the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu. The committee membership is drawn from all the key stakeholders of the party including members of the forum of governors.

“Furthermore, the NWC states that it holds the PDP Governors’ Forum in very high esteem, especially its Chairman, Governor Godswill Akpabio, who has worked assiduously for the progress of the party. Finally, the NWC restates that it enjoys the confidence and respect of all our organs and structures across board, particularly the PDP governors who individually and collectively appreciate that the supremacy of the party is more important than anything else at this point in time.”