PDP In Make or Mar Convention | Independent Newspapers Limited
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PDP In Make or Mar Convention

Posted: Mar 25, 2016 at 3:00 am   /   by   /   comments (0)


The National Convention of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) slated for May 21, 2016 may determine the future of the party, especially as it plans to reinvent itself and get back the power it lost to All Progressives Congress (APC) in last 2015 general elections. Already there are indications that the congress may be derailed by the activities of some aggrieved members of the party. Only recently , a group within the party known as Restart PDP asked the court to stop the plan convention demanding that Ali Modu Sheriff the newly appointed Chairman vacate office by the end of March.

The group claimed the decision to hold the convention violated the constitution of the party. The spokesman of the group, Jackson Ude, said the suit became necessary to ensure that the PDP allowed its constitution to prevail instead of “back-door agreement by few selfish individuals in the party. Section 8(11) of PDP Constitution according to Ude says: “The party membership register shall be computerised to ensure control and to avoid fraud, and all ward registers shall be closed one month to congresses,” which has not been complied. A leader of the party in Lagos State who did not want his name mentioned in press told Independent that those who are causing problem in the party are mole planted in the party by APC whose mission is to derail the move by the leadership of the party to reposition it against 2019 general elections. Recalled that a group of ministers from 1999 till 2015 and some members of the party Board of Trustees (BoT) were against the appointment of Sheriff as chairman of the party.They had threatened to form another party if the decision to appoint Sheriff was not reversed. But there is also clandestine move by some people to extend the tenure of Sheriff beyond May, thereby shifting the congress forward.

Another issue that may jeorpadise the coming convention of the party is zoning arrangement. At the moment, the National Executive Committee (NEC) is yet to announce the zone that would produce the national chairman and other members of the National Working Committee (NWC). Already, there is division among chieftains and leaders of the party on which zone should produce the chairman of the party during the convention. Though the Ike Ekweremadu post election committee recommended that the party should concede the position of presidential candidate to the north in 2019, some leaders from the north believe that they should be given the slot because the chairmanship position does not affect that arrangement. They explained further that by 2019, whoever becomes the chairman would be at the twilight of his tenure. Others, especially those from the south-south, want the zone with the largest number of state governors to be given the opportunity to produce the number one position in the party. South-south presently has five state governors, the largest in the party. Apart from South-south, leaders from South-west are also divided. While some are advocating for the position to be shifted to the zone, others believe it should go to the north. Those in support of South-west argued that since the return of democracy in 1999, the zone is yet to have any of its sons as chairman of the party. They boasted that with two state governors from the zone, it has made enough contribution to have the chairmanship position.

With all these intrigues and horse trading going on in the party, analysts observed that if not properly handled, the quest by the party to re-invent itself through the forth coming convention may not be achieved. Also, the factionalisation of the party at various state levels may mar the chance of holding a successful congress slated to start from April 23 with ward congress. In Lagos State for instance, the party, which for the first time won eight state assembly seats and six House of Representatives positions have been engulfed by crisis, shortly after the general elections. A group alleged to have the support of Musliu Obanikoro, former Minister of State for Defence, met and announced the sacking of the State Working Committee (SWC) led by Olatunji Shelle as chairman. The group accused Shelle of mismanaging the election funds, which caused the defeat of the party both at the Presidential, National and State elections. Since that time, the relationship between Obanikoro and other leaders of the party like Bode George, Adeseye Ogunlewe and Jimi Agbaje has been very frosty. During the recent general meeting of the party held at the secretariat of the party, while other leaders of the party in the state including Bode George were present, Obanikoro and some governorship aspirant of the party were conspicuously absent, an indication that all wasl not well with the party in the state despite the claim by George that there was no crisis in the party.

Engr. Sunday Ekanem, Chairman, South-South Forum of PDP in Lagos told Independent that the best thing to do as the party prepare for the national convention is to zone the chairmanship position to south-south, because of the contribution of the zone to the party over the years. Ekanem claimed that since the presidential candidate of the party has been tentatively zone to the north, it is expected that the south-south, which remains the strongest hold of the party, be compensated with chairmanship position. He completely disagree with those who are suggesting that the north which has been holding the position since the past four years be given the position for another term. Since we know that the presidential candidate of the party would come from the zone in 2019, it is expedient that the people of South-south be given the opportunity to produce the number one position in the party this time around, “he said.