Presidential election: How PDP plotted its downfall | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Presidential election: How PDP plotted its downfall

Posted: Apr 14, 2015 at 12:45 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Edwin Uhara, a public affairs analyst based in Abuja takes an introspective look at some of the blunders responsible for the fall of the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) in the March 28 Presidential and National Assembly Elections… 

The Presidential and National Assembly Elections of March 28 have come and gone, but its outcome will continue to be subject of discussion in months and years to come. Apart from being a keenly contested race, it is also an election that terminated the dream of the outgoing ruling party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) of ruling the country for 60 years. So, its defeat is truly a giant feat achieved by the opposition.

Before the polls, the leadership of the party embarked on what social scientists called “Self-destruct mechanism” by deliberately chasing its best brains away, all in the name of sacrificing meritocracy on the altar of mediocrity.

President Good Luck Jonathan lost the election not because he did not try his best in governance, but he lost because his political party advertently plotted for his downfall through series of actions and inactions taken by the leadership of his party. Instead of complementing his efforts in governance, they constituted a cog in the wheel of his progress. For example, it is only the Ekiti State Governor, Mr. Ayodele Fayose that was able to deliver his state to the PDP in the entire South West Geo-Political Zone, but this is a man the leadership of the party never wanted to be governor in the first place. While the Presidency wanted the candidate of the Labour Party, Mr. Bamidale Opeyemi, the leadership of the party through consensus arrangement chose another candidate who is currently a serving minister in the outgoing government, it took the wisdom and skills of the National Coordinator of the defunct PDP Project Reloaded, Chief Richard Lamai to

convince the Presidency on why the party  must not abandon its umbrella in Ekiti, the way it did in Anambra by throwing its full weight behind the candidate of another party. Instead, he suggested that, the leadership of the party should be made to reverse its decision on consensus arrangement, by allowing internal democracy to determine its flag bearer in the state. To this end, the popular Edo-born Politician deployed the structure of PDP Project Reloaded in Ekiti to deliver Fayose at the party’s primary. Rather than celebrate a man who helped in reversing the misfortune that would have befell the party if it had not fielded Fayose, the opposite became his case.

For a start, they ensured that no member of PDP Project Reloaded, be it at the National Advisory Council level or the National, Regional and State Executive level was included in the PDP Presidential Campaign Organization. Also, they used skullduggeries and political phantasmagoria to ensure that both he and his allies across the country never got the tickets of party in the last rounds of primaries. In the midst of all these persecutions, he remained a loyal party member.

In January when General Muhammadu Buhari sent Hon. Dino Melaye, now Senator-Elect to appeal to him to join the APC in protest of the wrong done to him, he turned down the offer. Instead, he mobilized all the aggrieved aspirants who ran for elective posts in the last party primaries using PDP Aspirants Forum (PAF) as a platform to bring them together.

After several meetings of PAF members in Abuja, it agreed to meet with President Jonathan to modify his election strategies. This came on the heels when the President was meeting various interest group and organizations. But, for the simple reason that Chief Lamai was the leader and main financier of the group, the forces in PDP against him frustrated the meeting. On the 10th of March; about two weeks to Presidential election, President Jonathan was to meet with PAF members by 7: pm, and all of it members came from the 36 states of the federation and gathered at its headquarters in Abuja, waiting for the right time to move to the villa, but, some minutes to the said time, a report came from the villa that President Jonathan had shifted the meeting indefinitely. What actually happened was that, the forces in PDP against the group in connivance with their cohorts at the villa facilitated the meeting of another group with President Jonathan in the name of

PDP Aspirants Forum. While the original PAF members gathered at its headquarters in Maitama yelling and threatening hell, some electronic media carried it in their news line that President Jonathan had met with the group. When the group got to know this, their anger became uncontrollable with some threatening to stage a protest march to the villa, but knowing the implication of such move, they decided to invite high-ranking leaders of party as well as members of the Presidential campaign organization, but knowing what they have done, they refused to come. Subsequently, they all switched off their phones.

It was only the Deputy-Director General of the Campaign, Professor Tunde Adeniran who was innocent of the whole matter that showed up. Before he could arrive, it was already late. While some of them took the last available flight to Abuja were stranded, others had no enough cash to take care of their accommodation challenge. All attempts made by Professor Adeniran to connect to the villa to help out in the accommodation challenge failed. The financial burden of the accommodation fell on the convener, Chief Lamai. While he footed the hotel bills of many, others passed the night in his office.

The following day, nobody, at the villa or in the PDP cared to ask how PAF members fared, let alone saying thank you. It was after the incidence that the popular politician and his supporters, both in PDP Project Reloaded and PDP Aspirants Forum decided to dump the party for All Progressives Congress (APC). That is why in the entire South-South Geo-Political zone, it is only his Edo North Senatorial District where the PDP denied him the senatorial ticket that APC won. And as a card carrying member of the APC, the politician is planning big for his new party.