Revealed! Lamido, Aliyu, Suswam Behind New Party | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Revealed! Lamido, Aliyu, Suswam Behind New Party

Posted: Jul 27, 2015 at 12:05 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Joe Nwankwo, Abuja

The intrigues that rocked the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) during the run-up to the 2015 general elections may not have abated, even as it has lost its place as Nigeria’s ruling party since 1999 after 16 years.

Alhaji Sule Lamido

Alhaji Sule Lamido

Daily Independent investigations have revealed that the gulf, which cost the party many seats in the state and federal elections, including losing the Presidency to the All Progressives Congress (APC), has remained wide open, with three of its former governors among the seven promoters of the recently registered Democratic Peoples Congress (DPC).

The DPC, which began its battle for registration as a political party since 2013, finally got the nod of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on July 22, 2015.

Daily Independent sources revealed that the former Governors of Jigawa, Niger and Benue States, Sule Lamido, Babangida Aliyu and Gabriel Suswam, respectively were the major promoters of DPC, which has as National Chairman, one Reverend Olusegun Peters, a Yoruba man from Nigeria’s South West geo-political zone.

The electoral body’s initial decision to deny DPC registration sparked off a legal row as the party dragged INEC before a Federal High Court in Abuja, contending that having met basic statutory requirements for being recognized as a political party, it was wrong in law for the electoral commission to deny it registration.

The DPC went to court after INEC brushed aside its notification filed since November 2013 and despite another letter of December 9, 2013 protesting the commission’s attempt to deny it registration.

Counsel to the DPC, Ezekiel Ofou, filed the suit before Justice Gabriel Kolawole, challenging the refusal of INEC to register it as a political party.

Reverend Peters and four other persons namely:  Okoye Finbarr, Haruna Abubakar, Abubakar Khali and Dioji Chidinma, had filed the suit against, asking the court to determine whether it was right for INEC to deny the plaintiff’s association registration, having satisfied all requirements as stipulated by the constitution.

The party asked the court to determine whether it was right for the INEC to refuse to give effect to its letter.

The party had sought four reliefs.

They include a declaration that the refusal of the INEC to register the association as a political party is wrong, unjust, unreasonable, discriminatory, unfair oppressive and unconstitutional.

It also asked for a declaration that the association is statutorily deemed to have been registered as a political party, pursuant to Section 78 (4) of the Electoral Act 2010 (As amended).

The party also sought an order of the court directing the defendant to formally issue the plaintiffs a certificate of registration for their association as a political party, and an order in the alternative that the court should direct the defendant to give effect to the plaintiffs’ letter of December 9, 2013 and continue with registration of the association as a political party.

However, INEC finally gave its nod for the DPC to be, after it had initially rejected the application of its promoters in 2014.

An Alternative To PDP

Top political sources informed Daily Independent that the trio of Lamido, Aliyu and Suswan were working in concert with other PDP governors and aggrieved leaders to float the party as an alternative platform to pull the rug off the feet of President Goodluck Jonathan as their main strategy to wreck his desperate ambition to contest the 2015 presidential election.

While mobilising opposition against Jonathan, the plan to put together the new party was going on by the sides. The five governors that eventually dumped the PDP in the heat of the battle against Jonathan’s ambition were also said to be involved in the project for a new party.

However, the deal got burst when a top northern politician and former aide to Chief Olusegun Obasanjo during his first tenure as president of Nigeria between 1999 and 2003, Alhaji Kashim Imam, dropped the hint of the PDP leaders planning to dump the party because of their opposition to Jonathan with former Lagos State Governor Bola Ahmed Tinubu. Tinubu is believed to have immediately mobilised the APC leaders to meet with the aggrieved PDP chieftains in a bid to bringing them into its fold.

The APC leaders who met with the aggrieved PDP governors at the time, persuaded them to forget about forming another party, which could only have the effect of dividing the opposition against Jonathan further.

The bait worked on most of those who started the project for the new party, as they agreed to go with the APC, instead of building a new structure that may not be strong enough to fight the PDP and stop Jonathan from winning the 2015 election.

According to our source, it was the decision of the five governors to go with the APC, rather than fight for registration of DPC, that led to the split in the initial group of seven PDP governors that were doing battle with the former president.

Road To Registration

With the registration of the Democratic Peoples Congress (DPC), the number of registered parties in the country is now 29.

The approval came at the end of Commission’s meeting, held on Friday June 19, 2015.

In a letter addressed to the National Chairman of the party, signed by Secretary to the Commission, Mrs. Augusta C. Ogakwu, the party Constitution, Manifesto, Logo/flag and the list of the National Executive Officers, were also approved.

The letter also stated that the certificate of registration would be issued in due course.

The PDP governors that defected to the APC then were Chibuike Amaechi (Rivers), Alhaji Ahmed Abdulfatah (Kwara), Dr. Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso (Kano), Alhaji Murtala Nyako (Adamawa), and Alhaji Aliyu Wamakko (Sokoto).

Aliyu and Lamido, however declined to move with their colleagues to the opposition party after they had shown initial signs of defection.

Over a year later, inside sources have hinted that eight other PDP governors who were disenchanted with the PDP had worked secretly to mobilise votes for the APC Presidential candidate, General Muhammadu Buhari, who eventually defeated President Jonathan in the March 28, 2015 election.

According to the source, details of the secret deal revealed that some of the eight governors had agreed to mobilise total support for Buhari, which would get him majority of total votes cast in their states, while others worked to give him minimum backing that would enable the APC candidate secure the required 25 per cent of total votes cast in their states.

It could not be immediately ascertained if the three governors would still go ahead to promote the new party as an alternative to the PDP, which is still struggling to find its feet after suffering a massive electoral defeat in the 2015 elections.

The political environment has remained uncertain since May 29 that the change of baton occurred from PDP to the APC. While the PDP has remained in tatters following its defeat at the last elections, the ruling APC has been bogged down by crisis as a result of struggles among its members for control of the leadership of the federal parliament and a seeming lack of direction from the government headed by President Buhari.