Reading the News: PDP Splits,By Issa Aremu

Aremu2013In 2008, one time former Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Vincent Ogbulafor hit the headlines with the prophecy which (says) his party would rule Nigeria for the next 50 years! Proverbial water had since overflown the party’s bridge like tsunami with ‘prophet’ Ogbulafor being among the first casualties. Somebody once observed that “Well, with prophecy you got to see what happens” .
What has happened and is still happening to the ruling party since his prophecy nearly singles out Ogbulafor as a false prophet. Tragically too his prophecy was not self fulfilling either as Mr. Ogbulafor lasted less than 5 months in office; disgraced not only out of the party but has since admitted collecting some alleged bribe from a co-accused person in a corruption case file against him by the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission, ICPC. The party far from having any confidence that it would survive the next election in 2015, is almost shattered into some smithereens struggling for survival from it’s apparent self-inflicted lorry load of injustices and internal democratic distortions. With the weekend split of the party, party’s 15 year’s anniversary is as dicey no less than a 60th anniversary. The devil is in the details according to the chieftains of the “New PDP”. Nothing is new about the new chieftains of new PDP beyond their stories of woes.

Witness Abubakar Baraje,the new National Chairman, who spoke on behalf of notables that include governors Sule Lamido of Jigawa, Musa Kwankwaso of Kano, Aliyu Wamakko of Sokoto, Murtala Nyako of Adamawa, Abdulfatah Ahmed of Kwara, and Babangida Aliyu of Niger.; “Not only has the Constitution of the party been serially violated by Alhaji Tukur and fellow travellers, but all the organs of the party have been rendered virtually ineffectual by a few people who act as though they are above the law. “Unfortunately, it is obvious that that they get encouragement from the Presidency whose calculations are geared towards shutting out any real or imagined opposition ahead of the party’s presidential primaries for the 2015 elections.

“As leaders of our great party, we consider it a sacred responsibility to save the PDP from the antics of a few desperadoes, who have no democratic temperament and are therefore bent on hijacking the party for selfish ends. While the list of their violations of the tenets of our great party is long, we will highlight just a few:

*The National Executive Committee of the PDP, at its belated meeting of 20 June 2013, approved 20 July2013 for the conduct of a Special National Convention. However, that date was changed to August 31 without reverting to NEC (the only authority vested with such powers) by a few people, apparently acting on the authority of the Presidency.

*Notwithstanding the fact that INEC had noted that the PDP congresses in nine states were not properly conducted, the illegal delegates from such states are being paraded at the so-called convention being held today in a cynical attempt to circumvent the law and further bring the name of the party to disrepute

*In gross violation of the PDP constitution, which stipulates that the NEC meeting must hold at least once in a quarter, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur and a few people have been running the party like a personal fiefdom without recourse to that important decision-making organ of the party.

From now, the new leadership of the party under us will strive to build a fairer as well as a more transparent and accountable PDP that will put the interest of members and indeed all the people of Nigeria above that of one single individual.

“For all the members of our great party who may have become disillusioned by the anti-democratic tendencies of the Bamanga Tukur leadership, there is a new lease of life in the horizon. It is a new dawn for the Peoples Democratic Party.

Thanks to the democratic process, the rich also cry so loud. But what Abubakar Baraje did not say are the injustices PDP has done and is doing to others and to the nation. However all considered, the weekend split within the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and increasing factionalisation of some of the Political Parties on the eve of 2015 election is a dangerous development to Nigeria’s democracy, unity and cohesion of the country as a whole. For some the fun may very well be that that the ruling party collapses. But the bigger picture is that Nigeria and Nigerian politicians can still not build institutions and agree to disagree. Democracy is definitely about contestation. However, Democracy is also about
cooperation among the democractic actors. Nigeria’s democracy is tall in political acrimonies, (not even contestation), executive thuggery, bickering, elbowing, exclusion but miserably shot in inclusion, cooperation, unity, friendship and solidarity needed for development of a country under delivering for its people like Nigeria in basic goods and services. It is certainly not too late for the politicians to quickly return to the path of democractic process, contestation and cooperation and prevent Nigeria from the conclusively proving the acid test of implosion in 2015. Political Parties and their members must simply respect their internal democracy. Elbowing opponents out rather than accommodating them cannot build democracy. We cannot criminalise dissidents. That was the discredited ways of the military, not the tested way of democrats world wide.The burden is on the President and Governors as well as party chieftains to reaffirm commitment to democracy. The missing link is the Nigerian people and the country. There is so much quarrel and struggle for positions and positioning. It played out during 36 member Governors Forum. So far, the quarrels are certainly not about the universities that remain closed, not about persistent electricity failures that are killing industries, wholesale dumping of goods from China that has killled local
industrialisation not about road accidents on bad roads. We must return to dvelopment politics. So far the difference is not as clear between the “old” and the “new”.

Issa Aremu mni.

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