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Another leadership crisis in the Nigerian main opposition, the ‘Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)’ will not be a panacea for waxing stronger (1), by Dr. Aminu Salihu Yakudima

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Another leadership crisis in the Nigerian main opposition, the ‘Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)’ will not be a panacea for waxing stronger (1), by Dr. Aminu Salihu Yakudima

Inevitably, heads will roll and some officials including few immediate past National Leaders of the Nigerian main opposition, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), may not be allowed another opportunity to play key roles in the leadership spectrum. Some chieftains of the current leadership may suffer unnecessary consequences, if we don’t avert deepening the crisis brewing in PDP, and pave the way for unity of purpose, reinvigorating and a herald of a new era of peaceful growth and development of the Party and democracy in general in Nigeria.

Taking a look at the political situations in the party and the country in general, including the February, 2023 Presidential election and the ongoing crisis, analysts are right in their permutation that leaders of PDP are yet to close ranks to enable them come together and put an end to incessant internal wrangling, which is dragging the party backward.

They are also correct in their conclusions that without unity of purpose, social justice and proper cohesion, the party shall not be at ease to remain a big family and provide a credible platform for winning presidential and other elections. Certainly, PDP’s divided house was responsible for the election’s failure that its members felt a stirring of anger consistently.

However, my efficacious judgement, which is in tandem with popular recommendations of the majority of stakeholders on the crisis in PDP, which will not be a panacea for waxing stronger, is to embrace total peace in the Party. And the way forward is by reforming and reinvigorating it down the line to achieve unity, discipline, commitment and purposeful leadership. By carrying out these strategies, many lessons are to be learned, which can be interpreted from previous crises of the party since inception to date.

In order to elaborate on the above for clarity of exposition is to swing to action by calling for postmortem examination and reconciliation as the main agenda of the forthcoming 98th NEC meeting of the party slated for 18th of April, 2024. An Adhoc committee for reconciliation and unity; fact finding and strategies committee should be set up by the Abm. Umar Illya Damagun led NWC to go round the 36 States of Nigeria and Federal Capital Territory, (FCT) with a view to establishing a healing process, identify cases of sabotage and disloyalty as reported earlier and proffer solutions to them.

It is time for stakeholders to come to terms with the aspirations of the founding fathers and accept the fact that the party is above every leader and personal interest of everyone. They should be mindful of the objectives behind formation of the party and adhere strictly to the provisions of the manifesto and constitution of the party and collective interest of all members.

Founding fathers of PDP had a wonderful vision to bring about change, after the formal inauguration of the party at Abuja, Nigeria’s capital on the 30th of November, 1998. There was growing zeal and enthusiasm, among both leaders and regular members, towards formation of a new civilian government in the Country. The reason for this anxiety was largely associated with the deep desire to end the long military administration in Nigeria. Twelve years of military regime after the collapse of the second Republic, appears too long of an intervention in a country.

Against this backdrop, the PDP officials mobilised delegates to Jos, the capital of Plateau state from all States of Nigeria and the FCT for an elective Presidential convention in which Chief Olusegun Obasanjo won the nomination, after competing with the former vice President, late Dr. Alex Ekweme and six others.

The first crisis in PDP started from that convention when participation of a former Presidential Aspirant from the North in the presidential race had been declared null and void, in flagrant disregard to the Party’s zoning arrangement. His supporters insisted on his name being on the ballot, which was against the spirit of zoning. Earlier, the Party had instituted zoning to build cohesion ahead of 1999 general elections.

The zoning formula was made to start from the Southern Presidency for unity and political exigencies at that time, which was included in the PDP’s constitution forthwith. This provision still subsists with some amendments. We may dwell on objectives of zoning arrangement in the party and the danger of an attempt to be bastardised in the second part of the article.

Second leadership crisis in PDP also emanated from an elective National Convention at Eagle square, Abuja in 1999. Senator Barnabas Gemade, who is no longer in the party was elected as the National Chairman against the late Chief Sunday Awoniyi, a retired super Permanent Secretary and a consummate Politician. Both men hailed from the North Central geopolitical zone of Nigeria.

The election of Gemade was vehemently opposed by the proponents of National Party of Nigeria, (NPN) in the second Republic that formed a strong power bloc within the PDP. It took the collective wisdom of former President Olusegun Obasanjo; leaders of the main convention Committee and other chieftains of the party to calm down the situation and ensure sincere reconciliation of the opposing group.

Third crisis was as a result of tenure elongation of Senator Barnabas Gemade led NWC from two to four years as currently obtainable. Hitherto, two years tenure has been fixed for statutory organs particularly NWC and NEC. There had been a general consensus to make it a tenure of four years with a dissenting voice opposing the defunct NWC as the first beneficiary.

Fourth crisis had been associated with erosion of democratic tenets and abuse of internal democracy. There was a series of gangsterism and a culture of impunity rearing their ugly heads in the system. For these reasons, advocacy for party reforms that gave birth to the new PDP or N-PDP was initiated by a small group within the party, in an effort to strengthen the process. In spite of stiffness for the opposition, the group had succeeded in bringing some sanity, but with serious dislocation inflicted on the Party.

I don’t like to share the abysmal records of indictment of some former members of NEC, NWC and other chieftains, who had wanted to destroy the party, but failed woefully in their mission. Some of them were alleged to have acted under the sponsorship of some politicians outside the PDP for mischief and selfish reasons.

Other crises in the PDP as well as Individual interest against the collective interest of members, general peaceful growth and prosperity of the party will be discussed in detail in the second part of the article. Meanwhile, calmness within the leadership and the enthusiasm for keeping the party together in a solid cohesive manner is what becomes imperative in a way to move the party forward.

God save Nigeria.

Dr Aminu Yakudima is a columnist and writes from Abuja.

Disclaimer

The opinions and views expressed in this article belong solely to the original author and other contributors. They do not necessarily reflect the official policy or opinions of Neptune Prime.

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