Amidst intrigues, suspense, backstabbing and eventual denouement, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in last Saturday’s National Convention proved its stance as a colossus, with master strokes that doused what otherwise appeared a time bomb waiting to explode.
Although reports from the wards, LGA and state congresses of the party indicated that there was relative peace in the choice of party leaders at those levels, a deadly contest and angling for supremacy were the hallmark of the choice of the national leadership of the party.
Acting National Chairman of the PDP, Abubakar Baraje acknowledged the challenges of maintaining internal cohesion ahead of the contentious National Convention, while inaugurating the National Convention Planning Committee.
The acting chairman stated; “PDP has found its foots rigidly in the annalls of this country, all eyes are on the PDP to see if it could hold a free and fair congress, I have no doubt that members of the committee have the ability and credentials to deliver a free and fair congress”.
It is no doubt that the PDP had held sway conspicuously in Nigerians Political scene for the past one decade. Expectedly, Nigerian waited agitatedly as the party arranged a change of guard in its leadership at all levels.
It was glaringly evident that the ruling party was equally confronted with the challenges of convincing Nigerians that they were not only in firm grip of the Political Structures of the country, but that their internal mechanism was intact.
Interestingly, the 2012, National Convention became a period of self assessment of its internal cohesion and expression of its inherent political will, to re-affirm its dominance in Nigeria’s politics.
The option for Concensus became a political variable to stabilise its structures and save the party from the unwinking scrutiny of Nigerians. Apart from the wards, local government and state congresses, which were predicated on existing internal agreements among the party stakeholders, the Concensus option had its roots essentially at the choice of National leadership of the party. The option was also believed to have emanated from the presidency to forestall division and dissenting views in the choice of National leadership of the party. However, about 11 candidates threw their hats into the ring for the Coveted National Chairmanship Position of the party.
The contenders included: Prof Rufai Alkali, Idris Waziri, Alhaji Shettima Mustapha, Musa Babayo, Adamu Bello, Gambo Lawan, Adamu Muazu, Sen Abba Aji, Bunu Sherif, Ibrahim Birma, and Bamanga Tukur, all from the North East Geo-Political zone of the party where the chairmanship was zoned.
Among all the contenders, Bamanga Tukur, who emerged as the National Chairman of the party at the end of the National Convention, was the most favoured in the Concensus deal.
In the build-up to the National Convention of the party, the decision on concensus was however, seen by many Party Stalwarts as a skewed decision, not in the overral interest of the party, but to serve some vested partisan interests ahead of 2015.
This put paid to the humiliating defeat suffered by the new National chairman, Bamanga Tukur, in his North East zone were the party chairmanship was zoned. But the presidency was said to have insisted on clearing the bumps on the political highway to the emergence of the preffered candidates for the party’s National executive.
Sources attributed the humiliating defeat of Tukur in his political zone to the antics of the North East Governors, who felt his emergence as a National Chairman of the Party was not in the best interest of the zone. The North East Governors, apparently said in Tukur a compromising stance against the interest of the zone ahead of the 2015 general election.
But the presidency was said to have re-acted swiftly to their decision as “sheer ingratitude” and lack of compliance of their own side of the bargain, inspite of conceding the National Chairmanship of the party to the zone.
Apparently jilted by the revolt of the North East Governors, in the choice of Tukur, the presidency was said to have adopted a deft move to nib in the bud further embarrassment in the eventual outcome of the National Convention.
Finally, the North East Governors and other dissenting voices in the choice of leadership of the party bowed to submission as the National executive emerged on concensus.
It was obvious that the North East Governors succumbed to the deft move of the party through intense lobbying and persuation to avoid further balcanisation and the prospect of incurring the wrath of the presidency.
Prior to the voting by delegates from across the 36 states of the federation, the Governors of the North East states, took turn to register their solidarity and support for the preffered presidential choices for the various National executive positions.
The contenders for the National chairmanship, and secretary positions also bowed out in support of Bamanga Tukur, and Olagunsoye Oyinola respectively.
The past vice chairman South East of the party, Chief Olisa Metu emerged the sole candidate for the National Publicity Secretary of the Party, while former Aviation Minister, Kema Chikwe emerged as the National women leader of the party.
Against the backdrop of being arm twisted to step down for favoured candidates, most of the top contenders for the prime administrative. Positions said they gave up their ambition in the interest of the party.
Ebenezer Babatope, a contender for the Post of Secretary, in a reluctant step down declaration said, “I am not withdrawing for any body, but for the party, I have been prevailed upon by friends to step, but I was determined to go ahead even if I was going to get one vote”.
The intense power play and political permutations that characterized the PDP National Convention, was also evidently masterminded by the Governors forum, which took it upon itself to ensure that the decision of the party went through smoothly.
PDP Governors were visibly spotted around the convention arena trying to convince contestants for the various positions to drop their stance. Sources, revealed that the moves of the Governors were the fallout of a midnight meeting held with the presidency and leadership of the party to perfect the strategies of concensus.
The eventual emergence of Bamanga Tukur as the National Chairman of PDP, apart from its purported close link with, the presidency, is also seen by many party supporters as an opportunity to redefine the leadership posture of the party.
Tukur is seen by many PDP members as a man with the requisite knowledge and experience to deliver the party to its expected political Eldorado.
“For the PDP to forge ahead in its control of political powers in Nigeria, and bring internal democracy in the party, it needs people like Tukur”, said a top party official.
Tukur, a former governor, of defunct Gongola state, had in his acceptance speech, after being sworn-in by Joe Gadzama (SAN), vowed to put in place dedicated and transparent leadership that will rekindle the faith of all party members and Nigerians in the party.
He said; “I will build a bridge across faith, generations, and tendencies, and lay the foundation for a new Nigeria. I will be guided by the constitution and manifestoes of the party, I will also adhere to the principle of separation of powers, check and balances and the rule of law”.
The New National Chairman of the party, also called on those who contested for various positions to throw their weight behind him to enable the party grow from strength to strength.
However, inspite of the successful emergence of party leaders from the wards to the National executive, a major lesson from the just-concluded PDP Convention is the ability of its big umbrella to accommodate all interests, no matter whose ox is gored.
The convention reconciled hitherto political foes within the party and also created new internal animosities among the political players. Political jobbers also took advantage of the political scenario, to coast home on personal gratifications and vested interests.
But in the final analysis , President Goodluck Jonathan redefined the new vision and road map of the party when, at the end of the convention, he declared the convention will churn out a stronger and more disciplined PDP, were party interest will supercede personal interest.
CVR: Traditional Ruler Tasks INEC On Mass Mobilisation
A traditional ruler in Elele community, in Ikwerre Local Government Area of Rivers State, Chief Mike Elechi, has called on the indigenes of the community and the state to participate in the Continuous Voter’s Registration (CVR) to enable them choose who will govern them in the next general elections.
Sir Elechi also used the opportunity to call on the Independent National Electoral Commission to organise stakeholders meeting in his community, saying that such interactive session would shed more light on the importance of the electoral process.
Elechi stated this in an interview with journalists in his home town over the weekend, saying that the call became imperative following the hardship faced by the citizens as result of bad leadership in the country
The former Permanent Secretary said although he was yet to see the commencement of the exercise in the area, he, stated the need to organise stakeholders meeting by the electoral empire which would achieve the desired objectives.
According to him, INEC has by this exercise provided an opportunity for full participation of those above 18 years who were not registered during the last exercise
The Chief Executive Officer of Vintage Farms, said INEC had provided yet another platform for eligible voters to register and vote out bad government led by the federal government.
“As I urge INEC to carry out adequate sensitization ,it behoves those above 18 years to register and vote and as well be voted for.
“Get your voters card to enable you throw bad governance into the dustbin.
“It will also help us get out where we are now.”
Elechi pointed out that his community has a large number of voters in Ikwerre Local Government area, stressing that concerted efforts should be made to ensure that the exercise was in the area .
By: Akujobi Amadi
Diri Cautions Appointees Over Early Politicking
Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, has cautioned his appointees against early politicking ahead of the 2023 elections, saying he would not hesitate to sack any of them found wanting.
Speaking before commencement of the weekly state Executive Council meeting in Government House Governor Diri frowned on the activities of some of his appointees, which he said were hitting up the polity ahead of the 2023 elections, stressing that it was too early for open politicking.
A statement by the Governor’s Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Daniel Alabrah, quoted him as saying despite people having the right to aspire to any political office, the time was not ripe for politicking.
Diri reminded his appointees that the administration lost considerable time last year due to COVID-19 and needless litigations, stressing that it was in a hurry to deliver on its campaign promises and would not afford to waste time politicking.
He wondered why appointees would be involved in open politicking when the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had not even released a timetable for elections.
The state helmsman urged members of his cabinet interested in open politicking at this time, especially those from Bayelsa West Senatorial District, to resign or be ready to be sacked.
He called on all those involved in the early politicking to immediately withdraw and follow the directives of his administration, saying his government was not ready for politics at this time.
“I find it very difficult to believe that appointees in this government have already started open politicking.
“Yes, it is the constitutional right of anybody to contest but even the Bible tells us that there is time for everything. At this time, we are trying to stamp our feet to meet up our campaign promises to our people.”
“I hereby caution all those involved to immediately withdraw. If you are prepared to continue with this government, you must listen to the music of this administration. We are not prepared to start politicking from this year”, he said.
Meanwhile, Governor Diri has also sworn in two new Special Advisers.
They are, Alabo Ozubide, Special Adviser, Legal Matters, and Onuma Johnson, Special Adviser on Non-Indigenes.
While congratulating them, he said their appointments were based on merit and in line with his campaign promises, charging them to avoid friction with commissioners,just as he reiterated that their cooperation with commissioners would deliver development to the people of the state.
“We promised that when elected, we would appoint a Special Adviser from among non-ndigenes. This appointment is in fulfilment of that promise. We believe that you will be able to synergise and gather non-indigenes together.
“Often, we see role conflicts between special advisers and commissioners that duty bound to implement government policies. You as special advisers should cooperate with them,” he said.
By: Ariwera Ibibo-Howells, Yenagoa
PDP Urges Nigerians To Embrace E-Registration Of Members
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has urged Nigerians to embrace in its online membership registration scheduled to begin in August.
The PDP National Publicity Secretary, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan made the appeal during a news conference on Wednesday in Abuja.
Ologbondiyan urged Nigerians to visit www.iampdp.com for the online registration at the comfort of their homes.
He also expressed delight over requests from Nigerians and the interests they were already showing for the online registration.
Ologbondiyan urged Nigerians to come to PDP and own the process.
The PDP spokesman also commended Nigerians on the way they embraced the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) online ongoing Continuous Voter Registration (CVR).
He said “PDP is happy to hear the INEC saying no fewer than one million Nigerians have completed their online pre-registration.”
Ologbondiyan said the way Nigerians embraced the CVR showed they were dissatisfied with governance in the country and ready for 2023.
He urged Nigerians of voting age and those yet to register for Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) to continue with the CVR.
He said “We appeal to those who are educated, especially members of the PDP to encourage others to participate in the ongoing CVR.”
Ologbondiyan also urged Nigerians to register to enable them to vote, pointing out that people should know it is their rights to vote.
Asked how PDP would conduct its e-registration with the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) recent comment on Nigeria network covered, Ologbondiyan said as far as PDP was concerned, every part of Nigeria had network coverage.
“From the information we have received from all our members across the 36 states and across the 774 local governments area of the country, there is no where that we have received a report that they cannot carry out online registration.
“Even INEC has come out to say that they have no problems with online registration.
“We are happy that INEC has come out to reveal that not less than one million Nigerians have so far participated in the Continuous Voters’ Registration exercise of the commission,” he said.
On inquiry over the role of the National Assembly members on electronic transmission of election results, he said the party would meet its members in the National Assembly to review their participation.
He said “The PDP is calling a meeting between the party and caucus in the National Assembly to review the participation of members in the legislative activity of the National Assembly as it concerns the voting on transmission of results.”
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