Politics, Seat of Power

Multi-billion naira campaign fund, internal bickering tears PDP apart (3): PDP treading familiar path

PDP’s unique selling point over the years has been its ability to resolve its internal crisis with special committees.

Before the Post-Election Assessment Committee, there was the PDP National Integration Committee, inaugurated on September 12, 2014, by Mu’azu for the six geo-political zones of the country. The committee was saddled with the task of reconciling estranged members with the party.

Also, his predecessors, in their different ways, tried to find ways to resolve political quagmires that came up and almost tore the party apart. After the 1999 presidential election, which brought in former President Olusegun Obasanjo, the late Chairman of the party and former governor of Plateau State, Chief Solomon Lar, set up a reconciliation committee headed by former Vice President Alex Ekwueme.  The committee had a former Kano State governor, the late Abubakar Rimi; a former governor of Old Anambra State, Chief Jim Nwobodo; Chief Richard Akinjide; a former governor of old Kaduna State, Alhaji Lawal Kaita, among others, as members.

Lar needed to unite all in the party, following issues before the 1999 election that saw Ekwueme stepping down for Obasanjo when it was clear then that colleagues of the latter in the military were backing him for the PDP presidential ticket. Ekwueme was pressurized to settle for the Senate where he would be the Senate President, but he refused.

There was also, in 2002, a PDP reconciliation committee on the executive/legislature impasse.  Still on the moves to bring back members who were forced out of the party, the late President Umaru Yar’Adua raised a committee also with Ekwueme as Chairman. The Ekwueme committee, at the end of the exercise, discovered to its chagrin that only six of the 34 founding members were still in the party.  The committee recommended that those who left be allowed back, while there must be rule of law, internal democracy, among others.

Rather than implement the recommendations of the committee’s report, soon after he came in as the PDP National Chairman in 2008, Prince Vincent Ogbulafor set up another 18-member committee to review the report with his then deputy and former Minister of Defence, Mohammed Haliru Bello as Chairman.

Soon after Bamanga Tukur came in and with the determination to implement his 3R agenda of Reconciliation, Reformation and Re-building the party, he set up an eight-man committee with Chief Alabo Graham Douglas as Chairman to reconcile members in Kano State.

He also set up a committee headed by former Deputy National Chairman, Alhaji Shuaib Oyedokun to reconcile aggrieved members of the PDP in Benue State, just as there was that of Governor Ibrahim Shema of Katsina State to resolve the issues in the South West.

There was also a 30-member Reconciliation Panel headed by Governor Henry Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State. Former Governor Diepreye Alamieyeseigha of Bayelsa State was in the wake of crisis in the state appointed to chair the PDP Elders Forum to reconcile all.  But the problems continued in all the zones even after the committees’ efforts. Political observers are of the opinion that perhaps, if their recommendations were adhered to, there would have been party supremacy, rule of law, respect for party structure, hijack of party structure by the governors under the guise of leaders would not have existed, imposition of candidates would have been a thing of the past, there would have been serious and genuine primaries and not selection.

It is hoped that now that the party is out of government to adjust to its new status as the opposition for the next four years, it would put its house in order and possibly return to power despite its current challenges.

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