AFRICA’S biggest political party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is at the verge of disintegration, following its loss of the 2015 presidential election to the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC), after 16 years in government.
Besides the termination of President Goodluck Jonathan’s second term dream-the first of its kind in Nigeria since 1979-the ruling PDP also suffered defeat at both the Senate and the House of Representatives which had always been under its absolute control.
The PDP equally lost many of its states in the North, including Niger, Kaduna, Benue, Bauchi and Jigawa.
APC now controls 23 out of the 36 states of the federation.
And ahead of the inauguration of the 8th National Assembly, on June 4, the PDP would become an opposition party in the Senate with 49 senators, while the APC has 60 members. That would also be the reality at the House of Representatives, where the PDP has been thrown into the opposition.
Now facing the greatest challenge since its formation in 1998, internal bickering, deep-rooted animosity and allegation of squandering of the roundly defeated party’s over N30 billion campaign funds, have set the stage for a likely break up, as some disgruntled party leaders are up in arms against the National Working Committee (NWC), with the former calling for the resignation of the Alhaji Adamu Mu’azu-led NWC, following the party’s disgraceful outing at the just concluded polls.
Mu’azu, in January 2014, replaced the former National Chairman, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, who came on board March 24, 2012.
Since its inception, the PDP has had 11 national chairmen in full and acting capacity, namely, the late Chief Solomon Lar, Barnabas Gemade, Audu Ogbeh, Senator Ahmadu Ali, Prince Vincent Ogbulafor, Dr. Okwesilieze Nwodo, Dr. Bello Haliru Mohammed, Abubakar Kawu Baraje, Bamanga Tukur and Adamu Mu’azu. Many of them were removed from office under controversial circumstances.
HOW PDP’S POST ELECTION CRISIS STARTED
In the past few days, governors, led by the chairman of the PDP Governors’ Forum and outgoing governor of Akwa Ibom State, Chief Godswill Akpabio, have been pushing for the sack of the NWC, citing lack of confidence in Mu’azu and blaming him and the NWC for leading the party into what they described as a disastrous electoral performance in the 2015 elections.
Also calling for the resignation of the Muazu-led NWC is a group under the aegis of the PDP National Renaissance Movement, the 9,000 Support Group and some organizations that supported the aspiration of Jonathan for second term in office. They are calling for fresh minds, fresh ideas, fresh vision and fresh strategies in the PDP leadership.
Rising from a meeting in Abuja, the group in a communiqué signed by Dr. Ayakeme Whisky and Dr. Ifedi Okwenna, Chairman, Steering Committee and Secretary, respectively, noted that the party needs rebuilding to bounce back in 2019 and the beginning of the rebuilding process was for the present NWC to throw in the towel.
Ekiti State Governor, Ayo Fayose also joined the call for the sack of Mu’azu and his executive. The controversial PDP leader even claimed he had evidence to prove the embattled party Chairman worked for the APC. A statement Mu’azu has since dismissed as another fiction from Fayose. Only recently, the governor advised Mu’azu to toe the line of UK opposition party leader who bowed out, following their defeat by the ruling party.
MU’AZU FIRES BACK AT CRITICS
As the cold war continued and calls for his sack intensified, Mu’azu took a swipe at his critics in the party, warning that the attitude of use-and-dump must stop in PDP. The National Chairman, who warned PDP governors, leaders, stakeholders, elders and members that the party cannot continue with the culture of changing National Chairmen and members of the NWC, said that the infighting and mudslinging in the party, after losing the 2015 presidential election, was uncalled for.
Reminding those calling for his resignation that the present leadership of the PDP has until next year to run its course, the former governor of Bauchi State stressed that the party would, in 2016, decide how to deal with the zoning of the next leadership and strategies for winning the 2019 elections.
“It is also time to end the spate of in-fighting and blame games currently dominating the political discourse among our membership and the leadership. It will do no one any good. The present leadership has until next year to run their course. The party will then decide how to deal with the zoning of the next leadership and strategies for winning the 2019 elections.
“The developing culture of using and dumping has reached fratricidal proportions in the PDP and it must end. You cannot be changing Chairmen and NWC every year and still have cohesion which is a vital ingredient of winning. A good example occurred when we changed five Senate Presidents in eight years and produced calamity in the process, but for eight years we have had one senate president and produced harmony between the presidency and parliament.
“Great lessons to be learned from the outcome of the 2015 Elections are many and I have already mentioned this in earlier interactions with the media. Lessons of candidate imposition, deepening of internal democracy in our party and other obvious lessons we need to learn for future guidance. It is so important for us to learn from what has happened. We must note that when the going gets tough, only the tough like the PDP can get going.
“Therefore, what I consider the most stupid thing going on within our party at the moment is the gale of defections.
“Personally it does not worry me but I shudder at the wedge placed by the new ruling party banning the incoming troupes. It shows signs of how they will run the country from May 29, 2015. It shows how they will not regard non-APC Nigerians as part of their responsibility which will be a shame,”
the PDP Chairman said in a strongly worded statement “Time to Reinvent the PDP and signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Chief Tony Amadi.