- More cans of worms uncovered
By Ohia Israel
For almost 16 years in power, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, prided itself as the biggest party in Africa, and with such pride the party even boasted it will rule for 60 years, a dream that was brought to an end by the All Progressive Party (APC) recently.
After the APC victory, the PDP has been in total disarray, as there was the start of the decamping of the members soon after the party lost the election, not done with the defection of its members to the APC, the party recently has been engulfed in crisis which if not managed well it will disintegrate the party into further disarray and the party is seen heading to destruction.
It would be recalled that President Goodluck Jonathan penultimate week held a peace meeting with the members of the National Working Committee (NWC) and some of his aides at the Presidential Villa where he directed a cease fire among feuding members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Also, the party inaugurated a committee to review the circumstances that led to the defeat of the PDP at the general election and to chart a roadmap to reform the party ahead of 2019 elections.
Giving details of the meeting with the president, the National Secretary of the PDP, Prof. Adewale Oladipo, who inaugurated the committee on behalf of the national chairman, said the president had directed all warring members of the party to sheath their swords over the budding crisis.
According to the PDP national secretary, “Let me use this opportunity to relay President Jonathan’s message to all PDP leaders and members. He has given definite instruction that all acts of unwarranted attacks and counter-attacks on members and leadership of the party should stop immediately.” Oladipo said the terms of reference of the Review Committee which has three weeks to submit are to:
- Identify the remote and immediate causes of the relatively poor performance of the PDP in the 2015 general election.
- Trace the origin and process of the seeming decline of the party in its electoral performance.
- Take a critical look at the preparations and build-up of the PDP to the general election and determine its adequacies and lapses.
- Review and determine the adequacy of the structures for the 2015 general elections and how those structures functioned “To ascertain the degree of anti-party activities, compromises and outright sabotage that may have contributed to the misfortunes of our party at the elections.
- Look at the funding of the elections to determine whether or not the funds meant for the campaigns were adequate and whether disbursements were properly done.
- Identify different groups in the party which were to play critical roles before and during the elections, and determine the effectiveness or otherwise;
- Determine any other matter that may be considered necessary in the interest of the party.
- Propose a road map for the party to recover its past glory and definitely win the general elections in 2019.”
In his acceptance speech, the Chairman of the PDP Post Election Review Committee, Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, who lamented the outcome of the elections, said: “Let me empathize with party faithful across the country over what has been generally accepted as the poorest outing of the PDP in any general election since its birth in 1998.
“Our pains and disappointments are well founded, especially given the enormous hopes and prospects the party holds as a pan-Nigerian movement for social, economic, and political transformation. Thus, it is not a loss for the PDP only, but a loss to the great people of this country that the party lost the steering at the time it had laid a solid foundation through the transformation agenda of the present administration.”
He said Nigerians must appreciate the fact that change is the only constant thing in life, stressing, “Much as we are pained by the sad turn of events, we must come to terms with the fact that anger, recriminations, self-pity and blame trading will not take us even an inch away from the harsh outcomes of the 2015 general election.”
The governors of Akwa Ibom, Gombe, Abia States and the National Chairman of PDP, Adamu Mu’azu, were absent. But the PDP spokesman, Olisa Metuh, explained their absence, blaming it on communication gap, stating: “The governors thought that the absence of the national chairman would affect the date of inauguration of the committee.”
He said the secretary of the committee, Walid Jubril, who was absent on health ground would be replaced in the interim as secretary by the former Minister of Police Affairs, Adamu Maina Waziri.
Responding further, Adamu Muazu the party chairman, said if he had his way he would have delivered Bauchi, his home state, to President Jonathan in the general election.
Mu’azu said those who are criticising him for the poor outing of the party during the election are “being economical with the truth,” because he did his best for the PDP.
“I gave my best and all to the campaign of Mr. President and the party. We went to every state in Nigeria to campaign; those who insinuated that I did not do my best for our great party and Mr. President during election are being economical with the truth,” he wrote on his Twitter page.
According to him, “If I had my way, everyone in my state ‘Bauchi’ would have voted for President Jonathan but it’s the people who vote not me, those who blame us for not delivering maximum votes to the president in the North seem to have forgotten that it’s the people who vote. “The perception of President Jonathan and our party in the North was at an all-time low because of the lies that were told by politicians.” The PDP national chairman, according to an online news medium, TheCable, said he never regretted supporting Jonathan and would gladly do so if given another opportunity.
“I have repeatedly reminded many that I, Ahmadu Adamu Mu’azu have been in the PDP since 1999 as a matter of principle and strong ideology; I will support President Jonathan again and again if the opportunity presents itself,” he said.
“Some even ridicule and insult us that we betrayed President Jonathan. How can one betray himself? The APC has nothing to offer someone like me. I am too principled to betray my party. I have been here since 1999; the unity of Nigeria to me is greater than sectional or ethnic interests. I can never regret supporting our leader President Jonathan
“I have always preached against ethnicity and tribalism and the voting pattern in the election was a concern to me personally, In the face of abuse, insult and open ridicule by our friends and brothers, we supported our leader, President Jonathan faithfully.
“Those who are busy pointing accusing fingers are yet to come to the realisation of what has happened but we have gone beyond that, the unity of Nigeria to me is greater than sectional or ethnic interests. I can never regret supporting our leader President Jonathan,” he said.
Soon after the inauguration of the peace meeting, headed by Senator Ekweremadu, the Senate President, David Mark, came out to advised warring parties in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to sheathe their swords or risk destruction of the party.
In a press statement issued last week by his chief Press Secretary, Mr Paul Mumeh, after the deputy president of the Senate, Senator Ike Ekweremadu who heads the PDP post–election assessment committee visited him, Mark expressed worry over the continued acrimony between factions in the party, while frowning that “the PDP is already hemorrhaging.”
He maintained: “Unless we halt the bleeding and find the necessary therapy, we may be heading for the final burial of the party.The party is already in a comatose status and we should do all we can to resuscitate the party rather than this unnecessary rancour and bulk passing,” he stated, adding, that emerging factions are absolutely unnecessary. The combatants must sheathe their swords and embrace dialogue. My appeal is that we should not do anything further that would damage the already fragmented house.
“Everybody should come together and rebuild the party. We have gotten enough bruises. We need not inflict further pains on ourselves, with continuous bickering. Enough of this blame-game. We should return to the drawing board and need not wash our dirty linen in the public, anymore.I believe a useful lesson has been learnt from the PDP electoral misfortune. As for me, it is time to put on our thinking caps and chart a new course.I trust Senator Ekweremadu that he and his team will do a good job and unearth the remote and immediate causes of our misfortune and make recommendations that will enhance the future of the party”, he stated.
On his part, Senator David Mark called on all stakeholders to rise above the present circumstances and work hard to rejuvenate the party, saing the new status of the party as an opposition is a challenge which we must face with all honesty, sincerity of purpose and dedication to duty.
Senator Mark believes that democracy and the nation would be better for it, “if we play credible opposition to ensure good governance and delivery of dividends of democracy to Nigerians.”
However, prior to this statement by Senator Mark, there had been fresh crisis as it was learnt that the governors elected on the platform of his party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), are understood to be plotting to sideline him in their plan to rebuild the party.
Meanwhile, the chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Adamu Mu’azu, had last week traded barbs with the Governor of Ekiti State, Ayo Fayose, on Twitter. It will be recalled that Mr. Fayose had earlier called for Mr. Mu’azu’s resignation, blaming him for the party’s defeat at the recent national polls, ccording to a report by an online news medium Premium Times. The PDP has been hit by internal crisis since losing the presidential election, and several governorship seats, the party’s biggest defeat ever.
Last Thursday Fayose had said that he had evidence proving that the PDP chairman sabotaged the party by working for the opposition All Progressives Congress, APC. Adamu Mu’azu the next day responded via Twitter on Thursday, challenging the Ekiti governor to substantiate his claims.
“Fayose twitter message read thus; “I have evidence that Mu’azu worked for APC. We hope it’s not the kind of evidence he once said he had that Buhari was dying?” Mr. Mu’azu said.
“You will all recall that the National Chairman warned members of our Presidential Campaign Org to stop the hate campaign.
“The National chairman campaigned for Governor Fayose, defended him & was at his inauguration & will continue to support him & Ekiti people.
“We challenge Governor Fayose to come out with the evidence that shows National Chairman worked for APC during the elections.”
Mr. Fayose later responded, describing Mr. Mu’azu’s tweets as a disloyalty to the PDP.
Mewanhile the National Publicity secretary of the party, Olisa Metuh in a no holds barred disclosure, who held a press conference on the state of affairs of the party last week, disclosed that the decision of the Presidential Campaign Organisation to adopt and execute a hate campaign strategy against the then presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, led to the failure of PDP.
Metuh, who said the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party cannot be held responsible for Jonathan’s failure, also expressed regret that the campaign organisation did not heed the caution of the NWC against such negative campaign, particularly in the North.
The party spokesman who exonerated the party leadership from mismanagement of funds noted that it disbursed among other donations N500million to the presidential campaign and N100million each for the governorship candidates as well as other sums for legislative candidates.
While he could not recall how much was given to the legislative candidates of the party because the amount varied, Metuh however said that the monies were paid either directly to the candidates, through ministers or campaign directors in some states.
He also said the NWC was ready to surrender itself for probe just as he defended the N30million given to each member of the NWC. He said the money was payment for a backlog of their medical, housing and other allowances for the past three years.
Speaking against the backdrop of the NWC’s resignation after the party’s loss, Metuh who admitted that the party leadership would have resigned on moral grounds, said they did not play any role in the presidential campaign of Jonathan.
He noted that the party’s presidential candidates in 2003 and 2007, Olusegun Obasanjo and late Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, would have lost in the South East, if they both ran a hate campaign against the late Odumegwu Ojukwu who contested against them.
Metuh said, “Our advice and suggestions were ignored. We cannot be held responsible for the failure. While we are not holding any excuse for them, we cannot be held accountable for issues that were generated that worked against our candidates in the North. All Nigerians know what happened.
It would be recalled that two close associates of the president spoke to according to a report by online medium SaharaReporters has accused the NWC members of the party on corruption. The report stated that o one of them described as “shameless stealing of party funds by officials entrusted with running the affairs of the party.”
The two sources disclosed that President Jonathan felt betrayed by the “greedy actions” of the NWC members. The Presidency sources gave the online news the internal vouchers showing that the party’s NWC members shelled out over a quarter of billion naira in unexplained fees to themselves on April 8, 2015.
The monies, which were paid out of the party’s Zenith Bank account number ending with 6016, revealed that the party’s national chairman, Adamu Muazu, was paid N100 million through Julius Berger PLC while the deputy chairman of the party, Uche Secondus, received N40 million. The documents provided by the Presidency also revealed that the PDP’s national secretary, Adewale Oladipo, got N30 million. Other members who got N30 million each include Buhari Bala, who is national treasurer of the party, Bolaji Akpan Anani, national financial secretary, Olisa Metuh, national publicity secretary, Adeyanju Fatai, the party’s national auditor, Abubakar Mustapha, national organizing secretary, Kema Chikwe, national women leader, Victor Yusuf Kwon, national Legal adviser, Hussaini Maibasira, and the deputy national secretary, Onwe Solomon.
Apart from the scandalous payments, another set of documents shows that the PDP also compelled delegates to its annual convention to pay N10,000 each into the private accounts of Marufi Nigeria Limited. One of the Presidency sources described the company as a fraudulent front linked to a top member of the NWC.
One of the Presidency sources stated that the NWC members contributed in a large measure to the defeat of President Jonathan, adding that they more interested in pursuing their private material interests than the party’s corporate interest. “They were too busy helping themselves to party funds as President Jonathan’s campaign suffered.”
In a fierce rebuttal, several of the NWC members told the online news that stated that President Jonathan was the architect of his own failure. “He was the person running the country, not members of the NWC. If Nigerians turned against him, it’s not because of anything the NWC did or didn’t do,” one member said.
Before going to press PDP Publicity Secretary, Olisa Metuh told the online medium that the payments cited in its publication was made to assist NWC members for the Governorship and state house of assembly elections. he stated that the party secretariat funded these elections. Also he revealed that the NWC had not been paid housing allowances for two years.
Another member of the NWC reacted to the allegations angrily saying that since the Presidency was more concerned about transparency, the Presidency Campaign Council should publish how it gave out N700 million to each state and most importantly how the Presidency spent Nigerian resources in the last 6 years. Given all these cans of worms, political pundits have since dismissed the PDP as corrupt and insensitive the plight of Nigerians.