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PDP leadership crisis: THE UNSEEN HANDS OF APC


THE intrigues and melodrama in the leadership tussle in the Peoples Demo­cratic Party, PDP is believably the most protracted and acerbic in the nearly two decades of the existence of the party. Hitherto, most crises in the party were resolved in record time, a situation that fuelled the notion of “family affair” al­lusion.
Although in 2005, about 21 state chap­ters of the party were embroiled in in­tractable feuds the party at the national level had been largely insulated from schisms and other forms of combustible confusions.
Several reasons have been adduced for this. Former national deputy chairman of the party, Chief Olabode George says “the harmony and cohesion was because the dreams of the founding fathers and their realization always diminished and foreshadowed whatever grievances there were. These dreams were noble and bor­dered on a party that must toe the path of honour to achieve growth, strength, sta­bility, and lead the country unfettered.” A member of the Board of Trustees, BOT of the party corroborates him, but adds that “the vision of the party as the largest party in Africa was the abiding force.
We knew the evil effects of allowing too much trouble in the party. And don’t forget we were in power with very fee­ble opposition. So, when trouble came we faced it, and often we defeated it.”
A former minister of foreign affairs Alhaji Wali Aminu contends that there was an overriding passion by all and sundry in the party to focus on building the nation’s fledgling democracy. “The onus was on the party to deepen our democracy and leave behind a legacy in the sands of time. It was like an un­written ethic, and this formed the vision with which the party ruled the country.” Aminu, further says even the spat the former president , Chief Olusegun Oba­sanjo had with his deputy, Atiku Abuba­kar was managed in such a way that it did not blow out of proportion until the latter left the party.
“ There were innate fears of an implo­sion that never came. Several people talked and wrote about an imminent im­plosion. But it never came to be, until we left power 16 years after.
They also spoke about the party being made up with strange bed fellows. In Nigeria, ideological parties have hardly made it. Ideology is an idealistic thing. People are more concerned with issues of survival; food, money.” he opines. Atiku in his treatise on democracy in his famous “The Atiku Interviews,” which were put in pamphlets, observed that the “ building blocks of democracy were embedded in the dreams and vision of the party”, and that deepening democ­racy in Nigeria required the collective efforts of all in and outside the party, to achieve.”
He romanticized the concept of de­mocracy and averred that disagreements are common features of a civil society which invariably nurture and sustains democracy. So where did the party go completely off track?
Why is the once self-acclaimed largest party in Africa besieged with a feud of immense dimension that is threatening to tear it into shreds and perhaps route it out entirely?
How the rain began to beat the party
Since it lost power in the March 28 presidential elections, it has been behav­ing like a rain beaten chicken, lacking in ideas and cohesion. Initially, after over­coming the shock of its defeat, it tried to forge a semblance of unity. It issued statements suggestive of simulated cour­age. The high command of the party tried to commit itself to a recovery process, by driving courageously in hope, rekin­dling the embers of the lofty dreams of the founding fathers, and setting fresh at­tainment goals. The clarion call was that the opposition party, the All Progressives Congress, APC which sent it packing would soon come to harm, and crash. The bugle was blown that APC came with a grand rainbow coalition which historically will not stand the test of time as they would as soon they test power turn against themselves like the fabled ‘ Ali Baba and the 30 thieves’.
They imagined that their conquerors lacked the wherewithal to put forward the best for the nation, and stay on course to further the interest of the people and deepen democracy the way they did in more than 16 years. To compound mat­ters for the party its leading lights took a flight into reticent hibernation, afraid of their shadows and unwilling to com­ment on issues or provide a shade for the badly beaten and horrified members. While their leaders were in apparent hiding, opportunism, characteristic of Nigerian politics took hold of the party members. In droves, they oscillated into the APC.
So much were the defections that most members of the victorious party warned the party hierarchy to desist from receiv­ing decampees from the PDP. Till date, there is no letup.
Enter the APC
In the ensuing melee to remain focused and retake power in 2019, classical mis­takes have been made. Afraid that the growing clampdown on leaders of the party by the Economic And Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, and the sudden loss of voice and esteem within the public space may have provided a ready arsenal for the final vanquish­ing of the party ahead of the 2019 gen­eral elections, Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, and his Ekiti State counterpart, Ayodele Fayose contrived a scheme in conjunction with a few others to foist former Borno State governor, Ali Modu Sheriff on the party as national chairman.
The plot was to use him to complete the tenure of the former national chair­man Adamu Muazu, who was forced out after the defeat in the elections. The former deputy national chairman Uche Secondus who held sway for months af­ter Muazu’s exit came under a fusillade of verbal and legal onslaughts by some leaders of the party from the North-east who contended that the slot he occupied belonged to the North-east. Secondus is from the South-south, while both Adamu, and Sheriff are from the North-east.
As opposition to Sheriff mounted within the party as he mounted the seat, reprieve came when a consensus was reached to limit him to a three months tenure, within which he would organize a convention and step down. That was a costly misstep. Sheriff went to work, disbanded critical organs of the party, reorganized the subsisting zoning for­mulae and, effectively shifted the office of national chairman to his North-east zone.
Things moved fast rancorously with many people alleging foul play and ac­cusing the ruling APC of seizing the op­portunity provided by the crises to plant Sheriff, and ultimately destroy it. Former presidential adviser on inter – party re­lations who is now the Secretary of the caretaker committee, Chief Ben Obi, in the heat brouhaha told Sunday Sun that “We know whose hand is in this. The APC is using him to cause problems and kill our party. We will not allow that to happen.”
Things came to a screeching head at the Port Harcourt convention of the par­ty organized by Sheriff last month when a well-oiled coup sent him packing. A caretaker committee headed by former Kaduna state governor, Senator Ahmed Makarfi. Sheriff, who unsuccessfully tried to postpone the convention stormed out, and has since deployed all forms of theatrics and legal fireworks to take back the position. At the last count there at least 11 court cases pending in courts in Abuja, Lagos and Port Harcout on the issue.
The former Inspector General of Po­lice, Solomon Arase had brokered sever­al peace meetings to no avail. Supporters of both factions had severally camped out at the Wadata plaza national secre­tariat of the party, itching to occupy it. Despite the allegations of meddlesome­ness, the APC as a party has yet to react to react to it. Last Wednesday, a High Court of the Federal Capital Territory in Apo, Abuja sacked Sheriff . The court held that Sheriff’s ascension to office was unlawful as it was based on amend­ed provision of the PDP constitution ille­gally introduced in December 2014.
Though it did not specifically mention Sheriff’s name, it made an order restrain­ing all persons who became national officers of the party by virtue of the amended article 47, rule 6 of the party’s constitution from further parading them­selves in the said capacities (national of­ficers).
Sheriff has since dismissed the judg­ment, while Markafi’s group expect­edly hailed it. The judgment has opened a fresh vista in the leadership tussle in the party, Obi in an interview with jour­nalists said: “We expect more positive court rulings in the days ahead in favour of our party. It is time for them to face the truth and retrace their steps. We be­lieve that truth must be upheld; we want all hands to be on deck to chart the way forward.”
A quick glance at the prevailing fracas cannot give much hope of a quick reso­lution. The two contending factions are digging in, and baring more fangs. The once vibrant party is at the crossroads, lying postrate and not knowing which way to go. Is this the final death blow? Will the party rise again from this ash of despair and confusion.? The days ahead will tell.- THE SUN

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