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Alleges attempts to convert party to ‘personal estate’
From Petrus Obi, Enugu
Second Republic Vice President and founding member of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Dr. Alex Ekwueme, yesterday, in Enugu, said the story of the party, sometimes, makes him weep, just as he alleged attempts by some people, who were not founding members, to convert the party to personal property, a situation he said is affecting the party adversely.
Ekwueme, while receiving the report of the PDP Strategy Review and Inter-Party Relations Committee at his Enugu residence, said the party was packaged to be a mass movement for all Nigerians just like the ANC of South Africa.
“The story of PDP makes me sometimes weep. When our founding fathers said the party would be in charge for 60 years or more, some thought they were just bragging; we started that way. In the first election on December 5, 1998, we won massively across the country; we took control of 28 out of 36 states.
“In 1999, we ended up with 21 out of 36 governors; South-East and South-South were all PDP; 10 of the 19 governors in the North were PDP. It was a strong showing, we also had control of the National Assembly; with that showing, all we needed to do was to manage the party properly as envisaged by the founding fathers, making it a mass movement and expanding its power base.
“Unfortunately, some people who did not know how the party was formed or what informed its philosophy got involved in the party and decided to convert it to personal estate without regard to the underpinning principles of its formation and, gradually, we started to lose ground.
“At one stage, in my state, they decided to commence the re-registration of members so as to exclude members who they thought were not in their camp; that was the genesis of our present situation, coupled with lack of internal democracy. I can’t remember how many times I’ve been called to come and spearhead the process of bringing back people to our party; that was what late Yar’Adua invited me to do as soon as he took over as president.”
The former vice president expressed happiness that after the debacle of 2015, the party deemed it necessary find out what went wrong so as to take the party back to its original plan.
He promised to take time to read the report expressing confidence that with the caliber of persons involved, the party should get back to where it started if the recommendations are fully implemented.
Leader of the delegation and former foreign affairs minister, Alhaji Aminu Wali, while handing over the report, noted that it addressed the problems. “We’ve done a good job that will help revive the party. Impunity, to party discipline, impositions and intra-party problems were looked into and solutions proferred. We’ve presented the report to the caretaker committee.
“We’ve learnt our lessons; the indiscipline that bedevilled the party over the years was tackled. We want to rebrand our party and get back to the visions of the founding fathers which made it a winning party. We will revive the party and win back power by 2019,” Wali said.
Fielding questions from newsmen, a member of the committee and Chairman Daar Communications Ltd. Chief Raymond Dokpesi noted that PDP, “formed by eminent citizens, was set out to build a strong party for Nigeria, policies of government were packaged to be people oriented, but we made mistakes and lost 2015 polls; that loss opened our eyes to the problems in the party, hence, the setting up of this committee.
“There’s no faction in the party, there are a few dissidents who have right to express themselves. Our governors, senators, state chairmen, trustees are all with the caretaker committee. There’s no faction. We are all heading to Port Harcourt to get final decision from the court on the matter by Friday, February 17. PDP was a party in government and made sacrifices. We have pretenders in government right now, who don’t know anything about governance,” Dokpesi said.