By Abba Moro
The Anambra State Gubernatorial election of November 18, 2017 may have come and gone but the sad memories still linger. It is no longer news that Governor Willie Obiano won the election comfortably in all 21 local government areas in Anambra State including the local government area of the candidate of the PDP, Obaze and the local government area of ex-Governor Peter Obi, Obaze’s godfather.
One major factor in the resounding defeat of the PDP was the internal wranglings within the party following the disputed outcome of the party’s governorship primary. Those who felt that they lost the primary to intrigues and manipulations by powerful party members were not listened to.
Rather, they were characterized as sore losers. The PDP bigwigs and kingmakers boasted that they would rout the governance of the APGA and Obiano in Anambra State. Aspirants of the party felt aggrieved. They complained but the party claimed they were irrelevant. What followed was a gale of suspensions and threats of expulsions. They refused to work for the party’s candidate, Obaze. They played the spoilers’ roles during the election. PDP lost.
In the 2015 general elections, many PDP bigwigs and political gladiators worked against the PDP’s candidates because of perceived injustice and unfair treatment by the party in the primaries for various elective offices. Genuine grievances were not properly handled by the leadership of the party. PDP lost the elections to PDP members who worked against the party.
Then came Modu Sheriff. The party suffered over 14 (fourteen months) of crisis until the Supreme Court came to the rescue. PDP was at a crossroads.
Many members contemplated abandoning the party if the Supreme Court ruling favoured Modu Sheriff. A new political party, APDA, was even floated in case.
In order to regenerate, the PDP leadership constituted various committees especially the Ekweremadu 17-man committee and the Jerry Gana 205-man committee to restructure, reorganize and reposition the party to face the challenges of the future. From the findings, two casual factors, impunity and indiscipline were responsible for the degeneration of the party. Way forward? In stil party discipline, enforce party supremacy and stop impunity.
From Anambra’s governorship failure and indications of the forthcoming national convention, have we learnt any lessons? I am afraid, the signs are not too good. Like a recurring decimal, party members are grumbling. They are crying hidden agenda. They are crying manipulation. They are crying impunity. Yet the leadership of the party is discountenancing them as rantings of ants.
From all indications, we have not learnt any lessons from PDP’s inglorious past. The sad tones of the past “money bags are hijacking the party, he who pays the piper dictates the tune, self interests rather than party interests appear to command the mindsets of party members. Sadly, unfortunately, this is catching traction with many party members. Very, very sadly, the PDP is going to once more fail this litmus, final test to regenerate and survive. The Game Changer? Money!
It is very sad that the zoning principle inserted in the PDP Constitution to ensure fairness, equity and justice is fast becoming the albatross of the December 9-10 National Convention. Narrow and private interests of party members appear to be guiding party actions.
Those who are pushing for these narrow selfish interests to impose an unpopular not generally accepted leadership are guilty of the inglorious impunity syndrome of the past.
The current leadership of the National Caretaker Committee (NCC) must rise up to this leadership challenge. Members must take all necessary measures to protect the interest of the PDP and resist the temptation of trying to foist on the party a leadership that is perceived to be procured to serve their narrow and selfish political ambitions. They would be failing in their sacred duty to the party if they fail to correct the errors of the past.
The leadership of the NCC must not be seen to conspire or collude with any person(s) to short-change the national convention process especially as it concerns the election of party officials. Today, from all indications, the narrow and selfish interests of the so-called godfathers and stakeholders, constitute grave dangers or threat to the survival of the PDP as a formidable political party in opposition.
The challenge before the current leadership of the party is to resist the subterfuge of the powerful gladiators masquerading as critical stakeholders, who are literally holding the party to ransom at the moment. The leadership of the NCC must rise to the challenge of protecting the interest of the party. If this leadership of the party cannot get it right at the December 9-10 national convention but rather pander to the selfish interests of the so-called powerful stakeholders, then we must all forget about a brand new PDP capable to wrest power from the ruling APC. A failure to elect a credible party leadership through a transparent, just and fair convention will signpost the beginning of the end of the Peoples Democratic Party, the PDP. Nigeria is watching!
Moro, a staunch member of PDP is the immediate past Minister of Interior