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2015 and Nasarawa PDP’s festering crisis

When Okwesileze Nwodo was on the saddle as PDP national chairman, the party in Nasarawa state headed for the 2011 elections. Over half of party…

When Okwesileze Nwodo was on the saddle as PDP national chairman, the party in Nasarawa state headed for the 2011 elections. Over half of party loyalists who sought tickets to aspire for various seats in that election, frowned with complaints about how the state executive connived with Government House Lafia. Its occupant then – Aliyu Akwe Doma, was also seeking a ticket to run for a second term and there were complaints about manipulating the process.
Political analysts claimed unpopular aspirants were imposed on the party in the state to the chagrin of popular ones. But the Nwodo-led national secretariat of the party looked the other away with sealed lips over the complaints of manipulations that poured in from across the state.
The outcome of the general election was a disaster for the PDP. The same popular aspirants, who dumped the party in protest over the alleged sham party primaries, jumped unto new opposition party platforms – and in particular, the then newly registered Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), and won the seats they vied in the election. They  outrightly defeated their old party – the PDP.
CPC’s Governor Umaru Tanko Al-Makura defeated Doma, to end PDP’s rule since 1999, just as Senator Solomon Ewuga (CPC, Nasarawa-West) defeated a serving PDP senator, Madam Patricia Akwashiki, who teamed up with information minister, Labaran Maku and the party executives, to frustrate the popular wish of  members at the Akwanga primaries.
 In all, four CPC candidates for House of Reps threw out PDP candidates – some of them serving members. Mohammed Al-Makura sought third term for Lafia/Obi, but was defeated by Rep. Joseph Kigbu, who dumped PDP for CPC; and Ahmed Aliyu Wadada who sought a third term for Keffi/Karu/Kokona, was defeated by Rep. Ishaq Kana, who dumped the PDP for CPC, just as Musa Baba Onwana, a new entrant, defeated Samuel Ezamu Egya, who was in the House of Reps for three terms on the platform of the PDP for Nasarawa/Toto Federal constituency.
Senator Suleiman Adokwe (Nasarawa-South) escaped the tide of change  that the opposition blew into Nasarawa – by hair’s breadth – to return to the Senate on the same PDP platform, while former governor, Adamu, managed to retain the PDP hold on Nasarawa-West, when he aimed his first shot at the Senate seat. But his campaign days witnessed stormy protests from his constituents who vowed to reach all heights to frustrate his support for Doma,  his governorship candidate in 2011.
Akwanga/Nasarawa-Eggon-Wamba was under the control of the ANPP, when Rep. Isah Usman Ambaka served between 2007 and 2011, but PDP’s hope to clinch that seat was dashed when the CPC landed on the political scene, which saw a toddler politician, Rep. David Ombugadu in against the PDP might. Mohammed Ogoshi Onawo (Awe/Doma/Keana) was the only candidate who made it to the House of Reps to continue with the PDP hold on his constituency.
Twenty-four seats in  the state House of Assembly – the PDP pulled 19, but the CPC grabbed the rest of the five in what presents a bleak future for the former, come 2015..
Weekly Trust observed that this development left the PDP completely disarmed in the state and coupled with the performance record of the CPC government, at least in their first two years in office, PDP’s presence in the state has been eclipsed by mass defections and widespread disloyalty. The party is now only a ghost of its former self.
Two years on, the party is not only yet to recover from this defeat which the state party chairman, Chief Yunana Iliya and the former governor acknowledged as the result of the happenings within; the PDP is also still on the same path that led them to perdition.
Like Nwodo, Bamanga Tukur sits atop the PDP in Abuja, and watches over Nasarawa PDP, but turns a blind eye to similar complaints arising from within in the same state chapter where his party lost massively in 2015. Analysts say the national chairman’s silence in the face of a threatening underbelly rumbling has continued for two straight years without a stop to it. It suggests much of what to expect, if protests rock the state PDP with grievances arising from the next primary election of the party  into the next general elections.
The party in the state went to congresses earlier in March of 2012, with an outcome that has left a continually widening crack, in what has now created two PDP factions in the state  – with one loyal to the former governor as well as the information minister, Maku; while the second group is led by the Senator Adamu, himself a former governor.
The crack has created a PDP in the state where the party tears at itself presumably to the full knowledge of Tukur because INEC had raised issues with the 2012 congress in Nasarawa alongside some other states, just as the faction led by Adamu have severally written him (Tukur) to intervene, without success. The two factions are also in court against each other at various levels, seeking supremacy, just as his North-Central PDP reconciliation meeting in Makurdi earlier in the year failed to heal any wounds, old and new alike.
But while Tukur’s national secretariat is silent over  the crisis in the state PDP, by  failing to even summon a meeting of the two factions to intervene and end the crisis, the national chairman made a trip to Lafia, the state capital, last weekend, and sat to witness a ceremony of people returning to the party from the ACN, ANPP and LP.    
Leaders of the three political parties, who lost election for various seats in 2011 after they defected from the PDP, were received back into their old party in  Lafia. A former deputy governor, Professor Onje-Gye Wada who defected to the ACN to contest in the 2011 governorship, and Nawani Aboki who defected to the LP because his aspiration for the PDP’s ticket for the 2011 governorship was allegedly manipulated by the party leadership, all led their supporters to return.
Also, Raymond Aklo who has had not less than two defections from the party, as well as Adamu Sule, his former colleague in the state House of Assembly (NSHA), returned to their old party which they dumped for the ANPP in 2007.
In all, the PDP claimed about 5,000 persons returned to the party at a ceremony held at the party secretariat.
But in a reaction, members of Nasarawa PDP Concerned Group, led by Senator Adamu (Nasarawa-West), have slammed the ceremony as a charade organized to give the impression that the party was waxing stronger, and to blindfold Tukur from seeing the widening crack, and to sedate him from feeling the real issues confronting the state PDP. The faction said the real issues are not Professor Wado, Aboki, Aklo and Adamu because the four “will always dump the PDP in search of tickets  and will always return towards the next election in the hope that they will be nominated.” 
Engr. Idris Muhammad Idris, a member of the steering committee of the Adamu-led faction  alleged while speaking with  Weekly Trust that “not less than N15 million was received from party leaders with aspiration to run for governorship in 2015, just to return aggrieved persons into the party.
“But we know that the return was not genuine because the returnees have made several comebacks to PDP in the past, yet they have continually defected. They defect anytime they are defeated in the race for party tickets, and return anytime the party is warming up for the next election. They are like the tenant who will be quick to leave because the house is leaking, and only returns after the landlord fixes the leaking roof.
“But they are returning at the wrong time because the roof still leaks. The owners of the house are in disarray because the big landlord has failed to bring them together to patch the leaking roof. The party is facing widening crack because of injustice, leading its leaders to go different ways, and the national chairman has done nothing to bring them back. He is only interested in attending a cosmetic return ceremony for people who may be leaving before 2015 if the party does not give them tickets”, Engr. Idris added.
But former governor Aliyu Akwe Doma who was attending a PDP event in the state for the first time since losing the seat to CPC’s Al-Makura who also defected because of injustice, said PDP in the state had no faction, but mere disagreement. “The party is doing all it can to ensure that it resolves the lingering crisis  that has afflicted the party in recent times for  the betterment of the party, state and  Nigeria  as whole”, Doma said.
This is just as the state party spokesman; Mark Yohanna denied that any funds were solicited to gather people for the comeback. He also said the caliber of the returnees were not in doubt as to their genuineness in returning  back for good, and not just for the sake of the next election.  He said members of the Adamu-led faction must come to terms with the truth that they exercise control over the PDP in the state, adding “we lost power to the CPC and conceded that fact. Adamu can go to CPC or come to terms with us , and concede the defeat of his group during the congress.”

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