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PDP’s house of endless confusion

THE crisis rocking the Nigeria’s Governors Forum (NGF) is deepening by the day and spurred by governors of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Observers…

THE crisis rocking the Nigeria’s Governors Forum (NGF) is deepening by the day and spurred by governors of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Observers said the latest and more pronounced victims of PDP’s politics of intimidation in the aftermath of the NGF election have been Rivers State Governor Rotimi  Amaechi and his Sokoto State counterpart  Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko.
Nigerians woke up last week to the news of the suspension of Amaechi by PDP’s National Working Committee (NWC). While the dust raised by this decision whirled, earlier in the week, the   PDP again welded the big stick, as the NWC suspended Wamakko. The governor is listed as one of the PDP governors who ignored the party’s directive and voted for Amaechi in the now disputed NGF election. 
A statement from PDP’s national secretariat, by its national secretary, Mr. Oliseh Metuh,  claimed Amaechi failed to comply with a lawful directive of the PDP leadership in his state to recall suspended officials of Obio/Akpor council in the state.  The council members were allegedly suspended by the state Assembly for alleged corruptions to pave way for thorough investigation.  The governor claimed that the fact of the suspension of the council members for whatever reason was yet to be transmitted to him by the state lawmakers.
Similarly, Metuh said Wamakko was suspended for his alleged breach of the party’s constitution and refusal to honour NWC’s invitation to appear before it.
Observers postulated that most Nigerians took the suspension of Amaechi, in the aftermath of his victory, as chairman of the NGF, against the alleged preferred candidate of the Presidency (Jang), as PDP’s peculiar politics, which often  hits  back, sometimes, even dubiously to perceived disobedient members.   
Reacting to the development in Abuja, Chairman, Association of Progressive Elites Abuja (APE-A) Mr. Odunze Darlington decried what he described as politics of evil in the PDP circles.
A chieftain in the party who would not want his name mentioned said the latest PDP attacks on its seemingly “disobedient” governors is a familiar trademark of the intrigues, mudslinging, impunity and arm-twisting in the party
The chieftain said in the PDP, with a constitution  detailing  a network of hierarchies of leadership from ward  to the national level,   laid down rules, agreements or procedures are often flagrantly   flouted,    once the  vested selfish interests of the supposed “owners” of the party is bruised. 
For instance, findings reveal that when President Goodluck Jonathan succeeded the late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, in the aftermath of his boss’s death and the issue of zoning and rotation of the Presidency in the North in 2011 surfaced, the party chewed its words on an earlier agreement in this direction. It also traduced Section 70 of its constitution which allows for rotation of offices within the party. 
Northern Elders Forum (NEF) led by elder statesman Malam Adamu Ciroma reminded of a subsisting agreement in the PDP reached with former President Olusegun Obasanjo on retaining the President in the South for eight years and same number of years for the North, but Jonathan’s cohorts staged counter arguments. The PDP arm-twisted its members into denouncing the zoning formula, to enhance the chances of   Jonathan, a southerner, in clinching the Presidency in 2011.      
While the party somewhat renounced zoning for the Presidency seat, it never applied the same policy at the state level.
Furthermore, former Bayelsa State Governor, Timipre Sylva danced in the muddy waters of the PDP, when he sought re-election in 2012. Sylva had won the PDP re-election nomination ticket; but all that changed when the Supreme Court terminated the tenure of five governors including that of Bayelsa. Observers claimed that the apex court’s ruling came at a time Sylva had fallen on the sidelines with Jonathan, who vowed to replace him.
Observers said that in the re-organized and repeated PDP guber primaries, Sylva, a serving governor, never passed the three screenings conducted by the party.  Through various forms of protests, Sylva informed Nigerians that no reason was adduced for his disqualification much as his right of appeal was also circumvented by Abuja. He challenged the action in court, but events overtook his case when elections for Bayelsa held before the hearing of his case.
Again during the November 2006 PDP guber primaries in Benue State where Governor Gabriel Suswam emerged victorious and subsequently won the general election in 2007, the PDP again introduced a strange element in electoral contests by the concept of votes donation or merger of votes after announcement of results. Suswam contested against about 19 rivals. 
Although,  Suswam  came tops with 2, 797 votes  in the first ballot, that  could, however, not attain the 50 per cent mandatory  stipulation as spelt out in the guidelines to emerge a clear winner. He was closely trailed by Mr. Mike Onoja who polled 876 votes, which the presiding officer announced as the outcome of the election. A runners –up election between the two aspirants was expected.
But it was alleged that the then governor, now Senator, George Akume, who desperately wanted Suswam to clinch the PDP guber  ticket,  impressed on  his then deputy, late Chief Ogiri Ajene and the then deputy  Speaker of the State Assembly, Ralph Igbago to donate their votes to Suswam. The duo complied by adding their declared scores to that of Suswam, which pushed him to more than the 50 percent benchmark required.  The  Alhaji Iliyasu Dan Musa-led electoral panel and the PDP accepted the result and all protests by Onoja for a review of the case fell on deaf ears as the then PDP national chairman, Dr. Ahmadu Ali, remained adamant to the pleas.
Similarly, when Chief Audu Ogbeh as the PDP national chairman disagreed with his principal, former President Olusegun Obasanjo on policy issues, he was pushed out in a manner that has surprised Nigerians. While a letter purportedly announcing his resignation from office took media space, Ogbeh denied ever tendering one to the NWC or the Board of Trustees of his party.
Further revelations in the saga alleged that Obasanjo would usually compel all national leaders of the party to sign both acceptance and resignation letters on the same day of resumption of work. It meant that as the national leader of the party, Obasanjo could boot you out anytime your loyalty to him became suspect, powers never contemplated by the party’s laws. While Ogbeh protested in public domain his purported resignation, those waiting in the wings to grab his job laughed to victory.  He couldn’t survive it and eventually ended up in the opposition till date. 
He told Weekly Trust recently that the undemocratic forces in the PDP are still there,  and bent on the ruining Nigeria’s democracy, which accounts for his refusal to come back to the PDP fold, but to stick to the opposition All Progressives Alliance (APC).     
At the moment, Amaechi and Wamakko are facing the heat, which apparently oozes from the presidency, but Jonathan, through his media aide, Dr. Reuben Abati   has denied any involvement. It is increasingly becoming clear that Amaechi’s support for a northern president in 2015, instead of Jonathan, as manifest in his desire to pair up with Jigawa Governor  Sule Lamido may have been his greatest albatross.  
Much as the Presidency has denied interest in the Amaechi drama, the questions on the lips of Nigerians still remain: was Amaechi accorded fair hearing as stipulated by both Nigerian and PDP constitutions? Has the NWC got such fiat powers to suspend the state leader of a party, by-passing its zonal structures as done in the case of Amaechi?
On the present NGF crisis, Ogbeh laments that the PDP politics  “ridicules this country to the outside world. Is it necessary? Could it have been avoided?  I couldn’t be in a party that allows that kind of things to happen. I think the elders; especially the BoT should have met and resolved this matter, but these are the issues they won’t touch because individuals have other interests. That’s why they are killing their own party”.
In the case of Wamakko, the PDP North West zonal chairman, Ambassador Ibrahim  Kazaure, said in Kaduna that his party’s decision to suspend Wamakko was hasty. 
Therefore, observers say President Jonathan and the PDP national chairman Alhaji Bamanga Tukur appear to have set the PDP on a path to self destruction, adding that if the trend continues unchecked, it will end up pushing many members out of the PDP rather than attracting same.

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