Acid Test for PDP


By DESMOND EKWUEME

● GEJ, IBB Wield Massive Influence
●As Nine Battle for National Chairmanship Seat
● It's Between the South-West & South-South
● Party Chieftains Say No To Imposition

The People's Democratic Party (PDP) will hold its convention in less than 24hours at the Eagle Square, Abuja to usher in a new NEC/NWC, a new order, a fresh breathe of air, a new beginning and possibly a "new dawn". But will the party get it right this time especially in the face of a court order to stop the convention? 

PDP has been riding from one crisis to another. Since after the party was swept out of power by the APC tsunami in 2015, it has been struggling to find its rhythm. From the interim National Chairmanship tussle won by Ahmed Makarfi to the present battle for a substantive NEC/NWC the umbrella has continued to dangle under a very stormy and raging atmosphere created by the enemies within.

Yes, the major trouble of PDP is its inability to identify intruders who are on a mission to hijack the party, destroy it and leave it to yesterday's story! The party has been infiltrated by persons angling for positions and power to help in the 007 job of finishing what is left of the rags hanging on the handle of the umbrella. 

A couple of weeks ago the very unfortunate story of missing millions of the party sent a signal of a group of persons suffering from "chronic pilfering" to the public. The picture painted by that story is "are these the guys Nigerians should take seriously in 2019?"

Fresh from that crisis of missing money, one should have thought that PDP's eggheads would have resolved the issue of who leads the party as National Chairman into the 2019 general election to calm strained nerves and create a trustworthy and believable aura around the party, at least in the minds of the masses who incidentally are the nucleus of the electorate.

Ironically, those acting as the party's eggheads do not carry enough weight to knock estranged, disgruntled and agitated party members into line/shape. Though former President Goodluck Jonathan and former Head of State Ibrahim Babangida have waded into the fresh crisis of who becomes National Chairman but party chieftains opine that the duo could be doing their bidding by attempting to impose a candidate on the party. 

"We gave Jonathan the privilege, honour and respect to handpick Ahmed Makarfi during the contest with Ali Modu Sheriff for the interim chairman position but, that won't happen this time around especially when we consider that two candidates for this post are from his zone. What we did in Makarfi's case was to create a conducive atmosphere for us to understand ourselves and plan better," says a chieftain of the party from Lagos State who spoke to me on ground of anonymity.
He speaks further, "Now that we are going into election campaign year, it is a different ball game. As stakeholders we won't allow the interests of two men to override our collective dream and ambition. PDP has gone beyond a party controlled by an individual or just two persons. We want to return stronger and better come 2019. In doing this, we must start with a bold step by bringing the interests of all on board," He concluded.

With hours to the election, nine candidates are already in the ring even as they lay claim that their geo-political zones have not produced the National Chairman since the party was formed. Former Minister for Education, Prof. Tunde Adeniran who is a candidate has accused Makarfi of trying to favour another candidate. He reminded Makarfi that the South West has never produced a National Chairman of the party. This position was also maintained by High Chief Raymond Dokpesi who is also contesting the position.

According to Dokpesi who spoke while on campaign train in Abia, "it will be very democratic if someone from the South South is elected to lead our great party in the next four years. I offer myself for this position because I think I possess all that is required to take our great party to the next level."

With the South West and South South geo-political zones battling for the top position, it could only imply that the umbrella could further be torn into shreds if things are not properly managed in this NEC/NWC election. Those defeated or asked to step down for preferred candidates of the eggheads could take up the broom to further compound the woes of PDP talking about defecting.

Aside Adeniran and Dokpesi other candidates for the top job include Jimi Agbaje former governorship candidate of the party in Lagos, Rasheed Ladoja former governor of Oyo State, Taofeek Adedoja, a former Sports Minister also hails from Oyo State, Olabode George, former National Vice-Chairman of the party South West, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, former governor of Ogun State, Uche Secondus, former National Vice-Chiarman of the party South South and Segun Aderemi.

One can only pray for a better opposition perhaps through the PDP if it can put its acts together, for the governing party APC to be on its toes which help sustain and deepen the roots of our democracy. A sound opposition will bring about checks and balances, healthy criticisms and entrench the values and principles of true democracy. Goodluck PDP...

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