How Jonathan’s Sole Candidacy Destroyed PDP – BOT Chair Haliru Explains
The Acting Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Board of Trustees (BoT), Dr. Bello Haliru Mohammed, yesterday said the violation of the zoning principle by vested interests destroyed the party.
Mohammed, in a statement by his media aide, Mr. Emeka Nwakpa, attributed the fast declining fortune of the PDP to the abrogation of the zoning principle in 2011.
The party jettisoned zoning to pave the way for the emergence of Dr. Goodluck Jonathan as presidential candidate — a development which Mohammed said severely undermined the principle of equity and justice on which the party was founded.
According to him, the PDP paid dearly for it with the loss of power at the centre in the last general election.
He added that the development created crises of confidence among key stakeholders and eroded sense of belonging among many party faithful.
Mohammed said: “When the founding fathers formed the party in 1998, they established the principle of justice and equity whereby power resided with the people, who could decide who became what at any point in time.
“But over the time, the party swerved away and breached the principle thereby disrupting its internal democracy. When in 2011 the party abandoned its zoning formula, the party dealt on itself a major blow because that action served the first notice that it had disconnected with the masses. So we must go back to the culture of zoning and rotation of offices.
“The PDP remains the only true national party in the country with its flag in all nooks and crannies whose members are assured that they can always aspire to any available position as long as zoning and rotation hold sway as a cardinal policy of the party”.
He stated that it was high time the party addressed the situation where critical decisions were being dictated by the whims of a few moneybags and “higher bidders”, to the exclusion of other members.
“We must run away from a practice that leaves the party at the mercy of moneybags who, more often than not, seek to hijack the processes of the party at the detriment of promoting genuine internal democracy through which only capable, credible and popular candidates can emerge to contest elections with assurance of victory”, he stated.
Harping on the need to respect the supremacy of the party, the BoT chair said elected and appointed office holders should not be allowed to dominate party decisions while party meetings should be restricted to party offices in the states and the national level.
“The policies and manifesto of the party should also guide the activities of public office holders who are either elected or appointed on the platform of the party in line with good governance and best practices”, Mohammed said.
On party funding, he canvassed a system that will allow members make their statutory contributions to the party as prescribed by the party’s constitution, noting that it is a major sustainable means of getting the party to meet its obligations and responsibilities.
He requested that the party give more attention to elders and founding fathers, many of whom he observed, are still in the party but are indifferent to the affairs and fortunes of the party, owing to lack of patronage.
The BoT Chairman said, “In recent years, many of our leaders, elders and founding fathers have been abandoned in spite of their abiding interest in the party.
“Some have left, some chose to remain but are either inactive, unconcerned or indifferent because nobody has bothered to look for them. This is not acceptable. If there is any time we need them for advice and counsel, it is now”.
Incidentally, it was the same Mohammed that moved the motion for the adoption of former President Jonathan as the sole presidential candidate of the party for the 2015 general election.
Moving the motion at a National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting at the party’s national secretariat, Mohammed said: “We have never taken a wrong decision before. We cannot change a winning formula that has been working for us since 1999.
“In PDP, we have a tradition of queuing up behind our leaders. President Jonathan has performed creditably as attested to by all the organs of the party.
“Therefore, for the good of Nigeria and for the good work that the PDP is doing for the country, I move that the NEC endorses the candidacy of President Goodluck Jonathan as the party’s candidate in the 2015 election”.
The motion was seconded by Second Republic governor of the old Anambra state, Senator Jim Nwobodo. It was adopted with a resounding ayes by the gathering of eminent party leaders.