PDP, Atiku And Facts Of History
The Peoples Democractic Party (PDP) and former Vice President Atiku Abubukar are merely re-enacting history. UCHENNA AWOM went down memory lane and recalls that the party and all the dramatis personae in the current imbroglio are merely revisiting a similar history, which played out a decade ago.
History is simply going full circle in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP); the characters, the setting and the major players in the current quagmire present full dramatis personae that define the party’s tortuous journey from 2003 to date. What an irony that again the former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and some state governors of the party are re-enacting what played out in 2003, when ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo had his eyes fixed on the second term ball and was finding it too difficult to build a consensus that could see him through.
Again, the same Obasanjo is now playing the role of the mediator-in-chief, straining very hard to resolve the problem. How far he goes is left to be conjectured. In any case there is no doubt that the seeming implosion in the party presents a defining moment for the party. It is a moment of deep introspection, but of a fact the party would emerge from the crisis clearly defining some obvious political relationships that have one way or the other elicited wholesome misgivings and trouble at particular times.
The scenario in 2003 is no different from what it is today. President Goodluck Jonathan is struggling under very weighty and perhaps acrimonious objection by a section of the country, particularly the core North to contest for a second term. Like the 2003, the objection is coming from within the party and it is being led as it were that time by Atiku Abubakar.
The only veil yet to be pulled off the face of Abubakar is whether he is still cut up in the bug of power returning to the North or merely the fact that he is simply enmeshed in his age-long ambition of becoming President of Nigeria some day. The truism like observers posits is that the former Vice President has emerged as an established persona in the tortuous evolutionary process of the behemoth that is PDP.
He stood tall, resolute and unperturbed in 2003 when he marshalled out the battle then to ensure that his boss, Obasanjo was not returned to Aso-Rock the second time or at worst to teach him some political lessons how not to underrate the political strength of a loyal deputy.
It got to a point that Obasanjo was said to have wilfully bend backward to appease Abubakar who was in full control some PDP governors going into the party primary. Though he neither picked party form to contest the election then, nor did he announce that he was set to challenge Obasanjo for the party ticket, but the body movement of his supporters suggests very strongly that the man was all for such venture.
He admitted this much when he explained to the media that time that many state governors called on him to run against Obasanjo and that he declined because he believed his candidacy would be against the PDP’s zoning formula. That notwithstanding, the talk shop was abuse that a troubled Obasanjo even went on his knees to beg his vice.
The late Dabo Adzuana disclosed as much declaring that he was a witness to the pleading session by Obasanjo and his late wife, before he secured the ticket of the Party to contest the 2003 presidential elections
But he has variously denied that saying it was false. “There was never a time the President begged me to support him,” Abubakar said, while responding to questions by journalists. “Till we went to the convention ground, there were still some governors who were calling me, ‘can we vote for this man ( Obasanjo),’ I said ‘yes, go and vote for him.” These were in response to various media reports before the 2003 primary election of the party that Obasanjo had to beg because most of the governors, who controlled their states delegates, were loyal to Abubakar.
Well, after the election, an obviously troubled Abubakar brought the problem to the fore when he advanced reasons why he was to quarrel with Obasanjo. He explained afterwards that he fell out with the former President immediately after the 2003 presidential elections because of the latter’s third term agenda, said he did not believe that Mr. Obasanjo, who is the Board of Trustees chairman of the party, controls the fate of the party.
At least, that was the reasons he often cite to explain his problem with Obasanjo, but analysts of his politics and his approach to the presidency that time, insists that rather than third term, his near opposition to Obasanjo’s second term was at the base of his quarrel with the man till date. Though. Abubak would be quick to assert that he is all for reform of the party, which remains his current sing song.
It could be recalled that while calling for a reform of the PDP immediately after the death of President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, Abubakar explained that he supported the reforms being championed by former leaders of the party including Ken Nnamani, former Senate President and Aminu Masari, former Speaker of the House of Representatives. He, however, said he opposed their approach.
“If their objective is to have reforms within the PDP, internal democracy, even the independence of the party structures at the various levels, I support it. But whatever we are going to do must be in line with through due process,” he said.
Observers believe that the former Vice President is grossly disenchanted with the PDP and has never hidden his regret that he may not realise his ambition on its platform. “As at any giving time, he would voice one criticism or the other against the party and its apparatchik. Some time he raised that alarm that the country is sliding into a one party state under the PDP”, said one observer who craved anonymity.
Abubakar did infact made such allusion when he declared in one gathering that he was scared of Nigeria becoming a one party state under the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). He made this statement while addressing journalists and supporters at a function to formally declare his membership of the PDP, at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja.
“I am so scared of a dominant one party. Because, if you happen to get somebody in that party to be a president and that person does not believe in vacating office: one, he will use the PDP that has a majority in the National Assembly to amend the constitution and remain in power forever. He will get all the PDP state legislators to also carry out the same amendment. And then we will end up with a president for life and one party for life. And only God knows what will happen to us.”
It is only in the party, that Atiku Abubakar had voiced such sentiments. He wants perfection, but it looks elusive. One example was when responding to questions on the future of the opposition Action Congress (AC) following his defection Abubakar, who was the presidential candidate of the AC in the 2007 elections, expressed uncertainty about the party’s future.
“I don’t know what will happen to AC. If there is any disappointment or frustration I had in the opposition camp, it was because none of them was genuinely or sincerely interested in forming a viable opposition party.” Remember that he left the PDP to AC following his disagreement with former President Obasanjo.
Today, a decade after Abubaka is back on the trenches, re-enacting the same episode that saw him leaving the party. This time it is his challenges of the ambition of the current President to return to the Presidential Villa. He said he wants the party restructured in such a way that will throw the card open and perhaps give him unfettered access to the Villa.
He seemed prepared this time; first his associates have floated the Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM), may be that could be his final destination and all indications point to an Atiku in the ballot in 2015. The major shift was that unlike 2003, he has gone the full hog of leading a schism within the party apparently a well choreographed strategy aimed at weakening the party before the election in 2015.
They have announced a splinter PDP11 that is currently challenging the parent body, but the leadership of the PDP seems not to be letting go.
The party’s National Chairman, Bamanga Tukur came out smoking on Wednesday in Abuja declaring that he is charge and there can be no two executives of the party, thus foreclosing any further dialogue with the reneged members.
He also bared his fangs over the crisis, saying that he is not only firmly in charge of the party, but that all those claiming to be leaders of the New PDP are impostors who should be arrested.
A visibly miffed Tukur further warned that all elected members of the party at all level who associate with the faction would lose their seats as required by law.
But the National Chairman of the New PDP, Alhaji Abubakar Kawu Barage, described Tukur as unfit to be chairman of a political party because he does not understand party politics.
Although consultations to resolve the crisis was in the works, the parallel party had gone to court seeking an injunction to declare the convention a nullity as well as the nullify the chairmanship of Tukur.
But Tukur at a press briefing at the Wadata National Secretariat of PDP, fid back saying, “There is only one lawfully recognized PDP and I am fully in charge.”
Surrounded by members of the newly-constituted members of the National Working Committee of the party, Tukur called on security again is to treat the leadership of the new PDP as impostors.
He said “Our reason for being here is to neither inform you without any iota of doubt that the Peoples Democratic Party has no faction and there is neither room nor reason whatsoever for such a claim under any guise.
“The PDP has only one duly elected National Executive Committee (NEC) under my Chairmanship. I wish therefore to state with all emphasis that any group of persons parading themselves as leaders of NEC or any other organ of our party are impostors and I urge all Nigerians, especially the security agencies and other institutions of democracy to regard them as such.
“Let me state categorically that the PDP as the sole custodian of the sacred mandate of over 160 million Nigerians and who in the last fourteen years has lifted high the banner of democracy will not fold its arms while some undemocratic and unpatriotic elements destroy our common destiny by causing divisions and confusion among the people.
“Consequently, we shall ensure that any person who is not duly elected into any leadership position in our great party and has not been duly assigned any role but goes ahead to arrogate such to himself will be made to face the full wrath of the law.
“Similarly, all persons elected on the platform of our great party at all levels who identify with these enemies of the oneness and greatness of our party shall have their seats declared vacant as required by law.
“We shall leave no stone unturned to ensure that such persons and indeed any other individual who attempts to subvert the leadership of the PDP shall reap in full, the consequences of such actions.
“I wish to emphasize that the PDP has adequate mechanism for internal conflict resolution. All party members are therefore advised to ventilate their grievances through this medium.”
But the national chairman of the New PDP, Barage, in his reaction, said Tukur does not understand party politics. He said for Tukur to just wake up and threaten recall of members shows that he is not fit to be chairman of the party.
“They are all mad and they don’t know what party politics is. We are not surprised because it’s ignorance of party politics. In any case, the process of declaring seats vacant or recalling members of National or state assembly is well known in the constitution. To wake up and threaten that he’s going to recall shows that he is not fit to be called national chairman of PDP.”
What has happened is that there must certainly be bruises and to some members they could become former when the crisis if finally resolved and this may include Atiku Abubakar who has merely reenacted history.
Do not hesitate to leave your opinion in the comment section below.
To contact Abusidiqu.com for Article Submission and Advertisement or General inquiry, send a mail to email@example.com