In a bid to regain power, which it lost in last year’s general elections, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has set up a committee to come up with strategies for the 2019 elections. Named the Strategy Review and Inter-Party Affairs Committee, it has 115 members and is headed by former Information Minister, Professor Jerry Gana. It has Mr. Austin Okpara, a former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, as Secretary.
The committee will consult with various political groups, associations and individuals on the appropriate strategies for the 2019 polls. The committee was handed three terms of reference: explore ways of engaging all possible allies with a view to building positive relationships, recommend strategies to reposition the party and prescribe necessary amendment to the PDP constitution.
At the inauguration of the committee in Abuja on Tuesday, Senator Ahmed Makarfi, Chairman of the party’s National Caretaker Committee, said the new committee is expected to submit its report in three months.
“Long before we talked about putting up a number of sub-committees to deal with different aspects of the affairs of our party, but because of litigation we have not settled down to do that,” he said. “Time is going. A lot of things are happening and our men and women are on their own beginning to do all sorts of meetings.
“However, you don’t bring all your flock together to talk as one family, before long, the good chunk of them would have gone on their own, because nobody will remain inactive for forever,” Makarfi said while explaining the constitution of the committee.
He added that what the committee should come up with is a strategy that ensures the party’s return to power in the next general elections. Senator Makarfi also claimed that many groups have approached the National Caretaker Committee for collaboration and the party was convinced that it should not be only members of the caretaker committee that should be talking to those seeking to collaborate with the party. He explained that the number of members of the strategy committee is huge because of the size of its responsibilities.
“You must break sub- committees, talking to different groups. It is also the role of the committee to advice on how to make the party stronger and better,” he added.
He impressed on party members the need to resolve the legal disputes dogging the party before 2019.
“The truth of the matter is that we are in many courts on different issues. If you don’t lay them to rest, there is basically no peace process.
‘We said that reconciliation committee will draw up the modalities for the withdrawal of all court cases, and the conceptual settlement of those of them that you cannot ordinarily withdraw or set aside.
“The lawyers amongst you know the issues that you need to be settled. If you don’t that, somebody can ?go to court tomorrow. If you leave it hanging, close to the elections, PDP or a member of the party in power can go to court and force you to start all the processes afresh.
“In all these cases, there are issues that must be laid to rest and only the court can lay these issues to rest. It is either it is so or we can come together and settle them in a conceptual matter, so that all the loopholes are plugged and we don’t go through a vicious cycle,” he said.