PDP: Is This Umbrella Torn? By Aku Igono
“I cannot surrender my right to vote and be voted for” – President Goodluck Jonathan.
Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar was conspicuously quiet at the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) special national convention at the Eagle Square, Abuja penultimate weekend, that even journalists and political watchers were asking if he was present. I almost concluded that he and his former Principal Olusegun Obasanjo were boycotting the special national convention of the party, but on Atiku I was dead wrong as only Obasanjo didn’t show up. Obasanjo later found his way to Aso Villa where he worshipped with Jonathan and his wife on Sunday, just a day after the convention. Atiku was present and later walked out on President Goodluck Jonathan who was already seated observing proceedings.
Before you remind me how Atiku had jumped from one political party to another in the last couple of years, and how slutty he could be politically, let me state that his intra-party exit this time around from old PDP will cast dark clouds over the so-called largest political party in Africa, or is it in the world? It was a well orchestrated intra-party exit with shocker feelings like a coup d’état. He left with seven (7) PDP Governors to form a factional or what is now widely referred to as new PDP at the national level unlike in the past when he left without anyone.
Atiku was one of the party’s leaders in Adamawa State until the election of Bamanga Tukur, as the party’s national chairman. Tukur was doing well as the President of Africa Business Roundtable; a business forum that provides trading platforms for African countries and the rest of the world. Going by the open merciless confrontation Atiku engaged President Goodluck Jonathan during the 2011 presidential primary, the president swiftly moved in to cut his political clout. Aware of this, Tukur didn’t hesitate to take the war to Atiku as Governor Murtala Nyako, who boldly declared his support for Jonathan in 2011 wasn’t spared by Tukur’s political axe. In fact, the crisis in the party had it origin traced to Adamawa State chapter the moment Tukur turned himself to an Emperor or Despot. The ripple effects of his ‘class monitor’ and despotic leadership style were also felt in the Nigeria Governors association. The poorly managed Adamawa crisis consequently snowballed into what happened at the Eagle Square, Abuja.
Understandably, Atiku inherited Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM) from the late Shehu Musa Yar’Adua. A political association which gave birth to Social Democratic Party (SDP) and later the PDP, but it wasn’t a guarantee that he will continue to play the role of a potentate forever. However, the ideals behind the formation of PDM were amongst other things, to seek political power in a democratic setting or process, something Atiku is forgetting. Providence as it is has thrown President Goodluck Jonathan up as the leader of PDP and he (Atiku) must in line with the party’s constitution show loyalty to him. Though Atiku hasn’t made known his interest to run for 2015 presidential election, but there are reports that he is behind the newly registered political party, the PDM, and that he might have talked to the 7 Governors who formed the factional PDP with him to completely jump ship. In present day Nigeria, Atiku may never realise his ambition of becoming a President. He had had his chance as a Vice President of the country from 1999-2007 and misused it, or used it to amass personal wealth.
Though Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State has since been curiously suspended by the party, he has not disclosed if he will dump the party yet. At least he has been severally quoted as saying that he remains a strong member of the party and that his suspension is a huge ‘presidential’ joke. He has been in a long drawn battle with President Jonathan which had since divided the Nigeria Governors Forum. A candidate was preferred over him by the Presidency, but Amaechi refused to step aside for presidential forces. The imbroglio led to the formation of PDP Governors Forum with Governor Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom State as the chair. Amaechi defeated Governor Jonah Jang; the presidency preferred candidate 19 votes to 16. And suddenly the forum split. The Presidency is sympathetic to Jang faction. Efforts made by some of the Governors for both side to sheathe their swords yield no positive result. Several meetings were held with the President to accord recognition to Amaechi led NGF but the Presidency refused to shift grounds. Well, it was perceived by hawks in Aso Rock that Governor Amaechi is interested in Jonathan’s position so his wings should be clipped. He has since been declared a traitor in the South-South zone by some ‘repentant’ ex-militants, and Aso Rock Vixen or Empress, Mrs. Patience Faka Jonathan added more pepper when she reportedly ’ordered’ her husband to impeach Amaechi.
Aware of the confrontation he faced by some of the party’s founding members, in the run up to the presidential primary, President Goodluck Jonathan has not hidden his desire to bring all the party structures and/or apparatus to his claws. In a cult-like manner, the President who is also the leader of the party has sworn to keep Bamanga Tukur and Chief Tony Anenih within close range to prepare a smooth process for him to pick the presidential ticket ahead of 2015 general elections. Jonathan hasn’t declared his interest to run yet, but his aides constantly remind us that he is constitutionally eligible. Of course he is, but it is going to be a huge battle as he has wished away the goodwill with which he ‘innocently’ rode to power in 2011.
The above scenario captures the origin of the festering crisis rocking the ruling party.
Back to Atiku and the 7 Governors who staged a walkout from the party special convention with total disregard to the mother of nation who was beautifully glad with matching glasses, that Ms. Onyeka Owenu, the new dutiful sycophant called (mocked) her as the most beautiful woman in Nigeria. I know you will disagree with me, but allow me to state that the umbrella has torn into pieces. Let me attempt an explanation: Kano and Rivers are determinant States in terms of electoral returns at both divides (North and South) of the country. Kano being one of the largest states in the Northwest holds the political compass for, arguably, the entire Northern States. In the South, Jonathan knows exactly the political misfortune that will befall him if his wife’s State (Rivers) chooses another candidate over him. Niger and Kwara are the two States in the North Central under the new (umbrella) PDP. They are the two most politically viable States in zone; ignore whatever Governor Gabriel Suswam of Benue State is telling you. Sokoto State as the Islamic capital of Northern Nigeria definitely wields more political influence in the region going by the population of Muslim in Northern Nigeria. PDP in Jigawa and Adamawa States also command large followership. PDP will definitely not go bed with this emerging splinter group.
The New PDP will only go down as a spoiler group if they go to 2015 poll in their present form. Not even aligning with the PDM will guarantee their winning. Atiku knows what he wants and if he gets it, he might leave the 7 Governors in the middle of the sea. He is notorious for being consistently inconsistent. But if the New PDP finally ditches old PDP and move over to the APC, then victory for the opposition is as sure as Mrs. Jonathan making another social gaffe before the end of the year
I admonish old PDP to pull it house together as they can’t afford to go to 2015 poll with it present formation. It was reported that President Jonathan too stormed out of the party’s peace meeting accusing Obasanjo for being behind his travails and the party’s crisis. This is not the time to pass bucks and amplify personal ego. The party must appreciate all grievances and sincerely make concessions. After all it is politics. It’s a give and take game! The whole quarrel is about who gets power and wield same from Aso Rock in 2015. Leaders of factional PDP are accusing Jonathan and some elements of hijacking the party structures/apparatuses. The umbrella in the ongoing imbroglio has been stolen and torn apart. Which group (old or new PDP) can lay legal claim to the stolen umbrella because we hear the party’s Certificate is missing.
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