PDP Mulls Name Change Over Arms Deal Scandal
There are indications that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) might be considering changing its name, going into the 2019 elections.
Sources within the party said the move would be an aftermath of the current investigation into the arms deal scandal that has roped in top members of the party.
A source said the party was worried that with the scandal brought upon the party by the arms deal involving the office of the National Security Adviser (NSA) under former President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration, the party might find it really hard to sell itself back to Nigerians in the 2019 elections.
He said that a section of the party was thinking that with the revelations coming out of the scandal now and the ones that may come out of the probe of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the Nigeria Customs Service (NSC), the PDP may be damaged beyond repair by the government of President Muhammadu Buhari.
The source, a top party man from the South-West, said: “The best way, we are thinking now, is a name change. We are working towards changing the name of the party before the 2019 elections. It may not be immediately now, but eventually that is what would happen in the long run.
“We are already working on it. We believe that the arms probe has done a lot of damage to the party. When you now add the impending probe of the NNPC, you can imagine what it would look like. That one is going to be messier than what we have got so far.”
Buhari had severally said that what has come out of the arms deal was just a tip of the iceberg compared with what was coming with the NNPC and the Customs.
So far, the arms deal has roped in former National Security Adviser (NSA), Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd); National Publicity Secretary of the party, Chief Olisa Metuh; Chairman of the Board of Trustees (BoT), Alhaji Haliru Bello and Chairman of the PDP 2015 National Conference, Dr. Raymond Dopkesi, who have been charged to court.
Still, other leaders of the party such as Chief Tony Anenih, and Chief Bode George, among others have been linked with the scandal.
Another source in the party said that the approach towards rebranding the PDP would come in either of two ways.
He said it would either be in the form of changing the name of the party, or realigning with other forces that may pull out of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the run up to 2019.
He said that it was obvious that many prominent people in the APC are just ‘hanging in there’ because they have been sidelined by the administration or don’t understand what is happening in the party.
That is in addition to the ambitions of some of the key players in the APC machinery that delivered Buhari for 2015.
The source cited the case of a former senator from the South-West, who was a prominent figure in the Buhari campaign, who has been sidelined.
He quoted the senator as saying that despite all his efforts, “They don’t even give me a phone call these days.”
It was further learnt that the PDP was waiting to see the direction the relationship between Buhari and leaders of his party would go in the next one year for the moves to crystallise.
A PDP leader, however, said that the South-West governor was leading a committee to find a suitable candidate for the party to complete the term of chairmanship of the party from the North-East.
The position was vacated by the former Governor of bauchi State, Alhaji Adamu Mu’azu.
The source said that the committee is to look at the names available and recommend to the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the party, which meets today in Abuja to complete the tenure of the North-East, which expires in March.
The chosen person would oversee the affairs of the party until the National Convention, slated for March, takes place.
Currently, the chairmanship is also part of the problems dogging the PDP.
The party is divided along the lines of the acting National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus; National Secretary, Prof. Adewale Oladipo and a former Special Adviser to President Goodluck Jonathan, Dr. Ahmed Gulak, who recently won a case at the Federal High Court against the continued stay of Secondus.
While the PDP Governors’ Forum, save for Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa, backed Oladipo, members of the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party are standing with Secondus, while Gulak is intent on occupying the seat on the strength of his victory at the court. Secondus is still on appeal.