The Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM) Tuesday raised the alarm over an alleged plot by some members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to question the registration of PDM as a political party in order to discredit it in the eyes of Nigerians.
The newly-registered party claimed that the Chairman, Board of Trustees, (BoT) of the PDP, Chief Tony Anenih, and some aggrieved members of the ruling party were planning to hold a meeting of 'PDM Stakeholders' in Abuja today to take a stand on the registration of PDM.
In a statement signed by Alhaji Lawal Kaita and 42 other leaders of PDM drawn from across the federation, the party took exception to the planned meeting and accused those behind it of insincerity and an attempt to infringe on the rights of Nigerians who chose to leave the PDP to register PDM as a political party.
Other party leaders who endorsed the document included Ambassador Yahaya Kwande, Prof. Babalola Borishade, Prof. Leo Chinedu Anyanwubalaka, Hon. Joseph Umana and Hon. Yakubu Tsala.
The party leaders dissociated themselves from the planned meeting and described it as an attempt to create the impression of the existence of another PDM group outside the political party registered under the law.
“We learnt that the purpose of the meeting is to reject the registration of PDM as a political party on the purported ground that enough consultations were not made before the registration was agreed upon. We understand that those members of the organisation who prefer to stay in PDP are aggrieved that PDM had jumped the sinking ship to become a political party in its own right.
“Now that 2015 is around the corner, they want to use PDM again to feather their nest and sustain a decade-old fraud to remain politically relevant. We are aware a number of those associated with the meeting have fallen on hard times while others are being misinformed and misled. We urge them to seek out the truth and reflect and not rush to judgment. We urge them not to compromise their principles for a pittance and soil their name.
“While we respect the right of individuals to decide for themselves how and with whom they wish to associate, we reject the idea that some can dictate to others how and with whom they can associate. This is the first time in the political history of Nigeria that members of one political party will constitute themselves into a conclave to determine that another political party has no right to exist,” the statement stated.
The party alleged that those questioning the registration of PDM want Nigerians to believe they own the “exclusive franchise” to the PDM brand to the exclusion of everybody else. According to the PDM leaders, this attitude was not only undemocratic and arrogant but also against the letter and spirit of the 1999 Constitution which guarantees every citizen the right to freely associate.
“PDM is not an exclusive club for the highly privileged and, certainly, not the property of any individual no matter how highly placed. As a registered political party, PDM is open to every Nigerian who wishes to join, including those who deny involvement in its registration out of cowardice. To be a political party had always been the dream of PDM's founding fathers as opposed to opportunists who want to cling to the name and use it only when it serves their selfish interests.
“Those who don't want to join PDM are free not to but they should perish the thought of using us again to negotiate political appointments.”
It was ridiculous, the party said, for some PDP members who never spoke about PDM in the last one decade, other than when they seek favours in its name, to decide the fate of a political party other than the one to which they belong.
“Those who wish to stay inside the PDP to pursue their political career and interests are free to do so but they must not impose their preference on everybody else. Those who wish to belong to the past are free to do so but they must not try to hinder those who wish to move on. As a political party, PDM is a legal entity registered under the law. PDP members have no right to congregate in order to decide its fate. "The days of imposition are over. That is precisely why PDM and PDP had to part ways,” the statement read in parts.
The PDM, like several other organisations, has had its fair share of ups and downs. In the last one decade the organisation, had become comatose, if not dead.
About two years ago, a group of young people within the organisation took the initiative to transform it from a pressure group to a political party.
Before this time, PDM had sought registration as a political party twice: first as Peoples Front of Nigeria ( PFN) in 1989 and as PDM in 1995.
On both occasions, this aspiration was never realised due to the rivalry between the group and the military governments in power at that time.