Nigeria News

PDP, a Ruling Party is Broken

pdpBy 2011, when President Goodluck Jonathan emerged as president, following his election, he was handed the full machinery of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) intact.
 
His emergence was equally significant, especially heralding for the first time, the presidency of a Nigerian from a minority ethnic nationality, particularly, from the South-south.  His ascendance to power was, in a way, seen as an act of justice for the hitherto neglected bloc that lays the nation's golden egg— crude oil.
 
Sadly, this goodwill lasted for a short time, no thanks to jockeying for the 2015 elections during which the president is expected to seek a second term. Indications that all was not well with the PDP and by extension, the presidency, started to manifest when soon after the national convention of the party in 2012, former President Olusegun Obasanjo resigned his position as Chairman, PDP Board of Trustees (BoT).
Obasanjo’s reason for quitting his office was simple: he wanted to concentrate on other assignments, including his international commitments. There was obviously more to it. He was beginning to fall apart with the president.
 
Not long after this, the presidency began to consolidate on Obasanjo’s exit by gradually taking out his men from the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party.
 
First, it was the former governor of Ekiti State, Chief Segun Oni, who was eased out of office as national vice-chairman of the party, South-west, following a court order, which discountenanced the congress that produced him.
 
Next to go was the suspended National Secretary of the party, Olagunsoye Oyinlola. His removal was equally engineered the same as that of Oni's. And to put a seal on Obasanjo’s fate, the party machinery in his home state of Ogun was taken away from him and handed to his archrival, Mr. Buruju Kashamu, a PDP financier in the state.
 
Gradually but steadily, the train of dislodgment moved to some of the carefully identified states for one political reason or the other. The situation in Adamawa State was strictly that of a succession crisis that pitted the Governor, Murtala Nyako, against the National Chairman of the party, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, who is being rumoured of trying to groom  his son, Auwal, to take over the mantle of leadership in the state in 2015. But Nyako is not disposed to Tukur's son succeeding him when he leaves office after eight years in power.
 
The power struggle manifested during the state congress, and months after, it is yet to be resolved. It also affected the selection of candidates for the local government elections in the state.
 
The Rivers State scenario is rather complicated. Apart from the fact that Governor Chibuike Amaechi seems to have an axe to grind with the first family, Jonathan is obviously not comfortable with the style of the governor. His ill-disposition towards Amaechi was the main reason state resources were deployed to stop his re-election as  Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF). But the governor, with the support of his colleagues from the opposition parties and a few courageous PDP governors who refused to be cowed by the president to do his bidding, defeated Jonathan's candidate, Plateau State Governor, Chief Jonah Jang, by 19 votes to 16.
This, of course, had a spiral effect on the local politics of the state since the First Lady, Patience Jonathan, is from Okrika in Rivers State and she had seemingly wanted to play a more active role in the politics of her state.  Since then, Rivers has known no peace.
 
While Amaechi is still on suspension on the grounds that he dared to contest the NGF election, despite the so-called body language of the PDP leaders that did not give him the go-ahead to do so, Rivers crisis does not look like it would go away even after the 2015 election.
 
Governor Aliyu Wamakko of Sokoto State was also dealt a big blow when he was accused of insubordination and as a result, suspended. Unfortunately for the PDP, this action further exposed the party leadership as being despotic and intemperate and it generated strident criticism until the party made a volte face and lifted the suspension.
 
The other aggrieved governors also have one disagreement or the other to sort out with the party leadership. They are at war with the party over the  subtle encroachment on their authorities in the state chapters of the party. The situation in Kano State is a handy example.
 
Importantly, the other aggrieved governors share in the alleged victimisation of their colleagues, the basis of which formed their union to fight their common enemies, Jonathan and Tukur.
 
However, the height of the crisis was the walkout at the special national convention of the PDP, which held at the Eagle Square on August 31. On that day, seven governors of the party along with others went on to form the New PDP. The aim was to wrest the leadership of the party from Tukur in a bid to redress the alleged injustice being meted out to party members.
 
At several peace meetings to resolve the crisis in the party, the aggrieved governors tabled their grievances and their terms for peace, but nothing seems to be coming out of the peace efforts.
 
There is a strong belief that while some of the conditions for peace by the aggrieved governors are practically impossible, the president and PDP leadership are believed to have mismanaged the crisis, by failing to properly analyse its larger implications for the party.
 
Despite the president's disposition towards reconciliation, the party has been wobbling from one crisis to the other. The president's dithering attitude towards reconciliation, analysts have said, is informed by the poor advice he has been receiving from some of his aides and political associates who have given him the impression that he could do without the aggrieved members of the party to achieve his yet-to-be declared second term ambition, which is fuelling the discord in PDP.
 
 
From the Chief of Staff to the president, Mike Ogiadhome, to his Special Adviser on Political Matters, Ahmed Gulak, and other personal staff of the president, they have played such roles that have made genuine reconciliation between the president and the G-7 as well as their allies in the party nearly impossible.
 
Some of the aides of the president and some governors who had become emergency advisers to Jonathan during the crisis, have tried to play down  the implications of the seven governors leaving the PDP. They have thus not nudged the president in the right direction to embrace genuine reconciliation in PDP. 
 
Yesterday, five of the seven governors defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC), and that has inadvertently  altered the political equation. There is now a delicate balance of power in the final analysis. What this means is that the battle for the 2015 presidential election would be tough and could go either way.
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If Jonathan eventually decides to run, as he might do when he finally makes up his mind and announces his political future in 2014, as he had promised he would, he must reckon that a lot is at stake on both sides of the political divide.
 
But whether he wins or loses his bid for second term, its glaring with yesterday's defection of the governors and some of the allies that the president mismanaged the crisis and he may leave the party weaker than he met it as its leader.  
 

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