THE breakaway of a faction has lifted the whole power play in the PDP party to a new crescendo. The stake is upped and each one is fighting for its own survival.
The way the situation is now, it is either going to be a zero sum game, where the winner takes all or the loser crashes. In the alternative, a much more subdued PDP will emerge. The situation is already creating orgasmic reactions from the opposition parties.
How did things get to this sorry pass? The seed has been sown right from the time of Gen Olusegun Obasanjo as president of the country. Arbitrariness was the order of the day. People were appointed and removed at the whims of those in authority.
During Obasanjo’s tenure alone, the PDP had five chairmen of the party and five Senate presidents within eight years – indeed a world record. In the process, so many members were alienated.
The same methods were used to impose Yar’Adua and Jonathan as president and vice president, respectively. Many of them, including Atiku, left for other parties. The short span of Yar’Adua’s reign did not allow us to assess the extent he would have gone in the use of presidential powers but a few people like El- Rufai and Nuhu Ribadu got a taste of it.
Jonathan came as a gentleman, ready to compromise with everybody, unfortunately, already aggrieved members, having learnt their lessons under Obasanjo, plotted to regain control of the PDP. Jonathan does not have the military background and ruthlessness of Obasanjo and in attempting to use Obasanjo’s strategies to make the party toe the line, he is finding great resistance. That is the situation of the PDP.
In a very simplistic manner, the problems of the PDP can be solved if all of the participants agree to subject themselves to a true democratic process, beginning from the state level. If the wishes of the PDP in terms of the majority are allowed to reign, then everybody can go to sleep.
Unfortunately, this has not been possible –Anambra, Rivers, Adamawa – to mention but a few states, are still deadlocked on who their true representatives should be. Therefore, as the party cannot carry out genuine democratic elections within, the fight must go on. The battle is now between Jonathan and Atiku’s faction.
Will Atiku succeed? Why is he – Atiku- still insisting on being a member of the PDP? What does he stand to gain? Will it not be better for him and acolytes to go and form a party of their own instead of the roforofo fight they are staging? Or is the whole thing just a gimmick to gain control of the ruling party, as that is where the juice is? Time will tell.
There is no need over-flogging the issue that President Jonathan and his political strategists mismanaged the affairs of the Rivers State crises. A simple sincere face- to-face discussion with Amaechi would have put the whole thing to rest. Allowing the interest of the President’s wife to interfere with the interest of the party was a big mistake. Amaechi knows that his political survival is at stake if allowed to be bullied into submission; his political career will be over.
He is, therefore, like a goat that has his back on the wall, he either wins it or lose everything. He has teamed up with the North whose politicians want the presidency to revert back to them. How will the PDP handle the issue of Amaechi? It is a sore thumb and must be delicately handled. It must be noted here that, if Amaechi is persuaded to revert back to Jonathan, the remaining governors will be from the North, it will then, become a North – South thing. Can Amaechi be prised away from the group? Amaechi, from his antecedents, is a very good political strategist. How will the Jonathan group appease him?
We are reading from the papers that the elders of the PDP are meeting to find a solution to the whole crises. Where were these elders all these while? Why did they allow the situation to get this far? Was it in their interest to allow the crises to degenerate to prove their importance to the party? If they have not found solutions to the party crises all these while, how can they do so now? Do they belong to factions in the PDP? The elders will have to clarify their stand and unless they tackle these issues sincerely, no headway will come out of it.
Basically, the whole thing is a chess game. According to a Chinese proverb: “No one walks out of his home without a purpose”. What do the rebellious governors want? Sule Lamido’s ambition to be president has been in the grapevine for some time now, prodded by his principal, Olusegun Obasanjo. It got to a stage that Jonathan was addressing his state of the nation gathering at Abuja, while Lamido was organising a parallel function in his state. Indeed, it is inferred in some quarters that the money laundering charge against his son was an attempt to rein him in and discourage his presidential ambition.
Governor Aliyu has never been tied to one position; he started this flirtation during the last presidential election. Today he is for Jonathan; tomorrow he is pursuing the interest of the opposition. What manner of man will dine with Mr President tonight and tomorrow declare for a faction opposing him. What does Aliyu want? As we know, he has never been one of the PDP governors complaining of marginalisation; whose interest is he serving? He should take a stand and remain with it.
Rabiu Kwankwaso also has not declared his grouse. Does he want to contest as a Northern presidential candidate or he is being loyal to Atiku Abubakar? The case of the Kwara State governor is understandable; anywhere Bukola Saraki pitches his tent, there will he be. The EFCC has been hounding Saraki for some time now because of his role in the demise of the defunct Societe General Bank, he is fighting through the opposition faction. All the other governors are aligned one way or the other to the Northern presidency movement.
What should Jonathan do? Is he capable of bringing discipline to the party? If he chooses to confront the opposition headlong, will such action not destroy the party? Seven state governors and a sizeable number of senators is a strong force that cannot be under-estimated.
My take is that everyone should come to the table with a sincere motive for peace in the party. From the actions of Atiku and his gang, the purpose is to regain control of the party mechanism like the PDM of yore. Controlling the party means being in charge of deciding candidates that will stand for the elections and invariably, if they win – control the government.
If the Atiku gang are not satisfied with the running of the PDP like they claim, they should exit the party and not heat up the polity as a result. In fact, it will not be the first time that Atiku will leave the party, if he decides to do so now, he has been going and coming.
On the part of the President, he should – by all means – do everything possible to restore the confidence of the people. Imposition of candidates and the likes should be avoided. Sort out the Amaechi issue and for once, let us see the real Commander-in-Chief in him.
Mr. SUNNY IKHIOYA, a commentator on national issues, wrote from Lagos.