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Sunday, 28 July 2013

PDP: A party of endless reconciliation panels

 by Muideen Olaniyi

Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, PDP National Chairman

Some of these reasons have been the source of anger being expressed by party members. While some members can withstand the challenges and manage to cope with the problems, others left angrily to other political parties in order to try their luck. The PDP lost some of its founding fathers because of the lingering crises which are often fuelled by selfish personal ambition of party leaders who consider themselves as ‘alpha and omega’.
Since the formation of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in 1998, the party has been grappling with the challenge of internal squabbles among members because of what pundits link to its large size, lack of internal democracy which is manifested through the culture of imposition of candidates by god fathers, lack of discipline and absence of supremacy of the party among others.
In view of this development, concerned party leaders and stakeholders have always been calling for the setting up of reconciliation committees to resolve the crises before it begins to affect the electoral fortune of the party.
In the last 14 years, many of these committees have been set up to bring back members who left the party either because the party did not provide a level playing field for all aspirants during the primary elections or a candidate was imposed by the sitting President or Governor.
In 2007, late President Umaru Musa Yar’adua constituted 11-man PDP National Reconciliation Committee led by the second republic Vice President, Dr Alex Ekwueme to bring back aggrieved members into the party.
The membership of this Committee included Mallam  Adamu Ciroma; the former PDP deputy national chairman Olabode George, Alhaji Shuaib Oyedokun, Ambassador Fidelis Tapgun, Alhaji Abubakar Magaji, Prof. Jerry Gana, Amabassador Aminu Wali, Dr. Bello Haliru Muhammed, and Lady Ime Udom and Dr Stephen Oru (secretary).
The panel which reached out to former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, Chief Audu Ogbe and Solomon Lar who were former National Chairmen of the party and the late Chief Bolorunduro Awoniyi recommended that the 2006 membership revalidation be revisited if genuine reconciliation is to be achieved.
The Committee submitted its report to Dr Ahmadu Ali-led PDP National Working Committee (NWC) in 2007.
But in 2008, Prince Vincent Ogbulafor-led PDP NWC set up an 18-man Committee to review the report of the Alex Ekwueme led National Reconciliation Committee in line with its resolve to re-organise and strengthen internal democracy within the party.
Members of the panel, which was led by the then PDP Deputy National Chairman Dr Bello Haliru Mohammed, were Amb. Hassan Adamu, Dr Shettima Mustafa, Sen. Ibrahim Ida, Sen. Gbemisola Saraki, Martha Bodurin, Halims Agoda, Mr Francis Elechi and Sen. Udo Udoma,  Mrs Dupe Sasore, Alh. Shuaibu Oyedokun, Sen. Haliru Idris, Professor Jerry Gana, Amb. Frank Ogbuewu, Sen. Onyeabor Obi, Amb. Aminu Wali, Dr Garba Nadama and the former PDP Deputy and Acting National Secretary, Ali Musa Babayo.
The party, in a statement by the former PDP National Publicity Secretary, Prof. Ahmed Alkali, said the decision to set up the committee was “in line with the philosophy and policy thrust of the new executive committee of the (party) and in fulfilment of the promise of the National Chairman, Prince Vincent Ogbulafor, to move the party forward.”
The committee’s terms of reference included the need to study the report critically, work out aspects of the report that can be immediately implemented to the benefit of the party, work out modalities for the implementation, and recommend a feasible implementation time frame.
The implementation of the report of the Review Committee on Ekwueme panel led to the return of the former Vice President Atiku Abubakar.
On assumption of office as PDP National Chairman in March 2012, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur also unveiled his mission to bring back aggrieved members of the party. This was part of 3Rs agenda of reconciliation, re-building and reforming the party.
To actualize this mission, Tukur inaugurated an eight –man Committee led by Chief Graham Douglas to reconcile members of the party in Kano State. The Committee was asked to talk to party members and identify cause(s) of the crises.
Also last year, the former PDP National Vice-Chairman, South-West, Alhaji Shuaib Oyedokun was saddled with the responsibility of appeasing party members in Benue State. Oyedokun Committee has since submitted its report.
Early this year, Tukur embarked on zonal reconciliation tour because of the absence of PDP governors at some of the meetings.
The failure of the zonal reconciliation tour embarked upon by Tukur led to another round of tours spearheaded by the party’s Chairman of the Board of Trustees (BoT) Chief Tony Anenih.
Anenih-led reconciliatory team visited PDP-controlled states like Jigawa, Kano, Niger, Rivers, Akwa-Ibom and Kogi among others.
Jigawa State Governor Sule Lamido-Reconcilation Committee was also constituted for after the controversial dissolution and reinstatement of Abdullahi Kaugama-led PDP executive in Adamawa State which is loyal to Governor Murtala Nyako. The Committee set up last December by President Jonathan was mandated to reconcile Kaugama and Joel Madaki-led factional PDP exco which is loyal to PDP National Chairman.
After the ouster of the embattled PDP former National Secretary Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, the party’s National Vice Chairman (South-West) Engr.Segun Oni, and the beleaguered former National Auditor Chief Bode Mustapha, Barrister Ishola Filani was appointed to lead the South-West and reconcile aggrieved party members.
Katsina State Governor Ibrahim Shema was also mandated by Godswill Akpabio-led PDP Governors’ Forum (PDPGF) to lead a team that would reconcile aggrieved party members after the sudden exit of those considered as loyalists of former President Olusegun Obasanjo because of what pundits see as 2015 presidential ambition of President Goodluck Jonathan.
In addition to this, Akwa Ibom State Governor Godswill Akpabio told journalists at the end of the PDP’s National Caucus meeting in Abuja on June 18 that President Jonathan would lead a panel charged with resolving the multiple crises in the party.
In April, the South-West Zonal Caretaker Committee also inaugurated six-member committee for each state of the South-West with the mandate to investigate the root of the party’s situation and internal wrangling, attempt reconciliation where possible and give recommendations.
The reports of the reconciliation committees have been submitted to the Zonal Caretaker Committee chaired by Chief Ishola Filani.
The latest panel called PDP National Reconciliation Committee which is being led by Bayelsa State Governor Seriake Dickson was inaugurated by PDP National Chairman Tukur last Thursday in Abuja.

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