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Thursday, 12 September 2013

PDP Crisis: Splitting On Precedents Of Irresponsibility? By Ifeanyi Izeze


Self-deceit is defined as a misconception that is favourable only to the person who holds it. For some days now, handlers of Jonathan’s politics preferred to adopt new rhetoric by believing there is no crisis in the ruling Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP). Though the Bible says “as a man thinketh in his heart, so he is,” saying there is no crisis under the umbrella is obviously an act of praying the wrong way.
In a country or rather a party where precedents of irresponsibility and criminal impunity have been set, was it not surprising that the Tukur leadership and their apologists are crying foul when few months ago, the same President and the Tukur-led executive of the party outrightly preferred to recognize a dissident faction of the Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF) led by the Plateau state governor, Jonah Jang? After all the governors voted, as recorded on video, the Rivers state governor, Chibuike Amaechi got 19 votes against Jang who scored 16. But the Presidency the same day recognized and hosted Jang as the NGF chairman in the villa.
If 16 was greater than 19 as in the Nigerian Governors Forum arithmetic where Jang was recognized instead of Amaechi, and 5 greater than 27 as in the Rivers State House of Assembly (RSHA), obviously the seven PDP governors of the new PDP should be greater than the 16 pro-Jonathan governors remaining in the old PDP. Why won’t this make sense in the warped mindset of the leadership of the party since precedents have been set using such arithmetic?
First it was the same Presidency that raised the Akwa Ibom state governor, Goodswill Akpabio as leader of a dissident faction of the Nigerian Governors Forum labeled the PDP Governors’ Forum. And there was nothing wrong with that.
This same Tukur-led NWC recognized the dissident faction of the PDP in Rivers state against the statutory and authentic leadership of the party in the state. And this was applauded.
Also the same Presidency and the Tukur-led NWC preferred to recognize and announce the candidate that emerged from a convention held by the dissident faction of the PDP in Anambra state just because the candidate that emerged from the authentic faction of the party in the state, Andy Uba was affiliated to former President Olusegun Obasanjo who has been challenging the way the party was being managed under the BamangaTukur leadership.
The Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Tony Anenih like the elder statesman and intelligent fixer he has always been, honestly on Tuesday September 3 admitted that leading figures of the party who broke away on Saturday August 31 have genuine grievances and valid reasons to have taken the action.
“I believe some of them have genuine grievances. But I have hope that once the grievances are addressed, they will come back. I am happy that the PDP has an internal mechanism for effective conflict resolution, and at the end of the day, the problems will be addressed and the PDP will come out of the crisis stronger. The Presidency and PDP leadership would take advantage of the peace talk to also consult widely on how to amicably resolve the crisis.”
It was an outright self-deceit for some sycophants and self-seeking PDP chieftains to say that the issues raised by the dissenting group in the PDP had no basis. Whether or not the leadership of the old party agreed with the issues that formed the core crux of the walkout, asking a tangible proportion of your membership including those that can be rightly described as leaders of the party to go to hell was an outright arrogance which has turned out now to be a very costly one. If you can do without them, why worry about their exit? You see what I mean?
The walk-out followed what the splinter group called unrelenting attacks on democratic ethos by the leadership of the party chaired by octogenarian businessman Bamanga Tukur, the man believed to be Jonathan’s henchman. As claimed, the new faction was formed to end the years of impunity, lack of internal democracy and respect for party rules by the current leadership of the party.
The question should be whether the Kawu Baraje-led faction of the PDP has any locus standi to challenge the factional leadership of Bamanga Tukur. The answer is yes because almost all members of the Baraje-led faction are not only staunch members of the PDP but well known chieftains and leaders of the party in various capacities at various levels.
Let’s even ask: What led to the resignation of most members of the National Working Committee (NWC)? Was it not the flouting of the directives from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) by the Bamanga Tukur leadership? What are we saying: which group should actually be referred to as a dissident faction? This is what you get in a culture of impunity.
Is it true that names of party chieftains deemed unsympathetic to the President were struck out of the list of aspirants for the different national positions up for grabs at the convention?
Was it not a shame that notwithstanding the fact that INEC had noted that the PDP congresses in nine states including Rivers were not conducted before the August 30 convention, the illegal delegates from such states were paraded at the convention in a cynical attempt to circumvent the electoral laws?
No matter how anybody feels about him, was Governor Amaechi not statutorily supposed to be the leader of the Rivers State delegation to Saturday August 31 special convention of the party that was genuinely out for peace? Who led the delegation from Port Harcourt and why were they recognized rather than being treated as a dissident faction? Across the ranks of the PDP especially in the national leadership, it has been from one case of impunity and irresponsible decision to another and now it’s back-firing.
No doubt, how President Jonathan manages the unfolding drama in the ruling party will have a lot to speak of his political sagacity. He has to quickly without waiting for any more time, reach out for new friends. How Jonathan plays his politics in the light of all these regional interests and aspirations that have found expression in some political parties, will determine whether PDP will go down with him or whether he would prevail.
It is very unfortunate that though the president’s people know they lack the political sagacity, number and even the acceptability to make Jonathan president come 2015, the diplomacy they should apply in approaching the issue of the president’s second term ambition is lacking. They are rather very arrogant and combative and this is not going to work. Mark my words!
Threatening fire and brimstone against any opposition- real or imaginary to Jonathan’s 2015 ambition is only an expression of disabled and unintelligent mindsets. Imagine the street talk that “Jonathan must be president whether Nigerians vote for him or not.” How shall this thing be? As rightly advised by Chief Anenih, provocative statements from both sides of the PDP would only worsen the crisis. And contrary to the act of winning elections by shootings and intimidation at the state and council levels, at the national arena of our political space intelligence and informed scheming rule. Bros, hear now o!
(IFEANYI IZEZE is an Abuja-based Consultant and can be reached on: iizeze@yahoo.com; 234-8033043009)

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