OP-ED: HOW GOVERNORS RUINED PDP… BY TONY BEN

If not for the recent Supreme Court judgement validating the Ahmed Markafi faction of the Peoples Democratic Party, it was no longer news that the Party was in the throes of death. Though one can rightly point to the loss of power at the Centre as the cause of the present imbroglio as the party has since proved it was not prepared for opposition, but the real cause is the cumulative effect of the role PDP Governors have played and are still playing in the affairs of the party. The Governors practically dictate what happens in the party. Even Sheriff the present nemesis of the PDP is a masquerade created, adorned and imposed on the party by the Governors.

The influence of the Governors in the party’s affairs manifested back in 2003 when President Obasanjo, who had no effective political machinery of his own, wanted to run for a second term in office.The widely held believe is that he had to rely on Atiku Abubakar his Vice touted to have tremendous influence on most of the PDP Governors then to achieve that. This also is believed to be the genesis of the falling apart between the two as the Governors preferred and goaded Atiku (who was begged to decline by some influential northerners on Obasanjo’s plea) to run against his boss.

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The political arrangement which places the party machinery in the hands of Governors has made
them the most powerful political office holders in the country. Though the President is regarded as the leader of the party nationwide, this is only in name as in reality he has little influence on party affairs. In intra-party elections the Governors call the shots as they control most of the delegates. The result is that Governors pick the party functionaries from the ward level to the national level, party flag bearers for elections right from councilors to even the President. It is not surprising therefore that most of the Councilors, Local Government Council Chairmen, State House of Assembly members, National Assembly members were handpicked by the Governors.

How do they achieve this? The Governors claim they fund the party. They use monthly Federal allocations meant for the development of their States to pay huge sums of money to party delegates who are selected by party functionaries installed by them to attend and vote during party conventions. Thus, from the Obasanjo era to date, most of the party functionaries at all

Levels in the PDP have always been selected, based often on selfish partisan interests, and imposed on the party by the Governors. Anyone who cares to investigate will certainly discover that most PDP Chairmen past and present were appointed or removed with the intrigue and connivance of the Governors with the President, the supposed leader of the party, having to negotiate to protect his own interest. This equally is the main reason the State Houses of Assembly are mere rubber stamps. They even had to vote against a Constitutional amendment that granted them financial autonomy because their Governors are against it.

The major reason behind Bamanga Tukur’s removal as national Chairman of PDP was because he tried to whittle down the influence and death grip of the Governors on the party. Isa Yuguda was made Chairman because he was one of them before and they believed he will be a willing tool to protect and further their interests. He was. The poor man was sacrificed by the Governors after the party lost the election and someone needed to take the blame.

The PDP lost the 2015 Presidential election mainly as a result of the selfishness of the Governors. Without the rebellion of the PDP Governors who were interested in contesting the Presidency and Vice Presidency and the subsequent movement of five of them to the APC, it is doubtful if the APC would have won the election. Similarly, because a certain region wanted the Presidency at all cost, most of the PDP Governors from that region abandoned their candidate and tacitly supported their kinsman concentrating only on the gubernatorial elections which unfortunately boomeranged on them. After orchestrating the defeat to APC, they didn’t learn any lesson; they have persisted in their selfish interest and practice of imposition.

Having pushed out Isa Yuguda and against all protests and resistance of elders, majority and right thinking members of the party, the PDP Governors again recruited another old boy of their group and known APC turn coat, Ali Modu Sheriff with his unsavory antecedents and baggage. Now, like they say in my place the snake and the very big thing it swallowed are in quagmire. Sheriff has since proven to be a bone stuck in their throat which they can neither swallow nor vomit.

The blame for the present charade in the PDP lies squarely on the Governors of the party. They foisted Sheriff on the party and it is their responsibility to wrestle what is left of it from his jaws. The Governors must find a way out of the logjam they threw the PDP into because time is

Running out, otherwise they should prepare for the funeral of the party which is in a coma now and 2019 is not too far. They should make the sacrifice Modu Sheriff demanded for peace to rein. Unfortunately Sheriff is demanding for what they consider unrealistic and impossible.

Goaded by those who have been wronged by the Governors in the past in their selfish use and dump game and of course the opposition who have already secured a casket for the interment of the party, he is demanding for the entire mainstream of the party which include the founding fathers, the Governors themselves, National assembly members past and present to acquiesce to his wishes and handover the party to him to run as he deems fit. No thanks to our flawed judicial process he is on the driving seat, dictating the pace and having his way. So far the Governors seem to be at their wits end on how to rein in their own man who has since turned against them. Whether they succeed or not is a matter for another discuss but, let us hope that they have learnt their lessons, relegate their selfish interest and pursue the interest of the people as expected of public officers.

 

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