Paul Yovo in this report examines the thrust of the recent move by the PDP leaders to re-engineer the party soon after overcoming the trauma of defeat in 16 years as the ruling party
After being revived and reinvigorated by the victory of Senator Ike Ekweremadu as Deputy Senate President on June 9, leaders of the PDP who were almost torn apart by bickering after the post election defeat have laid out plans to revived the party and put their house in order.
The PDP Post Election Review Committee, which has been set up by, the National Working Committee of the Party has since commenced work.
For obvious reasons, Senator Ekweremadu who is the chairman of the committee told newsmen at a meeting with the party`s Zonal vice- chairmen and its states chairmen: “We have now come to another critical point; we now want to take our work to the ordinary people of the PDP in their respective zones and states. We have decided to draw up a timetable for zonal consultations,” he said.
He said that each of the task teams would cover two geo-political zones to collect and collate more information from party members across the zones. The committee will cover pre-election issues, pre-primary issues, post-primary issues, election matters, post-election matters and general issues with a view to repositioning the party.
The 14 other members of the committee who include the Deputy Speaker, Hon. Emeka Ihedioha, Gov. Godswill Akpabio, Chief Nyesom Wike, Gov. Ibrahim Dankwambo, Gov. Theodore Orji, former Gov. Abdullah Kure, Comrade Abba Moro, Senator Ibrahim Shekarau, Gov. Ahmed Makarfi, Chief Shuaibu Oyedokun and Senator Florence Ita-Giwa, among others have since set to work. Each team consists of three members is saddled be with two geopolitical zones. Senator Ahmed Makarfi heads the South South and South East with base at Port Harcourt; Alhaji Shuaibu Oyedokun – North East and North West and former deputy speaker Emeka Ihedioha – North Central and South West.
During the review in the South-East Zone, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) leaders in the South-East zone have blamed the failure of their party in the 2015 general elections, especially the loss of the presidential election, on corruption and indiscipline within their ranks. They made this submission in Enugu before members of the PDP Election Review Committee for the South-East, led by former Governor of Kaduna State, Senator Ahmed Makarfi. Addressing members of the Committee, a PDP leader from Abia State, Chief Onyema Ugochukwu, particularly blamed corruption in the National leadership of PDP for the party defeat in the last general elections.
“We do not follow the constitution. The concept of the president as the national leader in our party from where we derived governor as leaders in the State is alien to our constitution; it is the major cause of indiscipline in our party. “We have to call our governors throughout the country to order. The usual reason we give is that they fund the party. “If we want to stop governors as leaders, we’ll think out how to fund the party. “We should be more creative on how to raise money for our party so that nobody will hold the party to ransom.”
Abia State Governor, Okezie Ikpeazu, who spoke in a similar vein, disclosed that the party also contended with the issue of PDP members that lost at the primaries and who decided to rock the boat of their party by jumping out at the middle of the ocean in such a way to scatter the votes of the party. Ikpeazu said some of the aggrieved PDP members came out openly to work against the party and because there were enemies from within, they were unable to remove them completely from their midst. “They attended our rallies. They attended out strategy meetings. They attended our meetings even when we were planning for elections and used it as a tool against us on Election Day,” he said. Ikpeazu stressed the need to enforce party discipline at all levels, adding that the 2015 election experience was a clarion call to uphold party supremacy Ebonyi State Governor, Dave Umahi, who was represented by his Deputy, Kelechi Igwe, told the committee that the members of the party in the State were of the view that there were areas where the party did not do well.
Umahi noted that Ebonyi State was one of the states that passed through peculiar turbulence, which no other state passed through, stressing that it was only in the State that the instruments of the party were used against the party in the election. Earlier, Enugu State Governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, welcomed members of the committee to the State and assured them of his commitment towards repositioning the party for future elections.
Meanwhile the Former deputy speaker of the House of Representatives, Emeka Ihedioha, has said the Peoples Demo¬cratic Party (PDP) made costly mistakes during the 2015 general elections by taking wrong steps. Ihedioha spoke at the commencement of a two-day sitting for the South-West post-election review of the party in Ibadan. He attended the meeting with other members of the committee, Adamu Waziri, Florence Ita-Giwa and Uzor Azubuike.
The committee also cre¬ated three sub-committees, comprising statesmen and women of the party to visit two zones each to find out why PDP lost elections in the zones. Ihedioha is the sub-committee chairman for the North Central and South West zones. “It just appears to all of us that Nigeria is still largely a PDP state. In every ward, lo¬cal government areas, states, zones and indeed in the en¬tire country, PDP remains the most popular party by our reckoning.
What has happened to us was that we made very costly mis¬takes. We took steps that we shouldn’t have taken. And those steps today are begin¬ning to hunt us,” Ihedioha said. He stated that the commit¬tee had invited all the state and zonal chairmen of the party and briefed them on the various programmes “that we wish to adopt to reach out to the various states. ‘’Consequently, we set up three groups; each of these groups consists of states¬men and women of our great party to visit two zones each. Our group is responsible to finding out what happened in the North Central and South West zones.” The former deputy speak¬er added: “We concluded our findings on our pro¬grammes at the North Cen-tral zone yesterday (Tues¬day) evening, and today (Wednesday), we’re here to commence work as regards the South-West zone.
We requested all the state chair¬men and the zonal chairmen to intimate all stakeholders of our party, who have any submission to make to us, because we’re interested in finding out what actually went wrong and we believe that it is when we find out what went wrong that we can apply solutions.” Ihedioha described the visit as a fact-finding mis-sion, promising that every¬one and group would have an opportunity to make their presentations. He added that the committee would give fair-hearing to all parties involved, which he said, in-formed the decision of the committee to operate from the zonal office of the party.
At the North-East zone of the country, Chairman of the post election review committee, Alhaji Shuaib Oyedokun said in Gombe, that the aim is to reposition the party for success in subsequent elections, in line with its determination to reclaim power in the nearest future. The road map for the three-man post election review committee has the task of critically looking at the PDPs poor performance at the polls at all levels in the 2015 general elections, working out a road map for repositioning the party and restoring confidence in the party.
According to the Chairman of the committee, Alhaji Shuaib Oyedokun, stakeholders of the party from the six states of the North-East would appear before the committee to identify what went wrong during the election and proffer solution to same, for onward transmission to the national secretariat of the party. “We are having audience with delegates from the six states of the zone and we have been having serious frank discussions about what happened and the way forward. We will later report back to our national Headquarters in Abuja, for proper analysis and final recommendations to the party,” he said. He said the template provided by the party would be strictly followed as directed.
Oyedokun listed out some of the items on the template. “We don’t just discuss randomly. We treat each item according to how it is stated in the template and items there-in include our how we conducted our primary election, what went wrong with the selection of candidates, we are also looking at how conflicts were resolved, the campaign strategy as well as funding and disbursement of campaign funds among many others,” The Committee Chairman explained. Oyedokun, who is a former National Deputy Chairman of the PDP, said complacency was partly responsible for the failure of the party but corrections would be made, so as to reclaim power, in order to deliver more democratic dividends to Nigerians.
“We were not careful enough. We failed a little in managing the success we ad for 16 years and we were complacent. This failure now has taught us a lot. This exercise we are embarking on is indeed an innovation. Before, it was just people writing reports to the centre in disjointed form but now everything is formalized. We have the confidence that if we put things right, we will get it right. PDP has not died. What happened was that we allowed too many of our active members to go on secondment to other parties,” Oyedokun stated. The committee is working in partnership with a nongovernmental organization, the International Republican Institute in the area of data collection, analysis as well as its final report