Posted by: Gbade Ogunwale, Abuja; Dare Odufowokan and Odunayo Ogunmola, Ado Ekiti
• Party attacks presidency over electoral loss
• Blames Jonathan’s aides for defeat
• Says they are bent on hijacking, ruining party
• Southwest PDP demands Mu’azu’s resignation
He told them they could not use and dump him the way the party had treated his predecessors.
The PDP governors and many other top members have blamed Mu’azu for the party’s heavy defeat in the recent elections, the latest attack coming yesterday from leaders of the party in the Southwest.
They demanded his immediate resignation and that of the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) for the poor outing.
The NWC, apparently oblivious of the Southwest PDP’s position, yesterday launched an unusual verbal attack on unnamed presidency officials for allegedly causing the party’s defeat.
The same officials, according to the PDP’s national publicity secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh, now want to use their closeness to President Goodluck Jonathan to cause further damage to the party.
Mu’azu, in a statement in Abuja through his Press Secretary, Chief Tony Amadi, declared that the PDP could not continue to change its chairmen on the whims and caprices of a few misguided individuals and groups.
“The developing culture of using and dumping has reached fratricidal proportions in the PDP and it must end.
“You cannot be changing Chairmen and NWC every year and still have cohesion which is a vital ingredient of winning,” he said in a veiled reference to moves by PDP governors in the Southeast and the Southsouth to sack him and take over the running of the party ahead of the 2019 elections.
Mu’azu, making a case for why he should remain as chairman said the party “produced calamity” when it changed five Senate Presidents between 1999 and 2007 in contrast to the “harmony between the presidency and parliament” when it has had one Senate President between 2007 and now.
He said that the PDP could improve its fortunes in the years ahead if it avoids candidate imposition and seeks to deepen internal democracy.
His words: “The result of the 2015 presidential election is the elixir the party needs to reinvent itself and retake power in 2019 instead of wasting time and energy mudslinging and blame gaming over the party’s failed bid to win a fifth consecutive presidential election victory.
“Stories spreading like wild fire in the social media about schisms in our great party can only energise the incoming administration of the APC and their wish list that include the burial of the PDP.
“But we can shock them with our usual resilience and ability to turn the tables particularly as they are already developing a tottering ineptitude in their transition progression to power.
“It is therefore time for our great party to reinvent ourselves, show great maturity and map out a strategy that will return us to power in 2019.
“Despite losing our dominance in the National Assembly, our party has the largest number of experienced legislators in both chambers and will surely be calling the shots there.
“We will, however, help to reduce the imminent issue of learning process occasioned by the horde of inexperienced APC members in both houses because of national interest.
“It is also time to end the spate of in-fighting and blame games currently dominating the political discourse among our membership and the leadership.
“It will do no one any good. The present leadership has until next year to run their course. The party will then decide how to deal with the zoning of the next leadership and strategies for winning the 2019 elections.”
He described the gale of defections of PDP members to the APC after the presidential election as stupid, although he claimed it does not personally worry him.
He wanted the PDP to “provide a virile opposition to the new government, which we have already graciously given a lifeline by conceding defeat and avoiding a calamitous battle in the courts,” adding that the international community has “noted this great act of statesmanship on our part and we shall continue in this mode to show our commitment towards entrenching democracy in our country.”
The PDP national secretariat, in an unusual tirade at the presidency, yesterday blamed unnamed aides of President Goodluck Jonathan for causing his defeat, and by extension, the party’s poor outing in the just concluded Presidential, National Assembly, governorship and state assembly polls.
The same officials, according to the PDP’s national publicity secretary,Chief Olisa Metuh, now want to use their closeness to the president to cause further damage to the party.
Oliseh said the NWC was “aware of the clandestine activities of such aides and associates of the president including their unholy alliance with some elements in other parties to undermine and weaken the PDP by attacking its leadership.”
He said the NWC was also “aware that these same individuals who mismanaged the presidential campaigns are now desperately seeking to cause crisis in the PDP with a view not only to diverting attention from their misdeeds but also to ensuring that they remain politically relevant by hijacking the party structure for their selfish purposes.”
The PDP vowed to expose such individuals and make them face the full weight of the party disciplinary measures should they fail to immediately retrace their steps.
The presidency officials, he added, “have been trying to arm-twist the president to summon a meeting of party leaders at the Presidential Villa in the coming days where the NWC members would be put under pressure to resign thereby triggering a crisis in the leadership at the national level.
“The party is aware that the same group has been sponsoring series of amorphous bodies and negative publications in a section of the media to peddle false allegations against the NWC to back their heinous and unconstitutional demands that the President should sack the NWC before the handover date of May 29, 2015.
“However, for the purposes of clarity, especially for those making uninformed demands on the president, the PDP National Working Committee is duly elected and its tenure ends in March 2016 in line with the provisions of the party’s constitution.
“The PDP is a party built on the rule of law and democratic ethos. Its NWC is elected and not appointed and as such cannot be sacked at will or by an executive fiat.
“Besides, no section of the party constitution prescribes that the NWC should quit if the party loses in a general election.
“Furthermore, the PDP constitution is clear on the process of summoning a meeting of party leaders and the role of the NWC in that regard is well-defined.
“Anything outside the laid down rules and the provisions of the constitution in this respect is completely of no effect.
“Moreover, President Goodluck Jonathan has amply demonstrated his strict adherence to the rule of law and the tenets of democracy even on issues of party administration and should not in any way be hassled by these selfish and greedy elements to destroy his legacies.
“Consequently, the leadership of the PDP by this statement makes it very clear and in an unambiguous terms too that it will no longer condone such divisive actions by the same unscrupulous individuals who in their selfishness ruined the fortunes of our great party in the general elections.
“The NWC will no longer tolerate actions that tend to undermine discipline and the supremacy of the party and its constitution, as it will henceforth not hesitate to apply full disciplinary measures for infractions
“Our advice to these ambitious aides and associates of the president is to leave party matters and concentrate on the Presidential transition and smooth handover of power to the incoming administration as well as preparing for post-handover issues that might arise regarding the administration in which they served.”
The PDP NWC said it has no case to answer in respect of allegations that it caused the party’s woeful performance in the elections and that it mismanaged funds for the campaigns, “as Nigerians already know the truth regarding those who managed the campaigns including the funds.”
“Nigerians are not at a loss as to the fact that the PDP NWC did not manage the campaign and its fund. Those who managed the campaigns have already submitted their reports to the president who in his wisdom gave them the mandate and they have been applauded for a job well done at that level,” Metuh said.
The Nation gathered that several aides and associates of the president within and outside the presidency are up in arms against the current leadership of the PDP.
On the side of the presidency officials are PDP governors from the South who plan to wrestle control of the party from the Adamu Muazu-led NWC.
“The dismal performance of the party in the North is one major reason why some people want the leadership to return to the South where the party is still popular,” a source said yesterday.
“It is assumed that party chieftains in the South are in a better stead to return the party to its glorious past since they still have so much at stake.
“But the northern chieftains and the current leadership of the party think otherwise and there is an imminent struggle for the soul of the troubled party,” the source added.
The Nation gathered that as part of the plot to sack Mu’azu, two meetings of major stakeholders have been held already.
One of the meetings reportedly x-rayed the party’s performance in each of the six geo-political zones while the other was allegedly used by the President’s men to pointedly advise Mu’azu and his executives to agree to the planned change of leadership.
It was the second meeting, The Nation learnt that prompted an emergency meeting of the leadership of the party where the decision to call the president’s men to order was reached.
Our source said: “The calculation of the PDP leaders is that while it may still be dangerous to go all out against the governors and other leading chieftains backing the plot to remove Mu’azu, it is important to make public the role of the presidency in the entire plot.”
Rising from a meeting in Ado Ekiti, the Ekiti State capital yesterday, the Southwest leadership of the party demanded the immediate resignation of the PDP National Chairman to allow for the rebuilding of the PDP following the last elections.
The Southwest PDP passed a vote of no confidence on the Mu’azu-led NWC, arguing its exit would pave the way for reconciliation and reorganisation of the party to restore its lost glory and prepare ahead of the 2019 elections.
The Southwest PDP also warned the All Progressives Congress (APC) against using its position as the ruling party from May 29 to harass its members and against the planned impeachment of Governor Ayo Fayose of Ekiti State or any other PDP governor.
The communiqué was read by the former Deputy National Chairman (South) and ex-Chairman of the Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA), Chief Olabode George.
The Southwest PDP commended President Goodluck Jonathan for acting like as a statesman by conceding defeat after the March election despite the “noticeable flaws” in the poll.
They hailed Jonathan for his belief in transparent elections and appealed to members who have defected to the APC to return for the purpose of re-building the PDP.
They commended Fayose for “resisting intimidation” in the face of intimidation by the APC and hoped that he and his Ondo State counterpart, Olusegun Mimiko, will continue to work together.
George said: “People like President Jonathan are very rare to come by. He accepted a flawed election for Nigeria to stand united. Can those who have not been sworn in and have started threatening to impeach a PDP governor do this?
“PDP lost the elections because of unresolved issues and due to the handiwork of enemies within coupled with the conspiracy of the INEC chairman, Prof Attahiru Jega, who wisely made Nigerians to have the impression that the elections were free and fair when they were not.
“As at the time Prof Jega said he was ready for elections, about 2.1 million PVCs were yet to get to Lagos State and likewise Ogun. If you check the election, there was no cancellation of results and voided votes in the north.
“In spite of all these, the president said it should be allowed to stay. The conspiracy was too obvious against our party, but President Jonathan showed civility, this was quite commendable”.
Fayose vowed nobody “can harass me because of my political belief.”
“They (APC) were in opposition and they effectively stood up to us that time, so they should expect same now. Nigeria will progress, if the APC can respect the rights of every Nigerian”.
Mimiko, represented by his Chief of Staff, Dr Kola Ademujimi, described PDP’s ouster from power as a “four-year holiday”.
He was optimistic that it would bounce back in 2019.
Others at the meeting were former Southwest zonal chairman, Alhaji Tajudeen Oladipo; Senator Bode Olajumoke, Chief Segun Adegoke, Senator Lekan Balogun, Ogun State PDP governorship candidate, Gboyega Isiaka; former envoy, Ambassador Toye Olofintuyi; ex-PDP Chairman in Ekiti, Chief Bola Olu-Ojo; Senator Femi Kila and Hon Duro Faseyi, among others.
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