Christie James on PDP Convention
SEPTEMBER 1, 2013.
The ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, last Saturday held a Special Convention at the Eagle Square in Abuja as ordered by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to fill up the vacant positions in the National Working Committee of the Party. Though what was supposed to be a mini- Convention itturned out to be a grand occasion which had in attendance the President, Federal Republic of Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan, his wife, the Vice President, Namadi Sambo, Senate President- David Mark, the Speaker-Hon. Tambuwal, the National Chairman of the Party, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, Chairman BOT, Chief Tony Anenih and other Party Chieftains from the different states.
As it turned out, top on the agenda was the election, however some of those aggrieved in the Party chose to use the occasion to express their displeasure with the Party leaders and ultimately staged a walk- out. Voting had barely started when the former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar whose name has become synonymous with ” opposition ” led a walk-out with seven governors of Jigawa, Kano, Niger, Adamawa, Rivers, Kwara, Sokoto states. They headed for the Yaradua Centre where they addressed their supporters on the reasons why they decided to rebel against the Tukur-led PDP. It was the former National Secretary of the Party, Alhaji Kawu Baraje from Kwara State who spoke on why they had chosen to be become renegades. He was later appointed the Chairman of the new faction while the former Deputy to Bamanga Tukur, Dr. Sam Sam Jaja was appointed the Deputy Chairman, while Col. Olagunsoye Oyinlola, the controversial National Secretary was appointed the substantive secretary of the new group.
While, the President has maintained a stance of not meddling with the affairs of the Party as it affects who emerges as a candidate or wins the general election, the group of ” dissidents” who have not hidden their desperation to occupy the exalted seat of the Presidency, failed to exhaust all avenues for truce and like the masquerade that dances naked decided to embark on yet another suicide mission and an exercise that will amount to futility.
What Atiku and his co travelers are doing is not strange in politics where those who have lost out of power tend to form an opposition within. It is part of the process that will strengthen the internal democracy of the PDP as well as other political parties.
When the news of the newly registered PDM filtered in through the media, Atiku and some of his men were quick to deny their involvement in the registration of the new party, but from the action of the new group, it is evident that he is not ready to change his style of politicking. Though, his intentions are yet not clear, but going by his antecedents, it is clear that he is pursuing his ambition with an accurate velocity like a dysfunctional locomotive. He has just scripted the drama that is playing out and like the game of chess, it is not expected that the President and his handlers will keep mum especially if the President intends to seek re- election.
In whose interest is Atiku playing this time around? When he mobilized against his Principal, Olusegun Obasanjo’s rumored third term ambition, he eventually lost out to a less ambitious Umaru Yaradua. He left to form the Action Congress of Nigeria with the likes of Bola Ahmed Tinubu who later became the greatest beneficiary of the party leaving Atiku agin wounded and badly bruised as he sought his way back to PDP in tears, a move which also led to the exit of Okwy Nwodo, who became the victim. With the abysmal fall of Nwodo, Atiku remained to continue his bloated ambition of becoming President. In spite of the earlier reports that the North would rally behind a candidate of Northern extraction, President Jonathan yet emerged victorious. Atiku failed, but not without his followers losing again.
While the build up to 2015, the former President who is seen as the leader of the new group again has become restive and is playing the same old style of politics. Unfortunately, he is again misleading those who have allowed their desperation to becloud their sense of reasoning to understand that he is only pursuing his own agenda under the guise of entrenching discipline and justice in the Party.
President Jonathan is already on top of the situation as he has decided to meet with the governors including some of those who staged a walk-out. In all, the crisis would be resolved and only those who want to heat up the polity would form the opposition that does not exist in the real sense.
Written by Christie James
A public commentator