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PDP Convention: The Aftermath

PDP Convention: The Aftermath

WITH REUBEN ABATI,

The elective Convention of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) that took place at the Eagle Square in Abuja on Saturday, December 9, was a charade and an anti-climax. Everyone who had been a witness to the travails of the once-upon-a-time ruling party which lost power to the All Progressives Congress in 2015 – viz, the humiliation, the victimization of the party and its agents by the successor-government, the catastrophic seizure of the party by a certain Ali Modu Sheriff, the desertion of the party by opportunists seeking fresh foothold, protection, and relevance in the new ruling party, the pummeling of the party as a party of corruption by both the stupid and the knowledgeable- indeed nearly everyone who witnessed all this had expected that the party would use the opportunity of the Convention to renew itself and set the tone for a new beginning. The event of Saturday December 9 was truly meant to be the PDP’s new beginning but was it? No, it wasn’t. The election that took place was another night of the long knives. After the macheting, the ego slaying, the marching out, and the intrigues of Caesarian flavour, the PDP was left in a worse state than it had been. It was sad. It was disappointing. It was a big let down.

The All Progressives Congress has been gloating, trying to score a cheap point out of the melodrama of this PDP Convention, but it does not lie in the mouth of the APC to put down the PDP Convention. The tragedy of Nigerian politics right now is that we do not yet have, 18 years after our return to democracy, a political party that represents the closest ideals of democracy. There are 50 political parties or so on the list of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) but they are all special purpose vehicles, designed to put ambitious men and women who go by the title of professional politicians in the corridors of power and more precisely, in close proximity to Nigeria’s resources.

These politicians are full of guile and bile; they would do whatever it takes to remain relevant, and once they gain power, they use it as they wish. More than two years after taking power, the APC has not been able to define what it had in mind when it campaigned on the platform of “change”. It has not been able to hold a Convention or form a Board of Trustees. Its leaders are divided, the government it has put in place is hobbled by inter-agency/intra-governmental rivalry and misunderstanding. It has proven to be no better, if not worse than the PDP it replaced. In the elections that have been held under the watch of the APC, be it in Ondo, Edo or Anambra, electoral integrity was a problem; whatever irregularities or chicanery may have been on display at the PDP convention are not alien to the APC or any other Nigerian political party. This is the big picture for informed consideration.

But we rightly complain about the PDP, because we had thought that given the humiliation it has suffered since its exit from power, given also, the winner-takes-it-all and vindictive posture of the ruling APC, and given, if we may add, the obvious failure and refusal of the APC to impress the people with quality governance, the leaders of the PDP would do everything to project their party unto a higher pedestal and regain the confidence of the Nigerian people.

On Saturday, December 9, they failed to do so. They ended up showing that they have learnt no lessons at all, and that they are perhaps incapable of learning. December 9 was the United Nations International Day Against Corruption. The label of corruption has been the worst stigma that the PDP has had to deal with in its short but eventful history. Rather than use the occasion of its Convention to market itself positively, the party delivered in broad daylight, a Convention that was a loud promotion of corruption, and a brazen mockery of the Buhari administration’s heavily conflicted campaign against corruption.

Long before the voting began, the news had been abroad that a certain Governor, namely Nyesom Wike of Rivers State had been going about insisting that his candidate, Uche Secondus must be the next Chairman of the party. Secondus, in his own right, a tested politician, and a man of great ability, had also been quoted saying it was the turn and the right of the South-South to produce the next Chairman of the PDP, regardless of an advertised agreement that the party’s Chairmanship should be zoned to the South West. The main story was that Wike is the new financier of the party and that at the critical moment when the party was drowning and seeking survival, it was Wike who came to the rescue with financial oxygen. The PDP went to the Convention of December 9 amidst loud whispers about how the party was about to be hijacked by highest bidders. Delegates were reportedly informed that if they voted in a certain manner, they would get a sum of N500, 000, an amount that reportedly went up to $10, 000 per delegate. Nobody controverted the story even as one of the founding fathers of the party protested that the Convention should not be sold to the highest bidder.

The suspicions and the whispers gained greater currency and verisimilitude, when just before the Convention, one of the Chairmanship aspirants, Chief Olabode George withdrew from the Chairmanship race. He accused Governor Wike of manipulating the process and of insulting the Yoruba race. Wike had reportedly appeared on television to tell the South West aspirants to forget their ambition because the Yoruba have never contributed much to the PDP. The witchcraft of ethnic marginalization and victimization is a convenient deus ex machina for aggrieved Nigerian politicians.

Bode George dragged it out and railed in purplish prose: “Everywhere you look, the Yoruba people are now being brazenly insulted…The Peoples Democratic Party has now mangled and distorted its soul and spirit…There is no sanity or any sense of enlightened civility.” Events moved quickly as other South West aspirants withdrew from the race and announced Professor Tunde Adeniran as their consensus candidate. The only other South West candidate who remained in the race, Professor Taoheed Adedoja got zero vote at the end of the day. He too must have been so incensed he probably refused to vote for himself in protest! It was an interesting day.

Still, before the voting began, a so-called Unity List showed up at the venue of the Convention. It was distributed to delegates and it soon found its way into social media. Envelopes of dollar notes were also allegedly distributed. When the voting began, all the names on the Unity List were listed first and strategically positioned and when the results were tallied, all the names on the Unity List won. Note this: before that announcement, Governor Ayo Fayose had appeared on AIT Television where he boasted arrogantly that whoever was not happy with the outcome of the elective Convention had no option but to accept the results. Other Governors also said they had reached a consensus to support Uche Secondus and the Unity List.

The question is: what was the purpose of the Convention then? If the new leaders of the party had been selected, the main business of the December 9 Convention should have been a ratification of the Unity List and not a so-called election. Uche Secondus and his Unity team may be capable men and women, but the process that has produced them is greatly flawed. It was to all intents and purposes a kangaroo process about which questions of legitimacy may be rightfully raised.

It is even more worrisome, that whereas there were 2, 115 registered delegates, the final vote count of 2, 297 exceeded that number. Were there ghosts at the Convention?
Professor Tunde Adeniran who walked out of the Convention in protest got merely 230 votes. Raymond Aleogho Dokpesi and Gbenga Daniel, also Chairmanship aspirants, have congratulated Uche Secondus, but the party is at the moment in the throes of a silence of the graveyard. It is not a comfortable place for a political party to be.

The Governors and their allies who have currently seized control of the PDP may have done greater damage to the PDP than the Ali Modu Sheriff faction that failed. In the days to come, nobody may defect from the PDP on account of this Convention, and no person may go to court to ask for the cancellation of its outcome but it is risky to alienate significant segments of the party as has been done. This omission and the triumph of a cash-for-position politics was one of the many factors that divided the party and robbed it of victory in the 2015 general elections.

Wike, Fayose and their co-travellers are said to be the new PDP panjandrums. Governor Wike, Governor Fayose and the new boys on the block who have taken control of the PDP should moderate their triumphalism. They should remember the words of the sage who said that those whose palm kernels have been cracked for them by benevolent spirits should learn to be humble. They should ask the elders of the party to tell them some stories about the past. Governor Gbenga Daniel who was frog-jumped out of the race, and who was not even allowed to add a candidate to the Unity List was once a powerful PDP decision-maker. The same is the case for Donald Duke, Liyel Imoke, Obong Victor Attah, Sir Peter Odili, Sanimu Turaki, Abdullahi Adamu, Ahmed Muazu, Achike Udenwa, James Ibori, Lucky Igbinedion… but where are they all today? Governor Olusegun Mimiko, most recently of Ondo state, and some other yesterday men did not even bother to attend the December 9 Convention.

Anyhow, my fear is that all the partners who contributed candidates to the Unity List and shared the positions among themselves are not working with any defined purpose other than their selfish interests. As they soon abandoned one another after endorsing the caretaker Chairmanship of Ali Modu Sheriff, they may again soon part ways when the differences in their motives swim to the surface. The victim will again be the party. This is indeed sad because the APC has performed so poorly in power there is no reason why it should beat the PDP in 2019.

But if the PDP does not quickly put its fallen house in order, it will fall into its own grave. Since it lost power at the centre, Nigerians had looked up to the PDP to provide a robust opposition to the new ruling party. The party continues to fail woefully in this regard. The opposition to the Buhari administration has been majorly self-inflicted; it is not because of any creativity on the part of the PDP or any other political party. The opposition has come mainly from a disappointed electorate that was promised change but got stasis, promised prosperity but received penury, offered hope but handed despair, motion instead of movement, opaqueness in place of transparency.

Bode George dismissed the PDP Convention as “brazen fraud and absolutely preconceived, monetized, mercantilist Convention”. Political party corruption is the stimulus for corruption in the larger society. The crisis of internal democracy within our political parties remains a major challenge in Nigerian democracy. If the PDP must survive, new Chairman Uche Secondus and his Unity team must address the crisis of legitimacy of their own becoming. They must ensure that the PDP does not go into the 2019 elections as a divided and incapacitated party. Secondus, now Nulli Secondus, should adopt a total approach by reaching out immediately to all aggrieved parties, and show that he is an independent umpire as the PDP begins the search for a Presidential standard bearer. He must disown the ethnic umbrella of his Chairmanship and project himself as an unbiased, open-minded party leader and as his own man.

Whatever may have happened at the Convention, he can still keep the party whole and together, since in any case, Nigerian politicians are always ever so circumspect and cowardly in a situation like this – nobody may take the principled position of going to court to challenge the irregularities at the Convention.
Source: ThisDay

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PDP Convention: The Winners and Losers

PDP Convention: The Winners and Losers

PDP chairman, Uche Secondus

After every contest, winners and losers must emerge. Olawale Olaleye identifies those who won and lost at last Saturday’s National Convention of the Peoples Democratic Party

Even when the standard expectation is that a winner and a loser must emerge in any contest, Nigeria’s politicians hardly go to an election, thinking the tide might swing against them. Everyone seeking an elective office in Nigeria always does so with one thing at the back of his mind: to win.

This is why every contest, is followed by barrage of litigations. Maybe at the party level, it might be minimal. But it is also evident from some of the pre-election developments that the outcome of last Saturday’s convention might have left the partly divided as some remain unhappy amidst the jubilation of others.

Whilst it is expected that the new leadership will kick-off by first taking up the assignment to reconcile the aggrieved parties, here are some of the winners and losers below:

The Winners…

Goodluck Jonathan

Former President Goodluck Jonathan led the PDP to electoral defeat in 2015 after 16 years of holding down power at the centre. He had since lived with the guilt of causing his party and its members a terrible heartbreak, compounded by the leadership crisis that broke out shortly after.

But he had also made conscious effort to reconcile the party members amid differing interests. Thus, with this phase done and over with, 2019 is the next focus for Jonathan, who is now leading the campaign of against the APC. He is a winner.

Ahmed Makarfi

Leader of the National Caretaker Committee of PDP, Senator Ahmed Makarfi, assumed leadership position at a most difficult time, when the leadership crisis in the party was at its peak. He however weathered the storm and stood like the Rock of Gibraltar behind the party until his faction of the PDP won at the Supreme Court against Ali Modu Sheriff. He also led the party to a successful convention. He is a happy winner by all standards.

Nyesom Wike

The Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike has remained a recurring decimal since the party lost in 2015. The idea of bringing Ali Modu Sheriff, who shook and unsettled the party for over a year, was his. And yet, either by accident or design, he has successfully installed the new chairman. He is a major winner, because he literally has PDP in his pocket now with Uche Secondus as national chairman.

Ayodele Fayose

Like Siamese twins, Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose has consistently tagged along with Wike in the recent trajectory of the party. They both brought in Sheriff and they are both together on the Secondus assignment. Therefore, they are both winners. Fayose is though believed to have traded off the chances of the South-west because he looks forward to becoming a presidential running mate to whoever picks the party’s ticket; he is still a winner as his candidate has emerged.

Uche Secondus

The new National Chairman of the PDP, Uche Secondus is the ultimate winner. Rising from being deputy national chairman of the party to becoming the acting national chair, who took over from Adamu Muazu, who was forced to resign, Secondus has waltzed his way to the very top of contemporary party politics in the PDP. He won in a landslide.

South-south, South-east

The South-east and the South-south regions, which gave-in to the Secondus chairmanship bid pressure at the last minute, are winners because their gamble has paid off. They had delayed which direction to go for some obvious intrigues that had heightened at the last minute. It was not a bad decision after all.

Atiku Abubakar

One of the latest entrants into the PDP and presidential hopeful, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar is yet another winner at the PDP convention. Although there had been speculations that he was an ally of Professor Tunde Adeniran, one of the chairmanship hopefuls from South-west, the fact that Atiku is keen about the overall well-being of the PDP and the future of the country makes him an undisputed winner.

Old PDP Members

In all, the biggest winners at the PDP national convention are the old members, who believed in the ideals of the party, the dreams of the founding fathers and resolved to withstand the sufferings that came along with leadership crisis which lasted over a year. They are the real winners.

The Losers…

South-west and Its Candidates

The South-west geo-political zone lost big time in the just concluded PDP national convention as it failed to have the seat exclusively zoned to it. Whilst the party’s NWC had agreed to have the seat zoned to South, another decision was allegedly taken at the Southern level to zone it to the South-west, which immediately threw up the likes of Chief Bode George, Professor Tunde Adeniran, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, Mr. Jimi Agbaje, Senator Rashidi Ladoja and Chief Taoheed Adedoja.

But that understanding was thwarted by the candidates from South-south, who didn’t think the South-west deserved it. This is why one after the other, they all either stepped down or withdrew from the race except Adeniran, who ran it through with Secondus and Chief Raymond Dopkesi. He too later walked out of the venue, alleging cheating. As it turned out, they all lost and the South-west lost big.

Raymond Dokpesi

Chairman of Daar Communications and chairmanship hopeful from the South-south, Chief Raymond Dokpesi is yet another loser. He was one of those who came out strongly for the chairmanship of the PDP and indeed, vehemently sold the idea that South-south was eligible. But he lost and had out of disappointment, dismissed the party as unlikely to make any impact in next election.

Ali Modu Sheriff

Former National Chairman of the party, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, who took over from Secondus as acting chairman is one of the biggest losers from yesterday’s exercise. Not only did he take the party through emotional trauma and political instability, he further wasted a lot of its time from planning and thinking ahead. The Supreme Court ruling which de-recognised his leadership paved the way for the peace that would later culminate in yesterday’s convention.

Buruji Kashamu

The Senator representing Ogun East, Buruji Kashamu is another loser at the PDP convention. Kashamu was suspended last Wednesday by the Makarfi leadership for a month without any reason. But it was later gathered that the decision was informed by the ruling of a Federal High Court, Abuja, which struck out a suit by Kashamu, asking it to stop the party from taking any disciplinary action against him. Although he rejected the suspension, he was unable to stay at the convention let alone vote. He is a loser.
Source: ThisDay 

PDP convention: How Uche Secondus emerged new PDP chairman

PDP convention: How Uche Secondus won

Uche Secondus

Olusola Fabiyi, Abuja

Prince Uche Secondus was on Sunday morning declared as the national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party.

He defeated two other contestants at the national convention of the party held in Abuja on Saturday.

The result of the keenly contested election was announced in the early hours of Sunday.


In the election, Secondus scored 2000 votes while Prof. Tunde Adeniran came distance second with 230 votes.

Dr. Raymond Dokpesi came third with 66 votes followed by Prof. Taoheed Adedoja who did not score any vote.

The number of invalid votes was put at 55.

Atiku is a spent force, no threat to Buhari – Ajomale

Atiku no threat to Buhari–Ajomale

Leaders of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have been advised not to hope for taking over power from the All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2019. Giving the advice in this interview with TUNDE THOMAS, the Chairman, Conference of APC States’ Chairmen, and Lagos State APC Chairman, Chief Henry Ajomale, said the PDP leaders are only day dreaming if they ever think that the party can bounce back into reckoning at the national level.

Ajomale also spoke on some other national issues including the recent defection of former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, to the PDP, Tinubu’s visit to Afenifere leader in Akure, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro’s defection from PDP to APC.

As the Chairman of the Conference of APC States Chairmen, what is your reaction to the defection of the former Vice-President, Atiku Abubakar, to the PDP?

Atiku is a political chameleon, he is ever unpredictable. It becomes a tradition for him to be jumping from one political party to another. Atiku is not a principled politician. Nobody should take Atiku’s defection serious. It is good riddance to bad rubbish. This is about the third time Atiku would be leaving PDP and going back again to the party. He is not a serious politician.

Atiku should not be deceived by political hangers-on; he must have realised the bitter truth, and the truth is that, he is politically finished. Even in his home state of Adamawa, Atiku has become a laughing stock. His defection to PDP, to us in APC, is good riddance to bad rubbish. Atiku has no political value again. He has nothing to offer again. I even pity Atiku for going back to PDP, because PDP as of today has become a divided house. By going back to PDP, Atiku is going to cause more crisis for the party. PDP is going to become more polarised with Atiku’s return to the party. Atiku has become a spent-force. I don’t think he has anything to offer anymore.

Some people have accused the former VP of not being a principled politician …

Of course, yes. To be saying that, they are absolutely correct. Atiku from all intents now is being driven by personal political ambition. His being in politics from all indications and his own personal actions have shown that what is paramount to him is how to realise his personal political ambition; he has shown that he is not keen on or being driven by the urge to serve the nation, but rather it is the realisation of his own personal interests that matters to him.

But the danger about the way he is playing his politics is that nobody would trust and believe him again. By going back to the PDP, Atiku has simply returned to eat his vomit. For us in APC, we don’t miss anything by Atiku’s defection to PDP. APC doesn’t feel threatened at all, it is Atiku that has become a threat only to himself. APC is not losing any sleep over Atiku’s action. We wish him good luck back in his former political party to which he has now returned.

But some people have described the former VP as a political heavyweight whose departure from the APC is going to be felt, what’s your take on that?

Atiku as a political heavyweight? May be before, but to describe him as a political heavyweight today is to dress Atiku in borrowed robes. Maybe around 1999 and the following years, he was a political asset, but the reality today is that Atiku has become a spent force. He is gradually going into political oblivion.

With a man like President Muhammadu Buhari in the saddle, there is no way Atiku can have political relevance again. To me, Atiku is a political chameleon, he is so desperate for political power; you must be wary of such a man. I will support what former President Goodluck Jonathan said recently that if Atiku wants to realise or secure presidential ticket of PDP, that he should go and beg Obasanjo. However Obasanjo is not the only obstacle to Atiku’s ambition; if Atiku knows that his hands are clean, let him undertake a trip to the United States of America like Obasanjo has been challenging him. Atiku so far has not been able to take up the challenge. So far, so good, Buhari has been performing up to expectation, and not only that, being a man of integrity who is incorruptible, Buhari’s image and personality has been rubbing off positively on Nigeria. How can anybody think of Atiku being Nigeria’s president, a man with so many political baggages? If Atiku wants to prove to us that he is a clean man worthy of leading this nation, let him today undertake a trip to the United States.

This challenge has been thrown at him on several occasions, but since he has skeletons in his cupboard, Atiku has not been able to take up the challenge.

There have been fears of mass defection hitting APC following Atiku’s departure from the party …

Which mass defection? Which mass defection have you seen so far? It is unfortunate that Atiku is being overrated, but sincerely speaking, I hope Atiku should know his own limits. Atiku is already politically finished; nobody is going to follow him into PDP, maybe a handful of supporters if anything at all. Do you know what is referred to as mass defection?

However, let me state this clearly, because Atiku has money and what he usually does is to rent crowd, and most of these people will pretend to be his supporters after collecting money from him. Atiku has so much money that he doesn’t even know what to do with the money, and so what he usually does is this, he rents crowd to give impression that these people are his supporters, but Atiku can’t deceive anybody again, except only himself. Don’t ever judge the crowd you see with Atiku with his political popularity; the crowd you see with him are rented.

By going back to PDP, some Nigerians have described Atiku as being confused, and also lacking political discipline, do you agree with that?

Those saying that are absolutely correct. They are right. There was a time Atiku was quoted as saying that APC would be his last political bus stop, but what happened now? Atiku has proved that he is not a man of his words. That time he condemned the PDP, and there was no name he didn’t give PDP, but has he not eaten his own words by going back to the PDP. Honestly, I don’t understand such a man. For a man like that, I don’t have respect for him again. There was a time, that was sometime in 2011, Atiku was talking with the ACN led by Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, and the CPC led then by General Muhammadu Buhari. The basis of these parties and their leaders talking was to form an alliance in order to face the PDP during the 2011 general elections, but to our shock, Atiku abandoned that alliance talks and returned to the PDP where he boasted to match former President Jonathan money for money in order to clinch the presidential ticket of the PDP, but in the end, Jonathan defeated him.

Some people who have sympathy for Atiku have said the former VP should not be blamed for taking that decision, especially having a feeling that this may be his last time to have the opportunity to contest the presidential election. The argument is that age is not on his side anymore, what’s your take on that?

Does Atiku feel he can beat Buhari if Buhari decides to seek re-election? That would be a mere wishful thinking. But let Buhari declare his intention first. If Buhari wants to seek a second term, how can Atiku of all people think of defeating Buhari? That is nothing but day-dreaming. Atiku would be committing political suicide if he ever thinks of running against Buhari.

All over the world, Buhari is widely respected. But can you say that about Atiku? Buhari can travel to any part of the world, but can Atiku do same?

Nigeria is making steady progress, and also being viewed with respect in the comity of nations. But to have somebody like Atiku to be in charge of the leadership of this country will be a great setback for Nigeria. Atiku’s political coffin will be nailed if he ever tries to run against Buhari.

The recent visit of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu to Afenifere leader, Pa Reuben Fasoranti in Akure has been eliciting mixed reactions. As a close associate of Tinubu, why did the APC leader embark on that trip, because the general impression everybody has is that the relationship between Tinubu and Afenifere leaders has not been cordial. Is this trip the beginning of a good rapport between Tinubu and Afenifere leaders?

Tinubu has no problem with Afenifere leaders. He regards them as his fathers. He respects them a lot. There was a time Baba Ayo Adebanjo, late Baba Olaniwun Ajayi also visited Tinubu. Tinubu is showing respect as somebody who believes in the Yoruba tradition by showing respect for leaders. Pa Fasoranti is a highly respected Yoruba leader. People should not insinuate anything extraordinary or unusual to Tinubu’s visit. It is like a son paying visit to his father.

I saw Tinubu and others off at the airport when they were going, and we all collectively agreed that Tinubu should embark on the trip, which we also believe will strengthen unity among the Yoruba.

With Tinubu’s visit to Pa Fasoranti, should the Yoruba now expect closer rapport between Tinubu and Afenifere leaders?

Afenifere leaders are getting old, and it is obvious that they will need to groom some younger elements that will take over the baton from them. Nobody is contesting the leadership of the Yoruba with them, but they need to groom a natural leader of Tinubu’s caliber to step into their shoes, so that there won’t be a vacuum.

I believe that it is time for Afenifere leaders to bring Asiwaju Tinubu close to them. The Yoruba should not experience leadership vacuum, and that’s why it is very important for Tinubu and Afenifere leaders to work closely together.

Tinubu is a younger man who the Afenifere leaders need to be very close to them in order to learn from them what the future holds in stock for the Yoruba race. A closer rapport between Tinubu and Afenifere will be the interest of Yoruba race.

Asiwaju Tinubu perfectly fits into the shoes of a Yoruba leader who will continue to fight for the Yoruba interests within the larger Nigeria.

Who initiated the visit, Tinubu or Afenifere leaders?

There is nothing like who took the initiative or not; if Asiwaju Tinubu decides to visit his fathers, is there anything wrong with that? No. There was a time we all used to converge at Owo, the birthplace of late Papa Adekunle Ajasin. Our convergence there didn’t have any political coloration as what we usually discussed had to do with the Yoruba interests. Tinubu’s visit to Pa Fasoranti is a sign of good things to come for the Yoruba nation. Tinubu is still going to visit other prominent Yoruba leaders including traditional rulers.

What’s your reaction to the recent formal defection of former Minister of State for Defence, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro back to theAPC?

Obanikoro has always been one of us until he took that decision to join the PDP. But all along, I knew that Obanikoro is a prodigal son who will one day return to the fold.

We started AD together. We were also together in the cabinet of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. He was also elected into the Senate on the platform of AD. With Obanikoro’s defection, the PDP is finally dead in Lagos. Nobody is going to hear anything about PDP again in Lagos.

My good friend that I’m now waiting to receive in APC is Chief Bode George. I’m very optimistic that George will soon be part of us in APC. PDP has nothing to offer Bode George. By now, Bode George ,with the way PDP is treating him, should have realised that the PDP is not a party he can trust.

See how the PDP members are sabotaging his efforts to become the party’s new national chairman.

PDP is a party you can’t trust and that’s why we thank God that APC was able to bring to an end the PDP’s 16 years of bad leadership at the national level.

Initially, PDP ceded the position of national chairman to the Southwest, but suddenly they have changed the rule, and what the party is now saying is that the position has been zoned to the entire South. But the game plan by some leaders of PDP was to ensure that Uche Secondus emerged as the new national chairman of the party. I’m very sure that Bode George’s eyes would have been opened now. My advice to him is that being a Lagosian, he should join APC, he should team up with us in APC so that he can also be part of the success story that APC has been in Lagos State. I’m waiting to hand over APC flag to Bode George. There is nothing again in PDP for him. PDP is a party of manipulators and deceitful men. Bode George has been betrayed by the PDP. If he continues to remain as a PDP member, he will become politically irrelevant.

How would you react to the claims by some Nigerians that APC and PDP are the same, that you can hardly differentiate between the two?

That’s an insult. A very big insult. How can you compare APC with PDP. It is like comparing light with darkness. APC is light while PDP is darkness, and that’s why Nigerians use their voting power to get rid of the party in 2015.

By the time PDP was voted out of office, the party has become a big burden on Nigerians. In actual fact, Nigeria would have become a failed state under the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan. Now look at the transformations that have been steadily taking place under the APC leadership. It is no longer business as usual. The era of impunity, which was one of the hallmarks of PDP’s government is also over.

Unlike the ‘ungolden’ era of PDP when looters were having a field day, now it is no longer business as usual. Although some may be complaining about some hardship, APC is trying its best to overcome this challenge. Some of the steps being taken may be gradual, but surely the positive impacts of APC government is being felt all over the place. PDP has gone into political oblivion. The party will never rise again. PDP brought pains, misery and poverty upon Nigerians but, APC is taking steps to ensure that things are getting better as soon as possible. As for 2019 general elections, I have been reading some PDP chieftains boasting that PDP will bounce back into power. What a dream. What wishful thinking. These PDP leaders are suffering from political hallucination. Nigerians will never vote PDP into office again.

On the issue of President Muhammadu Buhari seeking reelection in 2019, the issue has become controversial …

I don’t see any reason for any controversy. So far, Mr President has not come out to make a categorical statement on the issue. The ball is in Buhari’s court, let’s wait for the President to speak on the issue. If Buhari decides to seek reelection, it is his constitutional right to do so, but like I said earlier, let Buhari make his intention known first instead of people speculating.

Source: The Sun

Bode George withdraws from PDP chairmanship race, accuses Wike of disrespecting South west

Bode George withdraws from PDP chairmanship race, accuses Wike of abusing the Yoruba

Chief Bode George

One of the nine contenders for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Chairmanship seat Chief Bode George has withdrawn from the race.

Bode George, who is a member of PDP Board of Trustees, made this announcement during a conference in Abuja on Friday he said the South West is already cheated with the entrants of aspirants from the South-South.

He stands with the micro-zoning principal of the party, which has been jettisoned

George also said that, Nyesom Wike, the Governor of Rivers State abused the Yoruba people on a national Television when he said the South West has never contributed anything meaningful to the success of the PDP.
Source: Vanguard

PDP bars Atiku from voting at convention

PDP Shuts Out Atiku From Voting At National Convention

BY CHIBUZO UKAIBE, Abuja

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) declared yesterday that former Vice President Atiku Abubakar might not vote during its national convention billed for this coming Saturday.

Making reference to the party’s constitution over his eligibility to vote at the convention, the party noted that Atiku would however be allowed to attend and address party members at the convention.

This is even as PDP BoT chairman, Walid Jibrin, has said that the party is waiting for Senate President Bukola Saraki, Speaker Yakubu Dogara and other Senators and members of the House of Representatives to return to its fold the way Atiku did.

He further added that the All Progressives Congress (APC) should be grateful to Atiku for not tearing the membership card of the party like former President Olusegun Obasanjo did to signal his exit from PDP.

Jibrin declared that it is too late to micro- zone the position of the national chairman. Atiku who formally returned to the PDP last week had visited the party’s national secretariat on Tuesday ahead of Saturday’s

national convention.
Section 8 of the PDP constitution, which

deals on procedure for rejoining the party states: “A person who desires to rejoin the party after leaving it shall – (a) apply to his Ward Secretary for re-admission; and (b) unless given waiver by the National Working Committee, be placed on probation for a period of not less than one year.

“(9) Subject to the provision of Section 8(b), a member on probation shall have the right to attend all meetings of the Party, but shall not be entitled to vote at

such meetings, nor shall he be eligible to contest for elective of ce on the platform of the Party”.

Asked whether Atiku is eligible to vote, the national publicity secretary of the party, Prince Dayo Adeyeye said, “All you need to do is pick up the constitution of the party and see whether Atiku is quali ed to vote or not”.

When pressed further, he said, “First of all, I can tell you that we are happy with Atiku coming back to the PDP. It’s very exciting for all of us. It’s a good omen to everybody in the PDP.

“He was one of the founding fathers, one of those who built this party and he’s coming back home. His room was never occupied. So, we have opened it for him. “He will be part of this convention. He will even make a speech at the convention but he may not be voting at the convention”. Adeyeye further alleged that some people serving under the President Muhammadu Buhari administration are trying to disrupt their convention.

He added that those behind the plot know that if it is successful, their days in government will be numbered.

Adeyeye who said they have no evidence of Buhari’s involvement in the move however appealed to him to stop his aides.

The PDP spokesman didn’t reveal the individuals involved in the alleged move to disrupt the convention.

He said, “I want to draw your attention to an issue that bother us. We have credible information that some overzealous elements in the government are trying by any means to disrupt the convention of the PDP to make sure this convention does not hold successfully.

“They have been trying every effort but we are happy that we have no information that it is coming from the very top. But some overzealous elements in the administration are bent…It is a very credible information and they are doing everything possible to make sure that this convention is disrupted.

“They are afraid that if the PDP should hold a successful convention, their days in government are numbered. By the time we hold this convention and our of officers are elected and they take office next year, there will be a floodgate of people even from APC to the PDP.

“This is a credible information and that is why we are appealing to President Muhammadu Buhari to please rein in his aides. We have no evidence that the president is aware of this.

“It is happening and we are calling on him to do his own investigation and to call those who are trying to cause this problem to desist because it is capable, not only of destroying this democracy, but also of destroying the country”.

On his part, chairman of PDP’s BoT, Sen Walid Jibrin, said “As the party joyfully welcomes Atiku back to his home PDP, we are equally waiting to receive more members of the APC, including Sen. Kwankwaso, Senators, members of the House of Representatives, President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, APC governors who had earlier left PDP. Thereafter, all of us would unite to take power from APC come 2019”.

On Atiku’s defection, Jibrin said, “APC should remain grateful to Atiku Abubakar, the Wazirin Adamawa, for peacefully resigning with respect without tearing their party membership card, unlike our former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, who after ruling Nigeria under the PDP for eight years and after serving as the chairman of the BoT for about Two (2) years, disgracefully tore his membership card”.

He added that it is too late to micro-zone the position of national chairman “considering that after more than Eight (8) aspirants have purchased the forms and are right now about to be screened by the Special Screening Committee.

“They should be allowed to test their fame through the primaries that is about to start on the 9th-10th December 2017. I want to assure our party members that whoever emerged the National Chairman, the BOT is ready to cooperate and work with him for the progress of the party. I wouldliketoreiterateour position that BOT has not anointed any candidates for now”, he added.

Meanwhile, the party has technically barred the states of Anambra and Osun from taking part in the convention because of internal squabbles within the party chapter of the two states.

IBB Optimistic Of Rancour-free Election

Meanwhile, former military president, Ibrahim Babangida, has expressed con dence that the Governor Ifeanyi Okowa- led national convention organising committee of the PDP will conduct a process that would be devoid of any rancor. He spoke when the convention committee chairman and Delta State governor led the chairman of the caretaker committee of the PDP, Ahmed Makar , and other top of cials of the party to pay him a visit at his hill top residence in Minna, Niger State.

He said, “I have here the chairman of the caretaker committee, former chairman of Kaduna State, the chairman of convention planning committee, the governor of Delta State with the offcials for the convention.

“I am glad they are working hard and I have seen that they want to make sure that the convention of the PDP is rancor-free, transparent and everybody will be given a level playing ground”.

The former Nigerian leader expressed hope that “PDP will see one of the best convention like never before”.

On the return of former vice president Atiku Abubakar to the PDP, IBB said, “He is a Nigerian; he is allowed to go to any party and our constitution allows it. So, it is not new and there is nothing wrong for a politician to move from one party to another”.

Earlier, Makarfi disclosed that the visit was in line with the tradition of the PDP where elders and leaders of the party are consulted for the right decisions to be taken  
Source: Leadership 

Abdullahi’s Inside Story On Jonathan

Abdullahi’s Inside Story On Jonathan

Azu Ishiekwene

Of the three presidents who ruled Nigeria between 1999 and 2015, President Goodluck Jonathan appears, so far, to have been the subject of more controversial books than his two predecessors.

Five notable books about or significantly touching on former President Obasanjo’s tenure are his memoir, My Watch; Olusegun Obasanjo: The Presidential Legacy (Vols. I & II) 1999-2007, by Ladipo Akinkugbe et al; Obasanjo, Nigeria And The World, by John Illiffe; and Governor Nasir El-Rufai’s Accidental Public Servant.

Segun Adeniyi’s Power, Politics and Death, is perhaps the most definitive book yet on late President Umaru Yar’Adua’s tenure.

Within two and a half years of Jonathan’s exit from power, however, five books on his tenure have, so far, been published, three of the most notable of which are – Against the Run of Play, by Segun Adeniyi; Facts Versus Fiction: The True Story of the Jonathan Years, by Reno Omokri; and now, On a Platter of Gold, by Bolaji Abdullahi.

Adeniyi was an insider in a different era, but even though the other two – Omokri and Abdullahi – served in the same government at different levels, their views are strikingly, but unsurprisingly, different.

Abdullahi’s 397-page 12-chapter book is an X-ray of Jonathan’s five-year rule, the forces that made him a democratic president and how Jonathan’s apparent inability to manage some of those forces eventually brought down his government.

When the author said from the title of the book that Jonathan was handed the Presidency on a platter of gold, I don’t think it was to suggest that Jonathan was unworthy of the bequest.

The trope was in the context of other political heavyweights who had given everything for the office but still failed to get it. And Abdullahi named them in the introductory chapter of his book.

But there was more to Jonathan’s golden chance than the list of those who tried but failed to become president. The economy, for example, was on a better footing with the external reserve at $43 billion (oil price at $84 pbd); the amnesty programme started under Yar’Adua was bearing fruit and calm was returning to the Niger Delta; the country had substantially regained its goodwill and respect abroad. And on top of all this, by 2011, the ruling PDP had swallowed its own vomit by setting aside zoning to back Jonathan.

With party and country rooting for him and the tailwinds behind the economy, the President could not have wished for more auspicious circumstances.

From Abdullahi’s account, three things defined Jonathan’s Presidency – discontent within the relatively weakened party he inherited; the handling of Boko Haram, which pre-dated him; and the attitude of Jonathan’s government to corruption.

President Jonathan has, of course, added two other reasons why he lost: he has blamed the Northern elite, especially the leadership of the party (which has in turn blamed Jonathan for recruiting outsiders who used vile language during the campaign); and he has also blamed foreign powers, specifically the US, France and the UK.

Until he stops threatening to write and actually writes his own memoir, however, we’ll have to wait and see if the man in the mirror will ultimately take responsibility.

Outsiders were probably familiar with the episodes summarised above, but perhaps not with the intricate, riveting details of who did what, when and how.

The author takes the reader by hand through the corridors of power in Aso Rock into the Glass House, the chambers of council meetings, and other such sanctum sanctorum where decisions are taken in the name of the country but which often bear the disgusting imprint of narrow personal and group interests.

Who could have known that two women in the presidential godhead – Diezani Allison-Madueke and Stella Oduah – while presenting a façade of a public interest, still managed to corner the President behind each other’s backs, with long knives? And that if Diezani did not whisper into Jonathan’s ear, he might have spared Oduah even after a presidential panel had indicted her in the N250 million bulletproof car saga?

In hindsight, though, it is quite interesting to see that Diezani, of all people, was Jonathan’s closet lecturer on how to tackle corruption!

Who could have thought that Dame Patience Jonathan, apart from her famous gift for drama, could also summon the presence of mind in her post-election moment of distress to remind the Attorney General of the Federation of some fine points of history after accusing him of betrayal?

Or that Minister Adewunmi Adesina, in spite of being President Jonathan’s poster boy, would be among the first to jump ship, openly courting the opposition, after Jonathan’s defeat? But it’s all there in the book, in details not previously known and in words that will make you cry and laugh. Or think.

The author appears to suggest that on his own, Jonathan was a very nice man, a happy-go-lucky fellow who will not offend anyone. I think most people would agree.

But that was, also, part of the problem. A leader who does not want to offend anyone, who does not want to break eggs, cannot expect to make omelet. A leader who will say one thing in the morning and another in the afternoon just to please the last listener, may not be motivated by vicious incompetence, but incompetence is incompetence. There’s no need for an adjective.

Yet, we also see from the book that power can be a very, very lonely place.

When it came to the decisions that unmade Jonathan’s presidency – whether it was about what to do with the fuel subsidy scam or how to respond to Boko Haram, which covered one quarter of the book; how to handle the Chibok girls or how to respond to the rebellion in his party and the momentous exit of five governors; whether to accept defeat after the election or charge his party to appeal – the man was utterly alone.

Would the trajectory have been different if Jonathan had a different temperament? Had he grown so used to being number two that he could not adjust to the nation’s top job? Or was Jonathan, well, just Jonathan?

We now know a little more from an insider. Jonathan meant well. He promised a free and fair election and he delivered it. He said his election was not worth the blood of a single Nigerian and conceded defeat even before the final results were in.

As to why he failed reelection, the single most telling revelation from the author is that all said and done, the job was beyond him, a point on which two of the three notable post-Jonathan era books agree.

In the last chapter of his book, Abdullahi, who was Sports Minister, narrated how Jonathan executed nine ministers in one day of cabinet shuffle. He said he was penciled in but was later “saved for another day.”

Well, that day came to pass but the story is missing in his book! That’s probably a story for his next book.

Ishiekwene is the Managing Director/Editor-In-Chief of The Interview and member of the board of the Global Editors Network.