Nigeria’s ruling party, the Peoples Democratic Party seems set for an implosion which may eventually cost the party victory at the 2015 elections. Checks have revealed that there is crisis at almost every level of the party, from ward level to the highest level. The battlefield is replete with gladiators struggling for control of the party.
Street Journal gathered that the party may be on the verge of self-destruction as events continue to unfold among its leaders and members. Findings revealed that apart from the fact that the party’s popularity suffered a dip before the elections, the PDP lost in the South West States where elections were held in 2011 due to the many incidents of in-fighting and the many factions that emerged. Party members openly worked against the general interest of the PDP then. In Oyo State, former Governor Ladoja left the party with his followers to form Accord Party. The then Senate Leader, Teslim Folarin too was battling the leadership of the PDP in the state from another angle. So bad was it that parallel congresses were held by the different factions.
The situation was the same in Ogun State. It was the Gbenga Daniel camp versus the Obasanjo camp. Former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole too was in the midst of the battle. Parallel congresses were also held and eventually, the PDP’s candidate lost at the general elections.
Though in some states, the party won elections despite the crisis they had. One of such states is Adamawa. Presently, Governor Murtala Nyako of Adamawa State and the Chairman of the PDP, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur are at daggers drawn. And like in Adamawa, the battle in Rivers State is gathering momentum. After the suspension of the Obio/Akpor Local Government Chairman by a committee constituted by the Rivers State House of Assembly, Governor Rotimi Amaechi was suspended by the Working Committee of the PDP; though with the timing, it is believed that the Nigerian Governors’ Forum election was the main issue in Amaechi’s suspension.
Days after Amaechi was suspended by the PDP, Dr. Aliyu Wamakko, the Governor of Sokoto State suffered the same fate. Olisa Metuh, the party’s National Publicity Secretary issued statements that both Governors acted contrary to certain sections of the PDP Constitution.
It is also public knowledge that some of the Governors elected on the platform of the PDP are nursing grievances against the party. And even more recently, the Governors’ Forum election further helped in causing division especially among PDP Governors. At least twice, Governors engaged in shouting matches over the election while members of the Governors’ Forum disclosed that at a point, some Governors came close to throwing punches at each other.
Suspicion has also become the name of the game, especially as the country’s Number 4 man, Hon Waziri Tambuwal seems to be very relaxed and at home with members of the opposition. He has been hobnobbing with the All Progressives Congress members lately and Mr Speaker’s body language indicates that though he might be a PDP member, his focus seems to be elsewhere. Tambuwal’s emergence as Speaker was facilitated by an act of defiance to the zoning system laid down by the PDP and he ended up edging out Hon Mulikat Adeola Akande who was the favoured candidate of the patty leadership then. Now tales are flying that TRambuwal may be interested in the President’s job.
There is also the Obasanjo factor. The former President’s ego was badly bruised with the removal of his men from the mainstream of events. Olagunsoye Oyinlola, the National Secretary was removed by the court sequel to a suit filed by Dayo Adebayo, Chairman of the party in Ogun, Obasanjo’s home state. Like the Speaker of the House of Reps, the former President and former Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the PDP was conspicuously absent when the President gave his mid-term report recently. Instead, Obasanjo chose to attend an economic summit hosted by Governor Sule Lamido of Jigawa State. While there, Obasanjo made some pronouncements that are already pointing in the direction that he won’t support the President for a second term in office. From his utterances, the former President sems ready to throw his weight behind Governor Sule Lamido for the 2015 presidential race.
Some Governors have also called for the removal of the Chairman of the party, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, on allegations of incompetence. In the opinion of Governor Wamakko, Tukur and Ahmed Gulak, the Presidential Political Adviser do not merit their positions.
Incidentally, the suspended Governors, Wamakko and Amaechi have vowed not to quit the party; a decision that has fuelled speculations that they would stay in and work against the party from within, just like Otunba Gbenga Daniel did in 2011, financing a candidate, Gboyega Nasir Isiaka of the Peoples Party of Nigeria against the PDP’s candidate.
While the leadership of the party continues to create more enemies within its fold, pundits believe the result might end up being felt adversely in 2015. Looking at the present wrangling in the party, a member concluded that “the party is on a road that leads to nowhere”. “