While the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has stated it is in no way threatened by the registration of the All Peoples Congress (APC), followers of political events have opined that the threat to the party’s 2015 plans comprises of mainly endogenous factors and not external threats. Fears are continuously being expressed in many places that the party may implode at the end of the day.
In a bid to prevent the impending implosion, Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State was saddled with the responsibility of reconciling members of the party having grievances against the leadership.
It is an open secret that the party has had to manage crisis at the national level and most of the states, thus leading to the belief that the Dickson Committee may not be what the party needs to solve its myriad of problems. Some members are known to harbour the belief that the Dickson committee will only succeed in solving some problems to create others.
Findings have shown that most of the crises have roots in the management style adopted by the leadership of the party. Street Journal also found out that personal interest, ambition and desperate struggle for power among party leaders are some of the reasons for which members have been forced to join other parties.
Since the party’s inception 14 years ago, the likes of General Ike Nwachukwu (rtd), Dr Alex Ekwueme, Dr Ahmadu Ali and many more have tried to mediate in crisis in different zones of the party.
After the 2007 elections, Second Republic Vice President, Dr Alex Ekwueme was saddled with the responsibility of bringing back members who were aggrieved and left the party as a result of the emergence of Alhaji Umar Yar’Adua as the presidential candidate back then. The likes of Dr Bello Mohammed, Alhaji Shuaibu Oyedokun, Alhaji Adamu Ciroma and Prof Jerry Gana worked with the Ewueme committee.
Those approached by the committee included former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and former PDP Chairman Audu Ogbeh.
That committee’s efforts yielded some positive results as Atiku Abubakar returned to the party after due consultations. The former National Chairman however did not return. Incidentally, till date, Atiku Abubakar is still an aggrieved PDP member as he has allegedly been “sidelined” from the scheme of things as far as the party is concerned.
When Alhaji Bamanga Tukur became the Chairman in 2012, he took it upon himself to reconcile “aggrieved members” of the party in Kano and a number of other states. The committee set up to facilitate peace and reconciliation has not achieved much in that state. The story is somewhat similar in Benue. In Oyo State too, efforts to reconcile the different factions have continuously failed. The different groups in Oyo State are seeking recognition from the national headquarters.
Even the emergence of Bamanga Tukur as National Chairman left some people aggrieved. A pointer to that fact emerged when some Governors failed to turn up at the zonal reconciliation meetings of the party. The peace moves notwithstanding, the Governors of Kano, Jigawa, Rivers and Niger have axes to grind with those at the helm of affairs of the party. Even the Governor of Adamawa State where the National Chairman comes from has issues to sort out with him. It is common knowledge in the National Chairman’s home state that members are either for Murtala Nyako or Bamanga Tukur. Not even efforts by Governor Sule Lamido of Jigawa State could resolve the differences between the National Chairman and the Governor of his home state.
To some of the members, if respected members and elders of party have tried without success, then much should not be expected from Governor Dickson and members of the committee.
To worsen the situation, for true reconciliation to take place, Dickson and his team might need to draw a long list of aggrieved members who need to be pacified and embraced. Such include former President, Olusegun Obasanjo whose disagreement with the party has become a burden. Incidentally, the former President has quite a number of followers who share his beliefs. Chief Obasanjo openly demonstrated his grievance by choosing to attend a summit hosted by Governor Lamido in Jigawa State, shunning the President’s presentation of a mid-term scorecard. One of the many grouses Obasanjo has with the party that offered him the platform to become a civilian President is that his loyalists were unceremoniously thrown out of the party’s National Executive Council.
Olagunsoye Oyinlola, former Governor of Osun State and a former Secretary of the party too has issues. He has been to to court to challenge his removal and he has reasons to believe the party has not given him enough support.
In Ekiti, Fayose, a former Governor left for another party but after some peace moves, he went back to the PDP. Allegations that the candidate for the governorship election will emerge through a consensus has pitched members against each other with Fayose at the forefront of the clamour for a primary election.
Governor Dickson, who is heading the 30-member Reconciliation Committee too has people with grouses against him. His emergence as his party’s governorship candidate in the last election in Bayelsa State raised some issues. Till now, Timipre Sylva has not forgiven the powers that truncated his dream of ruling Bayelsa State till 2016.
Governor Dickson’s neutrality has also been called to question by a number of PDP members, no thanks to his closeness to the President. A Special Assistant to former Governor Sylva, Tonye Okio described Governor Dickson as “an interested party, a loyalist of the President who cannot lead a serious effort to calm the frayed nerves in PDP.” He concluded that “the committee will lead the party nowhere.”
In the opinion of Gboyega Adejumo, a member in Oyo State, the reconciliation project “may be dead on arrival”. He stressed that “the conflicts are driven by too many personal interests. So what would a member like Lanre Otiti do? What would a member like her say to Fayose?” He however maintained that the APC was no thread. “I know APC will self-implode. I am surer of that than the outcome of the PDP reconciliatory efforts”, he said.