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 After Mu’azu, PDP struggles to be strong opposition

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PostSubject: After Mu’azu, PDP struggles to be strong opposition   2015-05-23, 05:44

Despite the resignation of the
National Chairman of the Peoples
Democratic Party, Adamu Mu’azu,
the party, which recently says it is
open to merger, is believed to be
struggling to become a strong
opposition, FISAYO FALODI writes
The pressure on members of the
Peoples Democratic Party’s
National Working Committee by
some stakeholders to resign as a
result of the party’s woeful
performance in the last general
elections has yielded fruit as the
National Chairman of the party,
Alhaji Adamu Mu’azu, and the PDP
Board of Trustees’ Chairman, Chief
Tony Anenih, resigned their
positions on Wednesday.
The PDP, which always described
itself as the biggest party in Africa,
lost the March 28 presidential
election to the opposition All
Progressives Congress, which had
boasted over a year ago that its
emergence was the beginning of
the end of the PDP as a ruling party
in the country.
As the general elections were
drawing nearer, some PDP
supporters defected to the APC
over irreconcilable differences but
the PDP shrugged off the defection
and bragged in all its campaign
rallies across the country that it
would trounce the APC as it had
always done in the past.
But the party suffered its greatest
electoral loss in the past 16 years
and thereafter called for Mu’azu’s
head over failure to sail the party’s
ship to victory. The pressure on
Mu’azu to resign became deeper
after the British Labour Party
leader, Ed Miliband and Liberal
Democrats leader, Nick Clegg,
resigned over their parties’ defeat
in the United Kingdom’s general
Ekiti State Governor, Mr. Ayodele
Fayose, who led the anti-Mu’azu’s
campaign, had alleged that the
former PDP chairman was not
committed to the party and should
therefore emulate Miliband and
Clegg. But the former PDP chairman
dared his critics while explaining
that the hate speech launched
against the APC presidential
candidate, Muhammadu Buhari,
cost the PDP the victory in the
polls. He also said the critics were
out to factionalise the party, adding
that his resignation would signal
the end of the PDP in the country.
Interestingly, Mu’azu and Anenih
submitted their resignation letters
a few days after the PDP National
Publicity Secretary, Mr. Olisa Metuh,
said that the party was open to
merger with other political parties
and associations that shared its
ideas for the fulfilment of the
political aspirations of all Nigerians
regardless of tribe or religion.
In a letter to the Deputy National
Chairman in Abuja, Prince Uche
Secondus, Muazu cited health
grounds as the reason for his
resignation. He therefore asked
Secondus to step in as the acting
National Chairman in line with the
party’s constitution. But Anenih
hinged his action on the current
state of the party’s affairs.
Watchers of political events in the
country, however, expressed their
views over Mu’azu’s resignation. A
rights activist and political analyst,
Mr. Olufemi Aduwo, is of the
opinion that the resignation will
not solve the party’s crisis in as
much as it refuses to imbibe the
culture of internal democracy.
He said though Mu’azu might
appear to be a weak leader, the
crisis rocking the party is beyond
any individual.
Aduwo said, “The crisis rocking the
PDP is beyond any individual; it is a
collective problem. The party lacks
quality leadership and its problem
goes beyond Mu’azu. The crisis
involves the outgoing President
and all the party’s chieftains at all
levels who allowed the joy of being
in office over the years to
overwhelm them. It also shows that
as a leader, Mu’azu lacks the
capacity to handle the situation.”
As a way out of the woods, he said
the PDP should imbibe internal
democracy where the culture of
imposition of candidates on the
party by the leaders would be
Aduwo also doubted Secondus’
capacity to manage the affairs of
the party. He said that Mu’azu’s
resignation would not bring the
kind of succour the party needed.
He suggested that for the party to
regain pre-eminence, it should
endeavour to appoint its chairman
from outside the National Working
Committee of the party.
“As Mu’azu’s resignation will not
bring the kind of succour the PDP
needs now, the party should not
expect anything special from
Secondus,” he added.
Aduwo also saw the PDP’s new
move to open merger talks with
other political parties as an attempt
to plunge itself deeper into crisis.
According to him, such decision will
not yield any useful result.
He said, “It should not be heard that
the PDP that has ruled Nigeria for
16 years is now seeking for merger
when it has its structures on the
ground. If the party is credible as it
claimed, other political parties
should be looking towards it. How
can a party allow five of its
governors and some of its
members at the National Assembly
to defect from it in one day?
“Many candidates who won
election under the APC were former
PDP members. That the PDP is
talking of opening its door for
merger is like merging 20 failed
companies together. The outcome
of such a merger will be total
The analyst further gave the PDP
another shocker as he said the
party lacks the potential to play the
role of an organised opposition
“So, what happened to the PDP is a
tsunami which it did not have
enough stamina to absorb,” Aduwo
Like Aduwo, another commentator,
Mr. Dare Adeiya, said Mu’azu’s
resignation might not lead to the
resolution of the PDP’s crisis unless
the party re-examined itself for the
role the outcome of the last
general elections had conferred on
But Adeiya supported the move by
the PDP to open its door to merger
with other political parties,
especially those that presented
candidates for the last elections.
He said the earlier the PDP sees
itself as the opposition party and
woos the political parties that
presented candidates for the
general elections the better for it
to remain strong and united.
Adeiya said the decision by the PDP
to regain its pre-eminence goes
beyond rhetoric and resignation of
its national chairman. According to
him, it involves determination and
seriousness to achieve every
positive target it has set for itself.
Adeiya said, “No doubt, the general
elections have assigned a new role
to the PDP, which is not bad. But
the PDP should understand that
this is a period that requires
discipline. The PDP should not
hesitate to learn from the APC,
which came into existence as a
result of the merger of some
political parties that were
relatively popular.
“I am not suggesting name change
as APC did. But there are some
things the PDP should learn from
the APC if truly it is open to merger
with other parties. The PDP should
also be able to surpass the
dexterity the APC demonstrated as
an opposition before the general
elections for it to bring itself back
to the people’s reckoning.”
He also agreed with Aduwo that
Secondus might not have the
capacity to bring the party out of its
current crisis because the acting
national chairman was a member of
the PDP’s National Working
Committee that had come under
harsh criticism over the party’s
poor outing in the last elections.
Observers said the first test for
Secondus would be how he would
pilot the PDP to woo the other
political parties since the parties’
leaders said the PDP had yet to
approach them.
The National Conscience Party,
which performed poorer that the
PDP in the last elections, is not
ready to concede the role of the
opposition to the PDP. The NCP
presidential candidate, Chief Martin
Onovo, said he was not averse to
the PDP’s interest in merging with
other parties, but said NCP is the
leading opposition party in the
country going by its integrity,
pedigree and capability.
He said, “NCP, not the PDP, is the
leading opposition party in the
country as of now. The PDP has not
approached the NCP for a merger
and if it does, the NCP will table it
at its National Executive Committee
meeting for discussion.
He said, “We are not averse to an
alliance or a merger, but I can safely
say that the NCP is the leading
opposition party in Nigeria today,
going by our integrity, pedigree
and viability.
“If the PDP presents such a
proposal, we will evaluate it and
the NEC will take a decision based
on the outcome of the evaluation.
“The role of the opposition is
critical to the political and
economic development of any
nation; the NCP is ready to play the
role well. We are not lacking in any
way. We are not going to exclude
anybody. If PDP wants to work with
us, it is welcome.”
Also, the presidential candidate of
KOWA Party, Prof. Oluremi Sonaiya,
said the PDP had not approached
her party for any merger.
She said, “The PDP has not
approached us. So, there is no
consideration for any merger on
the table as of now.
“Since the PDP said it would merge
with other parties, I guess the onus
is on the party to approach the
parties they want to merge with. If
the PDP now approaches us, it is a
different matter. It is the
responsibility of KOWA Party
leaders to decide to accept the
proposal or not.”
A number of political parties, such
as the All Progressive Grand
Alliance, the Unity Party of Nigeria
and the Labour Party that adopted
the PDP presidential candidate,
President Goodluck Jonathan, as
their candidate during the March 28
poll ruled out the possibility of
merging with the PDP now.
The National Chairman of the UPN,
Dr. Fredrick Fasehun, said instead of
merging with the PDP, he was not
opposed to people defecting to the
UPN to form a stronger party.
“The UPN is not merging with any
party. However, anybody that is
willing to join our party will be well
received,” he said.
But, the APGA Legal Adviser, Mr.
Kayode Alabi, said APGA and the
PDP could merge in the near future.
Alabi said APGA is currently
restructuring but noted that it
would be a good idea for both
parties to merge since the PDP is
strong in the South-East and the
South-South geo-political zones.
He said, “It is something that will
be discussed in the future because
that is the only option for APGA. If
you check the metamorphosis of
most of the other parties, they
started off as regional parties. But
eventually, they had to work with
other parties and have grown into
the behemoth they are now.
“That is the way forward for APGA
and the PDP and if you look at the
map, the PDP has virtually taken
over the APGA states. It is like the
South-East and the South-South are
the PDP strongholds. They have
just one or two governors in the
North. So, the synergy has to work
out. APGA has been bedevilled by
leadership crisis.”
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