As PDP waits on court, impunity fights

Ali Modu Sheriff

Party Passing Sentence Of Death On Itself

Recent events trailing efforts by die-hard loyalist of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to put it back in one piece shows clearly that indeed, no two wrongs can make a right, no matter how much work and determination is involved.
 
In the whole gamut of schemes and meetings held towards healing the internal sickness hampering PDP, it is clear that the party faithful were trying to patch an old garment with a new cloth. PDP appears to be in no hurry to forsake its sins.
  
At the point of its decline, the three notable characters seen were the former national chairman, Alhaji Adamu Mu’azu, the deputy national chairman (South) Uche Secondus and the party’s national publicity secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh.

 
Secondus and Metuh played very active parts in ensuring that Mu’azu was sacrificed for what was clearly the failing of the entire members of the National Working Committee (NWC): the defeat of the party at a major national election.
 
From Fall To Court: How Impunity Begat Imposition
FEELING cozy in the enjoyment of the proceeds of improper structure, the new party leaders forgot the stipulations of PDP constitution regarding what happens in the event of resignation or decease of a national chairman.
 
It took the political alertness of former Presidential Special Adviser on Political Matters, Ahmed Gulak, to interrogate the propriety of an acting national chairman of PDP, when the party’s constitution directed an immediate replacement from the particular geopolitical zone of the last occupant that left midterm. 
 
Dragging PDP to court not long after its traumatic electoral experience was not the best way to go, but the impunity and disdain for laid down procedures and laws, made it inevitable. And obviously, not prepared for a contrary verdict or determined to apply evasive manouvres to delay the court process, the NWC lost the case as the court granted the reliefs sought by Gulak, except allowing him automatic occupancy of the vacant seat of national chairman.
 
It was to the Gulak’s court case PDP’s protracted structural tribulations could be traced. First, in the attempt to ensure that a powerful insider was not made national chairman and thereby leave the bargain for the 2019 presidential ticket open, some emergent leaders in the PDP Governors’ Forum went outside to fetch a new comer, believing that that way, a hidden scheme for future political advantage could ensue.
 
Only those who went for former Borno State governor and erstwhile chieftain of APC, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff knew why they preferred him to the former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Senator Bala Mohammed. Also, it is only a moment of deep introspection and contrition that would reveal why the two former governors that refused to defect from the party alongside their colleagues-Babangida Aliu and Sule Lamido-were not consulted during the search for Mu’azu’s replacement, not minding that they were not from Northeast.
 
Although Ekiti State Governor, Peter Ayodele Fayose, has confessed his mistake of adopting Sheriff, as the PDP headache continues, it seems the Ekiti strong man does not want to bear the burden of that mistake, which is playing along with the present realities.
 
Was Sheriff’s appointment as national chairman ever ratified? Going by PDP’s constitution, when would Mu’azu’s tenure have run full course? Who instigated Sheriff to contest for the position of PDP national chairman, despite of the fact that Southwest’s claim to the position in the botched Port Harcourt convention, and later rescinded that obnoxious support?  It could be seen that out of a simple show of political sagacity, impunity returned to haunt PDP, threatening its very existence and cohesion.  

Return To Court And Alternative Possibilities
FORMER President Goodluck Jonathan noted that it was not right to leave the fate of a political party entirely in the hands of the court. But after his failed attempt to pursue the political option, which he so much believes in, a return to court has become the only option.
 
In the light of hard-line pronouncements by stakeholders on either side of the divide in the PDP intractable problem, could it be said that the failure of the Jonathan reconciliation meeting in Abuja signaled the end of optimism for the party’s return to political reckoning? That is a frightening possibility.
 
The storming out from the Jonathan reconciliation by Sheriff and co is not only a repeat of history, but also a dawn of history of disconnects in the party. The gradual falling apart in the party began with the attempt at factionalisation, when the new PDP shunned the process adopted by the remedial convention in the NWC.
 
If therefore the aura and presence of Jonathan could not hold the parties to the leadership squabble together, it means that only a court of impartial arbitration, not only of competent jurisdiction would settle the rift. Only then could talks of healing begin.
 
Senator representing Ogun East, Buruji Kashamu expressed surprise that the former President did not pander to the whim of Sheriff by recognising his court ordained chairmanship, thereby providing an opening for the former Borno governor to escape reunification talks to continue enjoying his circumstantially imposed leadership.
 
At every inch of the way, original PDP leaders seem to lack the intellectual capacity to arrest Sheriff’s cunning dribbles, knowing that while he has what they are looking for, he has virtually nothing to lose. At least, in a worst-case scenario, SAS could stroll back to APC, where those who earlier wanted him dead politically have been demobilized.
 
Bayelsa State Governor, Seriake Dickson, seem to understand that the odds favour Sheriff, and all that PDP stalwarts need do was to humour him until they repossess their party. Dickson said when you create an opening for your rival and he exploits it, that good politics demand that you acknowledge that and seek fresh opportunities rather than grandstanding.  
 
Above all, plying his trade mark goodman politics, Jonathan wanted to pander to the whims of the majority and failed to accommodate the reality of the instant position of the law. It was at the juncture that the much talked about political solution evaporated.
 
Given that unexpected setback, PDP seems to be left with just one option, which is the decision of the Supreme Court on the matter. Senator Makarfi, alluding to the conflict in judicial pronouncements, noted that since the court of first instance recognised the National Caretaker Committee (NCC) as the legitimate creation of the national convention, which is the highest caucus of the party, and Appeal Court recognised Sheriff, what was needed to break the tie is the ruling of court of final instance.
 
National Vice-Chairman, (South-South), Mr. Emmanuel Ogidi, told reporters that only the impending Supreme Court verdict, rather than political solution, would resolve the crisis.

Ogidi said that the expected ruling would help to lay to rest, many issues that could re-emerge and trouble the party in future.Ogidi added: “To tell you the truth, there will be no political solution to the problem, because there are so many grey areas. If we didn’t take this to the Supreme Court, too many things would come back to haunt the party, so it was wise we went to the court. The political solution is just a family thing. Sometimes, people think it can be easy, but in this case, there is no way.”
   
Ogidi seemed to latch on to the general refrain in the party that “one man cannot call a convention and cancel it.”

Challenge Of Approaching Polls
THERE are governorship elections for Anambra, Ekiti and Osun. The implication of that is the fresh pressure it has brought on PDP. There is no doubt that the impending elections is behind the rash of defections to the ruling APC.
 
In Anambra State Senator Andy Uba, who is known to nurse a governorship ambition, moved out with his supporters. In Akwa Ibom, which is also a bastion of PDP, the story is the same. Only the fact of Fayose’s incumbency is holding Ekiti together despite the faction loyal to Sheriff and supported by Kashamu.

 
Consequent upon the foregoing, should the Supreme Court ruling fail to come expeditiously, more movements would be noticed. And then in the event that the apex court aligns itself ruling with that of the Court of Appeal, it would be good bye to PDP as it is known.
 
From the foregoing, speculations are that the Action Democratic Party (ADP), may serve as the alternate platform to receive those that have sworn not to have political affiliation with Sheriff. However, should the apex court ruling restore PDP to its original leaders, the journey to reconciliation, rediscovery and rehabilitation would begin anew.
 
PDP will show after its convention and the new set of leaders that may emerge, what manner of political party it has become after years of recriminations and electoral failure. But in the light of prevailing sentiments and narrow mindedness, it appears PDP is dispensing death sentence on itself. The past two years have shown that it is not enough to be sincere, because it is possible to be sincerely wrong. As the nation’s major opposition party, PDP should recognise that no two wrongs can make a right.



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