PDP violates its own rules, says BoT chair, Mohammed
BARELY a year after he moved a motion for the adoption of former President Goodluck Jonathan as sole candidate for the 2015 Presidential election, acting Board of Trustees Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Haliru Bello Mohammed yesterday confessed that the decision was part of the problems that finally destroyed the party’s chances at the polls.
Mohammed in a statement issued in Abuja, lamented that the violation of the PDP’s zoning formula in 2011 was the genesis of the party’s crisis.
In moving the motion for Jonathan’s adoption at the September 17, 2014 meeting of the PDP National Executive Committee (NEC), Mohammed had said that there was no reason to change a winning formula, adding that the President (Jonathan) had performed well enough to deserve a second term.
“In PDP, we have a tradition of queuing up behind our leaders. President Jonathan has performed creditably well as attested to by all the organs of the party.
‘‘Therefore, for the good of Nigeria and for the good work that the PDP is doing for the country, I move that the NEC endorses the candidature of President Goodluck Jonathan as the party’s candidate in the 2015 election,” Mohammed had said.
Former governor of the old Anambra State, Chief Jim Nwobodo, who seconded the motion, also said the Jonathan team had done well and deserved a second term. The motion received an overwhelming affirmative voice vote.
Despite massive criticisms from other members of the PDP against the adoption, PDP leaders then insisted on pushing ahead with the sole candidate decision as originated by Mohammed.
But on an apparent departure from his earlier position, Mohammed who now serves as the chairman of the PDP Board of Trustees issued a press statement in Abuja yesterday condemning the leadership of the party for acting in violation of the party’s rules.
The statement which was signed by his Special Assistant on Media,
Mr. Emeka Nwapa, attributed the rapid decline in the fortunes of the party to the abrogation of its policy of rotation and zoning in 2011.
He lamented that this aberration severely undermined the principle of justice and equity on which the party was founded in 1998.
He added that the shameful defeat in the last Presidential election was the sad price the party had to pay for jettisoning its policy of rotation and zoning.
Mohammed, who noted that the shortcoming led to widespread crisis of confidence in the party, said that the zoning policy was a major attraction to the party, which offers all members equity, justice and a sense of belonging.
He said: “When the founding fathers formed the party in 1998, they established the principle of justice and equity whereby power resided with the people, who could decide who became what at any point in time. But overtime, the party swerved away and breached the principle thereby disrupting its internal democracy. When in 2011 the party abandoned its zoning formula, the party dealt on itself a major blow because that action served the first notice that it had disconnected with the masses. So we must go back to the culture of zoning and rotation of offices.
“The PDP remains the only true national party in the country with its flag in all nooks and crannies whose members are assured that they can always aspire to any available position as long as zoning and rotation hold sway as a cardinal policy of the party.”
He advised that something must be done about the practice of putting the party at the whims and mercy of moneybags and the highest bidder to the exclusion of many members.
“We must run away from a practice that leaves the party at the mercy of moneybags who, more often than not, seek to hijack the processes of the party at the detriment of promoting genuine internal democracy through which only capable, credible and popular candidates can emerge to contest elections with assurance of victory,” he said.
He called for party supremacy in all affairs of the party, stressing that elected and appointed office holders should not be allowed to dominate party decisions while party meetings should be restricted to party offices in the states and the centre.
“The policies and manifesto of the party should also guide the activities of public office holders who are either elected or appointed on the platform of the party in line with good governance and best practices,” Mohammed said.
On party funding, he advocated a system whereby members make their statutory contributions to the party as prescribed by the party’s constitution, noting that it is a major sustainable means of getting the party to meet its obligations and responsibilities.
He requested that the party gives more attention to elders and its founding fathers many of whom he observed are still in the party but are indifferent to the affairs and fortunes of the party owing to lack of patronage.
The BoT Chairman said, “in the recent years, many of our leaders, elders and founding fathers have been abandoned in spite of their abiding interest in the party. Some have left, some chose to remain but are either inactive, unconcerned or indifferent because nobody has bothered to look for them. This is not acceptable. If there is any time we need them for advice and counsel, it is now.”